What Does A Gunshot Sound Like WIDEWhat Does A Gunshot Sound Like WIDE

Estimated Reading Time : 3 Minutes

Gunshots are very loud, they exceed the OSHA threshold for permanent hearing damage.

Silencers reduce the sound level of gunshots to a hearing-safe level, protecting your ears.

The best way to understand how loud a suppressed or unsuppressed gunshot can be is to compare those sounds to common noises. 

Check out our chart below for a full range of decibel ratings of unsuppressed and suppressed firearms, and sounds similar to firearms.

Silencer Shop is the easiest way to get a silencer and to protect your hearing while you're enjoying your time on the range or in the woods.

What Does A Gunshot Sound Like?

The tone of a gunshot ranges from high-pitched pistols, which sound like a popping balloon, to larger caliber rifles that have a more boomy sound like thunder. Gunshots also produce concussive muzzle blasts that hit your sinuses and chest akin to the loud bass from a subwoofer. To top it off, if supersonic ammunition is being fired, expect the gunshot noise to sound sharp, like the crack of a whip. Using a silencer drastically reduces the volume and tone of these ear-piercing gunshots down to a level that is much safer for your ears. Suppressed gunshots sound much more like a nail gun that an unsuppressed weapon, and can be even more quiet when usi

how many decibels is a gunshothow many decibels is a gunshot

How Loud Is A Gunshot?

Most unsuppressed gunshot noise is louder than a fighter jet at takeoff and will cause substantial pain. In fact, gunshots are loud enough to cause some degree of permanent hearing loss after exposure to just a single shot. This is why it is recommended that you shoot with some form of hearing protection or with a suppressor.

Suppressed gunshots take that eardrum-damaging noise level to a much more comfortable and safe volume. By simply attaching a silencer, that fighter jet sound gets dulled down to about the same pressure level as hitting a nail with a hammer.

How Many Decibels Is A Gunshot?

Most centerfire rifles and many centerfire pistols shooting unsuppressed are in the range of 160 to 168 dB. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), limited exposure to impulse (extremely short-duration) sounds, like gunshot sounds, under 140 dB of sound pressure level will not cause hearing damage. Silencers reduce the sound pressure of your gun by 25 to 40 dB. This is similar to the protection gained from the most common over-ear hearing protection, which has a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 25 to 33 dB.

Gunshot Decibels by Caliber: Common Firearm Decibel Levels

While exact gunshot decibels by caliber ratings vary based on factors including the manufacturer of the firearm, climate, ammo, and suppressor, the below gun decibel chart is a guideline of gunshot volume unsuppressed and suppressed.



Firearm Decibel Levels

.357 Magnum revolver 

169 dB

.308 Win hunting rifle 

167 dB

5.56 NATO / .223 Rem AR-15 w/ 16-inch barrel 

165 dB

9mm pistol, e.g. GLOCK 17 

162 dB

12 Gauge shotgun 

161 dB

.22 LR pistol 

157 dB

.22 LR rifle firing subsonic ammo (e.g. CCI Standard Velocity) 

140 dB



Firearm Decibel Levels

.308 Win hunting rifle

134 dB

5.56 NATO / .223 Rem AR-15 w/ 16-inch barrel 

136 dB

9mm pistol

124 dB

.22 LR pistol

118 dB

.22 LR rifle

113 dB


Things That Sound Like Gunshots dB Chart

Firearm Decibel Levels


165-180 dB


150-170 dB

747 Engine

160 dB

Police Siren

120 dB

Pneumatic Nail Gun

110 dB



Gunshots are loud, really loud, and without the proper hearing protection will quickly cause permanent hearing damage including tinnitus. Luckily, this ear-shattering volume can be easily tamed with the addition of a silencer. When you're shooting suppressed, much of the gunshot sound and nearly all of the concussion is eliminated. Silencers will protect your hearing, improve your shooting experience, and put a smile on your face.

Protect your hearing from permanent damage and upgrade your loadout with a silencer.