Gunshot wounds: 1. Bullets, ballistics, and mechanisms of injury

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1990 Oct;155(4):685-90. doi: 10.2214/ajr.155.4.2119095.


The nature and severity of a bullet wound depend on the characteristics of the bullet and of the tissues through which it travels. In addition to the mass and velocity of the bullet, its orientation and whether it fragments or deforms affect the nature of the wound. Two major mechanisms of wounding are described: crushing and stretching of tissue. Understanding the mechanisms by which bullets disrupt tissue can help physicians to evaluate and treat wounds.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Firearms*
  • Humans
  • Wounds, Gunshot / pathology
  • Wounds, Gunshot / physiopathology*