An Introduction to the Classification of Gunshot Wounds

"There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at without result."

Winston Churchill

Gunshot wounds are either penetrating or perforating. Penetrating wounds occur when a bullet enters an object and does not exit; in perforating wounds, the bullet passes completely through the object. A wound, however, can be both penetrating and perforating. A bullet striking the head may pass through the skull and brain before coming to rest under the scalp, thus producing a penetrating wound of the head, but a perforating wound of the skull and brain.

Gunshot wounds can be divided into four broad categories, depending on the range from the muzzle to target: contact, near contact, intermediate, and distant.

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