Firearms’ Mysteries

I’ve always been really interested in guns.  They’re capable of such awesome power but are, of course, incredibly dangerous. Adding to this mystique was the fact that I never saw a gun in person until I was 19.  Despite never laying eyes on one at the time, I wrote about guns a lot in my fanfiction days.

preparing for war

It’s just not Jimmy Neutron for me unless the gang is loading weapons and preparing for war.

I’ve always striven for accuracy in my writing, which meant that I researched guns a lot in my teenage years to ensure I wrote them properly in my stories.  Of course, I definitely did make some mistakes (my characters had a habit of racking slides at every dramatic moment, thus apparently spewing unused bullets everywhere).  Despite my years of research, however, there are still some things I just can’t seem to get answers to.  My very limited experience with firearms (shooting about 50 rounds from a .22 pistol one time) hasn’t helped that much. I figured I’d lay my questions out here and hopefully get some answers from my readers.  If you have experience with the points I’m about to raise, I’d love to hear about it.

1.  How Loud are Gunshots?

If there’s one thing my research has taught me, it’s that Hollywood does not have the slightest idea how loud guns actually are.


Apparently aluminum bats don’t actually make pistols sound like Nerf guns.

I’ve spent longer than I care to admit researching the decibel levels of different types of guns, and everything I seem to find indicates that all guns are deafening.

gunshot chart

According to this, a simple .22 pistol is louder than a jet engine.

I want to know firsthand how deafening this is!  I see people in TV and movies constantly firing guns indoors and having casual conversations during gunfights.  Shouldn’t their ears be ringing?  Even more curiously, how the heck do soldiers fire high-powered weaponry and hear orders from their commanders?  How is every soldier that was in a firefight not deaf?

I’d love to grab a pistol and shoot it outside without hearing protection to see what it’s like, but I’ve read that even a single shot without hearing protection can cause permanent hearing loss.  I’m not willing to take that chance; my girlfriend would murder me if I deafened myself from something so stupid.

So, if anyone has fired guns without hearing protection, how much did it hurt?  Were you still able to hear well after?  Could you communicate with someone while shooting was going on?  If you’ve used a silencer, how much did that reduce the noise?  I know that subsonic rounds plus a silencer is the only way to get the typical “movie silencer” effect, but if you use both of those is it even as quiet as movies portray?

2. Are Rifles More Damaging Than Pistols?

I know that rifles fire bullets at a higher velocity than pistols do.  This source says that pistol velocities range from 750 – 1300 FPS, whereas rifles shoot between 1,900 – 4,000 FPS.  This obviously seems to indicate that rifles rounds do more damage than pistol rounds, but I’d like some confirmation of this.  As I said above, I know that movies are not a solid source of information relating to firearms.  But they’re all I have to go on for this point, and there have been plenty of times when people seem to shrug off pistol rounds like they were marshmallows.

He didn’t seem to mind those first three shots.

So if anyone has information on how much more damaging rifles than pistols are, such as a scientific paper on survivability of wounds from various guns, I’d love to see it.

3.  Are Guns Nearly Everywhere in Some States?

I spent the first 21 years of my life in Rhode Island.  I never saw a single gun in person until my mom hired me a gun instructor for my nineteenth birthday.  As such, it’s really hard for me to believe that it’s easy to find guns in places like Texas.

Is this accurate?!

I hear arguments from these places over whether or not people can bring their guns into bars or churches and it just seems so utterly bizarre to me.  Apparently the U.S. has 90 guns for every 100 residents.  Aside from gun instructors and people at the firing range, I’ve met three people in my entire life who own a firearm.  So how are there 9 guns for every 10 people?

If I ever saw this in Rhode Island I’d assume I was about to witness a mass murder.  Is this really normal in other states?

I’m not trying to argue over whether or not it’s okay to carry guns openly or say it’s strange if so many people actually own guns in other places.  I’m just curious; it seems so alien to me.

4. What’s the Best Way to Store a Gun?

I’ve long considered getting a pistol or revolver for home defense.  My girlfriend Louise has been pushing me away from this idea, and the closer I get to having kids the more I’m inclined to agree with her.

cracked article

This Cracked Article really shocked me; if it was this easy for a grown man to nearly kill himself by blowing off his own leg, how much easier would it be for a child to shoot themselves?

But if we do end up getting a gun, I want to balance keeping it safely away from our children while allowing it to be used for its purpose: defense.  Keeping the gun and ammunition locked up in separate safes would obviously be the best way to protect our kids, but it wouldn’t be conducive to quickly arming myself and stopping an intruder.

I think the best thing to do would be to get a pistol and keep it locked up in a bedside table.  The gun would be unloaded but the magazine would be beside it.  That way all I have to do is unlock the drawer and quickly load the gun.  But our child would have to take my keys, unlock the drawer, load the rifle, rack the slide, turn off the safety, and pull the trigger.  That’s an enormous amount of stuff for a small child to unwittingly do, and I would teach an older child to never touch the weapon.

So does that sound reasonable to you gun owners out there?  What do you think is the best way to store a weapon and keep it out of your kids’ hands?

Like I said, I’d love to hear feedback from gun owners and people who have more experience with guns than I do.  Not only would it help my writing and possibly make my house a safer place if I do get a gun one day, but it will satiate my long-held curiosity.


Published by


I'm a 24 year-old veterinary student, novelist, & aspiring screenwriter. I'm trying out this blogging thing in my spare time.

3 thoughts on “Firearms’ Mysteries”

  1. 1. Yes, you can go deaf from too much firearms usage. However, while gunshots are instantly painful, the effect of one single shot is negligible if done outside. I shot my pistol once outside just to know what it felt like. It hurt, but it’s not instantly debilitating. One shot from a .22 pistol unprotected is worth the experience (bearing in mind that almost every other firearm is louder).

    2. Almost always, yes. I won’t get into the science behind, because that would take several books worth. Suffice to say, most rifle cartridges are more powerful than most pistol cartridges.

    3. Yes, but depends on your definition of “nearly everywhere.” The reason you don’t see 9 out of 10 people owning guns is that gun owners tend to own multiple guns (I own five, and many people would consider that a tiny collection). I would guess (emphasis on the word *guess*) that more like 1 in 10 to 1 in 20 own at least one firearm. This will vary from state to state, with heavily-liberal states averaging more like 1 in 50 vs heavily-conservative states averaging more like 1 in 4. Also, seeing a gun slung over someone’s back is no cause for alarm. Seeing them in hand is (like that horrible picture of those open carry idiots fingering their guns at Chipotle).

    4. Two ways for proper storage: under your direct control or out of anyones direct control. What I mean by this is that I consider the gun I carry on me (legally, may I add) is secured. It is not in anyone else’s control but mine. All my other guns have at least one set of locks between them and any other person. This is especially important with kids. Either have them under your immediate control or under lock and key. For the “home defense gun” scenario, there are a variety of quick-open safes that work fairly well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the in depth replies! If I do get a gun, I feel I should fire it once outside without hearing protection so I’m prepared for the shock if I must quickly fire it indoors. I haven’t heard of “quick-open” safes; I’ll have to look into those if I do get a gun.


  2. 1. Noise level. I have shot shotguns without hearing protection. That was all while hunting. I have a bit of loss in me left ear probably due to it. After a day of dove hunting I noticed a bit of ringing but it wasn’t terrible. I have learned and do not shoot unprotected anymore. That said the gun is louder for the person next to the shooter. Even with plugs shooting next to some guys with stupid loud muzzle devices is annoying.

    2. As a general rule a rifle round will be traveling faster than a pistol round. Just look at the case difference compared to the bullet weight for different rounds. Bullets weight is described in grains in case you are comparing. When calculating a bull etc energy you square the velocity. Therefore, adding velocity quickly increases the energy of the bullet. Even most pistol calibers will have more velocity when fired out of a rifle length barrel. When the ATF had wanted to ban the green tip .223 rounds it did not make much sense. All rifle cartridges will defeat soft body armor like police wear. Most pistol rounds however will not.

    3. I live in the midwest. Our murder rate is lower than Canada and just a tick higher than the UK. Our reported gun ownership rate is 42%. I would expect that screws a bit low as most gun owners I know would not volunteer that to a random person over the phone. Most of the people I know own guns. I can walk into the farm and home and walk out with a gun in about 10 minutes. I have a carry permit so my NICS check is not required. I don’t know anyone who open carries a rifle. I have never seen anyone open carrying a handgun here either. I would not worry about the guy you see with a gun. Statistically if you are killed by a gun you will either do it yourself or are involved in gangs and/or drugs. I don’t plan on either so there you go. I personally have 11 guns in my safe. Different kinds for different jobs. Some for hunting and some for the range.

    4. If you plan to have a gun for self defense you must shoot that gun regularly. Have someone wake you up at 3:00 AM and force you to change the batteries in your remote. Now think about pumping your body with adrenaline and making the remote deadly. That is why you need to be able to manipulate that weapon without thinking. An unloaded weapon is a club. There are lots of safes for storage at night that a child cannot get into. It is important to teach children about guns. All children need to learn what they are and what to do if they see one. Statistically though your neighbor’s pool is more deadly than his gun. When you are not in the home then the gun should be stored, secured, and unloaded. Best to keep it on your person until bedtime. Statistically you will never need it, but that holds true for fire extinguishers and smoke alarms as well. That is why you should have the freedom to choose how to protect yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

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