Quietest gun for self defense


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BluegrassDan
July 14, 2011, 09:47 PM
I'm a professional musician with some slight hearing loss. I shoot with earplugs and ear muffs combined in order to keep the hearing I have left, as it is VERY important for my career. Even while deer hunting I wear ear plugs!

I often worry about the highly unlikely situation where I might need to defend myself either in my home or car. I carry a 9mm M&P handgun, and have several shotguns and rifles around the house.

Which type of legal, non-supressed firearm poses the least threat for hearing loss?

I'm inclined to think that a shotgun would be easiest on the ears, but I could be wrong. What do you think?

Thanks in advance.

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Shienhausser
July 14, 2011, 09:55 PM
Anything above .22 indoors will be extremely loud. Even my tiny Makarov 9x18 w/o plugs was very loud.

zxcvbob
July 14, 2011, 09:56 PM
How about a .45 Colt or .357 Magnum (loaded with .38 Special +P's) carbine?

MedWheeler
July 14, 2011, 10:00 PM
Use a .22 caliber rifle, preferably a semi-auto. Test it extensively first with your chosen ammunition. Quality ammo, such as CCI Mini-Mags, are very hard to beat for reliability. That's what I keep in the banana mag for my Ruger 10/22. For a handgun, even a .22 will make your ears ring. Personally, I'd rather risk some more hearing loss than risk what I might face if my home-defense weapon is chosen based on that, but I do trust a good .22 rifle.
Shotguns are quite loud.

pbearperry
July 14, 2011, 10:10 PM
I too have hearing loss from years of shooting.I finally got off my lazy butt and bought a pair of electronic ear muffs and keep them on my bed post in case I ever have to shoot a firearm indoors.Shooting a shotgun inside a room without hearing protection is probably the loudest noise you would ever hear in a normal lifetime.

tbutera2112
July 14, 2011, 10:17 PM
a lot of people say in a true SD situation, they dont even realize the noise because of all the adrenaline...ears dont ring or anything

sirk798
July 14, 2011, 10:18 PM
To me the answer is easy I would rather be alive and deaf than dead with my hearing.

VA27
July 14, 2011, 10:29 PM
A 22LR with a 22-24 inch barrel, using CB caps, is about as quiet as you're going to get without a suppressor.

The same gun with standard velocity or 'subsonic' loads will still be over the 85-90db that is generally stated to be threshold where hearing damage begins.

EVERYTHING ELSE is going to be well over that 85-90db.

A quality pair of digital hearing aids will be north of 4 grand. I would think you could get a barrel and suppressor for your pistol for around a grand.

Just having a hearing loss is a cake walk. What you also get with gunshot damage (among other causes) is tinnitus; a constant, unrelenting, high-pitched 'ringing' in your ears. And it can get 'louder' even without sustaining more hearing loss.

So far, there is no cure and no relief for it. There are even cases of profoundly deaf persons having tinnitus.

Good luck with your Quest.

RustHunter87
July 14, 2011, 10:36 PM
unless your defending your self for hours on end or using a 44 mag i would forget it get what your comfortable with and some really nice muffs for when you practice

BluegrassDan
July 14, 2011, 10:55 PM
By "mild" hearing loss what I really mean is 70db at 4kHz accompanied by loud ringing tinnitus.

I hadn't considered a .22lr carbine. Perhaps loaded with Aguila 60 grain subsonic ammo? Any model recommendations?

Jim Watson
July 14, 2011, 11:02 PM
That ain't mild.

Agree with pbear; a pair of muffs racked next to your home defense weapon will be a lot less expensive and less likely to get you investigated closely than a silencer.

M. Ayoob once reported on such a case. A homeowner looked out to see a couple of punks stealing the wheels off her car in the driveway. She dialed 911, put on her earmuffs, and picked up her gun. When she looked back out, one of the punks saw her and drew his gun. She shot him in complete comfort.

kingpin008
July 14, 2011, 11:21 PM
a lot of people say in a true SD situation, they dont even realize the noise because of all the adrenaline...ears dont ring or anything

I think he's more worried about the after-effects, which very likely will include tinnitus (ringing ears) and hearing loss with pretty much any caliber.

MutinousDoug
July 14, 2011, 11:46 PM
My personal perspective regarding hearing loss due to LOUD NOISES is not as much hearing loss as not being able to discriminate low ambient sound.

The constant low level ringing in my ears (which is the reason I can't hear low level sound so well) prohibits my ability to hear what other people hear normally.

When you warn people to protect their hearing, don't bother to say they'll go deaf. That is not a threat to most of the young guys I know. Tell them that they will ALWAYS HEAR A BUZZ or RINGING PRESENCE IN THEIR EAR. FOREVER. DAY and NIGHT.

It's worse than being deaf. Hearing aids can make the sound louder but it takes expensive electronics to cut out the high frequency noise.
Not being able to talk to people is a limiting social handicap.

dmazur
July 14, 2011, 11:48 PM
I also have electronic muffs beside the bed. Flashlight and pistol are in the gun safe.

I'm not a heavy sleeper, living with a pager beside my head for emergency plant response. So, any noise at all and I'm awake.

After watching Die Hard too many times, I also have hard-soled slippers beside the bed... :)

CraigC
July 15, 2011, 12:18 AM
a lot of people say in a true SD situation, they dont even realize the noise because of all the adrenaline...ears dont ring or anything
Your perception of the sound will not keep it from physically damaging your ears. Which it will. IMHO, there is far too little discussion on this subject. Yes, life is more important than hearing but if I can save both, I will. Which is why I completely disregard the .357......for anything.

natman
July 15, 2011, 03:18 AM
a lot of people say in a true SD situation, they dont even realize the noise because of all the adrenaline...ears dont ring or anything
I wish we could put this fallacy to rest. Auditory exclusion under stress is a real phenomenon. But it means that while your mind is otherwise distracted you don't notice the sounds - it doesn't mean that your ears are magically protected from damage because they aren't.

Shadow 7D
July 15, 2011, 03:27 AM
Yeah, what he said, you may not NOTICE how loud it was, BUT that doesn't mean you didn't incur damage from it.

Anything is going to be loud, more so with enclosed space. That's life, and one you accept, quiet, a sword or a cross bow, quieter, special build silenced weapon ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Lisle_carbine )

barnetmill
July 15, 2011, 03:35 AM
The solution would be a 10/22 loaded with subsonic HP rounds that has been shown to be reliable. Attach to the gun a simple set of ear plugs connected by a plastic band so that you can quickly don them. For a once in a lifetime occurrence the damage to your hearing should be minimal. firing something load like an AR CAR in the a house with .223 is another matter.

Fact is any noise over the 85 dba range will damage your hearing and even your music might reach that level. Such noise levels are quite common in our modern society. The longer the exposure, the greater the damage.

Panzercat
July 15, 2011, 05:29 AM
A blowgun, maybe?

Kidding aside, your best bet it to drop $200 and get a silencer if it's that big of a concern. the concessions you have to make in terms of stopping power for a "softer" caliber would worry me. Sure, you can drop back to a .22 of some flavor and fire until the attacker drops or flees... In the process subjecting your ears to multiple reports to potentially achieve the same effect a larger caliber would.

Realistically, the orange spongies from Fry's work fine for me. .22's sound like a "tick!" to me. Even my nine and 30-30 is quite manageable.

The Lone Haranguer
July 15, 2011, 06:54 AM
I'm afraid "quiet gun" is an oxymoron. Any decent self defense cartridge is going to have a report in excess of 135 decibels. This is not to say that there isn't some difference in the quality of sound between some cartridges; the subsonic .45 Auto has a less "ear-splitting" report than a .357 Magnum 125-grain, for example. But, overall, I don't think your premise is realistic. IF you have time to put them on, you might consider some electronic ear muffs; these amplify small sounds while shutting down the sound of the gunshot. Personally, I would rather take my chances on having to wear hearing aids than be seriously injured or killed. :uhoh:

Sav .250
July 15, 2011, 08:23 AM
Priorties aside, if you come out on the negative end of a personal defense
situation, hearing loss will be the least of your problems.

I hardly think firing a couple of shots from any weapon will cause you to go
deaf. In fact, you may never need to fire those "couple of shots" in your
life time.

Lex Luthier
July 15, 2011, 08:43 AM
Man, I feel ya. I even wear earplugs at band practice.

I have been a musician all my life, and my 45 year-old ears are well on their way to retirement after standing in front of amps and screaming monitors for so long.

I shoot 9mm and .45c handguns and .223 rifles. Earplugs and muffs are required for safety when at the range. I do not plan to use my concealed sidearm, but pray that when it is called for, my ears will react the right way. Once I test shot a .40 cal at a guy's farm with no protection (as he did not offer any) and my shot was off because I anticipated the bang. I believe the intensity of the moment will overcome the fear of the loudness.

If you have any doubts, shoot your loudest gun without protection and see how long it takes to get back to normal. That .40 cal took about 20".

oerllikon
July 15, 2011, 09:01 AM
The quietest guns for SD are attached to your body :D

Probably a .22, it beats nothing after all. Even my friends NAA wasp 22 mag is about as loud as my cz 75 though..

Kleanbore
July 15, 2011, 09:11 AM
Posted by CraigC: Your perception of the sound will not keep it from physically damaging your ears. Which it will. IMHO, there is far too little discussion on this subject. Yes, life is more important than hearing but if I can save both, I will. Which is why I completely disregard the .357......for anything.Good advice.

Posted by The Lone Haranguer: I'm afraid "quiet gun" is an oxymoron. Any decent self defense cartridge is going to have a report in excess of 135 decibels. This is not to say that there isn't some difference in the quality of sound between some cartridges; the subsonic .45 Auto has a less "ear-splitting" report than a .357 Magnum 125-grain, for example. But, overall, I don't think your premise is realistic. IF you have time to put them on, you might consider some electronic ear muffs; these amplify small sounds while shutting down the sound of the gunshot. Personally, I would rather take my chances on having to wear hearing aids than be seriously injured or killed.Good advice.

Posted by Lex Luthier: If you have any doubts, shoot your loudest gun without protection and see how long it takes to get back to normal. That .40 cal took about 20".Not good advice, I'm afraid. That "experiment" will not provide useful information, and there is some risk that the damage caused even by only one shot will be permanent.

Way back when, several of were stupid enough to go out and fire a twenty round box or two each from our Springfield, Enfield, and Mauser rifles without hearing protection. During the drive home, none of us could hear each other unless we shouted. That immediate effect would dissipate, but we did that more than once, and the hearing in my right ear is very much impaired--permanently.

BTW, one day in a drop hammer room didn't help, either.

Today, the most prevalent cause of permanent noise induced hearing loss is car sound systems turned up too high.

woad_yurt
July 15, 2011, 09:20 AM
From what I've read, anything that shoots at sub-sonic speeds is less damaging to the ears; there's no sonic boom. In air, sound travels at about 1125 FPS so anything under that should do. Since 9MM is a supersonic round, I suggest ol' reliable, .38 Special.

I shoot both 9MM and .38 SPL quite a bit and, even with my hearing protection, there's noticeably less bang from the .38s.

ball3006
July 15, 2011, 11:28 AM
All carry guns are quiet until you pull the trigger with one in the pipe. If you have to shoot someone, you won't hear the shot anyway. As posted above, it's better to be a little bit deaf than a little bit dead....chris3

K0ZZZ
July 15, 2011, 11:42 AM
My wife and I use those Aguila primer only 22lr loads. It's good out to about 25 yards, and so quiet, you could shoot in your basement without hearing protection.
They won't cycle semi-autos, but we use a revolver and a lever action mostly. Or just charge the handle each shot.

Loosedhorse
July 15, 2011, 11:55 AM
Why non-suppressed? A supressor on a 9mm carbine with subsonic rounds--that'd be the most dependable solution.

I keep active hearing protection near my HD gun...but I know I may not have time to put it on in an emergency. A suppressor, where legal, would make a lot of sense for a HD long gun.

Rail Driver
July 15, 2011, 12:13 PM
My wife and I use those Aguila primer only 22lr loads. It's good out to about 25 yards, and so quiet, you could shoot in your basement without hearing protection.
They won't cycle semi-autos, but we use a revolver and a lever action mostly. Or just charge the handle each shot.

I hope you aren't using those primer only caps for any defensive purposes. They haven't got enough juice to ethically or cleanly kill a large possum or small dog much less stop an intruder.

quatin
July 15, 2011, 12:52 PM
The quietest guns for SD are attached to your body

Probably a .22, it beats nothing after all. Even my friends NAA wasp 22 mag is about as loud as my cz 75 though..

.22 mag out of a hand gun is insanely loud. I'm guessing it's because all the commercial .22mag ammo is loaded to be shot out of a rifle.

As for OP, a .22lr out of a rifle is a very powerful tool, especially now that Aquila makes 60gr subsonics with 16'' of penetration through ballistic gel. I can get very accurate rapid fire going with 10/22 with 50 round mags, much more than a full size hand gun or even a 16'' AR-15.

http://www.brassfetcher.com/Aguila%20Sniper%20SubSonic%2060%20grain%20lead%20round%20nose.html

youngda9
July 15, 2011, 01:18 PM
QUOTE: "I hadn't considered a .22lr carbine. Perhaps loaded with Aguila 60 grain subsonic ammo? Any model recommendations? "


So you're willing to use something that is not very effective for SD to protect your life with the hopes that it won't further damage your hearing. Seems like you've got your thinking a little bit backwards.

You should be looking for the most effective thing that you can handle and shoot well. If you're that worried about hearing get some electronic muffs to put on should you need to pick up your gun for SD purposes in the house.

JustinJ
July 15, 2011, 01:33 PM
Subsonic rounds will be a better bet and i would suspect that the longer the barrel the quieter the gun, all other things being equal. If the decibel difference between various handguns will really translate to actual reductions in hearing damage potential is hard to say. However, an HK USC, .45 with 16" barrel, is amazingly quiet. I would suspect the same to be true of any 16" barreled pistol caliber carbine firing subsonic ammo.

1KPerDay
July 15, 2011, 01:53 PM
http://www.rawlingsgear.com/products/BBSLVR_lg.jpg

You might want a wooden one if you prefer the traditional *crack* to a *ping*. ;)

baylorattorney
July 15, 2011, 02:11 PM
Just get a less lethal form of defense like tear gas, mace, etc. Or tazer/stun guns. Keep your .22 at your side in case the attacker wants to keep coming. A .410 or .28 guage shotty isn't too loud either.

Afy
July 15, 2011, 02:21 PM
A lot of practise with a supressed sub sonic .22 will work. Shot placement over caliber will always count. There are incedents of people having shot elephants with a .22 short, it is all about placement.

Sean Smith
July 15, 2011, 02:25 PM
In all seriousness there is no reason you can't legally buy a suppressor if you live in Tennessee. Just find your nearest Class 3 dealer and talk to them about the process.

Beyond that...I've got to agree that using a poor weapon to protect your life just so you can protect your hearing is a questionable course of action. A longer-barreled gun firing subsonic ammo will be quieter, but any decent self-defense load is going to be loud as hell regardless.

olafhardtB
July 15, 2011, 02:27 PM
I have noticed that 38 special target wad cutters arent that loud, neither are 32 s&w long wadcutters. A longer barrel seem to help. Round nose lead "cat sneeze"loads out of a carbine might do the trick.

kludge
July 15, 2011, 02:35 PM
Electronic muffs.

If you don't have time to put them on, deaf is better than dead. Better than a supressor IMO.

ball3006
July 15, 2011, 02:48 PM
If you shoot someone with a suppressed pistol, you fall under federal firearm laws, not just state laws. You don't want to go there.....chris3

Rail Driver
July 15, 2011, 02:51 PM
If you shoot someone with a suppressed pistol, you fall under federal firearm laws, not just state laws. You don't want to go there.....chris3

Can you provide a citation for this, or an example of a person being prosecuted federally for otherwise legally shooting somebody with an NFA item?

While it's not the best idea for various reasons, none of those reasons have to do with risking federal prosecution unless you're illegally in possession of the NFA item.

Sean Smith
July 15, 2011, 02:54 PM
If you shoot someone with a suppressed pistol, you fall under federal firearm laws, not just state laws. You don't want to go there.....chris3

I'm calling BS. It's self defense with something you legally own, and that the ATF in fact specifically approved your ownership of.

EDIT: Your statement doesn't even make basic logical sense. You're subject to federal firearm laws all the time. You have to follow them to get the damn thing in the first place.

Shadow 7D
July 15, 2011, 04:47 PM
A murder isn't going to be a FEDERAL murder just cause you used a suppressed pistol, and a good shoot isn't going to be a FEDERAL case....

Bad info, not thought through.

Hate to say it, but quiet and gun just don't go together.

Zoogster
July 15, 2011, 05:48 PM
Decibels are not all equal either.
Generally lower frequency reports for a given decibel level are less damaging and less painful than high frequency reports.

For handguns those that stay below the speed of sound will be less damaging. As well as those that operate at lower pressures (which need a heavier projectile to still deliver much energy.)

A .45 Colt would be a good hard hitting but less damaging to hearing round.

In an auto a .45ACP less damaging than a typical 9x19 round.


Barrel length is also important, the shorter the barrel the louder and more damaging the report.

A great example of that is shown on this chart (which also gives some examples of other firearm decibel ratings): http://www.freehearingtest.com/hia_gunfirenoise.shtml

Table 1. SHOTGUN NOISE DATA (DECIBEL AVERAGES)
.410 Bore 28" barrel 150dB
26" barrel 150.25dB
18 _" barrel 156.30dB
20 Gauge 28" barrel 152.50dB
22" barrel 154.75dB
12 Gauge 28" barrel 151.50dB
26" barrel 156.10dB
18 _" barrel 161.50dB

Notice an 18" 12 gauge is over 5 decibels louder than a 28" 12 gauge on that chart. The decibel scale is logarithmic and so a slight increase is greater than the number suggests.

Guardrail
July 15, 2011, 05:58 PM
HAY!! Could you guys make some more noise while ransacking my house? I have ear plugs on and I can't hear you.

Guardrail

Loosedhorse
July 15, 2011, 05:58 PM
The decibel scale is logarithmicAt any point on the scale, a 10-point increase represents a 10-fold increase in energy, with most observers saying it sounds "twice as loud."

Strykervet
July 15, 2011, 06:10 PM
I've shot a lot without ear pro. Not always because I wanted to either. According to the tests, I have perfect hearing, but I also have tinnitus --I hear whining or sometime a full blown tea kettle. I understand it comes from damaged hairs inside the ear canal, but whether or not it was caused by gunfire or explosions, I don't know. I hear the explosions can damage the hairs more.

Anyway, of all the things I have fired, the .357 686 I have was THE loudest, and that was outside! It was louder than an M4 indoors, I seriously couldn't hear for a week and my ears rung for at least that long.

The .22 is likely the quietest. But if I had to choose one in your situation, and had to have a sufficient calibre, I'd go with the .45ACP, 230gr. bullets. At least those won't be supersonic. At any rate, the loudest part of any gunshot will be the primer. It is a full 10-20dB higher than the actual report (I have the old army silencer evaluation manual).

I'd stay away from revolvers too. I think it has something to do with the gap between the barrel and cylinder, but I can't be certain. I'd stay away from supersonic rounds. So that basically leaves the .45ACP. To your sensitive ears, it will still sound quite loud. But trust me, compared to other defensive rounds, it is quite mild. 9mm subsonic is similar, but has much less energy.

Now inside of a closed room... Like a near airtight car where the blast can't escape... That pressure is going to be a problem no matter what. You could open your mouth if you think about it I guess, or keep the window cracked, but there really isn't much you can do about it. The only downside to the .45 in a car, at least intuitively, is that it is a larger cartridge = more expanded gas = more pressure. But seriously, do you really expect to have to fire from inside a sealed car? What are the chances?

Most of us will be lucky. Most of us on here will never fire a shot in anger, domestically anyway, so count your blessings on that. For those of us unfortunate to be in the situation where we need to do so, I think the best thing is to carry what works best for you and just suck up the consequences. You'll need a week off from work to deal with the BS from the aftermath anyway, time for your nerves to settle, and by then, your hearing should be back to normal.

If you fire off rounds indoors or in confined spaces, your ears will ring. It will hurt and everything will sound like it is coming through a tunnel yards away and the ringing will drive you crazy for days. But it goes away, your hearing comes back gradually, and before long it is back to normal. One time isn't going to destroy your hearing. Doing this for years will. High explosives at close range are much, much worse. Still, according to several hearing tests, I hear fine. Just the ringing (that I am sure you want to avoid).

BTW, on average, gunshots do LESS damage to your hearing than loud music... The loud music exposes your ears to sustained high levels whereas the gunshot is a short impulse only marginally louder than some concerts. My hearing has suffered from concerts more than from firing machineguns with no earpro. The only exception was that .357 revolver...

ny32182
July 15, 2011, 06:18 PM
Muzzle blast is way louder than sonic crack of a supersonic projectile. You need a suppressor to even hear the sonic crack, because the muzzle blast completely drowns it out. Muzzle blast is created by pressure. If you want less intense muzzle blast, you should be looking for low pressure rounds. .45ACP, shotguns... stuff like that. Not rifles or 35k+ PSI pistol cartridges.

If you are that worried about your hearing, get a suppressor. You can have it on the gun ahead of time. There is no reason to assume you will have the time or thought to put on electronic muffs in the heat of the moment, when it is something you can take care of ahead of time with a can. I don't know about TN, but in SC, we have the castle doctrine... investigate away. :rolleyes: My form 4 will be completely legit.

Shienhausser
July 15, 2011, 09:18 PM
If you have any doubts, shoot your loudest gun without protection and see how long it takes to get back to normal. That .40 cal took about 20".



Yeah I was worried about my nephew getting hit by a car, so I pushed him in front of one and he got used to it. Now he's good to go!

Onward Allusion
July 15, 2011, 10:40 PM
BluegrassDan (http://www.thehighroad.org/member.php?u=80056)
Quietest gun for self defense
I'm a professional musician with some slight hearing loss. I shoot with earplugs and ear muffs combined in order to keep the hearing I have left, as it is VERY important for my career. Even while deer hunting I wear ear plugs!
I often worry about the highly unlikely situation where I might need to defend myself either in my home r car. I carry a 9mm M&P handgun, and have several shotguns and rifles around the house.
Which type of legal, non-supressed firearm poses the least threat for hearing loss?
I'm inclined to think that a shotgun would be easiest on the ears, but I could be wrong. What do you think?
It really depends.

In a car with windows closed, even a 22LR will cause some damage. Indoors, there is a big difference between shooting in a hallway and in a larger room along with the different building materials. For example, big difference between shooting in the living room versus a hallway versus an unfinished basement.

For home, have a pair of electronic muffs next to your bed. Advantage is two-fold. First it protects your hearing. Second, gives you enhanced-human hearing.

jollyroger
July 16, 2011, 12:41 AM
I recall reading an article in a gun magazine about this very subject. The author apparently had a fellow hunter crank a rifle round off when the author was in front of the rifle's muzzle and pretty close. He immediately went to a doctor, who was able to mitigate the damage to his ears by putting him on some type of steroids - somehow that helps the tiny little hair follicles that make your ear work to recover from the sound impulse. Just thought I'd pass that along. He did mention you need to get to the doc in fairly short order.

I use electronic muffs a fair amount instructing on the range, and while you can hear sound okay, I find you lose a lot in terms of direction and quality. When your bacon's on the line there's no substitute for the real thing, IMHO.

Loosedhorse
July 16, 2011, 11:34 AM
I find you lose a lot in terms of direction and quality. When your bacon's on the line there's no substitute for the real thing, IMHO. Of course, after the first shot, there won't be much of the "real thing" left for the rest of the fight. So, better "get'er done" with that first shot, I guess!

FourTeeFive
July 16, 2011, 01:14 PM
By "mild" hearing loss what I really mean is 70db at 4kHz accompanied by loud ringing tinnitus.

Just where a lot of sound systems have a huge peak...

I've wondered the same thing, and have thought about leaving a suppressor on for home defense. But I think that might be asking for trouble if I ever had to use it and the case went to court (unfortunately you need to think this way in this day and age). I could just see your average juror thinking "what was this guy doing with a silencer on his gun?".

Oddly enough a .45ACP seems to be a big "boom" rather than a "crack" of a 9mm or similar. And it certainly is a good home defense round. I'd go with a longer barrel rather than short. But it is all relative... they're ALL loud!

One of these days I'll do some indoor SPL and frequency spectral analysis of various guns/rounds and post it here.

Ditchtiger
July 16, 2011, 01:22 PM
Quietest gun for self defense?
Hi Point Firearms, as they don't work you can use it as a club.
Very little noise this way.

HD Fboy
July 16, 2011, 02:10 PM
First if noise is a real problem a suppressor is required, period. Second, you will need to a subsonic round. Assuming you will want to stay in a semi auto I would expect the SPL at your ears to fall as below, quiet to loud:

22 Semi Auto rifle (subsonic)
22 Semi auto pistol (subsonic)
9 MM Semi Auto Rifle (subsonic)
9 MM Semi Auto pistol (Subsonic) and a 22 Semi auto rifle (supersonic) I would expect to be fairly close. but I have no data here.

Maybe a M4 with a good suppressor (opinions vary here as to if this will cause damage or not).

After this, it won't be all that quiet. But I wouldn't toss out the Red Jacket Suppressed 12 ga. If cost didn't matter I would definitely go shoot one. If the SPL is low enough I can't imagine a better HD weapon for your usage. They say the SPL is about like a M4 with a suppressor.

Killing in self defense in your own home is not a federal crime. Castle Law (I am not sure all states recognize Castle Law, so you could violate state law regardless of the status of the weapon). Now, if the ownership of the firearm is not legal other charges could apply. So, if you shot an intruder with a suppressed firearm without the correct paperwork you could be charged with a violation of the NFA. This would be a federal crime. This is not to be construed as legal advice, I am not an attorney.

hso
July 16, 2011, 02:14 PM
Never shoot your loudest gun without protection and see how long it takes to get back to normal.

kd7nqb
July 16, 2011, 02:30 PM
Hearing loss sucks and most of us that spend enough time around guns get some or significant hearing loss. When it comes to SD/HD I suppose I could see the use of hearing protection especially since most of the electronic variety amplify quieter noises might help hear if somebody is sneaking around the house.

BUT I put muffs at a much lower priority than getting to the gun. When it comes to using a silencer for HD I would not have a problem with it.

FourTeeFive
July 16, 2011, 02:32 PM
First if noise is a real problem a suppressor is required, period. Second, you will need to a subsonic round.

I'm curious to find out if supersonic versus subsonic has a big difference indoors in a relatively small space. I've noticed it outdoors but the supersonic "crack" tends to echo from quite a distance.

rori
July 16, 2011, 04:07 PM
Please let me also suggest a mouth cup as worn by boxers etc. Sound damage occurs thru your mouth also and wearing one of these in your mouth is the same as earmuffs for your ears.

hermannr
July 16, 2011, 04:24 PM
If you are talking home defence...a suppressed .45 with ammo in the 980fps range. (assuming your state allows suppressors)

Properly suppressed, a sub-sonic .45 will do a lot of damage to the BG, and not hurt your ears. Not something you would want to carry around though.

THe Dove
July 16, 2011, 04:27 PM
What is going on here? What does mouth protection have to do with hearing protection????

Also, why are we worried about hearing protection when we are using a firearm in a self defense situation???? Believe me, if my life (or my family) is in a shoot - no/shoot situation, I don't care about hearing protection at that moment.

The Dove

sidheshooter
July 16, 2011, 09:47 PM
Hearing loss can also come via bone induction-though the mouth guard is a new one by me, as well.

Get a 5" .45, or 5" 9mm with standard pressure 147s. Regardless, it's going to be loud. Given how extreme things have to be to justify a trigger press, hearing is the least of my concerns at that point, much as mentioned several times above.

I agree about staying away from full-power magnums; I had a ported (weigand) snub that was so loud with the old Federal 125 grain load of yore that I jettisoned it-even with muffs, it was painful.

rori
July 17, 2011, 11:22 AM
If you have never heard of noise transmission thru the mouth that just means your ignorant of it and need to do some research if you dont believe me. I was responding to the persons concern about hearing loss and I stick by my statement. Get froggy if you want but I wont lay down on this one.

THe Dove
July 17, 2011, 07:46 PM
Easy Big Man!!! No one is calling you out, I just never heard of it. I do not want to research anything. You feel free to PM me if you wanna debate anything about the topic of hearing protection and noise exposure. I am taking the high road on this one.

The Dove

jawn
July 17, 2011, 08:10 PM
Yes, shotguns are slightly quieter than handguns but they're still in the 150dB range.

The only way to get it to a hearing-safe level is with a suppressor or ear protection. A well-suppressed 9mm with a heavier, slower (non +P) load will probably be around 130-140dB. While this might not be great for your hearing with extended use, it will be far better for your ears when things go bump in the night.

.22s are pretty quiet (under 140dB), but they're also marginal man-stoppers. I don't have a problem using a Ruger MkIII in a self-defense situation, but I'd only choose to do so if the alternative was a knife.

Electronic muffs are another option - just make sure to practice getting them on in a hurry, in the dark.

I actually do most of my practice shooting at an indoor range, and I will say that everything is LOUD in a confined space. Even though shotguns are quieter than handguns they certainly do boom in a rather disorienting way when they go off indoors.

General Geoff
July 17, 2011, 08:32 PM
If you're truly worried about hearing damage, get a silencer and keep electronic hearing protection with your home defense gun.

benEzra
July 17, 2011, 10:47 PM
As far as unsuppressed firearms go, a pistol, a 16" to 18" barreled intermediate caliber rifle, and an 18" to 20" shotgun are all roughly the same loudness in terms of peak dBA. This link was posted upthread but it bears repeating:

http://www.freehearingtest.com/hia_gunfirenoise.shtml

A pistol-caliber carbine with as long a barrel as possible, and shooting subsonic ammunition, would probably have a lower peak dBA than pistols/rifles/shotguns. Something like a 9mm or .45 Marlin Camp Carbine, Kel-Tec Sub-2000, semiauto Uzi carbine, etc. shooting 147gr subsonics in 9mm or 230gr JHP in .45. Be aware that you arguably give up a bit of effectiveness with the subsonics and probably get more penetration in building materials.

RyanAnchors
July 17, 2011, 11:00 PM
Get a suppressor (if your state allows them), a quieter caliber, and use subsonic ammo.

CWL
July 18, 2011, 02:01 AM
Personally, I choose my SD firearms based on what I believe to be the most effective for my capabilities. I do not choose HD/SD firearms or ammo based on how loud they may be indoors. I'm not going to try and stop BGs with a quieter, but less-effective weapon because the BGs will do more harm than some hearing damage.

It's better to be a living hearing-disadvantaged musician than a dead one. (BTW, there are plenty of partially-deaf musicians, I thought it was part of the job!)

BluegrassDan
July 18, 2011, 10:10 AM
Thanks for the input everyone.

To my knowledge, Tennessee does not allow suppressors unless you have a class C license.

It's better to be a living hearing-disadvantaged musician than a dead one. (BTW, there are plenty of partially-deaf musicians, I thought it was part of the job!)

No, it's not "part of the job," it's an unfortunate reality. If you were a machinist, carpenter, or auto mechanic for a living and accidentally lost a hand you wouldn't consider it "part of the job."

My questions was, "Which type of legal, non-supressed firearm poses the least threat for hearing loss?" I did not ask, "Would you rather be deaf, or dead?"

Mike1234567
July 18, 2011, 10:59 AM
Huh?? What?? Could you re-type that a little louder? I can't read you.

LKB3rd
July 18, 2011, 11:03 AM
.38 special from a 6 inch revolver? I am a musician too so i hear you (har har) on protecting the ears. We are used to opening our ears to hear more, which is bad with gunshots. I even plug my ears when a fire engine goes by.

Jonah71
July 18, 2011, 11:09 AM
My little .22 mag snubby was one of the sharpest, most ear splitting cracks I've ever heard. Maybe it was just in my head because I know nothing about noise levels, db's etc. but I know what it sounded like in an indoor range when I forgot ear protection. It was bad enough outside.

General Geoff
July 18, 2011, 11:09 AM
To my knowledge, Tennessee does not allow suppressors unless you have a class C license.
No such "license" required. Just need a $200 tax stamp and a CLEO signoff (or corporation/trust).

pockets
July 18, 2011, 11:42 AM
A rubber-powered spear gun would be fairly quiet.

.

Zach S
July 18, 2011, 01:02 PM
To me the answer is easy I would rather be alive and deaf than dead with my hearing.
I agree.

I realize you have already lost lost a good deal of hearing, and have to put up with that dern ringing (my tinnitus comes and goes - I feel your pain, just not always), but the odds are slim that we will ever be in a SD shooting. I view this as a case where the stakes are higher than the odds, and I choose to carry a 1911.

An unfortunate reality is that any pistol adequate for defense, and some inadequate for defense, will be loud enough to cause hearing damage.

For Home Defense where hearing loss is a concern, I'm a fan of pistol caliber carbines. A lot of sound in the report of a gunshot is powder that didn't burn in the bbl, which is the muzzleflash you see. With a pistol round, in a carbine bbl, more of that powder is burned.

My 16" bbled Thompson is pretty quiet, as I can hear the "ca-chink" of the bolt over the report of the rifle. My AR45 is quieter, due to the fact it doesn't have the "ca-chink" of the Thompson. My 9mm AR15 is noticeably louder than both, yet still much quieter than a 5.56 AR or 9mm pistol, and my 9mm AR saw HD duty for a long time. For me, a 9mm AR15 fired outdoors didn't result in a dialtone or ringing, although I don't recommend forgetting your plugs or muffs, as I did...

If you were a machinist, carpenter, or auto mechanic for a living and accidentally lost a hand you wouldn't consider it "part of the job."No, but having done all three, I accepted the unfortunate reality that it was a possibility, and have seen it happen (well, no hands, but a few fingers).

On a side note, what do you play? And where? I'm just up the road in Erwin. Ain't heard a bluegrass band in a while.

Lately, I've been infatuated with dobros, but just stick with guitars, mainly because dobros are out of my budget at the moment. I don't know if youtube is helping me get my fix or making it worse...

zxcvbob
July 18, 2011, 01:12 PM
Personally, I choose my SD firearms based on what I believe to be the most effective for my capabilities. I do not choose HD/SD firearms or ammo based on how loud they may be indoors. I'm not going to try and stop BGs with a quieter, but less-effective weapon because the BGs will do more harm than some hearing damage. But if there's a firearm that's almost as effective and 1/3 as loud you wouldn't at least consider it? (.357 Magnum 125 grain JHP vs. 38 Special 158 LSWCHP) I think the .38 is actually more effective because you can double-tap. That's very hard to do with a .357

CWL
July 18, 2011, 02:21 PM
But if there's a firearm that's almost as effective and 1/3 as loud you wouldn't at least consider it? (.357 Magnum 125 grain JHP vs. 38 Special 158 LSWCHP) I think the .38 is actually more effective because you can double-tap. That's very hard to do with a .357

Sure I would, but I wouldn't downgrade to a less effective caliber or round due to fear of potential hearing loss. I'd rather be alive than dead, everything else can be figured-out later as long as I'm still breathing. While placing your rounds on-target (COM & CNS) is most important, choosing your defensive firearms/ammo based-on the highest likelihood of penetration & possible expansion of bullets far outweighs how many dBs it may generate.

coltsfreak18
July 18, 2011, 02:42 PM
No such "license" required. Just need a $200 tax stamp and a CLEO signoff (or corporation/trust).True, silencers are completely legal in Tennessee. Additionally, they are relatively easy to obtain and most CLEOs are receptive to them.

http://www.guntrustlawyer.com/2008/07/class-iii-nfa-firearms-in-tenn.html

benEzra
July 18, 2011, 07:23 PM
.38 special from a 6 inch revolver? I am a musician too so i hear you (har har) on protecting the ears. We are used to opening our ears to hear more, which is bad with gunshots. I even plug my ears when a fire engine goes by.
Generally speaking, revolvers are louder than comparable-caliber semiautos across the board, due to the barrel-cylinder gap.

AFAIK, three things drive the amplitude of the sound: (1) the pressure differential at the gas/air interface, (2) the gas volume ejected, and (3) the bore diameter.

Short barrels increase loudness because pressure at the muzzle when the bullet exits the bore is higher in a shorter barrel than in a longer barrel, leading to a greater pressure differential when the bullet exits, and therefore a louder sound. But the greatest pressure differential of all is found in the annular discharge at the barrel-cylinder gap of a centerfire revolver; think how loud a 3000 psi gas cylinder vented through an annular slit would be, and then think about what it'd sound like at six or ten times that, 18,000 to 35,000 psi.

Here's a Schlieren photo of someone shooting a revolver; notice that the pressure wave centered on the barrel-cylinder gap looks to be comparable in amplitude to the second pressure wave centered on the muzzle.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=81525&d=1216345447

Old krow
July 19, 2011, 01:23 PM
Which type of legal, non-supressed firearm poses the least threat for hearing loss?

Here's a table that I found posted on Glock Talk (http://glocktalk.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-1226567.html).

.22 caliber rifle 130dB
.223, 55GR. Commercial load 18" barrel 155.5dB
.243 in 22" barrel 155.9dB
.30-30 in 20" barrel 156.0dB.
7mm Magnum in 20" barrel 157.5dB.
.308 in 24" barrel 156.2dB.
.30-06 in 24" barrel 158.5dB. In 18" barrel 163.2dB.
.375 18" barrel with muzzle brake 170 dB.
.410 Bore 28" barrel 150dB. 26" barrel 150.25dB. 18" barrel 156.30dB.
20 Gauge 28" barrel 152.50dB. 22" barrel 154.75dB.
12 Gauge 28" barrel 151.50dB. 26" barrel 156.10dB. 18" barrel 161.50dB.
.25 ACP 155.0 dB.
.32 LONG 152.4 dB.
.32 ACP 153.5 dB.
.380 157.7 dB.
9mm 159.8 dB.
.38 S&W 153.5 dB.
.38 Spl 156.3 dB.
.357 Magnum 164.3 dB.
.41 Magnum 163.2 dB.
.44 Spl 155.9 dB.
.45 ACP 157.0 dB.
.45 COLT 154.7 dB.


My questions was, "Which type of legal, non-supressed firearm poses the least threat for hearing loss?" I did not ask, "Would you rather be deaf, or dead?"

According to this data, the 18" 12 Ga is the third loudest, only surpassed by the magnum revolvers. The 30-06 is louder, but not really a consideration for HD/SD in most cases. They didn't list any pistol caliber carbines. My experience with them (not all that much) is that they are quieter than their shorter barreled counterparts, but I have nothing to verify that. It could simply be that they appear quieter to me because they operate in a frequency that I already have damage in and I just do not notice.

In short, there isn't THAT much difference in the dBs created by the listed firearms. I'd be interested in PCC data if anybody has it available.

Zoogster
July 19, 2011, 06:30 PM
Old Krow said: My experience with them (not all that much) is that they are quieter than their shorter barreled counterparts, but I have nothing to verify that. It could simply be

They are much quieter because they use much longer barrels. As designed they would typically have over an 8" barrel, and because of the NFA most have over a 16" barrel.
Pistol powder is designed to burn fast, and reach a high pressure in a short barrel, but the total volume of gas created is much lower than in a rifle. This means that they also lose pressure much faster as the gas expands to fill the rest of the barrel.
By the time the bullet and gas exits the 16" barrel the pressure is only a fraction of the operating pressure of the round because the small volume of total gas generated has had to fill that entire barrel.
So a non-NFA pistol caliber carbine is typically going to be one of the most quiet firearms. They also make for the easiest firearms to suppress for the same reason, the amount of gas and pressure required to be negated at the end of the barrel is much lower.

A rifle round on the other hand is designed to reach and then maintain near the operating pressure in a long barrel. They spike up to pressure slower (which is why handgun rounds from handgun length barrels are typically more powerful than rifle rounds from handgun barrels), maintain the pressure longer which is how they generate all that power by continuing to impart more and more energy to the round, and are still at a higher pressure when the gas reaches the end of the muzzle.

gym
July 21, 2011, 01:45 PM
Keep a set of those sponge ear plugs on the nightable, even it you can just get one in the side where the gun is, it's gotta be better than nothing. I have a set of those cheapo sponge with the plastic headband, goes on is a second. If you have to leave the room and it's not a "bang, bang, situation", you will have time to use them. Downside is you will lose some hearing which you may need if there is someone in the house. Maybe one plug is the answer. The worse impact is going to be on the ear closest to the concussion. If the gun is centered, for a shot, "less likelly" at least you save one ear from the shockwave.
Chances are you may be taking a one haneded shot, even a cross body shot when walking down a hallway, it depends on your situation, and if you have kids in the house. Best idea is always if you don't have to leave your safe spot, call the cops and wait behind cover. All these things are unique so it's hard to say that there is a "best way".

Zach S
July 21, 2011, 01:54 PM
Keep a set of those sponge ear plugs on the nightable
They don't work properly until they're expanded - and when worn improperly, they do more harm than good.

Electronic muffs are a much better alternative.

Owlnmole
July 21, 2011, 02:39 PM
I am not expert in any of this, but logically you want a fat, heavy bullet moving slowly, you want the muzzle some distance away, and you don't want a revolver because of the gas leak. How about a lever-action carbine in .45 Long Colt loaded with the biggest bullets you can find? If you handload, or know someone who does, you could load up some 300 grain bullets at modest velocities that should minimize noise and still be very effective. If not, then 255 grain cowboy load at modest velocities are readily available.

TenMillimaster
July 21, 2011, 07:24 PM
as to NFA laws in tenessee, statute 39-17-1302 is the relevant law as far as NFA items are concerned. I believe there is a section beneath the prohibited items list that states that an registered NFA item is a valid defense to prosecution for possession which translates to yes, NFA items are legal if properly registered, etc. If in doubt, contact your local authorities?

http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/tncode/

valnar
August 17, 2011, 02:14 PM
To bring back this thread....

I read the whole thread and it sounds IF like you wanted a suppressed HD weapon, a .45ACP (subsonic of course) with a silencer would be the ticket, yes? I was thinking a Sig P220 would be ideal.

What I didn't read was....how much softer would that be? And second question...how much additional decibel loss is there with a couple sheets of drywall between you and a family member in an adjacent room?

In my case, electronic ear muffs may not be the best solution because I have a wife and kids in the house. While I could live with hearing loss if necessary, it would pain me to be the cause of my young daughter's hearing loss...even in the name of saving her life. I would rather take my chances with a baseball bat or pepper spray. (I'm not saying I wouldn't have a firearm ready and available if needed, but I wouldn't want to shoot it inside a house as my first choice.)

Hoppes Love Potion
August 17, 2011, 02:37 PM
If you use the 60-gr Aguila .22 ammo, it works well in a tube-fed magazine. A Marlin 60 or Henry lever-action carbine would be good.

gym
August 17, 2011, 03:29 PM
I shot yesterday with the sponge earplugs, my 45, indoors, all lanes used. and they work just fine, no buzzing or ringing or anything else, My hearing is very close to perfect. The trick with them is to roll them up with a little spit, "if you don't have a chance to get water" and slide them in all the way.
A little practice and you can do it pretty fast.and on the run.

USAF_Vet
August 17, 2011, 03:39 PM
I have difficulty sleeping, so I wear earplugs to bed. I can still hear enough to know when something is amiss. The other night, I heard a bump and scratch outside the bedroom door. no kids at home, my dogs were outside in the backyard. I was up in an instant and had my .45 in hand within seconds. Turns out it was the stupid cat.

Most earplugs are designed to block out anything at certain decible levels, but I have discovered they tend to block out certain frequencies better than others. A low frequency at low volume will still get through my earplugs better than a higher freq. at the same volume.

Either way, if I had to fire any gun inside, I'd be glad for the ear plugs.

Hummer70
December 28, 2011, 10:44 AM
The shorty ARs are really bad. A 20" is about 156 db and the original shorty CAR15 was 188 db. The Army Medical Corps estimates ear drum rupture at 190 thus this is why the tubes were welded on the CAR 15s as they had made thousands of barrels so they put the tubes on and lower level to around 165 db.
I have a Rem 7615 and it is as very loud even with foam plugs and muffs.

http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=196566

scroll down to third post by Whirlibird and it will direct you to a site that should be of great interest to those who want to avoid noise.

lemaymiami
December 28, 2011, 11:20 AM
I'm not a guy who'd normally recommend a silenced weapon for anyone but a pro needing that particular quality - and trained in the various differences silencing makes in a combat situation...

For someone in your situation - I'd spend the money and go through the hassle of owning a well made silencer for a serious defensive weapon (handgun here- a silenced long arm is a hassle in close quarters). Once you have one, train seriously to learn to use it, it will be different than anything you're used to... One item that's little discussed is that the hearing protection we all use at the range can be a serious handicap in a survival (close quarters night time or low light situation) confrontation. Your ears are as important as your eyes when you can't clearly see your opponent. To get some idea of what I'm talking about just close your eyes for a bit and listen to the movements of pets and people in your house. With a bit of practice you can tell which way they're moving, where they are - and even distinguish individuals - all just by listening.

If I didn't have access to a silenced weapon I'd have to put my hearing on the line in a real combat situation. Nothing that diminishes your hearing is a good idea in a pure survival situation.

I'll get down off of my soapbox now....

TwoWheelFiend
December 28, 2011, 12:06 PM
Many moons ago my uncle had an IMI Timberwolf. It is a pump action carbine in .38 / .357 . With .357's in it you had to use hearing protection, but with .38spl, shooting outdoors it was quiet enough that you did not need ears. Obviously shooting indoors is a whole nother story. Why not a short, levergun in .38/.357?

Loosedhorse
December 28, 2011, 12:15 PM
Barring suppressors, a .22lr carbine will be quietest. The quietest more effective gun will be a 9mm carbine using subsonic HP ammo; it will still be loud. Lots available, from AR-15 style to Berreta Storm to...Hi Point.Please let me also suggest a mouth cup as worn by boxers etc. Sound damage occurs thru your mouth also and wearing one of these in your mouth is the same as earmuffs for your ears. I am unaware that hearing loss occurs via bone conduction at firearm noise levels, and unaware that if it did mouthguards would prevent that. As the NRA only teaches eye and ear protection, they seem unaware of it, too. Perhaps you could provide some documentation? If not, I'll assume error.

Hoppes Love Potion
December 28, 2011, 01:22 PM
You could build a rifle around the 60-gr .22 round. A bull barrel with 1:9 rifling would be quiet and accurate. A 25-round magazine and you're good to go.

armoredman
December 28, 2011, 02:41 PM
Quietest self defense firearm - Mosin Nagant with bayonet fixed. :)

Thanks, this thread inspired me to add a set of electronic muff to my Midway shopping list.

SharpsDressedMan
December 28, 2011, 05:44 PM
I know you said non-suppressed, but in your state, I think these things are legal. Just the ticket for not whacking your ears indoors. http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m247/matquig/DSC06249.jpg

Robbins290
December 28, 2011, 05:55 PM
A colt lightning in 45lc with a long barrel is mild enough to shoot indoors with out muffs. A slam fire pump action is good for hd

ATLDave
December 28, 2011, 05:57 PM
a lot of people say in a true SD situation, they dont even realize the noise because of all the adrenaline...ears dont ring or anything

I'm no ear doctor, but people's subjective experience has nothing to do with what causes hearing loss. Hearing loss is a mechanically/physically explainable phenomenon. The fact that a person is too distracted to notice the loss at the time does nothing to avoid the loss, which is what the OP is asking about.

kbbailey
December 29, 2011, 12:43 PM
I sorta skimmed through the first 4 pages and didn't see a Ruger Single-six mentioned. You could plink/ practice with .22shorts or subsonics, then put the mag cyl in for home defense.

I know .22 really isn't the best for home defense...but it is the best for lots of things, especially being cheap, accurate, and quiet.

Just a thought.

Myles
December 29, 2011, 02:35 PM
I do not mean any disrespect, but you are worrying about things in the wrong order. It's kind of like wearing safety goggles and a crash helmet when you drive to the grocery store. "I might get in a devastating car accident and want to protect my eyesight from the chance of glass particles."

If you should ever be in the midst of a rolling, crashing car accident or in the midst of a violent door-smashing home invasion, you will have different priorities than worrying about anything less than survival.

gym
December 29, 2011, 02:43 PM
No such gun, unless you supress it. Then you will not have that problem, just a longer gun.

ns66
December 29, 2011, 03:05 PM
I am wondering what happened to all the soldiers in combat, I don't see them wear ear protection it must be pretty bad

SharpsDressedMan
December 29, 2011, 04:18 PM
It has been bad for soldiers in this country, going on 235 years now.............

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