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Quietest gun for self defense

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by BluegrassDan, Jul 14, 2011.

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  1. BluegrassDan

    BluegrassDan Member

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    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.
     
  2. Shienhausser

    Shienhausser Member

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    Anything above .22 indoors will be extremely loud. Even my tiny Makarov 9x18 w/o plugs was very loud.
     
  3. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    How about a .45 Colt or .357 Magnum (loaded with .38 Special +P's) carbine?
     
  4. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    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.
     
  5. pbearperry

    pbearperry Member

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    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.
     
  6. tbutera2112

    tbutera2112 Member

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    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
     
  7. sirk798

    sirk798 Member

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    To me the answer is easy I would rather be alive and deaf than dead with my hearing.
     
  8. VA27

    VA27 Member

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    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.
     
  9. RustHunter87

    RustHunter87 Member

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    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
     
  10. BluegrassDan

    BluegrassDan Member

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    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?
     
  11. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    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.
     
  12. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Member

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    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.
     
  13. MutinousDoug

    MutinousDoug Member

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    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.
     
  14. dmazur

    dmazur Member

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    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... :)
     
  15. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    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.
     
  16. natman

    natman Member

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    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.
     
  17. Shadow 7D

    Shadow 7D Member

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    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 )
     
  18. barnetmill

    barnetmill Member

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    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.
     
  19. Panzercat

    Panzercat Member

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    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.
     
  20. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

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    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:
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2011
  21. Sav .250

    Sav .250 Member

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    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.
     
  22. Lex Luthier

    Lex Luthier Member

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    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".
     
  23. oerllikon

    oerllikon Member

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    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..
     
  24. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator

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    Good advice.

    Good advice.

    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.
     
  25. woad_yurt

    woad_yurt Member

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    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.
     
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