Stud Guns

Stud guns are industrial tools that usespecialblankcartridges tofiremetal nails or studs into wood, concrete, orsteel(Figure 10.2A). Theblankcar-tridges range in caliber from .22 to .38. Theyareloaded withfast-burning propellants that develop pressures toohighforafirearm to contain. Thus, they should never be used in firearms. Themouthof theseblankcartridges is sealed with a cardboard disk that is color-coded toindicatethestrength of the propellant.

Stud guns have a built-in safety mechanismthat requiresaguardatthe end of the tool to be pressed firmly againstaflatsurfacebeforethe toolcan be fired. Workers have been known tousestudgunsfor "plinking" attin cans. They depress the safety guard with one hand and fire with the other.

Stud guns have caused a number of accidentaldeathsatindustrialsites after the nails or studs have either perforated walls or ricocheted off a hard surface, striking and killing workers. In the cases in which a nail has ricocheted prior to penetrating the body, the nail usually appears bent (Figure 10.2B). On occasion, stud guns have been used in suicides.8 The author has seen a number of accidents and one suicide with a stud gun. In the latter case, the deceased, a 50-year-old white male, shot himself in the forehead

Figure 10.2 (A) Stud gun; (B) ricochet bolt.

with a nail propelled by a .22 industrial blank propellant cartridge.9 A stellate-shaped entrance wound was present (Figure 10.3). The nail perforated the head, lodging in a wall behind the deceased. Interestingly, there was no visible soot blackening in the skin, soft tissue, or skull of the deceased.

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