If you don’t have a suppressor on your home defense piece, to some degree this may help.
I certainly must give credit to the Hogue family, of Hogue Inc., for kick-starting this idea:
Years ago and long before the ATS was a twinkle in my eye, I was involved in action revolver shooting through ICORE (international confederation of revolver enthusiasts). Most of our big matches were held at the Hogue Range in Morro Bay, CA. One year, at the IRC (international revolver championships), it just so happened that fellow shooters and members of the Hogue family, always being creative and cutting edge, introduced the concept of shooting 38 short colts in our mostly S&W 357’s and 38’s.
Forever wanting to unearth any scheme that could improve my shooting scores, I proceeded to acquire a S&W Model 27 8 3/8” barrel. I then had the barrel fitted to an 8-shot S&W 627. I now had an 8-shot revolver with a very long barrel with which I could shoot 38 short colts.
After some experimentation, I settled on Starline 38 short colt brass and 2.4 grains of Clays behind a Bear Creek 158 (really 160) grain bullet. The chrono showed it definitely made power factor -- around 125,000. That smidgen amount of Clays completely burned in the 8 3/8” barrel, producing zero muzzle blast, while the main powder charge in the cylinder and the blast between the cylinder and the barrel, was less than everyone’s else’s. All together, the sound was so much (kind of a “pooofy”) less than other handgun cartridges that some, tongue-in-cheek, inquired if Crossman was doing my reloading. With all the free bore, accuracy would prove to be ok out to 25 yards and not so good beyond.
I have no doubt that without ear protection this load in the long barrel would still be an ear ringer. However, I also believe the above stated set-up would be less noisy than other standard loaded center fire cartridges and, in a pinch (without a suppressor), would be less painful. Years before I had my suppressed Sig Sauer 2022, this was my bedside home defense. Also, with the 8 3/8” barrel, it doubled as a great shillelagh.