In spite of strict safety regulations concerning firearm shooting, several hundred conscripts still suffer acute acoustical trauma (AAT) in the Finnish Defence Forces (FDF) every year, resulting in symptoms such as tinnitus and/or hearing impairment. The causes leading to AAT, causative weapons and mode and level of hearing protection were analysed to find out why so many AATs still occur in the FDF. The material consisted of 119 patients of the total 163 AAT patients treated at the Central Military Hospital during the year 2000. In 87.5% of cases, the AATs occurred in unprotected ears. The most common causative weapon was the assault rifle. Most of the AATs occurred during combat training in the field. Immediately after the AAT. 46.7% of conscripts had hearing impairment and 94.2% tinnitus. Hearing loss, tinnitus or both were experienced by 45% of conscripts at the last follow-up. Careful planning of training exercises could probably prevent some but not all AATs.