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American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology:
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0b013e31820c2be2
Original Articles

Minimum Velocity Necessary for Nonconventional Projectiles to Penetrate the Eye: An Experimental Study Using Pig Eyes

Marshall, John W. BSc (Hons); Dahlstrom, Dean B. BSc; Powley, Kramer D. BSc

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Abstract

To satisfy the Criminal Code of Canada's definition of a firearm, a barreled weapon must be capable of causing serious bodily injury or death to a person. Canadian courts have accepted the forensically established criteria of "penetration or rupture of an eye" as serious bodily injury. The minimal velocity of nonconventional ammunition required to penetrate the eye including airsoft projectiles has yet to be established. To establish minimal threshold requirements for eye penetration, empirical tests were conducted using a variety of airsoft projectiles. Using the data obtained from these tests, and previous research using "air gun" projectiles, an "energy density" parameter was calculated for the minimum penetration threshold of an eye. Airsoft guns capable of achieving velocities in excess of 99 m/s (325 ft/s) using conventional 6-mm airsoft ammunition will satisfy the forensically established criteria of "serious bodily injury." The energy density parameter for typical 6-mm plastic airsoft projectiles is 4.3 to 4.8 J/cm2. This calculation also encompasses 4.5-mm steel BBs.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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