Friday, May 31, 2019

Suicide by Two Shots to the Head?

All Butchered (3 killed, gun, 5th column top)
The evening world. (New York, N.Y.), 28 Aug. 1891. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <>
There were two pistol wounds In the head of John Baxter--one in the middle of the forehead, the other In the left side of the head, just above the ear.

Does anyone beside me find this two shots to the head suicide implausible?  Have you ever heard of someone doing this?  Bulldog .32.  I know .32 isn't much of a caliber, but above the ear the forehead?


  1. People tend to think that any gunshot to the skull is instantly fatal. Not so. Location of entry, and path thru the brain, is what matters with handguns. Long guns, not so much.

    The shot to the side is most likely the first one, since it is easy to point to with a handgun. It is also the least likely to kill. The temple is a really bad spot, since the optic nerve is most likely to be damaged. Now you are blind, and still alive.
    A magnum is less fussy in where it hits. Also, if the muzzle is held to the skull, you may get the added effect of the gas discharge.

    A long gun doesn't even need a bullet, as the muzzle blast may evacuate the skull if held at the right place.

  2. I agree with you Clayton, it doesn't sound right. If the two shots were right next to each other I can imagine a semi-auto double firing (two rounds with one trigger pull), but not 90 degrees of separation.

  3. James: Revolver. A semiauto suicide in 1891 would be a bigger problem.

  4. Small caliber bullet glancing off the skull when the shooter flinches, not surprising. Having the balls to pull the trigger a second time? Surprising.

  5. Colonel Cooper wrote of a suicide by rifle blast with the bullet removed in "To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Speak the Truth". As I recall the rifle was held with the muzzle under the chin and the head was blasted to pieces about the size of the shooter's eyeballs.

  6. Ayoob has some stories like this. In one, a guy shot himself multiple times in the chest with a .25acp(IIRC). Shoot, check himself in the mirror, repeat. May have emptied the mag.