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  1. Bakkerbaard

    Bakkerbaard Active Member

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    How to get shot in the torso

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Bakkerbaard, Sep 18, 2020.

    I'm about to shoot a character in the torso, which in and of itself is pretty straight forward. But to write an acceptable picture I need to know where she can get shot and I assume you'll need specifics.

    Victim: 40 year old female, normal build, in good health, strong willed
    Weapon: 9mm handgun, subcompact (if that means 'easily concealed') or Beretta style weapon
    Shot range: There's around a meter (3ft) or 1.5 meters (5ft) between them. Also, there's a third person who intervenes by going for the gun.
    Desired result: Survival, but with prolonged recuperation time. I'm thinking a month will do, but I can smudge it either way. No permanent damage like limps or eating through straws, just a scar.

    I'm guessing somewhere in the abdomen, but since all I know about guns comes from 80s Arnold Schwarzenegger, I figured I'd check.

    Edit: Decided on a classic Walther PPK/s for a weapon. I know it's not 9mm.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2020
  2. Delphine the Delphox

    Delphine the Delphox Member

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    There's not really a "magic spot" that's guaranteed survival. The torso is filled with vital organs, such as the heart, stomach, lungs, intestines, and so on. The major concern is blood loss. If a major artery is ruptured, you're dead in seconds. Even a shot in the shoulder can cause rapid bloodloss.

    The best hypothetical result would be if the bullet only grazed her torso, such as hitting at an angle, which is believable since someone else is going for the gun. A direct hit at center mass is almost a guaranteed death sentence.
     
  3. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    you could break a rib or two with a hiti n the side and live, or she could take a flesh wound and then injure herself diving to the ground for cover.

    you need to do your gun research as well... because theres no such thing as a berreta type weapon in terms of size... berretta are a manufacturer and make everything from full size handguns like the 92F down to tiny hide out guns

    one resource here


    also be aware that all common western 9mms fire the same load a 9x19mm cartridge with varying sizes of bullet 108gr to 128gr ... sub compact and compact pistols tend to have shorter barrels and fewer in the mag but at short range this will make no difference to the power with which the bullet hits the target
     
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  4. Bakkerbaard

    Bakkerbaard Active Member

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    I'll look into grazings. In my mind, with the limited knowledge I have at the moment, that doesn't seem like a dramatic enough picture.

    Was already on my to-do list, but for this question I quickly googled "9mm handguns" and I recognized the name Beretta, actually considered naming the 92F, but since I wasn't sure yet if one 9mm did the same as another, I chose not to go with a specific type yet.
     
  5. Cilogical

    Cilogical Active Member

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    Gun shot wound to the anterolateral right mid thorax could cause liver laceration(s) and/or haemopneumothorax - both easily survivable with rapid immediate prehospital intervention, conveyance and definitive care in hospital.

    Consideration of yaw, angle, momentum, chance of redirection if hit bony structures, chance of entering blood vessel and travelling into the heart or pulmonary vessels etc could change things.
     
  6. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

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    The simple answer is don't...

    But yeah, getting shot without body armor is not going
    to be happy fun times, and it looks like it's been pretty
    well covered by the others.

    It is also dependent on the type of bullet it is (yes this matters too)
    A hollow point is going to mushroom and make all kinds of mush
    of the body on the inside. Might spiral around a bit cutting up things
    until it stops as well.
    A regular round will just tear/burn it's way to a stop, provided it isn't
    a hi-power round, which will pass through so long as it doesn't glance off
    a bone or gets lodged in the spine. Leaving a bigger exit would than at
    entry, while mixing all the organs together as it carves a path through.
    RIP rounds explode into about a dozen sharp petals, and scatter out
    cutting little paths as random through everything. Makes a mess of things,
    and will be a pain in the ass for the surgeon(s) to find all the nasty little
    fragments.

    So yeah, maybe best to avoid getting shot when your characters can.
     
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  7. Bakkerbaard

    Bakkerbaard Active Member

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    Those are... pretty big words.
    The liver-thing you describe sounds like it would look adequately distressing at first sight, this is of interest to me. Since you come across as someone with some medical knowledge, I would like to ask a follow up question: Would a surgeon remove the bullet in that case? I'm given to understand that bullet removal isn't always done, but if we assume the bullet is still in one piece, it would be removed, right?

    And I'm quite sure the character would agree, but sometimes people have to make sacrifices, even if they're imaginary.

    I've decided on a weapon, a Walther PPK. So the bullet would be either .32 or .380.
    I believe the kind of powder matters as well, but so far I haven't looked into that very much, or if that's even a thing for the Walther.
     
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  8. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    The PPK is a bit of a cliche- its the James Bond gun for most of the films, i wouldn't worry about propelant type - that kind of detail isn't relevant to most audiences.

    Neither 7.65 browning (32 acp) or 380 acp are terribly hard hitting rounds, but you are talking about up close so they'd still absolutely be enough to kill or seriously wound... for 380 you're talking a 90-95 grain bullet, most likely to be either FMJ or JHP (Full metal jacket - the whole bullet is encased in a thin layer of copper , or jacketed hollow point, the same except it has a hollow in the nose which will lead to greater expansion. 7.65 browning is generally in the region of 60 grains.
     
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  9. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Modern Dinosaur Staff Contributor

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    This is difficult to define. Your best bet for an injury with only a month heal time and lack of scar mostly is going to probably be a grazing shot that glances a bone without breaking it.

    The problem is, there's just so damn many bad ways to get shot in the abdomen that lead to so many other issues or just plain death. Any shot between or the ribs can become a sucking chest would through a lung and likely lose the lung, a heart shot, a sternum fold, or a spinal break if the shot is good. Below the ribs you've got a million and one ways to go septic, whether it be the stomach, intestines, kidneys or something else. Abdomen shots are usually painful and slow deaths. And they certainly take either serious time to heal or they leave some gnarly scars, probably both.

    Probably best to hit a rib at an angle and maybe break it. They're a painful heal, but you can come out of it with relatively low damage and the heal time generally isn't terrible long if they take care of it right.

    Also, as Moose is talking about, your choice of weapon is a hugely determining factor. Get your caliber's and distances down to know the effects. 1.5 to 3 meters is quite short, so you may have powder burns with your shot too. Exit wound determined by caliber and distance, though I wouldn't recommend anything with an exit would when it come to the abdomen.
     
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  10. Thundair

    Thundair Contributor Contributor

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    One of the problems I found with research is I want to write it all for the reader. But as other famous writers have said, hide the research in the back—way back. So I would forget the size and stick with concealed. Also, your character could define the weapon by who they are. One of my characters drove a pickup with a gun rack and you would picture in your mind he’s not carrying a PPK, more likely a 1911.
    As far as being shot with a small grain bullet it will have to do damage. Maybe take out a kidney. That would put you in the hospital for a while. I have a character that was shot, and the bullet fragmented off the hip and buried pieces next to the spine, making an operation critical. That added tension to the scene and the recovery.
     
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  11. Cilogical

    Cilogical Active Member

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    So yeah, anterolateral right mid thorax means front of the body towards the right edge, almost on your side but not quite. Liver laceration is basically a cut to the liver tissue. Haemopneumothorax is a collapsed lung with blood involved too - this can cause breathing difficulties and coughing up of blood (which tends to be frothy with a pink tinge rather than bright red). Without rapid intervention this can lead to life threatening complications.

    To answer your question, I’m not an expert on surgery as I work prehospital, but as far as I understand they will generally try to remove bullets and bullet fragments, especially if they pose any threat to life or if there’s a risk of the bullet moving around. Those that aren’t may be because they’re located in a significantly high risk area for surgery or because they don’t pose any threat.

    The human body is actually really good at healing after rapid intervention. A month is a LONG time in medicine. You can have major surgery and they’re getting you out of bed and mobilising within 24-48 hours if they can. The young and healthy heal more quickly. A month after a fairly significant single injury, with no complications, is adequate time to recover enough to be pretty much 100% independent.
     
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  12. Bakkerbaard

    Bakkerbaard Active Member

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    I know. That's kinda why I went with it. I know the gun somewhat and it's reasonably small, so I read up on it.
    On a sidenote, that's also why I went with Berreta earlier. Turns out book-Bond uses it instead of a Walther.

    Yeah, I guessed that as well. That seemed like a lot of damage to deal with.

    Actually, the only thing the reader is gonna know when I'm done with this, is that she got shot with a Walther. I wasn't even going to name the gun initially, but I figured it would help explain how she's surviving this.
    The 'research' I'm doing here is more to determine what exactly I can get away with and remain reasonably believable.

    If I may dumb it down; the part where Rambo fixes himself with gunpowder in Rambo III.
    Which, I found, is not very good for research.

    The medic on hand already determined my character didn't have blood on the lips. I'll have to rework a bunch of stuff, but I think I'm settling on the liver laceration.

    And I basically pulled it out of my ass so I'd have a number. I based it on my own collapsed lung (no guns, just skateboards and hubris). I spent a week in the hospital (I know it should be less, but I was an idiot about it) and I couldn't work for three weeks at least because just getting off the couch was too exerting. Anyway, exact timing will be smudged in the final version.

    Anyway, thanks for the help.
     

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