Most domestic and urban firearm injuries are due to handguns (.S.ch.w.a..b.,,,.1.993), but injuries from bullets fired from hunting or military assault rifles may be seen in civilian emergency rooms or military field hospitals. Although the mainstay of the acute management of missile injuries remains control of hemorrhage and repair of the structures injured, an understanding of ballistics and associated wounding patterns may assist the clinician in detecting subtle injuries and/or anticipating physiological changes attributable to the missile.
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