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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was talking to a LE buddy of mine recently and the discussion came up concerning having to fire a handgun in confined spaces (indoors, small rooms, covered areas, etc.). He said he knew of several officers who had been involved in shootings in these types of situations and had suffered irreparable hearing loss as a result. One retired on a partial disability.

Anyway, most of them were using high velocity calibers like 357 Magnum, 357 Sig and the like. He said he had noticed a trend in his area that a lot of LE agency's were moving towards the larger, slower calibers such as 45 GAP, 45 ACP, even 40 S&W.

Anyone have any personal experience with having to fire high velocity calibers indoors and if so, did it really mess up your hearing?

Just curious, it seems pertinent now that everybody is packing! ;)
 

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I'd bet money sound output ranks very LOW on the list of reasons why a department switches. Someone has to show me a test with conclusive data comparing the db of the service calibers in confined spaces....
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah I'd say you are probably right and I tend to agree with you. But for the sake of the conversation, I thought it brought up an interesting point. The question was more to the point of personal experience with loud firearms discharges, rather than if they actually switched as a result of it.

Thanks though! :)
 

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I.C.P.
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The few times I have fired in the heat of the moment I haven't remembered the sound of the shot nor did I have ringing in my ears.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The few times I have fired in the heat of the moment I haven't remembered the sound of the shot nor did I have ringing in my ears.
What were you shooting? What was the environment like?
 

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The Ogre
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I fired a 45 ACP from a 5 inch barrel inside one with 230gr +P HS's and I couldn't hear the rest of the day (literally someone yelling behind me and I just heard ringing or nothing). Another time before that same load and same gun, but a more stressful situation and for some reason I experienced no short term hearing loss. The second time was a little larger room. Regardless, 9mm 147 grain HST/Ranger/GD standard velocity is my round of choice out of a handgun inside at this point out of a G34. Nothing scientific about it, but I don't seen myself using a 10mm with 135 gr bullets loaded hot indoors on purpose in the near future if given a choice. I haven't bothered looking, but I would be interested in the dB for a variety of ammunition/calibers from say a 4 inch barrel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I fired a 45 ACP from a 5 inch barrel inside one with 230gr +P HS's and I couldn't hear the rest of the day (literally someone yelling behind me and I just heard ringing or nothing). Another time before that same load and same gun, but a more stressful situation and for some reason I experienced no short term hearing loss. The second time was a little larger room. Regardless, 9mm 147 grain HST/Ranger/GD standard velocity is my round of choice out of a handgun inside at this point out of a G34. Nothing scientific about it, but I don't seen myself using a 10mm with 135 gr bullets loaded hot indoors on purpose in the near future if given a choice. I haven't bothered looking, but I would be interested in the dB for a variety of ammunition/calibers from say a 4 inch barrel.
Me too. I know my sister and another friend both have Tinnitus from playing in high school marching band. One played a brass instrument, the other a wind instrument. I've got some slight hearing loss in my left ear which I think is from playing the radio too loudly when I was a kid (I had some pretty harshly loud tweeters firing right at my head. I know, I was an idiot).
 

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Handgunner
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.357 SIG in the living room rang my bell HARD. I'm sure it didn't help the bit of tinnitus I already have goin' on from the Marine Corps.

That said, 5.56 indoors is much worse. Granted, I shot a lot more of it than the one .357 SIG in the living room.
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Looking at the physics, it makes sense. Damage to your hearing is caused by sound pressure and the duration of that pressure. .357 SIG runs ~40k psi, and 5.56 pushes 62k psi. Vs .45 ACP which puts out ~21k psi. Shooting indoors only lengthens the duration of the sound as it bounces that pressure wave off the walls and floor and ceiling back to you. Also why you don't hide in the corner as a flash/bang is thrown in.
 

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The Ogre
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Me too. I know my sister and another friend both have Tinnitus from playing in high school marching band. One played a brass instrument, the other a wind instrument. I've got some slight hearing loss in my left ear which I think is from playing the radio too loudly when I was a kid (I had some pretty harshly loud tweeters firing right at my head. I know, I was an idiot).
Sadly, my idoicy didn't end there, I spent a good amount of time with one ear plug out having 81mm mortars go off 8-10 feet from the BAD/Muzzle and my head. Apparently 22 year old Marines are too "hard" to put their finger in the ear that they are listening to the FDC with. I will pay for my stupidity in the future when my children and grandchildren are trying talk to me and I can't hear them. Also replace hard with ignorant if you wish, it won't hurt my feelings at this point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Sadly, my idoicy didn't end there, I spent a good amount of time with one ear plug out having 81mm mortars go off 8-10 feet from the BAD/Muzzle and my head. Apparently 22 year old Marines are too "hard" to put their finger in the ear that they are listening to the FDC with. I will pay for my stupidity in the future when my children and grandchildren are trying talk to me and I can't hear them. Also replace hard with ignorant if you wish, it won't hurt my feelings at this point.
My wife's grandfather was a brick mason and he's deaf as a stump. I guess all those years of heavy equipment and mixers did a number on him. I know a retired locomotive engineer and he's also deaf, though much younger than my wife's grandfather.
 

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If you fire any rifle or handgun and hear ringing in your ears you are expierencing nerve damage. Nerve damage is collective meaning the more you are exposed the worse it is.Once there is damage it just gets worse with more exposure.
I have a high frequency hearing loss from the military...rifles and those darn choppers.
Standard AR produce a 180 DB spike in the open when fired(I think its 180, hearing conservation class was 30 years ago) That repeated is enough to give you nerve damage.
Take my word for it protect you hearing because losing your hearing as you get older is a PITA!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Read this.

http://www.rdsindustrie.com/images/stories/mesure bruits stand tir.pdf

It states that the 357 Magnum was the loudest gun tested, being louder even than high-powered rifles. Apparently the velocity of the ammunition and the length of the barrel have more to do with how loud it is than the size of the bullet (caliber).

So I guess there is a good argument for the 45ACP versus the faster bullets like 10mm, 357 Sig, even the lowly 9mm because it's a hi-pressure round and thus, in a short barrel, capable of creating a lot of noise from the higher velocity offerings.
 

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I've fired braked high-powered rifles while hunting, and never heard the shot.

I fired a .357 Magnum while inside an open console boat, and it nearly deafened me. It was physically painful, and my ears rang for days - kind of like the last AC/DC concert I attended.
 

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So I guess there is a good argument for the 45ACP versus the faster bullets like 10mm, 357 Sig, even the lowly 9mm because it's a hi-pressure round and thus, in a short barrel, capable of creating a lot of noise from the higher velocity offerings.
I really can't tell a difference between any 9mm loadings and any 45 ACP loadings. The one exception maybe being +P+ 9mm like the 9BPLE. All of which are dwarfed of course by the .223/5.56. That gets everyone's attention when fired in the indoor concrete and block range. I double up on hearing protection and it's still loud.
 

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Anything you shoot indoors w/o hearing protection is going to permanently damage you hearing, is what it is. Yes the high vel stuff has a higher db but it's all bad. I wouldn't choose my SD/HD caliber based on muzzle blast but my effectiveness w/ the caliber & platform chosen. I am not stupid enough to shoot w/o protection to find out how bad it is. I don;t need to, I know it;s bad. You may not feel any diff now, but when you hit the 50 mark, it all starts coming back on you. Portect your hearing at all cost during practice & if you get in a gunfight, it is what it is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I agree Fred. I haven't chosen my defensive pistols based on anything close to how loud or quiet they might be if I have to use them. It's nice to know, though, that the differences in a few db's here and there make very large differences in the amount of potential damage which can be done if they have to be used w/o hearing protection.

For the record, my two defensive guns are chambered for 357 Sig and 10mm. I know I'm gonna be hurting if I have to light one of those two off indoors! ;)
 

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woo woo
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I keep reading about auditory exclusion in gunfights, I wonder how that figures into things as far as actual hearing damage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I keep reading about auditory exclusion in gunfights, I wonder how that figures into things as far as actual hearing damage.
Not sure. In years of hunting, I hardly ever hear the shot when I am using a hi-powered rifle (deer hunting from a stand usually). I've never noticed any ringing or anything afterwards either. Granted, I'm not shooting belted magnums or ported barrels, but still, a 270 Winchester is no slouch. I wonder if there's anything to it or not either. Of course, being outside in the open is a lot different than a short barreled pistol in a bedroom or something like that.
 

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woo woo
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Not sure. In years of hunting, I hardly ever hear the shot when I am using a hi-powered rifle (deer hunting from a stand usually). I've never noticed any ringing or anything afterwards either. Granted, I'm not shooting belted magnums or ported barrels, but still, a 270 Winchester is no slouch. I wonder if there's anything to it or not either. Of course, being outside in the open is a lot different than a short barreled pistol in a bedroom or something like that.
It's weird how the body's defense mechanisms work sometimes.
I also don't recall being bothered by the .243 or 30-06 report when hunting deer, antelope and elk when I was younger.
I've read a number of Ayoob's 'Files' and recall the same thing with Officer involved shootings.
 
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