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Mon Dec 24, 2012, 06:12 PM

More gun terms to keep straight, list of definitions:

As noted elsewhere, in order to have a serious national debate on gun control, it's important that we get our terms straight.

This is not an argument one way or another, just a list of terms.




entrance wound
a light to moderate blood-loss wound caused by a bullet entering the body, typically surrounded by a reddish-brown area of abraded skin ("abrasion ring")

exit wound
a moderate to profuse blood-loss wound cause by a bullet escaping the body, larger in diameter and more irregular than an entrance wound, characterized by extruding tissue and the absence of an abrasion ring

penetrating wound
a gunshot wound which exhibits an entrance wound, but no exit wound

perforating wound
a gunshot wound exhibiting both entrance and exit wounds

contact (or hard-contact) wound
a gunshot wound resulting from the muzzle of a firearm being held in direct contact to the body at the time of discharge, characterized by searing of the skin and the presence of powder blackening at the immediate edge of the wound, with soot and unburned gunpowder in the wound track

near-contact wound
a gunshot wound resulting from the muzzle of a firearm held in close proximity to the body at the time of discharge, characterized by an entrance wound surrounded by a wider circle of soot, and seared, blackened skin and numerous reddish-brown to orange-red lesions around the entrance to the wound

distant wound
a gunshot wound resulting from the muzzle of a firearm at a distance from the body at the time of discharge; distant wounds leave no marks beyond those produced by the bullet perforating the skin

powder tattooing
a geographic appearance on the skin caused by a gun fired at close range, in which the still-burning gunpowder embeds in the skin and cannot be wiped away; useful in determining whether a victim was alive when shot (reddish-brown to orange red powder tattooing) or dead at the time of the gunshot wound (gray or yellow powder tattooing)

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