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Quietest Unsuppressed Self Defense Caliber

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by IdahoSkies, Jan 15, 2013.

  1. IdahoSkies

    IdahoSkies Well-Known Member

    I was discussing hearing loss with a family member and an interesting question came up. When deploying a pistol using "standard" pressure self defense rounds in a similar length barreled what round is the lease uncomfortable when fired (without hearing protection). The thought was, I can't ask an assailant to wait for me to put my plugs in. Generally we were discussing .38s, 9mm, .40, .45s.

    I have only rarely shot pistols (and don't plan to) without hearing protection.

    What say you?
  2. Skribs

    Skribs Well-Known Member

    They're all going to be very similar, within a few decibles of each other. 9mm or .38 will probably be quietest, by virtue of having the least powder. Although .45s are subsonic by nature...

    The one thing I can say is that if sound is a concern, probably don't want a FiveseveN.
  3. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Well-Known Member

    Yeah, probably a standard-velocity 9mm or 45ACP in a five-inch barrel (or greater.)
  4. Fishbed77

    Fishbed77 Well-Known Member

    I'm curious to hear an answer to this. I always assumed .45ACP to be the most quiet, since it's subsonic.

    Of course, I always wear hear protection regardless. Even with .22LR.
  5. Jesse 8

    Jesse 8 Well-Known Member

    While training I thought the instructor was finished firing and took off my hearing protection a tad early, 3 rounds of 9mm out of a G19 later....wasn't that bad, only a slight ringing in the ears. I was about 10 feet away. But....I also shoot .410 single shot shotgun and 22 handguns without pro and that doesn't bother me too much. .45 cal however.....from people shooting next to me, while I had hearing pro on, SEEMS like it would be a lot worse. Not saying common sense agrees with that, just my opinion. And remember, all this was outside in an open area, not indoors
  6. targetshooter22

    targetshooter22 Well-Known Member

    Maybe some subsonic 22 longs or CCI CB Shorts in a 22 revolver? Don't know, but my experience with all handguns from 22 through 45 colt is they are very loud. The only gun I consider to be non-offensively loud with any kind of normal ammo is a 22 bolt rifle with a 28.6" barrel. I'm sure there is a difference that could be measured with the right instrumentation, but to the average person it's probably not a material difference.
  7. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

    .32 acp is quiet(er) without ear protection indoors and it kills quite well, just saying.....
  8. VA27

    VA27 Well-Known Member

    ALL of your rounds will be loud enough to cause hearing damage. Your only consolation is that in a 'for real' incident you probably won't notice the sound at the time, but there will be damage. If you're really worried about that get some electronic muffs. Quick to don and they will provide 'enhanced' hearing before and after any gunshots.
  9. ku4hx

    ku4hx Well-Known Member

    .22CB Cap and/or .22 BB cap. Not exactly a traditional SD round, but none of them are going to be very quiet given their Raison d'être.
  10. RedAlert

    RedAlert Well-Known Member

    I suggest you pay your $200 sticker, buy a suppressor and not worry about waking the neighbors in the middle of the night or damaging your hearing.

    Question: Do you wear prescription eyewear? Are you going to put them on prior to seeking out the intruder? If so, you also have time to don muffs.

    Good luck and let us know your solution.
  11. CPshooter

    CPshooter Well-Known Member

    If only it was that easy...

    The Sheriff here in Wake County, NC will give you a concealed carry permit no problem, but he will NOT sign off on the form 4 for a suppressor. We are forced to go the "NFA Trust" route if we insist on owning one, and even then there is technically a small risk of being prosecuted. It's total BS.
  12. el Godfather

    el Godfather Well-Known Member

    If you wanted quietest then perhaps a .22 pistol with long barrel.
  13. Preacher.

    Preacher. Active Member

    If someone was breaking into my home, and I was forces to defend myself or family, at that moment, I assure you, I would not be worried about getting hearing protection or a gun too loud. I would want the biggest gun I could get my hands on, and would not give a flip about hearing protection. If someone breaks in, and your worried about your ears, your probably worrying about the wring things. IMHO. Your adrenaline will be pumping so hard and fast, you probably will barely notice any noise from the gun at that moment. I don't want hearing protection, I want Life protection.
  14. 481

    481 Well-Known Member

    Given that all center-fire handgun calibers operate in the 150-170dB range, I say that it is like asking the difference between 1,000,000° Fahrenheit and 2,000,000° Fahrenheit- both'll burn you up instantly.
  15. CPshooter

    CPshooter Well-Known Member

    I get that, but if you could proactively prevent that same big badass gun from causing permanent and serious hearing damage (indoors here people...), why wouldn't you?
  16. cpy911

    cpy911 Well-Known Member

  17. Zardaia

    Zardaia Well-Known Member

    One instance of indoor gunfire isn't going to cause long term hearing loss. If it did we'd have alot more deaf people running around.
  18. Rexster

    Rexster Well-Known Member

    Of the rounds I have fired, when I was forgetfully without hearing protection, the .32 ACP Speer Gold Dot, and .44 Special Winchester Silvertip have been the most tolerable, in that order. These induced only a slight ringing of the ears, which soon went away, though to be clear, I do not recommend shooting without ear protection. Next on the "tolerable" scale, but notably harsher, was the .45 ACP, exact load now long-forgotten, but it was not +P. The .44 Special Silvertip is/was a notably mild load for that particular cartridge.

    My preferred home-defense handgun cartridge, for fighting indoors, is currently .45 ACP. (Of course, long guns, if practicable at the particular moment in time, are preferable to handguns.) My chief wants me to carry a .40 double-column-mag autoloading handsgun* in my duty rig, so I am not necessarily able to always have my preferred handgun in-hand. The .40 S&W is obnoxious even with hearing protection in place; I will sometimes use both earplugs and a headset when firing .40 indoors. Fortunately, I have not (yet) been blessed with experiencing the report of .40 without hearing protection.

    *Handsgun = firearm that resembles a handgun, but has a grip frame so big that I cannot grip it securely one-handed in spite of my large hands and medium-length fingers. If there is a chance of being within arm's reach of a bad guy, I prefer to have a handgun, rather than a handsgun, though there are handsguns I actually like.
  19. log man

    log man Well-Known Member

    .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
  20. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Well-Known Member

    Throw a 600 caliber rock. That is quiet.

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