It’s not unusual to hear in some account how some perp shot someone at “point blank range.” Literally (well, basically), all that means is the shooter was so close that there was no way they could miss. However, I’ve always inferred when I heard this that that fact was added to make it sound a lot worse, as thought the damage at being fired at at point blank range would have been much more serious that, oh, say 20, 30, 50 or so feet away. I don’t think most projectiles slow down appreciably in most shootings. (And I’m not taking into account any power burns or other collateral damage.)
So. . . the question (which isn’t a looking for a factual answer), do you infer from an account of “point blank range” that the reporter is throwing that it in to make it sound more serious. I’d think that most domestic shootings are at point blank range, as opposed to carefully measured sniper type shootings.
And. . . from m-w.com:
Main Entry: point–blank
1 a : marked by no appreciable drop below initial horizontal line of flight b : so close to a target that a missile fired will travel in a straight line to the mark
2 : direct, blunt <a point–blank refusal>
— point–blank adverb