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Old June 11, 2007, 04:30 PM   #1
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What happens when somebody is shot? (Rated PG-13)

In the movies (1970-present) whenever somebody is shot with a handgun or rifle, a big hole(s) appears and a gallon of blood spurts through their clothes all over the camera followed by the guy getting thrown back into furniture, a window or a door. If it is a shotgun, their entire chest explodes through their clothes with enough blood to keep an elephant alive and they of course go flying acrosst the room into the furniture.

Now we all have said over and over again that no handgun, shotgun or rifle will phyically pick you up and throw your body back. But the blood spurting stuff is even more absurd to me. Why would blood spurt out when the bullet is going in? Even if it did, why would liquid (blood) spurt through your clothing instead of soaking into it?) When a you are cut or penetrated by a spike or needle, blood doesn't just appear and spurt out. It takes a few moments to surface and slowly bleeds. (my friends used to all say back in high school, "Oh it will spurt out if you hit an artery. There are a million arteries in your body?")
Old movies (1970s and back) seemed to have shooting right. A shot rings out. A guy stumbles grabbing his side or chest and eventually goes down from pain or being shot multiple times.

Last edited by Doug.38PR; June 13, 2007 at 11:22 AM. Reason: needed to warn the young ones before entering
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Old June 11, 2007, 05:28 PM   #2
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I started a thread like this, and every reply was generally the same; "That's hollywood bunk!" It wouldn't do the movie well if you heard the gurgling and wheezing of blood in the lungs, and the fact that they can't hold air, And watching someone bleed out over 20 minutes would be lackluster. What burns me is the way they paint gun owners as bungling idiots who store guns in shoeboxes.
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Old June 11, 2007, 06:22 PM   #3
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I think that if a person was shot with a deer rifle it would be much like a deer being shot. You would probably drop on the spot and die right quickly.
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Old June 11, 2007, 06:30 PM   #4
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Cavitation, or as we all know - why rifle rounds (though smaller in caliber than handgun rounds) - cause those funnel-shaped wounds that are way bigger in the back than front. Tissue gets pushed out the way real fast. Then there's a vacuum. Then the tissue rushes back to fill the void. Tissue is pretty elastic, but not that elastic. Blood will spurt forward, in the opposite direction of the bullet, (as well as forward) when this cavitation happens. Also, given the speed, design, etc. of rifle rounds, those things have a tendency to tumble (yaw) and fragment. Your end result is a bunch of mush.

Instead of flying back, you might go forward. Say what? A sick but true example is JFK's head, crazy conspiracy theories aside. He was shot from the back; everyone knows that his head cocked backward. when that bullet entered the back of his skull, it transferred little energy, because it was just zipping through. It slowed down, so when it exited, it was able to transfer more energy. All that mushed tissue and skull fragments exited on the other end, taking a whole lot of momentum with it. A bunch of guts flying forward means that by reaction, his head flew backwards - even though he was shot from behind.

A very, very simplistic example is leaky faucet dripping into a sinkful of water - the water splashes up, yeah? Now imagine that, but instead of drops of water, you have gyroscoping pieces of copper and lead (and maybe even steel) flying faster than the speed of sound.

If you want gunfight and gun injury accuracy in movies, then there's the movie Heat - (hah, I beat the rest of you to it!). It's so accurate, it inspired the Bank of America robberies in LA, and encouraged cops to equip their cars with rifles over shotguns. The only innaccuracy is that all those criminals should have bleeding ears after shooting from inside their getaway car.

The thing that gets me more than people flying backwards when shot, are full-auto guns with limitless ammo, i.e. the Die Hard series. Watching Heat, you'll notice that those guys are constantly reloading their M16A1s. They also don't just hold down the trigger and spray; they use very controlled, brief bursts to conserve and maintain aim.
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Old June 11, 2007, 06:38 PM   #5
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It's a splash effect. Kind of like how the water will splash when you drop a pebble into it instead of following the pebble down into the water.

Strangely enough steel does the same thing, moisture content or not. You ever look at a pc of steel that had a bullet penetrate it? Looks like it was splashing out the direction the bullet entered. I don't quite get that but it does.

I ND'd a 25 auto into my hand at point blank years ago. It was a pretty big splash.
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Old June 11, 2007, 07:48 PM   #6
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even if it does spurt out of a wouldn't spurt through your clothes, it would soak into your clothes
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Old June 11, 2007, 08:00 PM   #7
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Well I guess it depends on a lot of things. Like caliber, persons size and distance. Closest thing I could think of is shooting a deer. Google some pictures of a body after it has been shot. Then you will see some truly nasty pictures.
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Old June 11, 2007, 08:30 PM   #8
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I just did. Nothing like in the movies. However, I have no doubt that something/one will bleed after shot, but the idea that upon bullet contact will send a gallon of blood splashing out all over creation
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Old June 11, 2007, 10:15 PM   #9
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Depends on what they're shot with, where they're hit. Head wound, brain stem involvement or not, gut wound, major artery involvement in arm, leg, groin or thoracic area, sucking chest wound, cns shut down, etc. Bleeding internal or external. Head wounds bleed a lot. Combat experience here. Some people live with substantial tissue damage and internal bleeding, others die of shock from an apparently minor wound. Etc. Etc.
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Old June 11, 2007, 11:20 PM   #10
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Doug, there's a nasty little video running around showing a young man being shot point blank with a shotgun round to the chest. While he drops, he does not fly backwards; he lies on the ground, bleeding and moaning and dying. Pretty gruesome but not very Hollywood. As a firefighter/paramedic, I saw my share of GSWs and most weren't what you'd expect. Little holes in front, some blood trickling out the entrance, sometimes an exit wound. One poor soul shot himself in the mouth with his service revolver and we could see the round lying under his scalp but no exit wound. Then you have the guys who put the barrel in their mouth and make a complete mess of every thing. The difference? Muzzle velocity or just the mass of the projectiles and blast (shotgun is a good example.) As for deer, I've had plenty of them take rounds to the heart and lungs and run much farther than I would have ever expected them to. What Hollywood doesn't typically show is the instant drop you get from a head shot. None of this slow, keeling over. Drop a bag of potatoes to get an idea of the total disconnect you get with a shot to the grape.
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Old June 11, 2007, 11:53 PM   #11
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Ok, this is just for educational purposes only so please DO NOT ask me for the videos because I will NOT post them or send them.

I have countless snuff videos of suicides and other forms of executions. And none of them even come close to what Hollywood makes you believe. When it comes to people getting shot with handguns, you can't even tell they've been shot. It's not like Hollywood where there's a huge blood splatter out the back.

Headshots on the other hand are a little bit differently. It's usually the same effect. When shot in the head, what happens is that blood and brain matter start flowing out the ears, nose, mouth, and entrance and/or exit wound (depending on how powerful the gun is).
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Old June 12, 2007, 12:22 AM   #12
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What a lovely thread, think I'll watch, anyone have any chips and salsa...OR SOME RAW MEANT AND BEER.......

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Old June 12, 2007, 05:20 AM   #13
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besides entertaining my morbid curiousity at the computer, i sure hope i never see a GSW in real life
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Old June 12, 2007, 10:15 AM   #14
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A shotgun slug will carry fluid with it as it exits. also if the lung is full when punctured, it releases all the air once it collapses. This causes some of the spurt in a chest shot. Also if the dorsal aortic artery running up the back is punctured, the last few beats of the heart produce enough pressure to sput out several feet. I know the Carrotid artery hits over 10 feet if punctured. Not sure on exact distance. That's why a knife stab produces a huge blood spurt. Sudden release of pressure when the heart pumps and there is a direction of release.
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Old June 12, 2007, 12:30 PM   #15
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wow this thread is getting graphic:barf:....but I ask for it Continue
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Old June 12, 2007, 02:01 PM   #16
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Over the years I treated a number of gunshot wounds as a paramedic from ~1979-1984.
A number of handgun rounds failed to exit in thoracic shots (all involved FMJs, bad guys use cheap ammo).
Entry wounds were small with minimal external bleeding.
The skin and muscle wall closed tightly after bullet passage.
One victim in particular was unconscious and it took about 5 minutes to even find the entrance wound.
Another victim was alive and talking with a lower abdominal wound. He made it all the way to surgery and died as soon as the abdomen was opened. Nick in the descending aorta just below the diaphragm.
A head wound was DOA from a .22 RF. Shot by estranged husband while stopped at a light (less than 1 block from ER when shot).
A couple of suicides, all successful. At zero range even small calibers do a job on the skull and brain.

A shotgun to the head (nothing left but a stump really).
A rifle shot to the upper left chest, through and through, minimal bleeding and damage. Bullet never recovered. Fired from SK type gun at about 15 feet.

Knife wounds were invariably much bloodier scenes.
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Old June 12, 2007, 02:54 PM   #17
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Watch the old black and white movies from the D-Day landings or running from trenches in WW1, a lot of the time people just drop like a sack of bricks.

I've seen where a guy in South America took a 12 gage to the chest, made a hole, some blood came out, he then dropped like a sack of bricks...
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Old June 12, 2007, 03:21 PM   #18
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Been shot a couple times. First time it took a few seconds to realize I had been shot, the second time (a few years later) it was "uh-oh, I know that feeling..." Both times were in a leg, first was in the right thigh, second was in the left shin. Neither was "painful" at the exact moment I was shot, and I didn't fall down, but I sure wasn't in any kind of shape to run any distance. Bottom line, I wasn't immediately disabled, I stayed in the fight, and I wasn't knocked backward with blood spraying everywhere.
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Old June 12, 2007, 04:52 PM   #19
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You've never seen real video of someone being shot?

With a handgun, usually nothing happens. At least nothing dramatic. The person often doesn't even realize they've been shot. They may react with a defensive posture, but mostly they just stand there not quite sure what happened. Eventually, they realize they've actually been shot and slowly drop to the ground. Eventually, blood pressure drops and they start getting woozy and passing out.

Not all all like you see in movies/TV. Typically, you only get an immediate reaction if the bullet strikes the spinal cord or brain. Even people who have been shot thru the heart have been known to keep going for awhile.
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Old June 12, 2007, 06:08 PM   #20
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There's one on ebaumsworld with a guy he pops himself in the head, mainly fluid running out of the ears and nose.
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Old June 13, 2007, 12:32 AM   #21
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I got shot right through the knee about 20yrs back with a 9mm. Wasn't very impressive to see. Went through, was a FMJ (thankfully) so just a hole on either side. Went between the kneecap and joint. I went right up a flight of stairs, no pain at all, not for about 5 minutes. No blood either, for about an hour or two. Guess all the space had to fill up first. Been hurting ever since, though, and that knee just had surgery. Needs replacing, but they are trying to avoid that. Wish they'd just do it and be done with it.
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Old June 13, 2007, 08:13 AM   #22
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In addition to the films of D-Day landings, there are also films of executions, and none are pretty. There is also a famous photo of a Spanish Civil War soldier who had just been shot and actually appears to be falling backwards in a classic movie pose. But you can't tell where he was hit. Another photo from WWI shows the moment a soldier is hit by a rifle bullet. He had not yet reacted but there is a puff of dust where he was hit.

An interesting series of photos published a long time ago showed a man shot during the liberation of Paris during WWII. There was a machine gun set up on a balcony and he is hit (can't tell the details). He collapses backwards and in the next three or four photos, all black and white, a pool of blood spreads across the floor.

Regarding the soldiers hit crossing the beach on D-Day, it is likely that all the soldiers were carrying so much equipment that none of them would have done anything but fall straight down after being hit. However, my father related that enough hits from machine guns would literally cut a body in two and multiple hits were highly likely from German machine guns. But he may have been exaggerating a little.

Although these references have all been to warfare, remember than there really hasn't been anything different since the first man picked up a rock to fight with his neighbor. It has always been bloody. Now mostly it is just noiser.
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Old June 13, 2007, 10:19 AM   #23
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Well if we are talking about these things already I have a question, too. In videogames and movies you often see the holes in a wall where the bullet impacted after going through a person/animal. There's always blood around that hole. Is that realistic? Or only if the person is standing very close to that wall?
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Old June 13, 2007, 10:39 AM   #24
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Years ago I had occassion to go into a house where a man had been murdered. Shot through the head with a 44 mag as he opened the door. Directly behind him across the living room was the entry into the kitchen and the bullet penetrated his head and went into the far kitchen wall and entered it. There was blood around the hole in the wall and brain matter stuck to the wall in close proximity to the hole also. Gruesome.
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Old June 14, 2007, 06:55 PM   #25
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Personal experience

I have seen lots of animals shot, even shot a few, and I have seen a couple of people shot.

Hollywood movies (and it's clone, TV) are all about drama. Action is drama, and it is what sells. They exaggerate EVERYTHING! Since each new film needs to go just a little bit further, in order to hold audience attention (and thus make money), everything keeps getting more and more graphic, and violent.

Look at the films from the 30s, people who got shot fell down, maybe knocking stuff over. No blood (or very little). Now part of that was just good taste, or a requirement by the censors, but part of it was actual representation of what really happened when a person got shot.

Today, not only are the images as graphic as can be possible, but they are often repeated over and over. Every see any movies where the hero kicks the bad guy three times in a row while jumping over him? And then they show it again from three different angles! All for dramatic effect! Real sword fights are not four and a half minutes of both fighters banging their swords together while jumping on and over every piece of furniture in the room! All done for dramatic effect!

As far as real gunshot effects, as most here have said, most common is just dropping like a puppet with its strings cut, or like a "sack of potatoes".

Sometimes a falling forward or even a flying backward happens, but rarely. And it does not happen because of the energy dump from the bullet impact, at least not directly. It happens (when is does happen, which is rarely) by the nervous system "short circuiting" and causing the body to spasm. It is the person's own muscles that "blow them off their feet", when this actually happens. And as I said, it happens, rarely.

Blood can most certainly pour or spurt from a wound. Seeping is more common, but if a major vein is hit, it will pour from the wound, and can form a arc of a few inches as long as the person is vertical. Hit an artery and blood will spurt, and continue as long as the heart keeps up the pressure. Arterial blood can spurt for several feet, and keeps doing it until the pressure drops.

The popular image of the hero taking a bullet in the shoulder and a few minutes later climbing a ladder and then kicking the bad guy's butt in hand to hand combat is pretty much B.S. It can happen, under exactly the right conditions, but I wouldn't count on it.

I saw a 280lb man hit in the shin by a .357 Mag (160gr SWC) and blood poured out. He stayed on his feet for about 60 seconds, leaning in a doorway, and then slumped down, light headed due to blood loss, and the realization he had been shot. This was an accidental shooting, not a fight, so there were no adrenalin charged emotions involved. This guy cetainly wouldn't have been able to kick any one's butt after being shot, in the shin!

Want to know just how well the bullet energy will blow someone off their feet? Shoot something dead. See how much it moves. That is how much the bullet impact will blow them off their feet. Just a twitch, if that.

Don't believe anything you see in the movies or on TV. None of it. Not guns, bullets, wounds, medicine, police, legal proceedings, or even the basic laws of physics. It just isn't the truth. Even (or especially) when they say it is!
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
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