A retrospective survey was undertaken to establish the pattern and incidence of gunshot wounds seen at a South London hospital. Forty-two gunshot wounds were seen in 1993 and 1994. All the patients were under 39 years of age and 40 were male. All patients had low energy transfer injuries, having been shot with hand-guns (n = 36), seven of whom had multiple bullet or shotgun wounds (n = 6). Sixteen patients had head, neck or chest injuries, eight of whom died. Seven patients were wounded in the abdomen or pelvis and 31 had limb injuries. Thirty-six surviving patients had a total of 33 operations and a mean hospital stay of 7.65 days (range 0-105 days).