What is the Loudest Gun?

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The discussions surrounding firearms and their noise dissipation is one that keeps revolving due to their dynamic nature. The loudest gun encompasses a unique category, and magnum handguns happen to be the loudest you can find. In their relative nature, these guns produce the brashest noise on bullet discharge in comparison to others.

But the loud sound produced on the discharge of a gun is a regular occurrence for firearms. This is the nature with firearms and its part and parcel of their functionality. Even though the level of noise dissipated may be gritty towards the gun’s model at your disposal. What this means is, with every distinct gun category, the level of noise dissipation will vary.

Hence, this becomes a significant determinant when choosing the best firearm contingent to your venture or purpose. This makes so much sense since the diverse nature of guns will reciprocate their loudness. Conversely, some mechanisms can be adjoined to a firearm to suppress the noise after bullet discharge.

The Explanation behind a Gun’s Loud Sound

When you shoot a gun, a loud bang can be heard miles away, even with the small firearms. However, you have to be conversant with gun sounds to tell distinct noise produced. There is a scientific reason for this, which is down to the chemical reactions occurring on bullet discharge. Note that the moment you shoot a bullet and the time you hear the loud sound aren’t proportional. This means the noise dissipated from a gunshot is an occurrence after the cartridge leaves the chamber.

You might have heard that a bullet travels faster than the sound speed, which is true to the core. Hence when you hear the loud bang, there’s a probability the bullet has hit the target on many occasions. But this will determine your level of accuracy when shooting the gun.

Once a bullet is fired, an explosion occurs; this is not the typical blast but a more synchronized type. The bullet’s detonation uses a propellant, which accelerates it using incredible force or pressure towards the barrel’s exit. Since the stress accumulated during discharge has to be released, it leads to the loudest sound you can ever experience. Here are a few factors that influence the noise intensity of a gun.

Factors Affecting the Level of Sound a Gun Dissipates

The Type of Firearm

The type of firearm is a decisive factor in the level of decibels a gun dispels when it’s shot. There are handguns, rifles, and shotguns. Under each category, you will find different sub-groups and models.


Handguns will comprise pistols and revolvers, which are not usually too loud, but they still give a booming kick. You will find guns, including magnums that tend to be louder because of the size of the barrel. The 357 Smith and Wesson and 44 magnum revolvers are known to be the loudest and even louder than some rifles. Each produces 169 and 165 peak decibels, respectively.

It’s imperative to understand that the .357 Smith and Wesson are loudest among revolvers. For hunters, some of these revolvers make better firearms when in comparison with most pistol models.

But for pistols that can use a rifle’s cartridge, the level of sound is higher. It’s due to the amount of propellant or gunpowder and the slow speed it burns. The Glock 19 9 mm and the Sig Sauer pistol can produce 164 and 160 peak decibels correspondingly.


Rifles can dissipate the loudest noise, and most are louder when compared to shotguns and handguns. This is due to their structural design and functionality, not forgetting the cartridges they use. The most piercing rifle can produce 166 decibels, which is the .70 caliber Winchester 7 mm. The Remington 370 30 mm can dissipate 163 peak decibels and is the closest rival among rifles.


There is frequent confusion in the comparison between shotguns and rifles. These two are entirely different firearms even though the length of barrels might look the same. But with a closer look, you can realize the difference because the barrel interior of a shotgun is smooth. For a rifle, its barrel is rifled hence having longitudinal lines that aid in increasing the rotation of the bullet.

Shotguns fire pellet-like projectiles, which are incorporated in different gauges and are different from the standard bullet cartridges. Hence, the size of the gauge a shotgun fires will determine the sound it will dispel. The loudest shotgun, Remington 11-87 turkey, 12 gauge, can produce 161.5 decibels. It’s closely followed by the Beretta Gold Match AL391 12 gauge that dissipates 161 decibels.

The Length of the Gun’s Barrel

This is another factor that will affect how loud a gun can be. For firearms with longer barrels, the propellant used burns slower since the burning distance is longer. But handguns use a fast burning powder because of their short barrels. The longer the propellant is allowed to burn, the pressure dispelled has enough time to decrease. Consequently, this simultaneously steps down the sound intensity produced by a gun.

It’s imperative to mention that if you use fast-burning propellant cartridges, you are bound to experience a different outcome. This has a similar effect on the recoil and velocity of a gun’s projectile. Also, with longer barrels, it means you are standing in an elongated distance from the muzzle.

Thus, you are bound to experience reduced noise. Therefore, guns with long barrels produce less noise intensity compared to guns with short barrels.


The sort of ammunition used will influence how much sound a gun will produce. For bigger cartridges with more gun powder, when discharged, the noise level is higher than in small rounds. Hence this being the reason some pistols which can accommodate rifle cartridges tend to be louder.

Is a Gun’s Noise Level Equivalent to Its Power?

This is a debatable topic because most are aware that the louder the gun, the higher it’s stopping power. It is the case with most of the loudest guns, but not all will measure this. With arms that produce less noise, their velocity is low, which will consequently affect its speed. With slower ammunition, their effectiveness on targets is minimal and ineffective.

But for bullets that travel fast, it’s hard for them to change trajectory and are most preferred for harshest conditions. These can include military shooting ranges and downrange. For the bullet to increase its velocity, more gun powder will be required to offer it more acceleration. The more propellant used then the noise intensity will be high, thus supporting this theory.

Nevertheless, the bullet’s power is gained through kinetic energy as it travels through the barrel. To make it more lethal means it needs an increase in velocity; hence the powder has to be proportional.

Gun Noise Indoors vs Outdoors: In Which Setting are Guns Loudest When Discharged?


The science behind where a gun is loudest when discharged has a simple concept. Sound can be absorbed or reverberated on surfaces. In enclosed gun ranges, walls can absorb sound due to their unique design. This is meant to reduce noise pollution that may otherwise affect those working and leaving nearby.

But for an ordinary empty walled room, the sound will be louder due to echo and can cause disorientation. There are cases of people having permanent or temporary hearing issues, especially if no hearing aids are worn. The sound can be unpleasant, and in many instances, you will not be able to hear properly for hours.

If the room has furniture, there is a probability you might not hear the noise from outside. Since sound will be absorbed, in such cases, you might only experience minimal hearing problems.


During gun discharge, when outdoors, much of the sound dissipated is quickly dispelled in the atmosphere. This reduces the effect of the gun sound. For many states, there are regulations on the type of gun you can discharge outdoors. This limit is per the noise a gun produces, but this doesn’t mean that guns aren’t loud outdoors. Also, the noise level a gun produced doesn’t change whether the firearm is shot indoors or outdoors.

The decibels remain the same, although the amplifying and suppressing noise factor comes into consideration.

Can Gun Sound Cause Permanent Damage to Your Ears?

Eighty-five decibels is the standard sound limit that is considered safe. You’ll find this in the hearing act, and only a few functions experience exemptions. Hence, with that limit in mind, it’s clear to see guns can be loud, and this is not a cliché. Especially if you put in mind that some handguns produce 160 decibels which are almost double the limit.

To further understand how loud this is, a fighter jet dispels 140 to 145 decibels during take-off. When you happen to be meters from the plane, you will still feel the sound intensity. Therefore, talking of a 357 Winchester magnum that can produce 164 decibels, that is enough to make you deaf.

But how delicate one’s ears are is also another factor that may determine the likelihood of hearing impairments occurring. People who frequently use guns have a high probability of having hearing impairments in the long run. Age is another factor, and this will pertain to the development of the shooter’s ears. Children and the elderly are at a higher risk of developing hearing complications from gun sounds.

To protect yourself from possible hearing impairments, you should wear ear muffs or ear plugs every time you shoot a gun.

Accessories Used To Protect Ears from the Loud Gun Sound

Hearing protectors come in different models, and each will function uniquely. The most recommended are earplugs and earmuffs, both electronic and passive.


These are usually small in size, and they block the ear canal hence helping to minimize noise. Because of their size, they are the preference for many shooters and can cut noise by about 20 decibels.

Electronic Earmuffs

The electronic earmuffs come with noise control features, which are the unique part of this ear protector. They cover the ear fully and can aid in reducing noise by 33 decibels.

Passive Earmuffs

These also cover your whole ear and are mostly found in gun ranges. They use special acoustic foam, which absorbs noise hence its minimization capability. This type can reduce 30 decibels from any gun you shoot.

Can Guns Sound Intensity Be Reduced?

It’s impossible to reduce the sound level from a gunshot ultimately; the best you can do is suppress it. Even with suppressors, you can only make the sound tolerable, but the loud bang will still be there. The aim is to bring down the noise to at least 140 decibels, which is safe but with ear protectors. Also commonly known as silencers, these gadgets are attached at the muzzle of the gun. Here is a list of the best silencers.

They minimize gun noise by reducing the gases leaving the barrel using rings incorporated inside the suppressor. 

This gun fitting has strict regulations in its use; hence you will need the authorization to own one privately. You will find different models and some aid in increasing shot accuracy while diminishing the sound. Therefore, to minimize the noise intensity from guns to certain decibels use of a gun suppressor.

Final Verdict

The noise a gun dispels will vary, but in general, guns are loud, and it will depend on the model. It’s impossible to find a firearm that produces less than 147 decibels. Therefore, if you are going to buy a gun, you should have this in mind. But there are fittings you can use if you would wish to suppress the noise. This is advisable, especially if you have delicate ears that need optimal protection from loud sounds.

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