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Indoor Loudness of common home defense rounds

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by GunLvrNLearner, Sep 12, 2008.

  1. GunLvrNLearner

    GunLvrNLearner Well-Known Member

    I never seem to be at the shooting range alone so other guns are being fired.

    I was curious if it has been measured or anyone just knows,like in a home defense situation most likely with no hearing protection.

    How does 9mm,45 and 357magnum compare...I am certain the loudness is in that order but my question is how do they compare as in how MUCH MORE LOUD is each versus the other...Thanks
  2. Tribal

    Tribal Well-Known Member

    .45 is actually more of a boom, compared to the crack of the 9mm and .357, as it's normally subsonic. I'd rather shoot my 1911 than BHP indoors if we're just talking about sound.
  3. lloydkristmas

    lloydkristmas Well-Known Member

    From what I hear, your body sort of "tunes out" the sound in high tension scenarios like the kind that would require use of your gun. A lot of soldiers in combat, as well as officers involved in shootings, say that they dont even really hear the gun, or that it was a small 'pop'.
  4. Dienekes

    Dienekes Well-Known Member

    Lots of verified anecdotal stories of not even hearing the gun go off in a confrontation. OTOH without that intense stress, it could be very bad. I still remember taking a shot at a jackrabbit with a .357/125 out of a 4" barrel.

    It hurt like hell.

    I would give serious consideration to a set of electronic muffs if I expected to have to rouse up in the middle of the night and do any shooting. My preferred load without protection would be a stout .38 Special load or a .45.

    Every shot without ear protection takes at least a small part of your hearing with it.
  5. LightningMan

    LightningMan Well-Known Member

    I personally know a retired PD officer whom was in a shootout within the confines of a car. He was hit 3 times and survived but the arrested suspect didn't, anyway the concussion of the firearms blew out the windows but he doesn't really remember much about how loud it was, just being covered with glass afterward. I guess when you are in a fight for your life, with the adreline flowing, you kind of tune those things out. LM
  6. Stevie-Ray

    Stevie-Ray Well-Known Member

    Very true, whether you remember hearing it or not.
  7. SubSolar

    SubSolar Well-Known Member

    .45 is actually quieter than 9mm, .40, .357. I think cause it's slower and doesn't break the sound barrier. Yet another reason to make bigger holes.
  8. nero45acp

    nero45acp Well-Known Member

    I had a ND with a Walther PPK 16 years ago. Even the .32acp is LOUD indoors. :what:

  9. AStone

    AStone Well-Known Member

    Biologist and anatomy and physiology teacher here.

    I suspect this relates to the distinction between "hearing" and "perception".

    When confronted with a large mass of rapidly moving air (AKA sound wave), your ear drum will move, which in turn will trigger movement in those three little bones associated with the middle ear that transfer pressure into your inner ear. That's the mechanical part of "hearing".

    When the sound is above a critical threshold measured in decibels, some damage will occur to the inner ear. Some portion of that will be permanent, perhaps resulting in tinnitus (a constant ringing sound) or worse.

    However, the action potential (electrical impulse) that actually transfers that information to your brain, resulting in "perception" (awareness of the sound) may be overridden by the stress of the shooting. During that time, visual and other information dominates the brain, trying to keep ysa alive.

    Summary: even if you don't perceive it, it may cause damage.

    If I have to shoot one inside w/o protection, I'll take .38 spl non +p.
  10. loop

    loop Well-Known Member

    Subsonics, which have been measured, are less harmful to long-term hearing than supersonics.
  11. Defensory

    Defensory Well-Known Member

  12. corpsmanup!

    corpsmanup! Well-Known Member

    When your body goes into survival mode- it does wonderful things like dump all the stored epinephrine from your adrenal gland causing heart rate and volume to increase, blood sugar to sky rocket, your pupils dilate so you can see where you are going to run or fight however many assailants there are, and your perceived hearing becomes muted and muffled.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2008
  13. gwnorth

    gwnorth Well-Known Member

    There are web sites that say .357 has been recorded at 160-165dB.

    www.freehearingtest.com says that 160dB for 2mseconds is equivalent to the same exposure as 40hrs in a noise workplace (although they don't say what that means - steel mill blast furnace noisy workplace or an outdoor construction site?).

    All the info seems to agree that a single .357 blast in a closed space is almost certainly going to cause permanent hearing damage or even loss. It's far worse for people standing off the the sides and forward of the shooter then then shooter themselves though.

    Anyway, I hope to never find out for sure - indoor ranges I wear ear plugs under my Remington ear muffs! For HD, I load .38spl (although not merely because of noise/blast concerns).
  14. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

    You also have to understand that a shot indoors is NOT experienced just once, but multiple times in rapid, but slowing and de-intensifying fashion. Here, I will just refer to structural considerations.

    First you have the gunshot noise and (if supersonic) the sonic crack.
    Next you have the first reflected noise back from the closest floor, wall, or ceiling. For any shot, if you are inside, you should get 6 for a normal room with 4 sides, a floor, and a ceiling. If the floor isn't carpeted, then at least 5 will likely be nearly as ear damaging as the initial shot. The wall behind you will reflect the least noise to you from the initial shot because you will shadow that wall with your own body.

    Next will come the re-reflected reports, a bit later and a bit slower, and with less pressure (noise).

    Then the re-re-reflected.

    Then the re-re-re-reflected.


    At some point, the overall pressure will eventually reduce to being non-damaging after several reflections and combined reflections. HOWEVER, you will have been exposed to several episodes of damaging sound so quickly that you will only discern it as a single report.
  15. Ed4032

    Ed4032 Well-Known Member

    I once accidently fired a 45-70 indoors. I never heard it, but knew it had gone off when I saw the smoke.
  16. Disaster

    Disaster Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the link.

    I agree with most people who say you won't even think about the sound when things are happening and yes, you will experience hearing loss from it.

    If you are really concerned get yourself a suppressor for you handgun.

    For me, when it comes down to my life, for a little lost hearing...the choice is elementary. I'm not going to pick a defensive round based on it's effect on my long term hearing. I'm choosing it based on it's immediate effect on Mr. BadGuy.
  17. NG VI

    NG VI Well-Known Member

    I have had the misfortune to hear both a 230 grain .45 and a 115 grain 9mm indoors, in small rooms both times, and it sucks. The .45 hurt a whole lot less, the 9mm was a very sharp sound, the .45 was a much gentler booming noise, after both but especially the 9mm all I could hear was a whining noise. With both it was sort of a quick deafening that slowly was replaced by a whine.

    Not pleasant.
  18. cjw3cma

    cjw3cma Well-Known Member

    "Every shot without ear protection takes at least a small part of your hearing with it".
    Very true, whether you remember hearing it or not.

    WHAT ????? Can't hear you; wadda say??? :neener:
  19. highorder

    highorder Well-Known Member

    I forgot to don my muffs once and fired a .357 in a basement out of a 4" 586.

    I suffered frequency loss in my left ear from that single shot.
  20. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    It actually has nothing to do with bullet velocity, or whether it is super-sonic or not.

    What matters is the operating pressure and the shock wave from the blast.

    The .45 ACP, .38 Spl, and others of that power level operate at about half the chamber pressure of the 9mm, .40, & .357.


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