Bullets, Guns and Worst Case Scenarios

Starting with some very basic knowledge of bullets, a simple description of a basic modern-day bullet. Then move to gain a more ¨in depth¨ understanding of specific bullets. Finally
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1 - The bullet, the projectile itself.

2 - The case; which is what holds all the other parts together.

3 - The propellant for an example; gunpowder or cordite.

4 - The rim, provides extractor with a place to grip the casing, to remove it from the chamber once the bullet is fired.

5 - The primer, the firing pin inside of the gun crushes the primer igniting the propellant.

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The Shotgun Shot (left).

When you typically see a shotgun or think of a shotgun you might think of the ammunition as the shot, firing multiple projectiles in one shot. This is in fact the original projectiles made for shotguns and you'd be correct if you assumed it is the most commonly used ammunition for a shotgun.

Shotgun Slug

A shotgun slug is a alternative to the shotgun shell, instead of multiple small projectiles it has one big projectile. Which causes greater damage. Used for hunting big animals.

Hallow Point

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The thing that makes this bullet different from other bullets is its unique functions. The bullet expands when it comes in contact with a solid. It is known for being an even more lethal bullet, and is also known for causing more pain and aggravating the victim. Because of these reasons the U.S. Military is prohibited from using them. However, the hallow point bullet is the preferred bullet for both Police Officers and Civilians. Why? Because the bullet has this unique function, when it comes in contact with solid material it diverts it energy into an immediate stop. Since it does this the chances that an innocent bystander is shot goes way down, and the bullet also doesn't ricochet to the same extent of a typical bullet.
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Above is a picture of 9mm. hallow point bullets, on far left is a copper bullet inside its casing, middle left is another copper bullet but now out of the casing, middle right is the copper bullet but it's shown as what it looks like after expanding, the far right is now a lead bullet that has expanded as well.


On July 2nd, 1881, President, James Andrew Garfield was shot by the assassin: Charles J. Guiteau. He shot Garfield twice before fleeing, nothing or no one could find one of the bullets that still remained in his body. Garfield lived for a total of 80 days before he finally died from infections from the bullet that was still inside of him. For eighty days he suffered from: blood poisoning, extreme illness, severe pain and hallucinations.

You can see from what happened to President Garfield that finding all the fragments is crucial to survival and not being able to locate any fragments can have major consequences and be lethal.

When a bullet is lodged inside the body it's extremely lethal and requires immediate surgery, this goes hand-in-hand with the hallow point bullets. Because they stop inside the body and expand while inside as well, it makes them extremely deadly and excruciatingly painful, which is the reason why the U.S. Military prohibits they usage. As we see with what happened to President Garfield, he endured terrible pain for the remainder of his life.

There are so few places in the human body that you can be shot without damaging any tissues, muscles or bones. This means that bullets have lasting effects, if you survive you can live with the repercussions of the wound. Even if you are shot in one of the places where you wouldn't have any of these lasting wounds. There would still be a very high chance that you'd bleed out before getting help, this is actually the biggest cause of death from bullet wounds.

Airplanes and Guns?

What were to happen if someone was inside a plane (mid-flight) and he/she shot a gun?

Actually, there are multiple different possibilities; for example, if the bullet simply passes through the aluminum skin, doesn't hit electrical wring, a gas tank or a window and just makes a small hole, it would barely be noticeable. In fact you could make several holes. How? A small hole or two wouldn't cause a problem for the aircraft because the cabin is pressurized and the bullet would only create a small leak for which the pressurization system can compensate.

The Myth-busters tested this myth for themselves:

MythBusters- Explosive Decompression | MiniMyth
They declared the myth busted or rather they said that a hole in a plane would not cause enough of an impact to suck out people out, like you'd see in the movies. However, many people say that their experiment wasn't accurate, because even though they'd set up the correct pressure inside the DC-9, the plane wasn't moving. If the plane was moving these people say that it would've changed the results massively. It is also often thought, that if the hole is big enough the rush of air could tear the entire plane apart.

How To Survive

SWAT Officer Kipp Hartman of the Sun Prairie Police Department gave me some advice about taking cover behind a vehicle when under fire. Imagine that you're in a street, you're being shot at and the only cover is a vehicle, you might guess that you'd be safe if you just simply hid behind the car. However, He told me, that wouldn't be sufficient cover. A bullet can rip through a vehicle, the safest place would be behind the engine. All the different parts in the engine would be able to stop a bullet.

If you are somehow shot or if someone else is shot, there are multiple steps to take so that you/they have a better chance of survival.

  • Get help, contact emergency services. In the meantime or if emergency services are for some reason unavailable, it is crucial to try and stabilize yourself or whoever you're helping.
  • Controlling the bleeding is of the most important things to be done. Most victims of gunshot wounds die because of bleeding out before help can arrive.
  • Make as few movements as possible. Unless you need to move to a safe location.
  • Gunshot wounds often lead to shock, which is caused by trauma or reduced blood flow throughout the body.

Loss of blood is a major factor with staying alive and thus blood transfusion are very common with gunshot wounds. However, receiving blood from a different host is more complicated then putting blood into your veins. Every person has a blood type, depending on their type they can or can't receive certain blood types. As I learned in our last unit of biology, blood type varies and having the wrong type o blood put into your system can have negative side effects.

I feel that this is knowledge that everybody should know, not that I think they'll need it. But, if you were in the situation where you did you would want to know what to do.


(n.d.). Retrieved February 06, 2015, from

Minié ball. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mini%C3%A9_ball

(n.d.). Retrieved from http%3A%2F%2Ffwpiis.mt.gov%2Fcontent%2FgetItem.aspx%3Fid%3D30933

Ballistic trauma. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballistic_trauma

(n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/miracle/divi_flash.html

Shotgun slug. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shotgun_slug

"Section 16a Firearms Act 1968." Section 16a Firearms Act: Sentencing Manual: Legal Guidance: The Crown Prosecution Service. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2015. <http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/sentencing_manual/section_16a_firearms_act/>.

"Shot (pellet)." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2015. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shot_(pellet)>.Shocking Footage: Americans Ordered Out Of Homes At Gunpoint By SWAT teams. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.infowars.com/shocking-footage-americans-ordered-out-of-homes-at-gunpoint-by-swat-teams/

Section 16a Firearms Act 1968. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/sentencing_manual/section_16a_firearms_act/Assassination of James A. Garfield. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_James_A._GarfieldFIREARMS TUTORIAL. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://library.med.utah.edu/WebPath/TUTORIAL/GUNS/GUNSTAT.html(n.d.). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollow-point_bullet#HistoryMythBusters- Explosive Decompression | MiniMyth. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yG2h1aDB6k