I normally would never try to sway someone any direction when it comes to choosing a firearm for self-defense, but I read the letter by John Lawrence (Speak Out, May/June 2009) where he says worrying about one's hearing is not important when a life is at stake. I probably would agree except I'm one who has serious hearing loss due to the blast of a .357 magnum. When I was in my early 20s, I saw a crow feasting on the corn I had just planted in a nearby field. I grabbed my Blackhawk, crept up to a barn near the crow, aimed and fired. I dropped the revolver and fell to the ground because the blast from the revolver was so loud it perforated my left eardrum. I would liken it to getting an ice-pick rammed into your ear canal. With one shot, I was incapacitated by the blast--to say the least. Had I been defending my life I don't believe I could have recovered in time to make another shot. I couldn't even stand up due to the vertigo, I'm sure the blast bouncing off of the tin on the barn was the reason it messed up just one ear (the other ear was unharmed), but I can only imagine what would happen if you fired a .357 magnum inside your house. Because of my stupidity I now have incessant ringing in my left ear I will have to live with from now on.
I keep a S&W model 65 at my bedside, but it's loaded with standard .38 semi-wadcutters. I don't want to drop my gun if I'm forced to defend my household.