Pistols are pistols, rifles are rifles

Evidently a radiologist has discovered that rifle bullets are, in general, much more energetic than pistol bullets, and this confuses her.

Routine handgun injuries leave entry and exit wounds and linear tracks through the victim’s body that are roughly the size of the bullet. If the bullet does not directly hit something crucial like the heart or the aorta, and they do not bleed to death before being transported to our care at a trauma center, chances are, we can save the victim. The bullets fired by an AR-15 are different; they travel at higher velocity and are far more lethal. The damage they cause is a function of the energy they impart as they pass through the body. A typical AR-15 bullet leaves the barrel traveling almost three times faster than, and imparting more than three times the energy of, a typical 9mm bullet from a handgun.

Yes, indeed, tissue damage is a function of energy. That’s precisely why different types of guns exist for different purposes.

Also, the good doctor is a bit confused with the math: a 55gr M193 5.56mm NATO round has roughly five times (not three) the muzzle energy of a 124gr Federal FMJ 9mm bullet according to Wikipedia and some data from my reloading books.

As a doctor, I feel I have a duty to inform the public of what I have learned as I have observed these wounds and cared for these patients. It’s clear to me that AR-15 or other high-velocity weapons, especially when outfitted with a high-capacity magazine, have no place in a civilian’s gun cabinet.

Wait, so now all rifles (“other high-velocity weapons”) are bad? I always heard the gun control types talk about how handguns are bad but rifles and shotguns are “sporting” and thus fine for “responsible gun owners” to possess. Now rifles are bad and have no place in a civilian’s gun cabinet?


The doctor then continues on for a bit with the usual gun control tropes (“AR-15s are bad!”, “Reinstate the AWB!”, etc.). No surprise there.

While I respect the doctor for doing an unpleasant, stressful job, they clearly less of an understanding of guns and wound ballistics than someone who’s ever shot a watermelon with a pistol and a rifle. Hopefully she can educate herself, so she doesn’t make such a fool out of herself in public again.