View Full Version : Bullet Grazing Head Question

10-16-2018, 05:13 PM
Hey, everyone! This is a major question that I cannot get a good answer on Google, and no neurologist I've contacted is willing to talk to me about this.

So in my novel, which is about terrorism, the main character's cousin teaches him to fire a gun in a forest, but while they're there, a terrorist arrives and shoots at them. They survive and jump into a lake to hide (the cousin shoots the attacker to death), but the main character suffers a bullet graze across the side of his head (ideally alongside the parietal ridge). I wanted to know if there were any immediate and long-term effects to this, such as temporary blindness, vertigo, ear ringing, etc. I intend for him to survive long enough to arrive at a hospital for stitches. It doesn't penetrate his brain, but I want him to have at least one scar on his body as a reminder of what he's survived through.

Thank you so much for this!

10-16-2018, 08:24 PM
What do you need? A grazing shot to the skull could be serious or inconsequential. Write it accordingly. No doctor can tell you the result of a hypothetical like this, heck, neurologists can't even tell you with the patient sitting in front of them.

Given your description, stitches wouldn't normally be needed on a scalp wound, medical attention is cleansing, antibiotics and bandaging. Scar would be under the hair but could be felt if you need it. Realistically, no hospital needed for the results you want.


10-16-2018, 11:06 PM
Heyo! Thanks!

I think what the problem is that I don't know what he would be going through. I'd like for him to have a scar somewhere on his body, but if I did the head, I wanted him to be able to function without many life changes. I guess I don't know the different impacts you can have depending on what part of the head was affected. My main problem is knowing what will happen to him immediately and any other results that might impact the rest of him.

10-19-2018, 11:11 PM
Blacbird's got a valid point, but if you write it well and somewhat realistically, you'll avoid the tropey part of it.

Keep in mind that head wounds bleed a lot compared to other wounds, due to the number of blood vessels in a relatively thin layer of flesh.

Most bullets are moving in excess of 900 feet per second, depending mostly on caliber and somewhat on the range. That's typically going to stun anyone who gets hit that way, especially someone who's not used to being shot at.

10-20-2018, 12:43 AM
I'd like for him to have a scar somewhere on his body, but if I did the head, I wanted him to be able to function without many life changes.

If it has to be from a bullet, shoot him in the butt. Otherwise, knife would makes a better scar, or claws/talons, road rash or dozens of other options. A knife across the cheek can leave a scar with no real lasting issues (Don't ask me how I know...). Sledding into a barbed wire fence can leave a nasty scar under the chin. The recoil from a .44 Magnum driving the hammer into your forehead, a poodle biting your lip and playing Evil Knievel on your bike can all leave lasting scars. Heck, chicken pox and poison ivy can leave nasty scars. Again, just don't ask...


Thomas Vail
10-24-2018, 08:18 PM
Darn those terrorists, always skulking around in the woods! ;)

The way you describe the grazing wound, it should mainly be a superficial but messy injury, who worst consequences would probably come from jumping in the lake. There's very little force being applied to the skull that would cause anything else. Why would there be ear ringing (was the shooter very close and they didn't have ear protection?) temporary blindness or any of the rest?