A blunt instrument is any solid object used as a weapon, which damages its target by applying direct mechanical force, and has no penetrating point or edge, or is wielded so that the point or edge is not the part of the weapon that inflicts the injury. Blunt instruments may be contrasted with edged weapons, which inflict injury by cutting or stabbing, or projectile weapons, where the projectiles, such as bullets or shot, are accelerated to a penetrating speed.
Blunt instruments typically inflict blunt force trauma, causing bruising, fractures and other internal bleeding. Depending on the parts of the body attacked, organs may be ruptured or otherwise damaged. Attacks with a blunt instrument may be fatal.
Some sorts of blunt instruments are very readily available, and often figure in crime cases. Examples of blunt instruments include:
- Personal implements such as walking sticks
- Tools such as hammers or wrecking bars
- Parts of tools, such as pickaxe handles
- Sports equipment such as cricket or baseball bats, hockey sticks, pool cues, golf clubs, etc.
- Weapons such as nightsticks, bâtons français, axes (using the back of the blade), spears (using the haft), or guns (see firearm as a blunt weapon)
- Other items, such as millwall bricks or tree branches
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