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Old November 7, 2012, 07:15 AM   #26
Kreyzhorse
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I would not choose a SD cartridge based on noise level
+1.

Not to beat a dead horse, but pick a gun you are accurate with, that is reliable and has enough power to convince the attacker to stop.

Firing any gun in an enclosed area will cause some type of hearing damage but considering the options, hearing loss is better than the other options.
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Old November 7, 2012, 07:19 AM   #27
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I have fired handgun and long gun in SD situations and never heard the muzzle report and it didn't bother me afterwards,(no pain, no headache, no hearing loss that I can ID.) One time was a full magazine of 357 sig inside a very small room. I'm not saying nothing bad happened to my ears but I am not aware of any effects. I have used the same pistol to put down a deer hit by a car without ear protection and it hurt. Just my experiences, I'm not advocating firing a firearm without ear protection. I believe a slower 38spl, 40S&W, 44spl, 45acp would be easier on your hearing if you don't have time for plugs.
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Old November 7, 2012, 08:43 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Noreaster View Post
I have fired handgun and long gun in SD situations and never heard the muzzle report and it didn't bother me afterwards,(no pain, no headache, no hearing loss that I can ID.) One time was a full magazine of 357 sig inside a very small room. I'm not saying nothing bad happened to my ears but I am not aware of any effects. I have used the same pistol to put down a deer hit by a car without ear protection and it hurt.
The point is that what you FEEL is irrelevant. First, lots of things damage hearing and don't "hurt", cause headaches or make your ears ring. Second, auditory exclusion causes you to ignore sounds irrelevant to survival at the moment. Third, it's not as if anyone would normally expect you to be stone cold deaf after such an incident. You may not have tinnitus from such an incident but you did damage to your hearing. There's no way around it. Sounds at those levels break the "hair" (stereocilia) in your ears. Any number of variables might affect how many are destroyed in any given incident but you can bet SOME were destroyed. If some are destroyed, your hearing is worse after than it was before.

This idea of "not noticing" or it " not hurting" or "my ears don't ring", needs to be forgotten. It's completely irrelevant.
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Old November 7, 2012, 10:18 AM   #29
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Brian your probably right. I know the military is telling their guys to leave ear plugs in while on patrol. There was an incident where a squad, on a roof top, started taking fire and everyone hit the deck except one guy who had hearing damage and didn't know he was being shot at. The sergeant tackled him. In my experiences I didn't have any pain from the SD scenarios but the one where I shot the deer hurt like heck. Always better to protect your hearing.
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Old November 7, 2012, 11:01 AM   #30
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After study up a bit on the issues, I now keep electronic muffs for me and a regular pair for the wife in near the bedroom gun box. I also threw a cheap pair of muffs and some plugs in the car.

Sure might not be enough time in an extreme situation but if you have time, use them.
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Old November 7, 2012, 07:50 PM   #31
chrisintexas
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what ear muffs/protection/plugs do you suggest. I want maximum protection. please give links to sites one can buy them from?

what about eye protection? which ones are best?

thanks
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Old November 7, 2012, 08:11 PM   #32
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You can find suitable electronic protection at any number of online stores and at any of the various Bass Pro/Dick's Sporting Goods/Cabela's type stores. They range from $25 to at least $350. You'll have to check each sets NRR to see which is better in that regard. If money is no object, buy the set with the highest NRR that also has digital circuitry. I've used quite a few and they all work satisfactorily but the digital have less background noise. The noise doesn't interfere with hearing but it does get annoying with extended use, irrelevant to a defensive scenario.

Eye protection, I wouldn't worry about for a defensive scenario. For general shooting, I'm sure there are aficionados of those too, but I just use whatever's built for the job and cheap-ish.

When target shooting, your best bet is to wear plugs AND electronic muffs. You'll still be able to hear and you'll get the best possible protection.

Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; November 8, 2012 at 10:02 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old November 8, 2012, 09:57 AM   #33
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Choosing SD cartridges in the attempt to limit hearing loss is not a really feasible. But quite frankly there are suitable defense cartridges that may be better than others. While all are bad, big and slow is a touch easier on the ears than small and fast and while I don't want to touch off any handgun without hearing protection if I had my choice I'd take the blast from likes of a .44sp than that from a .357 magnum.
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Old November 8, 2012, 10:17 AM   #34
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The .32 S&W is about the quietist cartridge I have heard fired. It doesn't have much power compared to the .38 special or other self defense cartridges and it may still be loud enough to damage hearing indoors.
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Old November 8, 2012, 08:07 PM   #35
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Brian - two questions:

1. A higher NRR number is better, correct? Reason I ask is, I looked at my trusty non-electronic Peltors at Midway at $18 with NRR 30, then at Peltor's "Tacsport" at $115 with NRR 20. That seemed discouraging, but the reviews of the latter one were great. Which leaves me confused. Is there a minimum NRR that is deemed "safe" for most ammo that we are likely to shoot in the U.S.?

2. Do you know of a vendor that gives great descriptions and comparisons among electronic muffs? I like to shop at Midway but in this case the information is insufficient - for example it doesn't say if the Peltors are digital (presumably the alternative is analog).
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Old November 8, 2012, 08:36 PM   #36
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1)Yes, higher NRR is better. It stands for Noise Reduction Rating and it's actually quite complicated. The number is an average over several tested frequencies. I'm not sure what might be considered "safe" but I know none of them are high enough for my tastes. Consider that (basically) prolonged exposure to anything over 80 dB is considered potentially harmful, while a gunshot can easily be 130 dB. So, even if you have a NRR of 30, you're still looking at 100 dB. Also, that 30 is an average, so some frequencies are less, some more. I've never researched which frequencies are most prevalent in a gun shot or which, if any, of the products block those frequencies better. That's why I recommend plugs and muffs for practice, maximum protection. You should also note that the affect of wearing double protection is not strictly a sum of the ratings. In other words, 30 NRR plugs and 30 NRR muffs do not add to a full 60 NRR. Also, I don't know what the limit is, but it's probably not a lot higher than 35-40. At some point, the noise is literally reaching your ears THROUGH YOUR HEAD rather than through your ears, so plugging your ears better doesn't help any more.
You'd need a NRR helmet at that point.

2)Sorry, I can't help you there. Last time I looked at the various products I had the same issue as you. The manufacturer and the sellers sites are frustratingly vague and the information is tough to find.
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Old November 10, 2012, 09:09 PM   #37
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Well in a SD situation my hearing will be the last thing I think about...however when you practice just wear you hearing protection to preserve the hearing that you do have.
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Old November 11, 2012, 12:30 AM   #38
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The point isn't to "worry about" it "in a SD situation."

The point is to think about it ahead of time, so you already have a method in place to avoid unnecessary harm.

This can include, but is not limited to, choice of gun and ammunition type; placement of hearing protection by the bed; having a good security system (alarms, locks, dogs - if you like dogs) to alert you and give you time to respond.
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Old November 12, 2012, 11:29 PM   #39
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Damage to your hearing is not limited to gunfire.

Never shoot without hearing protection if at all possible. Never. This is especially true of shooting handguns. I do on occasion shoot 22 rifles without protection. But I know better. You will pay a price over time. For some, the perceived damage is immediate, and for others you will just gradually loose your hearing.

Do not work around heavy equipment that produces a high pitched noise without protection.
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Old November 13, 2012, 12:29 AM   #40
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At some point, the noise is literally reaching your ears THROUGH YOUR HEAD rather than through your ears, so plugging your ears better doesn't help any more.
I discovered that opening my mouth to yawn right as a guy let off a braked .223 next to me! Never again! My ears rang for a bit even though I'd muffed and plugged up!

Quote:
I know the military is telling their guys to leave ear plugs in while on patrol.
I'm suprised they aren't told to wear those fancy cybernetic noise-amplifying earplugs I see around. Makes as much sense as the other fancy safety gadgets they've implemented. Especially because that's gotta be one of the most (if not the most) common physical injuries sustained by our guys.

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Old November 13, 2012, 12:41 AM   #41
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Hearing damage from shooting firearms without hearing protection is cumulative. A .22 LR is about 140 db if I remember correctly. If you want to be like me and have tinnitus 24/7 365 days a year and cant hear worth a crap don't wear ear protection.
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Old November 13, 2012, 12:45 AM   #42
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Like a great many people my age, I have a high frequency hearing loss. I also have the ringing in the ears. All due to unprotected exposure to gunfire, In my case, both small arms and artillery.

Now I work in an industry that goes to what sometimes seems rediculous extremes about (among other things) industrial safety. I have been extensively trained, and periodically retratined on hearing loss and am also in the hearing conservation program.

Basically any exposure to noise above 85db and you are at risk for damage. Gunfire WILL damage your hearing. Now, it may be that you will only notice it by taking a hearing test, or it may be that ringing that NEVER goes away...every one is different, the only common thing is there will be damage and at some point, you will notice it eventually, though you may not recall just where or when it began....

Now, with all that has been said, and well meant advice about having, and using hearing protection in a self defense situation (if there is time), I have to wonder, from a leagal liability standpoint, is it really a such a good idea?

Much has been made of the possibility of you position or credibility suffering in court if you "disable a safety feature" (such as a mag disconnect), or the dreaded risks of using handloads (regular ammo wasn't deadly enough....)..soo, I have to wonder what kind of story would be told to the jury...what kind of image they will try to make of you, callously donning hearing protection before shooting their (innocent) client....???????

I know its "stupid" but stupid seem to be playing well in the courts these days...

After all, you put on shooting muffs before "hunting down" their client and shooting them....I don't see an easy way to put a positive spin in the minds of people who weren't there, and have never considered it, which is the one thing you can count on, that some, if not all of any jury will be people like that.

Some people have said to put on the muffs (again, assuming you can), and taking them off afterwards, even putting them away before the cops get there, and not mentioning the fact you were wearing them. And while that may sound smart, I doubt it would be. If (for any reason) it comes out that you concealed information, let alone LIED to the police, ALL your creditablility is shot to hell. And that's never a good thing.
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Old November 13, 2012, 01:01 AM   #43
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I personally wouldn't worry about the legal implications, but then again I'd be prepared to have experts provide information about why a trained homeowner should have such hearing protection available.

I'd expect said experts to point out that many SWAT teams use such equipment, for scenarios when gunfire is considered a distinct possibility.

I'd expect said experts to point out the likelihood of hearing loss from unexpected exposure to gunfire.

My military and aviation backgrounds would help, as it would be easy to document that I've had training with regard to hearing protection and loud noises (from the military side, specifically including gunfire).

And I wouldn't worry about it, per se, because if there's any question about an SD scenario, I'd already expect to need those experts, anyway.
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Old November 13, 2012, 10:33 AM   #44
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As has been mentioned, in a HD scenario, you really only have three options... risk the hearing damage, (If you can get to them) wear electronic hearing protection that can both amplify what you want to hear, and dampen what you don't, or give the guy your gun and pray...

I don't recommend the last one... But the middle one has all kinds of benefits. Some of those hearing amplification muffs are amazing. I was shooting trap at my Uncle's farm/pheasant preserve/scholastic clays trap range. The range butts up against a highway. It's yards and yards and yards to the highway, a 2 lane highway with LARGE shoulder and two big road ditches... and several more yards into the field across the road to a windmill designed to operate a water pump for the cattle. I could hear the windmill turning in the breeze in between firing. It actually drove me nuts the whole round trying to figure out what I was hearing. I wouldn't mind having that kind of advantage if I'm behind my bedroom door with my pistol in my hand trying to figure out just what's going on on the other side of the door, as well as what I need to do about it. And save my hearing.


As for the legal ramifications... I hope you're protected by the castle doctrine. And those electronic jobs have two purposes, both an equal justification for puttnig the things on.. "No, Officer I didn't shoot, because I recognized the voice as that of my daughter's now-ex-boyfriend. Now arrest the little creep for sneaking in here with my underage daughter.", or "Yes, Officer, I distinctly heard the leader say 'You kill the old couple, I'll start collecting their silver.'".

Last edited by JimDandy; November 13, 2012 at 10:38 AM.
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Old November 13, 2012, 04:38 PM   #45
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I have mild permanent hearing damage from a single incident of my father's safety de-cock lever malfunctioning. (by the way, I have seen S&W, Beretta, and Ruger safety decock levers 'fire' on decock. please treat that feature with great caution). I was forward of the muzzle (not in the line of fire, just forward of the gun), and it took about 20 minutes to hear normal conversation speech, several days to hear semi-normally, and I still have some permanent tinnitus in both ears. It was just a 9mm hydroshock (it was harder on the ceiling than on me).

It's not fun. hearing damage is a form of injury, and potentially a minor disability. I don't think that it's something you want to marginalize or downplay. Not if you've experienced it. I mean, I'd rather someone stole my bigscreen tv, than have permanent hearing loss from trying to stop them, ya know? Hearing isn't life/death, but it's not insignificant.

Short answer to the question though, is that outdoors, you likely won't suffer hearing loss from handgun fire. Not small amounts of it anyway. A rifle outdoors could damage hearing more significantly though.

Indoors, things get LOUD. The perceived intensity of the sound is at least double or triple outdoors fire. The pitch of the sound makes a difference too, for example, the boom-thud sound of a shotgun seems less piercing to the ears than a high powered rifle.

Subsonic ammunition really is amazingly quiet. I don't recommend 9mm subsonic for SD... in my view, it doesn't work very well. But even a big .45acp, at standard subsonic velocity, will be noticeably quieter than a supersonic 9mm.

Also, ported guns and revolvers are louder.

Leaves me thinking that a .45 with naturally subsonic 230gr JHP ammo is probably the ideal way to go for home defense. in terms of hearing loss anyway. Or perhaps get a gun with a screw-in "suppressor" as they are called. While they are not silencers (and thus infinitely more legal), they certainly do take the sharp edge off of gunfire noise. Or both... a .45 with a canister-style flash suppressor.

For reference, a .357 magnum out of a ported revolver, is 'very loud', compared to every other handgun I own. Which makes me hesitate to grab it for indoors home defense.

also, i could be crazy, but I think Golden Sabers run just a tad quieter than most other SD ammo.
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Old November 13, 2012, 04:51 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by K4THRYN
Or perhaps get a gun with a screw-in "suppressor" as they are called. While they are not silencers (and thus infinitely more legal), they certainly do take the sharp edge off of gunfire noise. Or both... a .45 with a canister-style flash suppressor.
I'm not sure exactly what you're referring to here but any device which threads to the end of a gun and is designed to or actually does reduce it's sound levels is defined by the ATF as a silencer and requires specific paperwork to be legal.

There is no legal (or other) distinction between "silencers" and "suppressors". They are two names for identical devices.
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Old November 13, 2012, 05:05 PM   #47
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Leaves me thinking that a .45 with naturally subsonic 230gr JHP ammo is probably the ideal way to go for home defense. in terms of hearing loss anyway.
That's my thinking as well, with a twist. I use very tame (actually target load level) .45ACP 225 gr. full wadcutters (special order from Penn Bullets) or .38 special 148 gr. wadcutters in my HD revolvers. They are relatively heavy and cut a big(ger) hole in whatever they hit without worrying about whether or not the HP petals open up. A 158 gr. LSWCHP +P (FBI load) .38 special is also a good choice. The lead in the HP is soft and opens easily.
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Old November 13, 2012, 05:23 PM   #48
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I'm not sure exactly what you're referring to here but any device which threads to the end of a gun and is designed to or actually does reduce it's sound levels is defined by the ATF as a silencer and requires specific paperwork to be legal.

There is no legal (or other) distinction between "silencers" and "suppressors". They are two names for identical devices.
"FLASH suppressor" is what I meant by suppressor. A screw-in hollow canister type, it's just an empty metal housing, no sound deadening materials involved. it's designed to suppress muzzle flash by providing a hollow contained area to burn excess gunpowder exiting the muzzle. I think in some cases they are sold as a "fake silencer" to achieve a certain weapon look without actually having a silencer. Does not require a class 3 permit, and is legal for most people in most states.

It's not "designed" to reduce the sound levels, and it's no silencer by any stretch of the imagination. But it does take the edge off of the gunfire report 'somewhat'. Much the same as a muzzle brake is not designed to make guns louder, but does anyway.

Last edited by K4THRYN; November 13, 2012 at 05:32 PM.
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Old November 13, 2012, 05:37 PM   #49
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I know what a flash suppressor is, if that's literally what you're referring to, but I've never seen a claim that they reduce perceived muzzle blast.

A flash suppressor isn't going to help the noise of a gunshot indoors. Outdoors, maybe, but not indoors. Even outdoors, I find that claim dubious.
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Old November 13, 2012, 05:42 PM   #50
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quote: "After study up a bit on the issues, I now keep electronic muffs for me and a regular pair for the wife in near the bedroom gun box. I also threw a cheap pair of muffs and some plugs in the car."


I like Glenn Meyer's suggestion and plan to start doing that. Ear muffs are cheap compared to loss of hearing.

og
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