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Regulator,
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Gents,

Was reviewing some test results today and wondered why no manufacturer states the "flash" characteristicss of their loads. For those night encounters that can be critical.
If you've seen the cover of Mas' Ayoob's book, "In the Gravest Extreme", it depicts a shooter firing a .357 Magnum at night. The results are rather spectacular and bring new meaning to the term "you light up my life". Believe the load in question was a very early Federal 125 grain load.
Do any manufacturers specify the flash characteristics of their loads, do we have a criteria for measuring those characteristics, and is there a source for this information already out there?

Would be nice to have this for most defensive calibers and loads.

Just a thought.

Wes
 

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Hello, sir. I've never worried about flash too much as I've primarily used 9mm's and .45's, but it is my understanding that most of the premium defense rounds now use flash retardant powders. Hopefully, some of the good folks here will have more on this topic than do I.

Best.
 

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My personal (and highly limited) experience with this:

At a handgun training course we did some night shooting, some of it using our own (in my case Surefire) flashlights, some of it using random light sweeps provided by the instructor (simulating passing car headlights) to ID the targets. During that course I used both the aluminum-cased Blazer 115 gr ammo, and Winchester white box (I think it was 115 gr also) in 9mm. I think we fired about 20-25 rounds.

Not once did I notice my muzzle flash. I was too busy trying to see the target. I doubt if CCI Blazer and Winchester bother putting specially formulated flash retardant powder in their budget ammo lines. Ergo, I stopped worrying about trying to determine if a particular ammo has flash retardant powder.

As an interesting aside, nearly everyone's accuracy IMPROVED while night shooting. More focus on the front sight, couldn't see distractions, was the instructor's explanation.

My two cents!

elb
 

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I only observe significant muzzle flash with very short barrels, like a friend has a SeeCamp pistol with a 2"barrel that produces visible flash in daylight. The powder just doesn't have enough barrel to finish burning and thus the flash.
I've also noted a different type of "flash" with a few blowback pistols where the breech starts back and a little flame is visible as it opens. Maybe due to a weak recoil spring??
These observations were with someone else doing the shooting. I have no info on different ammo producing the flash Wes is asking about.
og
 
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Triton and Speer maybe others offer "Short barrel" ammo, Best guess from my reloading experience is they most likely use faster burning powder which if fired in a longer barrel should produce less flash than standard rounds, I beleive Gun tests did a review of the question you asked measureing the light output of various rounds and powders basically faster powder less flash.
 

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good test for someone with a little time, money, and night time shooting place. My range is just too spooky at night to try it.
og....who chickens out at night!!
 
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Remington Golden Saber in 9mm +P, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP use powders that yield low muzzle flash.

When comparing them with those same loads from Black Hills ammo firing ar night the results were literally night and daylight. Oh yeah I love Black Hills ammo and trust my life to it, but you do get considerable muzzle flash with it. Also Black Hills 9mm +P loads are also much louder than other 9mm +P loads from Federal, Speer, and even the very hot Cor-Bon. Someone once commented to me at the range that my Black Hills 9mm +P sounds about as loud as a full power .357 Magnum. It's true
 
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From my personal experience (YMMV):

The Rem GS usually has little or no flash, but their other JHP ammo usually has a lot. The 115/9 +P, 155/40, and 185/45 JHPs did when I shot them.

Federal's HS, EFMJ, Tactical, and HST had no flash, but their Personal Defense ammo had a lot. The 200/45 +P EFMJ had none, the 165/45 EFMJ and HS had a bright flash.

Little or no flash from any Speer or Winchester ammo.

Magsafe's First Defense solid copper hollow points had some, but in low light was not distracting, and not blinding in no light.
 
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brokenarrow: My experience is similar with respect to Remington GS, Speer GDHP, Federal HS/HST, Winchester Ranger Talon. All have very low muzzle flash characteristics out of autopistols.

I've also seen good results with CorBon and Winchester USA 9mm and 40 S&W loads.

I can't say that I've used or seen ANY revolver loads that even approximated "low flash", although more modern loadings are better than the dinosaur-hunter loads such as the one illustrated on the cover of Ayoob's book. The flame that comes out of the barrel-cylinder gap leaves a butterfly-shaped image burned into your retina that really interferes with fast follow-up shots.

We held a night shoot at our local IDPA club last October and it was interesting to see some of the differences. One guy shooting a Glock .40 S&W was paired with a guy shooting a Glock .357 Sig. I don't recall the bullet weight, but they were close (130 gr and 125 gr, respectively, IIRC). The muzzle flash from the .40 was a tiny orange bloom that was barely visible. The flash from the .357 Sig lit up the stage. Same brand of ammo, too. Another guy, against my recommendation, brought a revolver. The folks at the clubhouse could see his muzzle flashes from 275 yards away.
 
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