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Old 07-25-2013, 03:46 AM
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Default Is the 40SW too loud?

A post I just read says that if one were to fire a 40SW in a hallway or a car without ear protection, there was a good chance that he would suffer permanent hearing loss.

In 40 years of shooting, the only gun I've fired without ear protection is a .22LR in an open field. So, I ask anyone who has shot self defense calibers without ear protection, is the 40SW too loud?
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Old 07-25-2013, 04:54 AM
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Well 357 and 44 mag beat it. All handguns are too loud. If they aren't your deaf. You didn't say but I'm thinking you didn't shoot a 22 revolver because that's too loud in my book. I never had to do it but I was told if you shoot a handgun in a car with no ear protection you will probibly throw up. That's why buying a can should be unrestricted.
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Old 07-25-2013, 06:09 AM
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Anything you shoot inside your house will be incredibly loud. I don't think this should be a determining factor in choosing a caliber for defense.
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Old 07-25-2013, 06:32 AM
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Even your .22LR will cause permanent hearing damage if fired in a hallway in a home.

There's a lot to be said for keeping good quality electronic muffs by your home defense gun. If you have time to put them on, not only will they protect your hearing if you should need to fire, but they will amplify those small sounds that may give you the advantage you need to protect your family.

I've been known to wear them in a deer blind, but most of the damage has already been done from spending 45+ years around firearms, even with them on.
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Old 07-25-2013, 07:29 AM
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Good question,

My phone has a sound meter app I think I'll run it at the next range visit. I'm thinking add 5-10db for being in a hallway scenario.

This chart doesn't list .40 but it will give you some idea....

FreeHearingTest.com - Gunfire Noise Levels
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Old 07-25-2013, 07:44 AM
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One competitor in a USPSA match last sunday was shooting an open gun in .38 Super loaded to major power, with a compensator on the barrel. Now that is LOUD!!

But any handgun, even a .22LR is way above the level of causing permanent, irreversible hearing loss. Hearing loss is cumulative, so a few shots in self defense is minor, and it's the hundreds of shots in practice that really make you deaf.
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:15 AM
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I had the unfortunate experience of having an accidental discharge of my MP40 FS in my master bathroom (and trust me I kicked myself in the *** for months on how f..king stupid I was, but it did increase my gun safety awareness 10 fold, I use this experience to teach others the importance of gun safety) but I will tell you it was loud, very loud. I can't really tell you if I have any permanent hearing lose but even to this day I still get a sudden loud ringing in my ear about once a week.
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:30 AM
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It's louder than a rubber band, but much more effective.

All guns will be too loud. You need to make a decision, live with the chance of damaging your hearing, or die.

Only you can decide which you prefer.

.
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hunter5 View Post
I had the unfortunate experience of having an accidental discharge of my MP40 FS in my master bathroom (and trust me I kicked myself in the *** for months on how f..king stupid I was, but it did increase my gun safety awareness 10 fold, I use this experience to teach others the importance of gun safety) but I will tell you it was loud, very loud. I can't really tell you if I have any permanent hearing lose but even to this day I still get a sudden loud ringing in my ear about once a week.

Wow, I couldn't think of a worse room in the house between tiled walls reflecting the sound and the potential of ricocheting off of tile, cast iron or porcelain. But I guess the best room to keep it from penetrating into others.

That would be the one time I'd hope to have the fuzzy carpet coverings on the johnny's tank and seat for sound absorption alone!

Glad your okay other than a little hearing damage.
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:46 AM
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if you have to shoot anywhere in self defence you won't even hear the shot, I shot an armed robber 7 times from the front seat of my police car, with the gun inside the vehicle, 45 auto commander, and shot another guy outside with a 357 mag, never noticed the the sound.

Last edited by ronnie gore; 07-25-2013 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 07-25-2013, 03:03 PM
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Always shoot with protection. I do.

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Old 07-25-2013, 04:01 PM
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Firing any firearm without hearing protection will cause damage. The 40SW is somewhere between a 38-357mag in sound depending on load and barrel. My belief is that every firearm should have a can!, but that does make it difficult to conceal, Laws,time, and money all play into that. My hearing is significantly damaged from 45+ yrs of shooting without protection for the first 20 yrs. I have tinnitus 24/7, the only thing that changes is how loud and irritating it will be at any given time. That being said, I will use my 40SW/12 ga/223 to defend my life in a hallway, BUT, I will be going out to finish zeroing a 300 blk with a can, sub sonic. If the 40 SW saves your life it can not be too loud, use protection any time you can. Be Safe,
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Old 07-26-2013, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OKFC05 View Post
One competitor in a USPSA match last sunday was shooting an open gun in .38 Super loaded to major power, with a compensator on the barrel. Now that is LOUD!!

But any handgun, even a .22LR is way above the level of causing permanent, irreversible hearing loss. Hearing loss is cumulative, so a few shots in self defense is minor, and it's the hundreds of shots in practice that really make you deaf.
Whad he say?
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Old 07-26-2013, 08:18 PM
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Talk about loud, try shooting a 1 7/8 inch stubby with +P ammo. The sound comes right at you. I have a compensator on my AR10 (.308 win), not only super loud, but anyone standing near gets a big blast of concussion.

Bob
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Old 07-26-2013, 08:33 PM
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Default Loud

For inside the house emergencies I use loads that are approximately super .38 specials to light .357. We are musicians and don't have a hankering to blow our ears out.
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Old 07-26-2013, 09:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronnie gore View Post
if you have to shoot anywhere in self defence you won't even hear the shot, I shot an armed robber 7 times from the front seat of my police car, with the gun inside the vehicle, 45 auto commander, and shot another guy outside with a 357 mag, never noticed the the sound.
Massad Ayoob has written about this often, when the adrenaline surge due to stress decreases or eliminates the perception of noise, called "auditory exclusion". Not sure if this leads to damage later on.
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Old 07-26-2013, 09:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by modraker View Post
A post I just read says that if one were to fire a 40SW in a hallway or a car without ear protection, there was a good chance that he would suffer permanent hearing loss.

In 40 years of shooting, the only gun I've fired without ear protection is a .22LR in an open field. So, I ask anyone who has shot self defense calibers without ear protection, is the 40SW too loud?
US ARMY ARTILLERY 22 years.....Totally 100% deaf...finally got an implant that I rarely wear so my M&P .40 cant bother me...My M&P .45 dont either! BUT! I still have to wear ear plugs...It does bother my ears without them! Its the pressure!

For real though...Spend some bucks on hearing protection!....You DON'T want to be like me!

In an emergency...Home invasion....Who cares!

Wife and kids trump my hearing any day!

SSGT PRIDE
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Old 07-26-2013, 11:12 PM
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What? I can't hear a single thing y'all are saying?
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Old 07-26-2013, 11:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robkarrob View Post
Talk about loud, try shooting a 1 7/8 inch stubby with +P ammo. The sound comes right at you.
I was shooting 158 grain +P from a snubby at an indoor range a while back and the guy in the bay on either side of me asked if I was shooting a .357 Magnum.

Like others here, I shot a hell of a lot with unprotected ears for many years before we learned that muzzle blast is forever. I've had tinnitus for probably 25 years, have substantial high-frequency hearing loss in my right ear and am almost deaf in the left--the one closest to the muzzle.

I haven't shot without ear protection for some years, but I definitely left it too late.

I didn't find my .40's to be any worse than .38 Special +P. Probably not as severe if the .38 was a snub.
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Old 07-27-2013, 12:16 AM
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About 20 yrs ago fired a .357 in my living room. No permanent hearing damage as far as I know but at least I know what to expect.
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Old 07-27-2013, 12:58 AM
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If you have to pull your gun out hearing loss is the least of your worries.

BTW the most anti social handgun I have ever been around was the Ruger .30 Carbine Blackhawk. It was soundly above the pain threshold even if you backed off 25-30 yards. Incredibly uncomfortable to shoot with hearing protection.
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Old 07-27-2013, 10:14 PM
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I have shot a USP 40 contact inside a house without hearing protection and it wasn't particularly bad. In a self defense situation, the hearing damage would probably be the least of my concerns. Hearing a few shots of .40 indoors is probably less damaging that going to a rock concert or listening to loud music inside a car over extnded periods of time. .357 magnum is much much louder.
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:50 PM
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I think discharge indoors under duress would be like hunting...probably wouldn't even hear it.
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronnie gore View Post
if you have to shoot anywhere in self defence you won't even hear the shot, I shot an armed robber 7 times from the front seat of my police car, with the gun inside the vehicle, 45 auto commander, and shot another guy outside with a 357 mag, never noticed the the sound.
Just because you might not notice the sound does not mean you will not suffer hearing damage.
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:51 AM
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By actual test a .40 S&W will put out 157dB with 165gn Winchester factory loads. For interest's sake a .308 rifle puts out 158dB!

Use both plugs and earmuffs always. Once your hearing is gone you never get it back.
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Old 07-28-2013, 01:17 AM
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When I was much younger (long time ago) and maybe only a little dumber, I fired a hot loaded .45 auto from inside of my car! The muzzle was also inside of the car!

I was stone deaf for about 24 hrs. !!!! My ears still ring!!
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Old 08-01-2013, 01:42 AM
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I have my hearing tested every year. I was in a room where a Glock 22 was negligently discharged. So, I can tell you quantitatively that one shot won't cause permanent hearing loss. At least it didn't for me.

That said, shooting without hearing protection is stupid.
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Old 08-18-2013, 06:47 PM
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I think it is important to know that at least your hearing is perfect while you are laying in your hallway dying.
All joking aside, I think that just about any handgun is too loud to fire casually in a confined space without hearing protection. I have some subsonic .22 rimfire ammo that when fired in a rifle is so quiet you only hear the striker fall then the sound of the bullet hitting the target. That same round in my Beretta pistol has a report loud enough to produce pain.

Last edited by Skunkhome; 08-18-2013 at 07:00 PM.
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Old 08-29-2013, 11:58 PM
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I want to bring something to "listen" to: Hearing loss in a gun fight is always a possibility, but so is death. which do you prefer?
All the dark humor aside, if you are going to shoot large amounts of ammo of any caliber in closed quarters without proper hearing protection then hearing loss will be your reward. If you just plinking in a indoor or outdoor range, best believe I will use ear protection.
In a real time shooting situation (i.e. combat) you need to hear whats coming your way so take the ringing in your ears. You can live and complain about it later.
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Old 08-30-2013, 12:11 AM
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Not to detract from the loud 40 cal issue, I recently had a conversation with a shooting buddy about the 40 cal vs the 9mm and he too had issues with the loudness and recoil
I think my gun loudness is toned down from louder hardware.frankly, I cannot hear or feel much of either.
As far as out of the box, round for round performance, I would trade every 1 40 cal shot for 10 i have shot with the 9mm (that is saying allot considering I have put over 20 yrs worth of the latter down range).
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