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Quietest Effective Self-Defense Pistol?

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Old 10-07-2012, 09:21 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by axxe55 View Post
personally IMO, you are overthinking this. dwelling on factors that don't even need to considered. go to a gun store or range and shoot some pistols in different calibers and types, and find one that suits you. buy it and practice with it on a regular basis and become profficient with it and forget about the loud noise it might make if in the remotest of chances you might have to use it to defend yourself with it.
If you knew the amount of research I did on basically everything, it would probably drive you nuts. Personally I think too many people don't research things thoroughly enough, I do my best to consider all factors beforehand. I'm just afraid going to the range and comparing them they're all going to sound about the same through my earmuffs, but that without them there might be a more appreciable difference (But I'm not even about to fire a shot without them on).

The only list I found was the one here:

For the relevant calibers I mentioned is

.38 Spl 156.3 dB

9mm 159.8 dB

.45 ACP 157.0 dB

So this reinforces the idea to me that the 9mm is the loudest because of the velocity which it travels, whereas the .38 and .45 are slower calibers in general. Based on that list, there's minimally any difference between the .38 and .45 - but I've always thought the 9mm was supposed to be quieter than the .45? 3 dB difference will sound twice as loud, which is rather noticeable.

I'm thinking I'll end up comparing a 9mm and .45 caliber pistol at this point, but I'm still happy to hear thoughts on the loudness of these calibers. I know the frequency is supposed to factor as well, 9mm being a bit higher and .45 being a bit lower I believe. Again, I'm not a gun expert by any stretch I'm just trying to comprehend all the data I've looked at.

P.S. I'll be able to handle a .45 or 9mm fine either way (I shot a .45 once before and as I said it was easy to handle - though again I shot a 1911 style not like the XD-S), I don't have a big concern about that - I'm sure there's an appropriate gun for me in either caliber. But if we threw the .357 magnum into this comparison, wouldn't you agree that's rather excessively loud and a bit more difficult to handle compared to a .45 or 9mm and for what appreciable benefit for SD? Sure, if it's life or death you use whatever - but if you could choose and you're an equally good shot with both say a .45 and a .357 wouldn't you go for the .45 assuming there's no noticeable need for the .357 at the distance you would be engaging?

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Old 10-07-2012, 11:00 AM   #12
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While you are (over)analysing this, consider that you have no control over what caliber or firearm a bad guy may be shooting at you.

This is sort of like selecting a fire extinguisher based on whether the color (when wet) matches the color of the stripe on the hull of your boat.

Also consider that the sound is going to vary greatly depending on which cartridge is fired, and which gun fires it. .38 Sp wadcutter target loads are pretty mild- .38 Special Corbon or Buffalo Bore +P+ loads are an entirely different matter.

Would be MUCH more concerned with this data:
What we have here is... failure- to communicate.
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Old 10-07-2012, 01:19 PM   #13
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There are so many factors. Make, model, and barrel length are going to affect this too. And all of the three you mentioned will cause hearing damage over time with no hearing pro.
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Old 10-07-2012, 01:33 PM   #14
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Try to ignore the sound when shooting. I practice this everyday when my wife is talking.
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Old 10-07-2012, 02:13 PM   #15
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Have you heard the phrase "straining gnats and swallowing a camel"? You're focussing on the wrong criteria in your decision making. How loud a round is, which by the way is just as dependent on the specific design of the handgun as compared to the round it fires, is incidental.

I direct your attention to the following thread.

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Old 10-07-2012, 04:31 PM   #16
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Those decibel readings you posted. What length barrels were used in comparison? What loads?

Shorter, more concealable barreled pistols will make more noise due to the amount of powder burning after the bullet leaves the muzzle. This also results in more flash that could temporarily affect your night vision. Also if you take cover near something hard you will get more reflected sound waves back toward your ears. Ported barrels can also amplify flash and noise. Using +P rounds can also increase noise and flash. Different ammo loads from different manufacturers will also have different noise levels.

You gotta lot of other variables to research if you want the quietest effective caliber. Also looking at decibel differences less than 10 I think your ears would be hard pressed to know the physical difference.

Add to that what others have said exposure to loud noises for breuf periods if time will be less likely to cause long term hearing damage. Even emptying a mag of 18 rounds would likely cause minimal if any permanent hearing damage.
Of course when you practice you should use hearing protection.
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Old 10-07-2012, 09:25 PM   #17
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If "quite" is your prime creteria, I would buy one of the Beretta 950BS pistols in .22 short. Not real big on knock-down but quite. I read where the Mossad used these for close-up wet work; two shooters emptying the pistol into the victims belly, with the pistol in contact with the shootee, and not being heard in the adjacent room.
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:27 AM   #18
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ALL popular self defense handgun calibers exceed decibel levels known to cause hearing damage. Accept that fact and buy something you can shoot well.
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Old 10-08-2012, 04:52 PM   #19
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You are trying to mitigate a 4db spread between calibers?? For all it's worth, your ears and body cannot measure a 4db difference. You should buy a knife instead, nice and quiet.

acoustics and harmonics have different sensitivity levels for everyone, what is easy on your ears could be very painful for someone else. Like I said, 4db is a moot point.
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Old 10-08-2012, 05:40 PM   #20
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Easy fix here....just buy a Hi-Point and beat the perp to death with it.

Hearing will be the last thing that crosses my mind if I have to use my gun to protect my family.
My EDC is a nice 98.7 degrees.
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