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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys. O.K. I have shot off a .45acp round in a relatively small room before with no ear protection and it was pretty darn loud. Felt that ringing for a few days. I have also shot off my P7M8 in a VERY small room before and didn't notice much sound at all. Is .45ACP THAT much louder than 9mm? I am trying to decide weather my new HK45 or my P30 should be the nightstand gun, and although this is a silly thing to think about, I was curious if I had to shoot the gun for self defense in my home, and my wife or kids were near by, would a 9mm be a better choice to aliviate any ear damage to those nearby? That may be a really stupid question, but I have a 1 year old who ends up sleeping in our bed more often than he should, and if I had to shoot a criminal in my home I would not want my son to have hearing loss the rest of his life if choosing a different caliber would have made a difference... Has anyone seen studies on this sort of thing? I have a silencer for the 45's but that isn't very practical for the bedside safe that I have...

I know that family protection comes before ear protection, but I think I can hit a target at short range equally well with a 9 or 45, and the extra 7 rounds in the P30 may come in handy for someone as unprofessionaly trained as me. =)

James
 

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Well if you're worried about hearing and magazine capacity pleases you and you feel that you can shoot a 9mm just as well as a 45 then I think you pretty much answered your own question.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
But when I have tried to "google" this stuff, it looked like 9mm rounds generated the same db levels as 45's... I couldn't really find anything very thourough though... I was hoping some of you would know exactly how differnet the sound levels were between the 9mm and 45
 

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But when I have tried to "google" this stuff, it looked like 9mm rounds generated the same db levels as 45's... I couldn't really find anything very thourough though... I was hoping some of you would know exactly how differnet the sound levels were between the 9mm and 45
I guess it depends on how much and how fast the powder burns, compared to the barrel lenth.

I know .45 has more powder, so that could contribute.

As for the DB levels, i suppose its different for every gun... Look at the short AR15's compared to the longer ones!
 

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This took me literally two seconds to find on google. Sorry, couldn't resist.

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


FWIW, When I first started working in Alaska (Nome, 1987) I was advised to carry a firearm in case of bear. I went to the G-store and was told anything less than a shotgun was going to urinate-off the bear, However, next best thing was a .44 mag. I walked out with a S&W 629 6". First time I ever shot a hand gun I neglected to use hearing protection because I forgot it and I didn't wan't to drive back into town to retrieve it. One shot and the ringing didn't stop for one week. In fact, My left ear sounded like a blown speaker (left handed). I had an Air Force physical three years later and they said I'd suffered high density hearing loss (age 22). It doesn't come back either.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
According to that, the .45 ACP is actually quieter than the 9mm.... Just doesn't seem right, but maybe...
 

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the .45 is subsonic.

the pressure a 9mm works at is around 40,000cup, and around 20,000cup for the 45acp. anything over 1,000fps is going to have a little louder pop due to the higher loading pressure and supersonic muzzle crack. Oddly, the 9mm is much quieter in a 7" barreled MP5 and MUCH quieter on a 16" HK 94a3.


I dont recommend a 7" Rock river or bushmaster AR-15 pistol for any sort of self defense, for this reason (as well as many others). A G36k and G36c bark around 170db with a 60,000psi blast less than 24" from your ears.

HK 51's will always be cool house guns tho :D
 

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You have to consider the acoustics of the room too. A "live" room with hard floors and very little to stop sound would be a LOT louder. Carpet and acoustic (noise reducing) ceilings make a big difference. Position too, if you are near the wall, or worse, near 2 walls at a close distance, you would get a lot louder sound. On the other hand, if you are in a small room, roughly the same distance from each wall, the sound can bounce off the walls and actually cancel it's self out somewhat. I'm guessing it was acoustics of the room that made the difference.
A subsonic bullet may have less sound that a supersonic round.
Finally, there are a lot of factors in perception.
I think the chances of long term hearing loss, even with a really loud round, are minimal.
Of course if you are still half deaf from the first time, that would explain it too! LOL
 

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In a class I took taught by Massad Ayoob, of the Lethal Force Institute and gun magazine fame, he cites 'auditory exclusion' among the symptoms one will experience in a fight to defend your life. Among some of the other symptoms are seeing the events in 'slow motion', and having 'tunnel vision'. I wouldn't be too concerned, chances are if needed and God-forbid the situation ever presents itself, you won't hear the report, regardless of caliber. Just my thoughts.
 

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In a class I took taught by Massad Ayoob, of the Lethal Force Institute and gun magazine fame, he cites 'auditory exclusion' among the symptoms one will experience in a fight to defend your life. Among some of the other symptoms are seeing the events in 'slow motion', and having 'tunnel vision'. I wouldn't be too concerned, chances are if needed and God-forbid the situation ever presents itself, you won't hear the report, regardless of caliber. Just my thoughts.
I'd have to agree...ask anyone who's been in an accident what their airbags sounded like when they went off. Nine out of ten times, they don't even remember hearing them, and those things are LOUD, even in an open area (like when you detonate defective ones before you ship them back to the manufacturer in an outdoor area).
 

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I have shot both 9mm and 45acp without hearing protection and I can tell you the 45acp left my ears ringing for a few days the 9mm really didnt bother me much. I would feel fine with a 9mm bedside gun just keep shooting till the attacker stops.
 

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On the topic of auditory exclusion: I am an LEO and have been involved in two police shootings. In the first, a suspect fired 4 shots at me from a distance of approximately 30 feet with a 1911 in .38 super. The suspect had called 911 to report a shooting then hid in the bushes along the freeway next to his vehicle until our arrival. The rounds sounded like muffled firecrackers but the muzzle flash, caught out of the corner of my eye, lit the entire area up and truthfully, was my first indication that I was in fact being fired upon. The suspect had already killed his girlfriend and after firing the shots at my partner and I, retreated approximately 40 yards into a field and killed himself next to where she lay.

In the second, we responded to a home on the report of shots fired and made contact at the end of the street with a female juvenile who reported that her Father had shot her Mother and she needed medical attention. As we approached the home, the male suspect walked out of the front door with a Beretta 9mm pistol in his left hand and a cordless phone in his right. The suspect was speaking with one of our 911 operators while holding us at bay with his pistol near the front door. After numerous commands to lay his weapon down he was fired upon (Glock .40 caliber) and subsequently killed. The reports from the rounds fired were little more than muffled pops at a distance of less than 2 feet from my ear with no discernible auditory damage (I have had several hearing tests conducted in the years following both these incidents).

In events such as these, the human body shunts all of its available resources (blood, oxygen, nutrients etc..) to the major organs and muscle groups in an effort to "tip the balance" in the coming fight for survival. Because of this, peripheral systems such as taste, hearing, and "feel" or touch are diminished or oftentimes even ignored by the brain. The human body is only concerned with protecting those organs vital for survival and diverts all of its other resources towards those systems (sight, muscle strength, oxygen intake, etc...) that it feels will best defend the human body. This is instinctive and requires little or no effort on your part. Its referred to as the "Fight or flight" syndrom.

I served 10 years on our SWAT team, starting out on the assault team and later became a sniper/observer. A great deal of our training was focused on "mitigating" the effects of the "FOF" syndrom. Shooting in a "hothouse" for example. By continually exposing ourselves to gunfire in a confined and often darkened area, and forcing ourselves to maintain communication and an awareness of our surroundings, we "inocculated" ourselves in ever increasing increments. While this type of training will never fully end the effects the FOF, it does help train the body to deal with it more effectively.

For those who have never been in combat the effects of auditory exclusion can still be observed. If you have ever hunted you will know what I am speaking of. Many times I have sat.. waiting for the "One" to step out and offer that perfect shot. All that time waiting and watching. When the moment arrives, you bring your rifle up, and try to bring your breathing down to something slightly resembling self control. When you take the shot, do you "hear" the round being fired or is it more of a "sense" that its been fired and you "felt" more than heard the subsequent explosion? If we were standing in my back yard and I cooked a 30-06 off I can guaranty a different outcome both audibly and most likely physically (as you pummel the offending noise producer). I cannot recall one occassion in many years of hunting when my ears "rang" after firing a shot on a "snap" target where I had no forewarning of the impending action.

I can promise you that if the time ever comes, and your life or the lives of your family are in peril, the last thing you will hear or even be concerned about will be the report of your firearm. Chances are, you will not even recall exactly how many rounds you fired.

jsbowen: There are no stupid questions except the ones not asked.....
 

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* * *

I can promise you that if the time ever comes, and your life or the lives of your family are in peril, the last thing you will hear or even be concerned about will be the report of your firearm. Chances are, you will not even recall exactly how many rounds you fired.

jsbowen: There are no stupid questions except the ones not asked.....
Well said!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Wow Sarge, thanks a ton. That is exactly the kind of personal insite and professional expertise I was hoping for and an example of why I participate in this forum... Thank you for your service to your community and our Country.
 

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Thank the Lord I have no experience with the auditory exclusion part of these answers. If I have to use a weapon for protection, subsequent hearing loss is a small price to pay for survival.
I do have experience with firing off rounds, .45 and .38, without hearing protection. I had ringing in my ears during my teen years after shooting a lot back in the 1960s. I had no idea that I was ruining my hearing and setting myself up for tinnitus or sever ringing in my ears when I reached my 50s. Now the doctors say I have a lot of high frequency damage. I didn't know it at the time but some of the little nerve receptors had broken off in the cochlea each time I noticed a ringing in my ears. After many, many broke off over the years, permanent tinnitus occurred along with hearing loss. The damage people think they are not experiencing when they expose themselves to loud noises will show up later as it is cumulative. I can't sleep many nights for the loud ringing. I can never hope for it to go away. I always use plugs and muffs when I shoot now just to save what hearing and sanity that remains. Any noise that is greater than 85 decibels has the potential to destroy hearing.
 

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I can attest to what "Sarge819" stated, although I have only been in one instance. I had to use my handgun to defend myself once. I fired one round, one handed at CQB range, one .45acp did the trick. I neither noticed the auditory report nor did I really notice the recoil. What I did note, was how vivid bright colors were during the incident. I vaguely recall drawing and firing, just did what my body knew I had to do, everything after that I recall crystal clear however...

anyway, just one more example for you...
 

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Thanks JS. This is a great website for information. Many of the individuals here, regardless of their professions, have outstanding advise and experience to offer. Maybe if the folks in the "real" world supported each other and shared ideas as the people on this website do.........Well, you get the idea.

Any other questions you may have, please feel free to ask. Someone here is bound to have the right answer for you.

Everyone needs to thank Straightgrain for this thread as well. It was deleted this morning because of its tenuous grasp on the forum rules but Straightgrain came through and got it back up for us. I thought that it was a good question and knew many on this board who have personal experiences and information they could share. Glad it stuck around...
 

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Discussion Starter #20
=) I guess that would be true... My main concern was for that of my little son. As he would not be in the fight or flight status during an attack, there is no way to protect him I guess. I am afraid that using a silencer even in self defense may look "pre-meditated" to the court system, so I am not sure if that would be a good idea. Considering this will probably never be a real issue for me, I am not all to worried about it. More of just a curiosity, and I had looked at the noise stuff before, but didn't get the kind of info that you all have provided here. I am one of the gun nutts on this site that find them facinating for a collection, only shoot occasionally (but want to get out more often), and will probably never find my self in a fighting situation. I am not a law officer, and have never been in the military, although I hold all of you that have with the greatest of respect. I have a long line of military history in my family... heck, there is even a USS BOWEN. =) And i think as i get older, I will realy regret that I didn't serve my country in that way. I own a business and employ others, so I have played a role (paying taxes), but it just isn't the same. =)

I guess i am just saying again to all of you that I really appreaciate the great support that you all give to HKPRO. I have more to say, but it is a different train of thought, so I am going to start another thread for it. Thank you very much for the great info in this one.
 
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