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As a Mechanical Engineer, I've been involved in setting permissible noise limits for manufacturing personnel and at what point an irreversible hearing loss occurs. This affects us gun owners/shooters too, and it also affects our choice of caliber and other factors in our gun selection. This is not as important when you won't be trying to save your life in an outdoor or wide open space encounter as it is when in a car. The damage comes from SPL, Sound Pressure Level.

In an ambient factory environment, 85 db(A) is the standard we currently operate under for a normal work shift in a factory. An SPL level of 90 db(A) is allowable so long as it's not constant and has a reduced number of hours of exposure. That as a basis, we will now talk about handguns.

A .357 Magnum is the standard all handguns are measured against for "Stopping Power". It is a great round and I'm glad I have one. It's a downright pleasure to shoot and I can use lower power .38 specials if I want. But in a confined space like a car, the first time you use it your hearing will be permanently damaged. There's nowhere for the sound pressure level to go.

Facts on noise levels:

Noise Levels Explained:

1. Decibels (db) measure sound pressure and are logarithmic. That means that only a 3db increase almost doubles sound pressure, a 6db increase quadruples sound pressure, etc.
2. Gradual hearing loss may occur after prolonged exposure to 90 decibels or above.
3. Exposure to 100 decibels for more than 15 minutes can cause hearing loss.
4. Exposure to 110 decibels for more than a minute can cause permanent hearing loss.
5. At 140 dBA noise causes immediate injury to almost any unprotected ear.
6. There is also the more extreme ‘acoustic trauma’, which is an immediate loss of hearing after a sudden, exceptionally loud noise such as an explosion.

Comparative noise levels and length of time for damage to occur:

Jet engine taking off 140 dB Instant damage
Thunder/Ambulance siren 119 dB 3 minutes
Hammer drill 113 dB 15 minutes
Chain saw/Earphones/Concert 110 dB 30 minutes
Bull Dozer 105 dB 1 hour
Tractor/Power tools 96 dB 4 hour
Hairdryer/lawnmower 90 dB 8 hours

Noise levels of firearms:

.22 caliber rifle 130dB
.223, 55GR. Commercial load 18" barrel 155.5dB
.243 in 22" barrel 155.9dB
.30-30 in 20" barrel 156.0dB.
7mm Magnum in 20" barrel 157.5dB.
.308 in 24" barrel 156.2dB.
.30-06 in 24" barrel 158.5dB. In 18" barrel 163.2dB.
.375 18" barrel with muzzle brake 170 dB.
.410 Bore 28" barrel 150dB. 26" barrel 150.25dB. 18" barrel 156.30dB.
20 Gauge 28" barrel 152.50dB. 22" barrel 154.75dB.
12 Gauge 28" barrel 151.50dB. 26" barrel 156.10dB. 18" barrel 161.50dB.
.25 ACP 155.0 dB.
.32 LONG 152.4 dB.
.32 ACP 153.5 dB.
.380 157.7 dB.
9mm 159.8 dB.
.38 S&W 153.5 dB.
.38 Spl 156.3 dB.
.357 Magnum 164.3 dB.
.41 Magnum 163.2 dB.
.44 Spl 155.9 dB.
.45 ACP 157.0 dB.
.45 COLT 154.7 dB.

So how much do you value your hearing? Since I drive a small car, my confined space is well, more confining. I have reduced my "car" gun from a Glock 27 (.40 S&W) to a Glock 26 (9 mm). In a gunfight from my car, I'm almost certainly to lose some or all hearing. If the gun is steadied on the window frame with the muzzle outside, I will greatly enhance my chances of saving all or some of my hearing. Some hearing loss could be short-term. If I have to use it within the car, that first shot would be devastating to my hearing, but hopefully, more devastating to my adversary. Hearing loss is one of the most important measures to be taken up by our congressmen and women. Noise suppressors should be a legal add-on to any gun purchase and NOT require additional paperwork and a Tax Stamp. For home defense, a suppressor, night sights, laser or led lights seem to be extra important to me.

Certain guns use certain techniques to recycle the slide. The Browning tilting barrel, the 1911 method, and Beretta's method being the most popular. I am used to the Glock (Browning Method) and it doesn't bother me if the gun kicks a bit. The polymer frame of a Glock (or Springfield XD series, et al) flexes a small amount, but what people don't realize is that all metal guns transfer vibration and noise better through metal than polymer. I have guns of all types but Glocks are my favorite, this being one of many reasons. The Taurus/Beretta seems to twist in my hands a bit, while I really like the feel of a well designed 1911.

The db numbers for various calibers are dependent upon how close the SPL meter is to the source. I've seen much lower numbers in other studies.
 

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Not even a consideration for me. I'm more concerned with stopping someone whose trying to kill me than the possible ramifications of hearing loss. Hearing is secondary to getting killed. I wear hearing protection at the range.
 

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I had a weird mental image of a far side cartoon of people standing around a coffin saying, "At least he died with good hearing".
 

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"Hold on, let me put my earplugs in and shooting gloves on..."

Hopefully the Hearing Protection Act will get passed and help mitigate some of the OP's concerns.
I know I certainly wouldn't mind.
 

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I totally hear you guys on hear loss concerns (pun intended) as a non-issue, the least of my problems if I have to fire. But I am interested in the muzzle flip aspect, as I would like to have a dedicated car pistol and have been thinking that a medium to small revolver would be a good choice. I base that in terms of reliability and the fact that I'm not a huge fan of gun cleaning and it will be sitting in the car all the time. I know that the smaller, lighter revolvers can be snappy.
 
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Not trying to flame you at all, but I personally would not feel good about leaving a loaded gun in my car when I'm not present.

I would like to have a dedicated car pistol and have been thinking that a medium to small revolver would be a good choice. I base that in terms of reliability and the fact that I'm not a huge fan of gun cleaning and it will be sitting in the car all the time.
 

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I was sitting in a windows up Grand Prix in 1980 when the driver touched off a round of 45acp from a commander, through the floor boards. It wasn't disabling enough through concussion/pressures created, nor was the decibel level.

I'm not picking my caliber choices based on decible readings nor due to worrying about hearing loss. In fact, based on the OP''s data, the 9mm would harm hearing more than my 45's.
 

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Not trying to flame you at all, but I personally would not feel good about leaving a loaded gun in my car when I'm not present.
Oh well.

As I've written elsewhere, I do not feel any responsibility for the crimes other people commit, esp. things like stealing from me. Some states dont look at this the same as I do but I will follow my state's laws.
 
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Not trying to flame you at all, but I personally would not feel good about leaving a loaded gun in my car when I'm not present.
An sks sits on the back floor under a blanket nearly year round. Lots of people make use of truck guns out here in the Sonoran.
 

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An sks sits on the back floor under a blanket nearly year round. Lots of people make use of truck guns out here in the Sonoran.
*sigh* half my friends are down there, Superstitions, Queen Creek area right now. Did you happen to catch the SW Mounted Shooting finals last week?
 
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"Hold on, let me put my earplugs in and shooting gloves on..."

Hopefully the Hearing Protection Act will get passed and help mitigate some of the OP's concerns.
I know I certainly wouldn't mind.
Speaking of which, how many of you guys have a Suppressor on your bedside [manner] gun? :smile:

I have lot's of clients wanting them on their pistols for home defense lately. :scratchchin:
 

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*sigh* half my friends are down there, Superstitions, Queen Creek area right now. Did you happen to catch the SW Mounted Shooting finals last week?
I didn't. I'm about 25 minutes from Queen Creek.
 

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Went through swat and swat team leader training with live ammo entries in teams with mp5's and pistols. It wasn't that big a deal doing so, and of course, no muffs on entry which may be a detriment to orienting on a noise.
 

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I didn't. I'm about 25 minutes from Queen Creek.
Lots of shoots down there in winter, if you are ever interested.

Sorry for the off-topic.
 
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There are a lot of vets out there that didn't mind trading excellent hearing for being able to fight another day and get home. If they could live with it, I can live with discharging my carry weapon in an enclosed area should the need arise. Hearing is important of course, I lost good hearing as a kid with a Walkman strapped to my side for years. But being able to hear a gnat fart won't be of much help if you're bleeding out on a sidewalk or on the floor of your house.
 

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A full size 9mm might be an option in a vehicle since you don't have to worry about concealment. It will have less muzzle flip and good capacity. I don't leave a weapon in my vehicle because of the number of vehicle burglaries in this area.

The only good answer that I know to the hearing loss issue is to use a suppressor. Hopefully they'll make them legal.
 
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It's a valid consideration, I think. I wouldn't choose a mouse gun caliber to protect my hearing, but when choosing between the common service calibers, it's something to weigh. All have effective ammo available for them, so if a person can shoot all of them well, might as well pick the one that has the least potential for hearing damage as for any other reason.

Of course, if the suppressor bill passes, it will make it a lot easier to mitigate the problem.

The barrel length issue is a big factor, too. Looking at the 12ga, it looks like going from a 26" barrel to an 18" barrel quadruples the sound pressure. It makes sense; the higher the pressure when the bullet or shot exits and "uncorks" the barrel, the louder it will be. The same is true of handguns.

It leads to only one conclusion: carry a 5" 1911 in .45. :danceban:
 

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As a Mechanical Engineer, I've been involved in setting permissible noise limits for manufacturing personnel and at what point an irreversible hearing loss occurs. This affects us gun owners/shooters too, and it also affects our choice of caliber and other factors in our gun selection. This is not as important when you won't be trying to save your life in an outdoor or wide open space encounter as it is when in a car. The damage comes from SPL, Sound Pressure Level.
What you're not taking into account is the known phenomenon of "auditory exclusion" which is a common occurrence when people use firearms under stress. I have a friend who is with the L.A. Sheriff's office on the SWAT team who has used deadly force more than once. He never heard the sound of firearms on these occasions.

I've personally experienced it during a training exercise using Simmunitions. It was an active shooter scenario where my wife was a role player alongside me while I was the defensive shooter. My wife screamed throughout the exercise. I never heard her scream.

The Reality of Auditory Exclusion | Breach Bang Clear
 

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It's a valid consideration, I think. I wouldn't choose a mouse gun caliber to protect my hearing, but when choosing between the common service calibers, it's something to weigh. All have effective ammo available for them, so if a person can shoot all of them well, might as well pick the one that has the least potential for hearing damage as for any other reason.

Of course, if the suppressor bill passes, it will make it a lot easier to mitigate the problem.

The barrel length issue is a big factor, too. Looking at the 12ga, it looks like going from a 26" barrel to an 18" barrel quadruples the sound pressure. It makes sense; the higher the pressure when the bullet or shot exits and "uncorks" the barrel, the louder it will be. The same is true of handguns.

It leads to only one conclusion: carry a 5" 1911 in .45. :danceban:
I seriously doubt we'll see many carrying cans on their edc's.
 
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