Wound Ballistics

John S. Culp, MD
JAMA. 1988;260(22):3279. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410220061026.
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To the Editor. —  I would like to commend Dr Fackler1 for his excellent article in the May 13 issue of JAMA explaining the mechanisms of gunshot injury. Much misinformation continues to be propagated in both scientific and lay literature on this subject, and this article should help to reduce the confusion. It cannot be overemphasized that dogmatically basing treatment recommendations on velocity or energy level of the bullet is inappropriate. Too many factors influence the bullet-tissue interaction for any formula to be able to predict the severity of injury. Not having access to facilities for producing standardized ballistic gelatin targets or high-speed photographs, I have tested many types of bullets in some of the less realistic media Dr Fackler mentions and have found the shot-to-shot variability of results to be impressive. Were the figures illustrating wound channels typical specimens from large series or composites?I was interested in


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