How Loud Is A .22 Rifle?

Do you want to bring your new .22 rifle afield but have the pressing question: how loud is a .22 rifle?

Well, we got you! A rifle is a great weapon to bring when you’re hunting, but it’s also important to be aware of the firearm noise levels that come with it. The decibel level of a .22 rifle can be loud enough to cause permanent damage to your hearing if you don’t take the necessary precautions.

It’s important to understand what levels of noise are safe and how to protect yourself while shooting. In this post, we’ll explain the decibel levels of a .22 rifle, the impact of gun noise on hearing, and the tips to have a quieter round of shooting with less noise.

The Decibel Scale and Perception of Sound

You know that a .22 rifle is loud, but just how loud? To get an idea, consider that a .22 rifle produces levels ranging from 120 to 140 decibels, which is pretty loud than the sound of a standard conversation, and can cause permanent hearing damage if not properly protected against.

The decibel scale is logarithmic, which means that small increases in decibels can lead to a huge increase in perceived loudness. For example, a 10 dB increase is equivalent to perceiving the sound twice as loud. This means that a .22 rifle is more than twice as loud as a standard conversation.

Factors that make a difference in the .22 Riffle’s noise level

You may already know that a .22 rifle produces noise ranging from 120 to 140 decibels, but several factors influence the loudness of a .22 rifle.

Different types of ammunition, barrel length, whether or not a suppressor is used, and shooting technique can all impact the loudness of a .22 rifle.

To truly understand the noise of a .22 rifle, it’s important to understand these various factors and how they affect the sound. 

Ammunition type

Different types of ammunition used in a .22 rifle can affect the noise level, ranging from 120 to 140 decibels. 

Standard .22 rounds are generally the quietest, producing around 120 decibels. Subsonic rounds are even more silent, creating a noise of around 110 decibels. But a .22 riffle with standard velocity ammo can make up to 140 decibels.  

The sound level of .22 rounds can also change depending on the gun type. For example, a .22 pistol may produce a sound level of around 125 decibels, while an unsuppressed rifle may reach up to 135 decibels. Suppressors are effective in reducing the noise of .22 rounds.

Barrel length

You might not think that barrel length plays a role in how loud a .22 rifle is, but it can significantly impact the decibel level of each shot. A longer barrel produces quieter shots than a shorter one, which can make a difference when shooting in close quarters or near other people.

Below is a table to show the decibel levels produced by different barrel lengths when shooting a .22 rifle. 

Barrel Length (inches)Decibel Level (dB)

Impact of Wearing Hearing Protection

Protecting your hearing from the loud noise of firearms is essential. Wearing earplugs, earmuffs, or electronic hearing protection can make a big difference when shooting guns. 

Research has shown that earplugs can reduce noise by up to 30 decibels, while earmuffs may reduce noise by up to 25 decibels. Electronic hearing protection can be adjusted to block out loud noises while still allowing you to hear low-level sounds.


Earplugs are the simplest and most convenient way to protect your hearing when firing a .22 rifle. They block out the loud, high-frequency noises emitted by a .22 rifle, which can reach up to 140 decibels. 

Earplugs are the most cost-effective way to protect your hearing, with disposable and reusable options available. Disposable earplugs are made of foam, while reusable earplugs are made of silicone or wax and can be washed and reused multiple times. 


Wearing earmuffs is an easy and comfortable way to keep your hearing safe when shooting a .22. Earmuffs are designed to fit snugly over your ears and reduce noise by up to 30 decibels. 

Not only will your hearing be better protected, but you’ll be able to hear conversations and instructions more clearly. Earmuffs are lightweight and adjustable, making them comfortable and easy to wear. 

Also, earmuffs are inexpensive, so you don’t have to break the bank to get the protection you need. With the right earmuffs, you can keep your hearing safe and enjoy shooting your .22 rifle without worry.

Electronic hearing protection

Technology has made it possible to keep your hearing safe while shooting a .22 with electronic hearing protection. It’s a hearing protection device that utilizes advanced technology to detect the sound of a gunshot and automatically shut off the sound before it reaches your ears. 

Electronic hearing protection is an effective way to protect your hearing from the loud noise of .22 rifles. It’s an ideal choice for hunters, recreational shooters, and anyone who needs to protect their hearing in noisy environments. 

Risks of high gun noise level

You should know the risks of shooting guns without proper hearing protection. Exposure to high levels of gun noise can cause various hearing-related issues, such as tinnitus and permanent or temporary hearing loss.

It’s essential to take precautions to protect your hearing when shooting firearms to avoid these potentially serious side effects.


Long-term exposure to .22 rifles can cause tinnitus, a condition characterized by a persistent ringing or buzzing in the ears. Tinnitus occurs when the auditory nerve is damaged from exposure to loud noise, such as the sound of a .22 rifle going off.

Tinnitus can have a devastating impact on a person’s life, as it can affect their ability to concentrate, sleep, and communicate. 

While hearing protection won’t completely eliminate the risk of developing tinnitus, it can reduce it significantly. With the right precautions, you can enjoy shooting .22 rifles while protecting your hearing. 

Temporary or permanent hearing damage

Now that you know the loudness of a .22 rifle, you must also be aware of the potential for temporary or permanent hearing loss it can cause, like noise-induced hearing loss. Gunshots, even from a .22 rifle, emit loud sounds that cause damage if exposed to them without protection.

This is why it’s important to use protection every time you shoot. Here are four ways to ensure you protect your hearing:

  1. Wear earplugs or earmuffs when shooting your .22 rifle. Earplugs and earmuffs can reduce gunshot noise by up to 30 decibels.
  2. Use suppressors to trap and cool down the gas released when firing. This can reduce noise exposure significantly.
  3. Choose the right ammunition. Subsonic rounds can reduce noise levels.
  4. Double up on protection. Wearing both earplugs and earmuffs can provide maximum protection.

Tips for Reducing Noise Level of .22 Riffle

If you’re looking to reduce the noise of your .22 rifle, there are a few things you can do.

These methods will help you keep the noise down while ensuring you get the accuracy and power you need from your rifle.

Use subsonic ammunition

Subsonic ammunition can make the .22 rifle quieter, making it safer for shooters and those nearby. Subsonic ammunition is designed to produce sound levels below the speed of sound, usually around 110 decibels. 

Also, the use of subsonic ammunition for hunting can be more effective in concealing the hunter’s presence, allowing them to get closer to their target without scaring it away.

Install a suppressor

Installing a suppressor can help reduce the noise of your .22 rifle significantly, allowing you to shoot without worrying about the noise disturbing others.

Suppressors work by trapping the gas and cooling it down before it exits the barrel, reducing the muzzle blast and noise. This can reduce the sound of a .22 caliber rifle by up to 30 decibels, making shooting much more pleasant.

Suppressors are legal in most states and require a special license to possess, but obtaining one is becoming easier and cheaper due to the Hearing Protection Act of 2017.


Now that you’ve seen how loud is a .22 rifle, we hope that you treat every hunting session responsibly, whether you’re hunting small game or big game. Note that the sound a .22 rifle produces has potential risks, so always use protection when shooting any firearm to reduce exposure to its gunshot noise.

Do you want to take your .22 rifle into the field? Then explore the hunting opportunities across the United States in our Hunt-By-State guide.

John Uniforme
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