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Old April 15, 2011, 12:27 AM   #1
Jake Balam
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Shooting without ear protection.

Now we all know that shooting without proper ear protection can and will cause permanent hearing loss.

However, when in a SD scenario, I doubt there will be time to throw in your ear plugs. Firing a gun without ear protection could disorient and stun you so follow up shots wouldn't be possible.

Does anyone shoot, at least once or twice without ear protection to guage your reaction to an unmuffled gunshot in close proximity?

I shoot in an open, outdoor gravel pit. If I use my gun in SD it would most likely be in my home, or place of business. I would hate to think that I would get a single shot off and then stand there stunned while the BG shoots back at me.
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Old April 15, 2011, 12:47 AM   #2
Funtimes
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I think you would actually cause your ear drums to rupture from the pressure. I know it's not something we generally think about, but utilizing electronic ears would probably be a good idea in the home.

Obviously if you were rushed or something that would matter, since you would not have time to grab hearing protection, but I could see those ears helping you listen for things in the house even better. I actually think it would be a great idea since you would probably want to mimimize utilizing your flashlight while moving around the house.

Last edited by Funtimes; April 15, 2011 at 12:54 AM.
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Old April 15, 2011, 01:08 AM   #3
Taskarnin
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Firearms without hearing protection.

If you are really concerned with self-defense there are several things to consider:

1: you should have a designated SD firearm which is stored in a safe location with ammunition for it in a seperate location (gun safety rule number 1, proper storage).

2: you should choose the firearm based on preference and taking into account a fewthings:

as for pistols:

i wouldn't recommend something big like a .38, or a .357/.44. They will over-penetrate if you miss possible doing more harm than good. also they will cause hearing damage and are very loud. that being said, more often than not, its the noise and not the shot that does the job.

My personal preference would be a .22 revolver (yes I know only .22) for the simple fact that your most likely not dealing with anyone in body armor, a .22 will not overpenetrate, and if it makes it through your wall, it wont do much to what it hits on the otherside. Also, .22 revolvers will not cause hearing damage or daze the shooter after a couple shots (or i would be deaf).

As for rifles, once again, over penetration issues, stick to a .22 or a shotgun. Preferably 20ga, while loud, 20gas aren't as loud as a 12 ga. and stick to buck shot, for its lower penetration.

Remember, for SD you have your local laws regarding those issues to be informed of as well. also keep in mind if your woken up in the middle of the night, you wont be on your best game, and you will be much more likely to miss.
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Old April 15, 2011, 01:22 AM   #4
Dr. Strangelove
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Two scenarios I've experienced:

I never wear plugs or muffs while deer hunting. Last year, I shot a deer with a 7mm Rem Magnum. I can recall every sound, every aspect of that hunt, the deer kicking in the leaves, the sight picture through the scope, everything... except the noise or recoil of the shot. A buddy about 100yds away nearly fell out of his stand, he said, it was so loud.

I heard the deer walk up, I remember aiming, where I aimed, squeezing the trigger, the deer falling and hearing it kicking, but I honestly can't say I remember the recoil or the noise of the shot. Or any of them, for that matter.

Years ago, my grandfather and I shot an 8mm Mauser in his basement with no hearing protection. My ears rang for hours afterward.

In an adrenaline charged encounter, or even just hunting, you're not going to be stunned to incapacity by the noise from a gunshot.


I would highly recommend against firing a gun in an closed space just for the experience. If you don't have to do it, don't.
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Old April 15, 2011, 02:26 AM   #5
Single Six
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In past articles, Massad Ayoob has recommended that home owners have a "roll out kit" to complement the HD hardware. He specified a flashlight, body armor, and hearing protectors. I confess that, even though I trust Ayoob on these matters, I'm still somewhat dubious on having enough time to properly access the gear and attire myself as he suggests in such a situation. Of course, being alive and a bit hard of hearing beats the heck out of being dead at the hands of home invaders. On the other hand, I want to keep both my life and my hearing, so maybe he's on to something.

Last edited by Single Six; April 15, 2011 at 02:54 AM.
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Old April 15, 2011, 02:50 AM   #6
H.W. French
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For what it's worth...

Jake,
I certainly wouldn't recommend shooting (not hunting) without hearing protection, especially if you are past the age of sixteen to twenty. Even twenty-two's. It's not always what you can "hear" and besides a .22 out of a Bearcat is plenty loud. But, they're your ears. You do what you want.

You can spend every waking hour of you life contemplating the unexpected, however for the responses raised so far:

"electronic ears" while techno-cool (and awesome on the range) could have some slight advantage in the wee hours when all else is silent; how much junk will your nightstand support? You may as well be sporting some nightvision while your at it to get the complete tactical advantage. And a sweet ninja outfit.

A personal defensive weapon stashed separately of its ammunition amounts to a very blunt instrument. Your are (probably) better off with a bat. Unless the perpetrator of the crime wishes to handicap you a count to ten or twenty or however long it takes you to load your weapon.

"Over penetration" has less to do with the size of the round and more to do with its construction. A properly designed round will deliver its kinetic energy to whatever the target efficiently and effectively be it blubber or drywall and by design should not over penetrate lest it waste energy. If this is worrisome contemplate frangible ammo.

Anyways I tend to distill things down. Would I unleash a .357 in an inclosed space at a known threat at the sacrifice of some hearing loss. Probably. Only you can answer that for yourself. Though training in such a manner will almost assuredly have a negative impact on those cilia.

Just my two cents that have undoubtedly decreased in value since I posted.
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Old April 15, 2011, 03:04 AM   #7
TeamSinglestack
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Quote:
Firing a gun without ear protection could disorient and stun you so follow up shots wouldn't be possible.
That is completely counter to my experiences while hunting, in training, and in combat. Neither noise or muzzle flash will be much of an issue whatsoever, and have very little effect, if any, on your ability to defend yourself.

When the time comes that you NEED to shoot, you will shoot, and will deal with the noise issue after the fact, because you will be too busy to notice while the event is going down.

I keep my electronic ear pro right next to my home defense guns for things that go bump in the night, however, I will have no qualms whatsoever defending myself in any environment outside the home without hearing protection.

You do what you gotta do.
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Old April 15, 2011, 03:05 AM   #8
Lawyer Daggit
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From a legal point of view, stopping to put in ear protection is starting to look pretty premeditated and the jury would query your ability to hear the perpetrator telling you he was surrendering (or victim as he would be portrayed.)

I would have some subsonic loads made up for home defense.
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Old April 15, 2011, 04:49 AM   #9
spacecoast
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Quote:
you should have a designated SD firearm which is stored in a safe location with ammunition for it in a seperate location
Just make sure the BG understands that you need time to retrieve your gun and ammo and load before you are ready to investigate the broken glass sound you just heard.

Quote:
i wouldn't recommend something big like a .38, or a .357/.44. They will over-penetrate if you miss possible doing more harm than good. also they will cause hearing damage and are very loud.
Hmmm... well, I can agree with you on the .357... there's a lot of beneficial reading you can do on this site.


To the OP... your concern is valid, therefore choose (and prepare with) a subsonic weapon/ammo combination with relatively low noise and blast like a .38 special, .45 ACP or .44 special. You probably won't notice it if you ever have to shoot, but your ears will thank you later. And I would not practice without ear protection, that's just risking one of your five senses unnecessarily.

Last edited by spacecoast; April 15, 2011 at 04:54 AM.
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Old April 15, 2011, 07:00 AM   #10
Lawyer Daggit
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By all means practice with ear protection- I would not however wear it when the 'chips are down' as low tech ear protection will impede your capacity to hear anything said or done by the perp or attending law officers.

Hi tech ear protection may get around this.
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Old April 15, 2011, 07:24 AM   #11
mnero
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Wear them! When we were over-seas, we obviously did not wear hearing protection, unless you were an artillery man or entrusted with something heavier then a squad machine gun. I never saw anyone stunned from the sound of his M-16 A2 or even a light machine gun or grenade launcher. I have, however suffered significant hearing loss from my experiences in the service. Wear your ears everytime you can, never delibertly leave them off. If you ever have to use a weapon in self defence, you will either panic or not, but you won't be so stunned by the sound of the gun, that it causes you to fail to react. I have never seen anyone in combat who was.
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Old April 15, 2011, 07:29 AM   #12
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space coast is right, better keep your .38 pistol loaded with 5 rounds(assuming you have no small kids in the house) If you drop a revolver and it is loaded with 5 rounds and the empty chamber is aligned with the firing chamber, you may break a toe, but it won't accidently discharge; when you pull the trigger it will fire though, don't even need a safety. My .38 smithy doesnt even have a safety
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Old April 15, 2011, 07:31 AM   #13
mrgoodwrench76
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How bout putting a can on your SD gun? Granted its expensive, but protecting yourself and your family (not to mention your hearing) is a good investment.
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Old April 15, 2011, 07:35 AM   #14
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Agreed that practicing without ear protection is unwise; hearing damage is largely permanent. Accepting that risk to save one's life in an emergency is a different thing than practicing without hearing protection. As others have said, it is highly unlikely that you will be stunned, disoriented, or suffer ruptured ear drums from the sound of ordinary handgun rounds, even indoors. You are very highly likely to have tinnitus afterward, for a variable period of time, and there is considerable risk that you will have hearing loss. Hearing aides are cheaper than caskets, at least somewhat.

As for the recommendation that we defend our homes with .22 revolvers and ammunition stored in a location away from the pistol: The poster would do well to more thoroughly research the ballistics of other rounds and to consider the many safe and well-made firearm storage devices that allow ready access to handguns in emergency situations. Leaving firearms unsecured but unloaded is neither the safest way to store them nor does it allow a meaningful and timely defensive response in many situations.
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Old April 15, 2011, 07:36 AM   #15
bravo124
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Auditory Exclusion

Jake,
By all means wear ear protection when at the range. I am a Rangemaster and I wear custom fit ear plugs with electronic ear muffs on top. Dr. Stangelove and TeamSingleStack are correct. In a deadly force encounter, you will not hear the noise or feel the recoil from your weapon. It's called Auditory Exclusion. You can read about this in Colonel Grossman's book titled, On Combat. I've been in shootouts so far that were both indoors while doing warrant services. First time was with a pistol and the second time was with an M-4. Both were in bedrooms approximately 12x12. I wasn't wearing ear protection and never heard nor felt anything while engaging the BG. My fellow officers that were out on perimeter said that they seen the windows in the bedroom rattle when I was discharging the M-4. Hope this helps. Joe.
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Old April 15, 2011, 07:45 AM   #16
Onward Allusion
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Quote:
Jake Balam
Shooting without ear protection.
Now we all know that shooting without proper ear protection can and will cause permanent hearing loss.
However, when in a SD scenario, I doubt there will be time to throw in your ear plugs. Firing a gun without ear protection could disorient and stun you so follow up shots wouldn't be possible.
Does anyone shoot, at least once or twice without ear protection to guage your reaction to an unmuffled gunshot in close proximity?
I shoot in an open, outdoor gravel pit. If I use my gun in SD it would most likely be in my home, or place of business. I would hate to think that I would get a single shot off and then stand there stunned while the BG shoots back at me.
At the range, definitely use hearing protecting. However, in a SD situation you may not have the opportunity or desire (listening for noises & muffs are clumsy) to do so. Don't use 357/44/500 magnum loads is one way to avoid becoming deaf or have your hearing permanently damaged. In all reality, the adrenaline running through your system will negate any perceived pain from the damage. I've even heard that the adrenaline will sometimes actually protect your hearing - who knows on that one... As for testing firing w/o protection - don't do it. Even a single loud shot can cause permanent damage, especially from 357/44 or non-rimfire rifle...etc.
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Old April 15, 2011, 07:53 AM   #17
skifast
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Bravo is right about auditory exclusion.

As far a shooting without hearing protection, go ahead and try it. You won't harm your hearing shooting a few shots. However, I would not recommend doing it as a regular practice, as prolonged exposure to noise may a detrimental effect.

Then again, I ski without a helmet, and I believe we go overboard trying to protect ourselves from the slightest danger.
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Old April 15, 2011, 07:58 AM   #18
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Jake, do you stab yourself in the abdomen or break one of your arms, so you can practice shooting after an assailant has injured you?

If not, then I also wouldn't deliberately damage your ears, for practice's sake.

Unfortunately, skifast, while I also ski without a helmet, there are many forum members who can tell you that even one or two shots, in an indoor environment, has resulted in hearing damage that has lasted from days, to permanence.
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Old April 15, 2011, 08:42 AM   #19
Onward Allusion
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Quote:
Taskarnin
Firearms without hearing protection.
If you are really concerned with self-defense there are several things to consider:
1: you should have a designated SD firearm which is stored in a safe location with ammunition for it in a seperate location (gun safety rule number 1, proper storage).
Welcome. Hope you stick around for a while. With that said, I think you still have a lot to learn. Storing ammo separate from your firearm may get you killed in a HD/SD situation. If you are worried about kids, get a quick open gun box or wear it on your person.

Quote:
2: you should choose the firearm based on preference and taking into account a fewthings:
as for pistols:
i wouldn't recommend something big like a .38, or a .357/.44. They will over-penetrate if you miss possible doing more harm than good. also they will cause hearing damage and are very loud. that being said, more often than not, its the noise and not the shot that does the job.
357/44 sure, but the report generated by a 38 is dramatically different. Also, over-penetration will not occur if the proper cartridge is used. As for noise doing the job... Like I'd said, welcome - hope you stick around...


Quote:

My personal preference would be a .22 revolver (yes I know only .22) for the simple fact that your most likely not dealing with anyone in body armor, a .22 will not overpenetrate, and if it makes it through your wall, it wont do much to what it hits on the otherside. Also, .22 revolvers will not cause hearing damage or daze the shooter after a couple shots (or i would be deaf).
As for rifles, once again, over penetration issues, stick to a .22 or a shotgun. Preferably 20ga, while loud, 20gas aren't as loud as a 12 ga. and stick to buck shot, for its lower penetration.
Have you ever shot anybody or any living thing with a 22LR? I'm being serious. They/It doesn't die or stop right away. Unless you shoot them in the head or heart, they aren't going to stop. I carry a 22LR in the office but I also know that if I ever have to use it I need to run like hell in the other direction after hitting the BG.

Quote:
Remember, for SD you have your local laws regarding those issues to be informed of as well. also keep in mind if your woken up in the middle of the night, you wont be on your best game, and you will be much more likely to miss.
Correct.
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Old April 15, 2011, 09:58 AM   #20
Don P
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IMO I think all would go out the window in a SD situation with regards to hearing problems. Adrenalin pumping with what has confronted you. If you freeze up after on shot because of noise and muzzle flash then maybe you need more training of give up on the firearm idea for protection.
I'll ask the OP. Do you think "YOU" would freeze up after one shot without ear protection?????
As I have stated before I would rather be deaf than dead.
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Old April 15, 2011, 10:20 AM   #21
Mobuck
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Some of you guys are entertaining.
I have fired a 357 mag in an enclosed space and it will leave your ears ringing but won't cause you to fold and drop to the floor. I don't normally fire handguns w/o ear protection but the world won't end for me if I do. I don't use ear plugs while hunting and seeing it on TV makes me chuckle. When I was younger, there were no warnings about hearing loss and protecting the ears so I have about 60% hearing loss but I certainly wouldn't wish to have that loss back at the risk of my life.
The comment about the hunter nearly falling out of his stand due to the "loudness" of the 7 mag is funny. He might have been surprised and almost launched himself but not from the force of the noise.
When subjected to a muzzle blast(artillery) that has a concussive force or a blast that has screeching sound component, immediate ear damage may occur. Normal gunfire is way below that level.
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Old April 15, 2011, 10:37 AM   #22
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In my younger days, 1970 or so, I shot 357 and 44 mag without ear protection. We would go out plinking and use cigarette filters, spent shells as ear plugs. Not very effective protection. I have 24/7 tinnitus as a result of that behavior. In an SD situation you have to do what you have to do but under any other circumstances I wouldn't shoot without ear protection. As far as familiarizing yourself beforehand .... don't bother, it is a loud noise that will make your ears ring. That is about all it is. Might cause permanent damage, might not, depending on the level of exposure.
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Old April 15, 2011, 10:48 AM   #23
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When I was young and stupid, we shot everything without hearing protection; countless thousands of .22lr, a smattering of .357mag and various shotguns.

I don't remember ever being stunned or disoriented and never more than a temporary ringing in my ears.

Fast forward a decade or two and I find during routine employment screening that I have permanent hearing impairment in the upper frequency ranges.

Don't intentionally take a chance with your hearing!
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Old April 15, 2011, 10:56 AM   #24
Jake Balam
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Sounds like my concerns are unfounded.. good to know
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Old April 15, 2011, 11:13 AM   #25
hogcowboy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skifast
As far a shooting without hearing protection, go ahead and try it. You won't harm your hearing shooting a few shots.
I would highly discourage this. You only have one set of ear drums and they CAN be damaged with just one exposure to loud noise in a confined area. I would only do this if it were a life or death situation. NO, NO, NO
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