View Full Version : Gun shot wounds...

10-01-2009, 01:41 AM
I have very little experience with guns, and therefore have a very limited amount of knowledge regarding the various degrees of wounds and amount of time needed for proper healing.

I'm hoping someone can help me with this as my city librarian thinks I am rather odd.

I am currently working on a spy series in which a MC in two books get shot. Both are female. The first sustains a flesh wound to her upper right arm/shoulder. I'm hoping such a wound will bleed like a sieve, hurt like hell, and heal relatively fast. The shot was not intended for her, and therefore only grazed her arm. Distance approximately fifteen-twenty feet. Recommended gun (must be silencer equipped)?

The second is a leg wound, preferably upper thigh, a clean through and through shot. This wound has time to heal, although I would like to push the healing limits on such a wound. The MC has had soldier-training, has a strong distaste for anything feminine, and is stubborn beyond reason. She will do whatever someone tells her she can't do just to prove them wrong. Including/Especially doctors. I need to know how long she will need to use crutches, and the least amount of time she may be bed-ridden.

Thanks in advance for any help you may give.

10-01-2009, 02:55 AM
If you want a relatively small wound that won't do a lot of damage, you'll want to stick with a small calibre weapon like .9 mm or 22 round.

A shot in the leg is rather dangerous, it has a pretty good sized artery running through it, not to mention the muscle damage you could do.

There's also the bullets to think of. Different tips do different damage. Some bullets mushroom, others fragment, some will break bones, others won't. Or if you're dealing with a shotgun then you have bird shot, buck shot, target and so forth. The further the distance the less damage because it spreads.

Hopefully a more versed person will come along and give you better specifics.

10-01-2009, 07:13 AM
What is the nationality of the gunman?

As far as the wound goes, tell us how long she needs to be laid up and we'll try to work something out :)

10-01-2009, 08:08 PM
Thanks for the comments and the information on small caliber weapons.

Both women are originally British but they operate world-wide, the company they work for is based in America. They have had years of intensive military-style training and are in their late-twenties. Both weapons need to be something a woman could handle without a ton of kickback. I believe a .9 or 22 mm would work for this?

MC #2 will be shot close range in the leg, distance five to seven feet. Heavy recuperation can last 2 months, ideally needs to be on crutches before then. I want to avoid artirial and bone damage, muscle damage is okay. 4-6 months is the max I want her to spend recovering, the shorter the better - only because she's one to push herself to the extreme. I don't want her to get shot on Tuesday and walk by Thursday, but I do need her up and in action a little before recommended with the option of aggravating her wound by doing so.

10-01-2009, 09:11 PM
The most common military handgun round these days is 9mm (9x19), but what your characters are actually shot with might well depend upon what part of the world they’re operating in, and when. Very common arms one might find internationally are Browning Hi-Powers and pistols like the CZ-75. Outside of that, it seems likely that your characters might run afoul of someone toting a Makarov or Walther PP series pistol of some sort. The Mak is chambered not in standard 9mm (9x19), but a slightly shorter cartridge, the 9x18. And the likely most common PP chambering are .32ACP and .380 (aka “9mm short,” aka “9mm kurz,” aka “9x17”) -- the PP series including the PPK and PPK/S. Of course your characters might also run across someone with a Tokarev or a Walther P38, but the first three choices may be the most likely.

Sticklers for terminology would insist that a “silencer” should be properly termed a “suppressor.”

As for the gunshot to upper arm and shoulder, fictional characters often seem to do quite well with such “minor wounds,” :) but if the brachial artery is hit, your characters will probably bleed to death unless they get help quick, and if the bones or joints are struck, your characters will be seriously out of action. No doubt one of our doctor members will show up to say something more useful.*

As to the leg wound, your character(s) may not need crutches at all. At least the various anecdotal wounding accounts of .22LR, 9mm, .40S&W, and .45ACP that I’ve read seem to indicate varying degrees of discomfort, but few who weren’t struck in the bones or joints seemed to need crutches, some even reporting having walked, while wounded, with little to no impairment. I suspect that post-wounding mobility may well have much to do with the efficacy of various pain medications. *(repeat comment above)

Kathie Freeman
10-04-2009, 07:54 PM
There's no such thing as a "clean through and through". The exit wound is always a nasty mess. The extent depends on the ammunition used, and you can vary this according to your needs. Hollow points do the most damage, so if you want your MC to be on crutches, this is your best bet. Steel jacketed do the least damage, so that or copper-clad will do for you grazed arm.

10-04-2009, 10:50 PM
When I said "clean through and through" I simply meant that there was no bone damage involved, just flesh and possibly muscle. Still, I appreciate your comment Kathie.

Would a hollow point do a ton of damage if it was involved in the arm-grazing? For example, would the minimal contact with my MC's arm cause the hollow-point to begin its expansion as its designed to do upon impact? I'm leaning towards the hollow point because the shooter is aiming for damage. However, my MC is not the intended target. Her arm is grazed while protecting the intended target.

As a side note, would the use of a P3AT be plausible for my MC? Due to locale, she needs a weapon that is easily accessible and small enough to fit in a small purse. From my research I've found it can carry seven rounds of .22mm. Can such a weapon also be equipped with a suppressor, either commercially made or special-order?

10-05-2009, 12:35 AM
A hollow point would do more damage, most likely, but not necessarily "a ton". It would be more likely to leave some bullet fragments behind. Hollow points are notorious for acting unpredictably. A HP's primary function is to impart all of the bullet's energy into the target, thereby preventing "overpenetration" which wastes energy and is dangerous to bystanders. Its secondary function is to tear a larger, more ragged hole. Terciary, to impart hydrostatic shock to the area around the wound, which in certain cases, can cause organ failure or temporary loss of consiousness.

In an arm or shoulder, with no bone involvement, you'd probably come out ok (after surgery), provided no major arteries were severed.

Certain HP brands can become clogged with clothing fibers and will fail to expand.

10-05-2009, 01:34 PM
.22 caliber is 0.22 inches. Not millimeters. 22mm would be an anti-aircraft round. And the Kel-Tec P3AT is .380 caliber, not .22. .380 is like a slightly less powerful 9mm (not .9mm, that would be tiny) round. As for a suppressor, it would need to be custom made and the gun itself would need a slightly longer, threaded barrel. This is feasible, but the gun would be at least twice its normal length with the suppressor fitted, so the purse has to be 10 or so inches long to properly conceal it.

10-05-2009, 09:14 PM
Thanks for the corrections. I went to a gun range and got inundated with caliber sizes and the differences between hollow-point and jacketed rounds. It's about two pages of scribbles that I'm trying to make heads or tails of.

From everyone's advice, this is what I've come up with.

MC#1 will be shot from a distance of about fifteen feet by a hollow-point Markova. The bullet will graze her arm however the minimal contact will not cause the hollow-point to expand. Thank you hammerklavier for noting that hollow-points predictably act unpredictably.

MC#2 will be shot from a distance of about five feet by a Walther P22, no bone damage, still haven't decided about muscle damage. Thank you Summonere for the comment about crutches not being necessary - that is extremely helpful.

Thank you, everyone for taking the time to respond to this thread. I believe I have what I need for the moment, but feel free to keep leaving comments if you like as I will still be checking the thread.

10-06-2009, 04:21 AM
MC#1 will be shot from a distance of about fifteen feet by a hollow-point Markova.

Do you mean a Makarov pistol firing hollow-points?

10-06-2009, 05:16 AM
I think the Russians did make some surpressed versions of the Makarov, but they aren't as quiet as other surpressed pistols due to their blowback operation.

Of course what you see in the movies isn't accurate, most surpressed pistols would make a noise like a loud clap or a sort of a loud hollow "poing". The point is to reduce the noise and change it enough so that it goes unnoticed.