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Most effective personal defense gun/caliber at lower decibel level

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Dr_2_B, Oct 27, 2011.

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  1. Dr_2_B

    Dr_2_B Member

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    We often discuss the perils to our hearing if we were to have to use handguns in home defense or in a car. It's often said that one shot of a 357 magnum or an AR 15 could do permanent damage to one's hearing.

    So let's go the other direction. What's the most effective handgun for relatively enclosed spaces that would be less likely to do hearing damage?

    Why?
     
  2. Skribs

    Skribs Member

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    Most calibers are actually going to have a similar decible level. What makes one louder is usually the length of the sound instead of the intensity of it. Any standard caliber is going to be roughly the same. Just stay away from the FiveseveN if you want a quiet round.
     
  3. RalphS

    RalphS Member

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    My Marlin 38/357 lever gun, shooting 38 Spl is the quietest weapon I own.
     
  4. Super Sneaky Steve

    Super Sneaky Steve Member

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  5. SorenityNow

    SorenityNow Member

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    A 500 S&W with a silencer :what:
     
  6. SorenityNow

    SorenityNow Member

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    How about a shot gun. I some time keep a remington 870 out and never thought about my hearing. Tonight and most nights i have a 357 gp 100 under my pillow
     
  7. Mr.Blue

    Mr.Blue Member

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    I was in the room when a negligent discharged .45acp went off. I was surprised how little noise it made. Perhaps my endorphins blocked the sound out, as it was not so load. My.223 with a muzzle break really rings ears 10 yards away.
     
  8. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    I like a good .38 Special. .44 Special or lightly-loaded .45 Colt is probably good too. My home defense gun is a .357 magnum revolver, but I keep it loaded with .38 Special 158 grain lead hollow-points, partially because I want to minimize the damage to what hearing I have left if I ever have to shoot w/o ear muffs or plugs.

    I think revolvers might be louder than semiautos shooting the same ammo because of the cylinder gap. But all semiautos that I know of shoot high-pressure cartridges...

    Maybe what you need is one of those .38 Special semiauto target guns. Wadcutter bullets are evil -- they make big deep holes without expanding at all.
     
  9. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    You're in Indiana. Sound suppressors are legal there. A suppressor is going to protect your hearing far more than any low pressure gun round.
     
  10. 9mmforMe

    9mmforMe Member

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    Even a .22 cal in an enclosed area will cause permanent hearing damage, though it would be less than a more robust round. I think that since the chances of having to discharge my handgun, without hearing protection, given a self defense scenario, are quite slim; I would shoot what I feel comfortable with...for me 9mm (124gr +p Golden Saber).
     
  11. Maple_City_Woodsman

    Maple_City_Woodsman Member

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    I once fired a CCI 'Sub Sonic' (40gr, 900fps) out through an open door, from inside my home, at a ground hog, from a Walther P-22.

    I was standing just inside the doorway - even with a large opening in front of me, the muzzle blast was loud enough to make me to loose 100% hearing for several moments, and experience partial hearing loss for over an hour after that.

    This was with a 'pipsqueak' 22LR - a 9mm, 40 or 45 will have at least 3 times as much gun powder burning in the same barrel length, and as such have a noticeably worse muzzle blast. A magnum pistol or a rifle would be miles and yards worse still.
     
  12. Dr_2_B

    Dr_2_B Member

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    Several people responded with long gun suggestions. While I had asked for handgun selections, it's still noteworthy that long guns are safer on the ears than handguns because of the distance between your ear & the origination of the boom. That's one valid argument for using a long gun for home defense - as long as it's not an AR or something. For the pistols, as anticipated, I note suggestions of 38 spl and 44 spl.
     
  13. Dr_2_B

    Dr_2_B Member

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    Maple City, that's scary.
     
  14. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    It may shock you to find out, but .223 from an 18" bbl is actually six dB less than 12ga from an 18" bbl. Even the lowly 25 ACP is just as load. Point is, they're all way too loud without ear pro. http://www.freehearingtest.com/hia_gunfirenoise.shtml
     
  15. Stealth01

    Stealth01 Member

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    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


    CENTERFIRE RIFLE DATA

    .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
    .30-06 in 18 " barrel 163.2dB
    .375 18" barrel with muzzle brake 170 dB


    CENTERFIRE PISTOL DATA

    .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

    It's going to be loud...:what:
     
  16. Remllez

    Remllez Member

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    They are all loud! The BG may be shooting at you with a .357 so your choice of caliber isn't the only possible source of potential hearing loss in the equation. Having said that it's hard to beat a 20 gauge low base load of 4 shot from a 18 inch open bored shotgun. Shotties just don't seem to have that crack in their report, which is what hurts my ears the most. yMMV
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2011
  17. TonyT

    TonyT Member

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    To minimize the "crack" go for sub sonic rounds such as 147 gr. bullets in 9mm or ca 80o0fps rounds of 230 gr. in the 45 ACP.
     
  18. The_Armed_Therapist

    The_Armed_Therapist Member

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    That's an important part to remember! If and when it comes time to use one in a situation like that, the noise probably won't bother you much. However, like the OP stated, it could still do damage.

    Personally, I'm not worried about the noise. I shot for YEARS without ear protection, anything from .22LR to 7.62x54, .44 mag/spl, etc. I think my hearing is damaged a little. I think I need people to repeat things more than anyone else does, but it really isn't that terrible. I don't think I would consider this when choosing a self-defense round.
     
  19. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

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    "Quiet gun" is an oxymoron, but there is some difference in the quality of sound between cartridges. The "boom" report of the subsonic .45 Auto is less painful than the "thunderclap" of the .357 Magnum, for example.

    If you get into a gunfight, concentrate on surviving it first and worry about your hearing later. Any hearing loss you get from a few shots is unlikely to be serious or permanent.
     
  20. 2zulu1

    2zulu1 Member

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    A lot depends upon the type of powder loaded in ammunition rather than the caliber as Super Sneaky Steve wrote in post #4. A low flash/blast powder in .357mag/.44mag can have a lower muzzle flash/blast than many over the counter types of ammo in service calibers. That being said, a short 2.5" barrel in a magnum caliber is going to be very loud regardless. :D

    I've fired weapons inside homes and it seems like a lot of the blast is soaked up in carpet/furniture. By contrast, firing the same ammunition inside a warehouse seems a LOT louder.
     
  21. Drail

    Drail Member

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    There is no "lesser decibel level". All firearms produce enough energy to permanently damage human ears.
     
  22. suemarkp

    suemarkp Member

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    You want:
    • Longest possible barrel
    • Lowest possible working pressure cartridge (e.g. rimfires, the specials, 45 colt or ACP, shotgun shells)
    • Lower velocity, heavy bullet
    • Fast powder
     
  23. GCBurner

    GCBurner Member

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    A Standard Velocity .22 Long Rifle cartridge fired from a 6" or longer barreled revolver or pistol is probably about as low decibeled as you can get, short of adding a sound supressor.
     
  24. HDCamel

    HDCamel Member

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    PSS or OtS-38
    7.62x42mm "Silent" ammo


    Too bad you can't get them.
     
  25. Deus Machina

    Deus Machina Member

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    That was exactly what I was going to say.

    A longer barrel lets more powder burn inside the barrel, with the pleasant but lesser effect of moving the source of noise further away.
    Lower pressure means less pressure leaving the barrel. Like opening a cold soda versus a hot one.
    Lower velocity means less chance of going supersonic. A heavier bullet makes lower velocity easier, and retains its momentum at it.
    Fast powder: see the reason for a longer barrel.

    Survival first, hearing later. Expect to deal with deafness and ringing ears the next day no matter what you pick, unless you get something subsonic and suppressed.
     
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