This morning I got a very nice email from a concerned gentleman in a southern state. His NRA instructor gave him numerous pieces of incorrect information about his new GP100, one of which I’ve heard many times before: “Don’t carry Magnums, because the muzzle flash will blind you in a self-defense shooting!”
With all due respect, bull twaddle.
The .357 Magnum is notorious for muzzle flash, based largely on some well-known pictures from the 1980s. These days, even the Magnum uses flash-suppressed powders, and muzzle flash with the .357 has been dramatically reduced.
Still, the misconception remains that any muzzle flash will blind you and make it impossible to deliver followup shots. In my experience, that isn’t the case.
I once did an experiment, in front of witnesses, on our club’s indoor range – using not some wimpy .357 or even .44, but a Dan Wesson .445 SuperMag with a 3″ barrel. I personally loaded the rounds to “full house” status, which means maximum velocity, recoil, and flash.
We turned off the range lights except for one in the adjacent classroom, which gave just enough illumination for me to make out the IDPA target about 20 feet downrange.
KA-BOOOOOOOOM! If you’ve never experienced a SuperMag on an indoor range, it’s a treat. If, that is, you like lots of noise, concussion, and muzzle flash. We’re talking muzzle flash that witnesses confirmed extended 5 feet from the barrel. I wish we’d taken pictures.
Guess what? I could still see my target; I wasn’t blinded at all. So I fired another shot. Then another. Still no flash induced blindness. I could still see my target, but most importantly I could still hit it. Understand: I’m not saying that it had zero effect on my vision. I could see the afterimage of the fireball, but it wasn’t at all debilitating even in near darkness.
Is this conclusive proof? Of course not, it’s just one person’s experience – but it’s a heck of a lot more experience with the subject matter than most gunstore commandoes appear to have. No matter how impressive the fireball, it just doesn’t seem to possess sufficient intensity to markedly reduce one’s vision.
If a non-flash-suppressed SuperMag won’t do it, I hardly think a .357 with modern suppressed propellants could. Of course I’m willing to be proven wrong, but at this moment I consider it ill advised to pick a round (caliber or brand) based solely on muzzle flash characteristics.
-=[ Grant ]=-
- Posted by Grant Cunningham
- On August 19, 2009