Originally Posted by Dr. Courtney
The region of the chest/thoracic cavity which is likely to cause blood drop to the point of incapacitation in 5-10 seconds (with a good expanding JHP in .40, .45, or .357 Sig) is considerably smaller than a basketball. Think of a 4-6" diameter sphere centered in the chest basically comprised of the heart and lung tissue sufficiently close to the heart that it is rich in vascular tissue. Hitting someone in the lungs too far from the heart is likely to cause much slower bleeding and a long time until they lose enough blood. Of course, shots that hit low have a decent chance of hitting the liver, but optimal damage here depends on energy transfer and temporary cavitation.
There are a lot of shot locations in the thoracic cavity where there simply is not enough vascular tissue to cause a rapid (5-10 seconds) bleed out.
The CNS area is the area that works the best when hit by a typical handgun bullet... it is actually about 2" in diameter, and about 15" long... think cylinder-shaped area (long dimension going up-and-down) from the lower end of the heart (inferior portion of the heart) up to the top of the brain (superior portion of the brain)... with the spine and major nerves and arteries that run along the spine inside this imaginary cylinder shape...
Liver damage would be mostly from stretching and shearing forces (tearing) of this relatively fragile organ tisue...
In both cases, remote damage is not effective... you need actual damage primarily from direct contact from the bullet...