Gunshot Wounds: Practical Aspects of Firearms, Ballistics, and Forensic Techniques, Third Edition, 3rd Edition (Hardback) book cover

Gunshot Wounds

Practical Aspects of Firearms, Ballistics, and Forensic Techniques, Third Edition, 3rd Edition

By Vincent J.M. DiMaio, M.D.

CRC Press

355 pages | 377 Color Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9781498725699
pub: 2015-10-21

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Written by the nation's foremost authority on gunshot wounds and forensic techniques as they relate to firearm injuries, this third edition of a bestseller provides critical updates to information on gunshot wounds and the weapons and ammunition used to inflict them. The book describes practical aspects of ballistics, wound ballistics, and the classification of various wounds caused by handguns, rifles, and shotguns. It also explains autopsy techniques and procedures and laboratory analyses relating to weapons and gunshot evidence. A much-needed update after nearly 20 years, the third edition of Gunshot Wounds provides the latest and most thorough information on firearms and best practices for examining firearm-related wounds.

Table of Contents

Firearms and Ammunition

Small Arms



Civilian Firearms in the United States

Right-to-Carry Permits

Source of Firearms Used By Criminals


General References

Forensic Aspects of Ballistics

Class and Individual Characteristics of Bullets

Comparison of Bullets

Cartridge Cases

National Integrated Ballistic Information Network

Base Markings on Bullets

Examination of Bullets for Tissue and Foreign Material

DNA Typing of Tissue on Bullets and Cartridge Cases

Fingerprints and Examination of Firearms for DNA

Black Powder Firearms

Discharge of a Firearm

Hang Fires—Misfires


General References

Wound Ballistics

Theory of Wounding

Wounding Characteristics of Handgun and Rifle Bullets


General References

Introduction to the Classification of Gunshot Wounds

Contact Wounds

Hard-Contact Wounds

Near-Contact Wounds

Intermediate-Range Wounds

Distant Gunshot Wounds


Cylinder Gap

Silencers: Sound Suppressors

Muzzle Brakes/Compensators

Flash Suppressors

Gas Ports/Vents

Miscellaneous Powder Patterns

Entrance Wounds

Microscopic Examination of Gunshot Wounds

Fate of Tissue from Entrance and Exit Defects

Graze/Tangential/Superficial Perforating Entrance Wounds

Stippling: Powder Tattooing and Pseudopowder Tattooing

Ricochet Bullets


Atypical Bullet Wounds of the Skull

Nonpenetrating Fatal Cranial Cavity Wounds

Intracranial Pressure Waves and Secondary Fractures of the Skull

Pseudoexit Wounds

Caliber Determination from Entrance Wounds in Skin and Bone

Bullet Wipe



Wounds due to Handguns

Handgun Wounds

Gas Injuries

Timed Test Firings

Muzzle Velocity of Saturday Night Specials

Addendum: Centerfire Handgun Cartridges


Wounds from Rimfire Firearms

.22 Magnum

.22 Short, Long, and Long Rifle Cartridges

.22 Ammunition

.177 Rimfire Ammunition

Wounds due to Rimfire Ammunition


General References

Wounds from Centerfire Rifles


Breech-Loading Rifles

Centerfire Rifle Bullets

Assault Rifles

Addendum: Common American Rifle Calibers


General Reference

Wounds from Shotguns

Shotgun Ammunition


Wound Ballistics of the Shotgun

Shotgun Wounds

Miscellaneous Observations

Taurus Judge


Bloody Bodies and Bloody Scenes

Physical Activity Following Gunshot Wounds


Wounds Seen in the Emergency Room

Minimal Velocities Necessary to Perforate Skin

Bullet Emboli

Gunshot Wounds of the Brain

Intrauterine Gunshot Wounds

Lead Poisoning from Retained Bullets

Location of Fatal Gunshot Wounds

Behavior of Ammunition and Gunpowder in Fires

Blunt Force Injuries from Firearms

Multiple Gunshot Wounds through One Entrance

Falling Bullets

Reaction-Response Times in Handgun Shootings

Nonlethal/Less-Lethal Ballistic Weapons


Weapons and Ammunition: Miscellaneous

Air/Nonpowder Guns


Zip Guns

Nail Guns and Powder-Actuated Tools

Captive Bolt Devices (Pistols)

Bang Stick, Power Head, or Shark Stick

Sympathetic Discharge of Rimfire Firearms

Bullets without Rifling Marks

Elongated Bullets

Cast Bullets

Sabot Ammunition

Tandem Bullets

Handgun Ammunition

Hollow-Point Design


Blank Cartridge Injuries

Interchangeability of Ammunition in Weapons

Markings and Foreign Material on Bullets

Effect of Environmental Temperature on Bullet Velocity



Virtual Autopsy: Virtopsy®


Detection of Gunshot Residues

Gunshot Residue



Correct Handling of Deaths from Firearms

Autopsy Report

Who Should Perform the Autopsy?


Suicide by Firearms

Suicide by Firearms

Suicides due to Long Arms

Gunshot Wound Suicides: Miscellaneous

Accidental Deaths from Firearms


More Guns: More Accidents, Homicides, and Suicides?


Appendix A: Stopping Power and Hollow-Point Pistol Ammunition

Appendix B: Forensic Autopsy in Gunshot Wound Cases

About the Author/Editor

Vincent J.M. Di Maio, MD, was a medical examiner and then deputy chief medical examiner in Dallas County, Texas. He then became the chief medical examiner in Bexar County (San Antonio), Texas from 1981 to 2006. He obtained his medical degree from SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York. He is board-certified in anatomical, clinical, and forensic pathology. He has over 40 years of experience as a forensic pathologist and has been recognized with several awards. He is a fellow of the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME) and the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. He has authored many scientific publications, letters, and medical textbook chapters, has written three other texts in forensic psychology, and is editor-in-chief of The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology.

About the Series

Practical Aspects of Criminal and Forensic Investigations

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Subject Categories

    BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
    LAW / Criminal Law / General
    LAW / Forensic Science