BB and pellet guns--toys or deadly weapons?

J Trauma. 1983 Jul;23(7):566-9. doi: 10.1097/00005373-198307000-00004.


BB and pellet weapons are not included in gun control laws and are often sold as children's toys. Injuries caused by these weapons have been considered trivial unless they involve vulnerable surface organs such as the eye. The purpose of this study was to review the management of six cases of pellet or BB gun injuries that required abdominal exploration at the University of South Alabama Medical Center from January 1980 through June 1982. Five of the six patients had significant internal injuries including perforations of the stomach, jejunum, liver, and pancreas. The ballistics of pneumatic weapons are reviewed. The muzzle velocities of many of these weapons necessitate that wounds caused by these weapons be handled with the same principles as for any small-caliber, low-velocity (less than 1,200 feet/second) weapons. Public education programs are urgently needed to educate parents as to the potential danger involved in purchasing these weapons for unsupervised use as toys by children.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Injuries / etiology*
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Perforation / etiology
  • Liver / injuries
  • Male
  • Pancreas / injuries
  • Play and Playthings*
  • Stomach / injuries
  • Wounds, Gunshot / complications*