How to Kill Yourself with a Handgun
I have read a lot of stories about people trying to kill themselves with handguns and doing it wrong because they don't understand some very simple brain anatomy, including the dude in the news story in a recent "guns" community post. I've also seen it portrayed incorrectly in many movies.
Typically, the person presses the muzzle against their chin and sort of tilts their head up, possibly in anticipation of the shot. This is only going to result in severe damage to your face and frontal lobe (Article: Gunshot Wounds Sustained Injuries To The Face: A University Experience). Another method often depicted is firing into the temple. Again, there is a pretty good chance you will survive with severe injuries (e.g., blindness). (see Figure 1)
The correct way to do it is to aim for the base of the brain, which is higher than most people suspect. A bullet through this part of the brain will kill you. (see Figure 2) You should use a .380 ACP or larger cartridge with a hollow or soft point.
Actual cross section of human head. (Yucky.)