Another point of consideration for choosing home defense caliber

Note – if you ever fired a firearm in combat or self defense, this will very likely be of no interest to you. If you only shot in a controlled / supervised environment such as a shooting range, the following might be useful for you.
Stopping power vs. largest caliber you can shoot with precision is a common topic for discussions on home defense. However, one angle that I do not see discussed much if at all is the impact of discharging a projectile on your senses such as vision and hearing. Overwhelming chances are that you will not be wearing a hearing protection while firing in self defense. It is also likely, that there will be sub-par lighting conditions where you are relying on a flashlight or outside lights to navigate your surroundings and identify friend vs foe. In these conditions loud bangs and bright flashes of shots being fired will affect your hearing and vision. You will get immediate physical damage to your ears resulting in intense ringing in your ears and hearing degradation that will last for hours or even days. Depending on the lighting conditions you might also suffer temporary blindness and have circles flash in front of your eyes. This will make you at least partially disoriented. Obvious implications are adjustments that you need to make for preparing your defense plan including the aftermath and providing a statement to the law enforcement authorities. Note that rush of andrenaline and physical effects associated with it add additional complexity that is not discussed here.
This is all just some words that you just read on your screen. How about facts? While I can not speak for others, here is my  experience with shooting without hearing protection. Note that I advise against what I am about to describe and urge you to always wear ear and eye protection when shooting firearms.
I wanted to experience effect on hearing by shooting a handgun without wearing a hearing protection. Shooting 5 rounds of .38 +P outside during daylight resulted in immediate partial hearing loss and intense ringing in my ears. While I was expecting the effect,  I was a little surprised by the slight physical pain, which resulted in a slight pause before the next planned shot. The ringing remained strong  for the next 8 hours, with some ringing remaining for the next 24 hrs. I also experienced a loss in ability to hear certain frequencies up to 24 hrs and some ear discomfort for 48 hrs.  Anekdotal evidence found on the web suggested, that had I fired a larger caliber, I could have suffered a permanent hearing damage.
If I extrapolate this on firing a .357 inside of the house during night time, I can be fairly certain that aquiring target for the second shot and subsequent two way verbal communication with family members, threat, or law enforcement would be difficult. 12ga is likely to have even greater effect. So, while I can comfortable handle 12ga and shoot it with a decent precision, the load bang and flash will be a negative when deciding if this should be my go to firearm of choice in a home defense scenario.
So, what are the conclusions?
#1) additional reason and reconfirmation that the first shot placement is very important
#2) when choosing a go to firearm, consider the bang and the flash it’ll make – it could be a negative if your ability to defend yourself is affected
#3) keep in mind that there will be some hearing / vision loss – this will minimize the surprise when it happens

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: