Exit Wounds

Gunshot exits are typically larger and more irregular than entries, reflecting the larger surface area of the departing bullet caused by a tumbling, deformation, or fragmentation of the projectile (Fig. 10; refs. 16 and 125). Exits, with the exception of shored exits, do not have an abrasion ring. An exit can have an irregular abrasion if the site is shored against a hard surface (e.g., wall, chair; see Fig. 11 and refs. 16, 126, and

Fig. 8. Distant gunshot wound. Concentric abrasion ring indicating bullet entered the body at a perpendicular angle.

Fig. 9. Types of shotgun wadding recovered at autopsy. (A) Felt wadding and representative pellets. (B) Distorted plastic cup.

Fig. 10. Typical irregular gunshot exit wound, left temporal area (hair shaved around wound).

127). The everted skin edge of the wound impacts the surface as the bullet exits. Skin elasticity can prevent a projectile from exiting (see Heading 16. and Fig. 12). In contact-range shotgun wounds of the head, most pellets tend to exit as opposed to what occurs with torso entries (124). In a review of suicidal and homicidal gunshot wounds of the head caused by different calibers of weapon, exits occurred in about half of suicides and about 20% of homicides (16).

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