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Firearms Forensic analysis is vital to solve a crime that uses a gun. In 2004, there were 12,00 homicides in the US The vast majority of U.S. homicides.

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Presentation on theme: "Firearms Forensic analysis is vital to solve a crime that uses a gun. In 2004, there were 12,00 homicides in the US The vast majority of U.S. homicides."— Presentation transcript:


2 Firearms Forensic analysis is vital to solve a crime that uses a gun. In 2004, there were 12,00 homicides in the US The vast majority of U.S. homicides involve guns. And they are more powerful than ever. Lansing State Journal, July 2007

3 Firearms: A Quick History 1.Almost every gun is based on the same simple concept: You apply explosive pressure behind a projectile to launch it down a barrel. 2.The earliest & simplest application of this idea is the cannon. 3.The 1 st handheld guns were essentially mini-cannons; you loaded some gunpowder & a steel ball & lit a fuse

4 4.War typically resulted in the need for improved weapons technology. 5.In the late 1800 s, the revolver quickly became popular due to it s size & quick loading. It only had to be reloaded every 5-6 shots instead of after each shot.

5 6.Handguns reigned supreme for the past 200 years & to this day, remain the most popular & readily available firearm.

6 Types of Firearms 1.Handguns (pistols) –Revolver –Semiautomatic 2.Rifles 3.Shotguns 4.Air or BB guns

7 Ammunition Components 1.Cartridge case 2.Primer 3.Propellant 4.Projectile

8 Bullets Made of lead, sometimes jacketed with brass, copper, or steel Bullet sizediameter (caliber or gauge) Shapes

9 Firearms Identification 1.Often confused with the term ballistics 2.Ballistics is the study of a projectile in motion. Inside the firearm After it leaves the firearm When it impacts the target 3.Identification of Firearms is based upon this basic idea: A harder object marks a softer one & imparts/transfers its microscopic irregularities to that object.

10 Forensic Firearms Expert 1.Did a suspect use this gun to kill that person? 2.Did these bullets come from that gun? 3.Was it really self-defense? 4.Is this a case of suicide, or is foul play involved? 5.Bullet Comparison 6.Weapons Function – Is it safe? Has it been modified? 7.Serial Number Restoration 8.Gunpowder Residue Detection – on clothes, hands, & wounds 9.Muzzle-to-Target Distances

11 Pulling the Trigger 1.Pulling the trigger releases the firing pin… 2.The firing pin strikes the primer… 3.The primer ignites the gun powder… 4.The powder generates gas that propels the bullet forward through the barrel & ejects the spent cartridge case.





16 How a Revolver Works - YouTube.wmv HOW A GUN WORKS - YouTube.wmv How A Glock Works - YouTube.wmv

17 Bullet Caliber 1.Caliber: the diameter of the gun barrel. 2.Caliber is recorded in – hundredths of an inch (.22 &.38) – millimeters (9mm)

18 Bullet Anatomy

19 Cartridge Parts & How it works

20 Anatomy of a Bullet

21 Bullet Comparisons 1.Each gun leaves distinct markings on a bullet passing through it. 2.A gun barrel is made from a solid bar of steel that has been drilled/hallowed out. 3.The drill leaves microscopic marks on the barrel s inner surface. 4.Gun manufacturers also add spiral grooves to the barrel. This is known as rifling. 5.Lands: the space between the grooves. 6.As a spinning bullet passes through the barrel, it is marked by these grooves.

22 Rifling 1.The grooved spirals inside the barrel of a gun that produce lands and grooves on a bullet 2.Lands & grooves are class characteristics

23 Striae 1.Scratches on a fired bullet, a barcode 3.Can serve as individual evidence 4.Matching bullets or bullet to a firearm

24 Class Characteristics 1.Class Characteristics: Once a manufacturer chooses a rifling process, for a particular class of weapon, they keep it consistent. 2.Lands & Grooves are the same for a model. –.32 caliber Smith & Wesson has 5 lands & grooves twisting to the right. –.32 caliber Colt has 6 lands & grooves twisting to the left. 3.Class characteristics can eliminate certain makes but are not enough to ID a particular gun.

25 Individual Characteristics 1.Imperfections in the manufacturing process make each barrel unique. 2.Rifled barrels, even if made in succession will NOT have identical striation (scratch-like marks).

26 Bullet Comparisons 1.To match bullets to a gun, test bullets must be fired through a suspect barrel for comparison. 2.Goddard & Comparison Microscopes – Examined bullets side-by-side (to match striated markings).

27 Cartridge Case 1.Usually brass or nickel-clad brass 2.Class evidence –Manufacturer –Shape –Caliber –Composition Head Stamps Rimfire & Centerfire Cartridges

28 Cartridge Markings 1. All moving components contact the cartridge rather than the bullet can leave useful impressions on shell cartridges. 2. Cartridge Case Individual Characteristics: – Breech face marks – Firing pin impressions – Chamber marks – Extractor marks – Ejector marks


30 Breech Marks 1.When a cartridge is fired, the explosion forces the bullet down the barrel and the shell casing is forced back against the breech. 2.This leaves impressions unique to the individual guns breech on the shell casing.

31 Breech face Marks

32 Actual Breech Marks

33 Firing Pin Marks 1.In order to fire the cartridge, the primer must first be ignited. To accomplish this a firing pin strikes the center ring of the cartridge. 2.This will in turn leave a distinct impression that is unique to the firing pin of that particular gun.


35 Firing Pin Marks


37 Chamber Marks

38 Ejector Marks

39 Extracting Pin & Ejector Marks 1.The extracting pin and ejector throw the spent shell casing from the chamber of the gun. 2.These leave marks on the shell casing that are unique to those parts on that particular firearm.

40 Other Factors 1.Perfect matches sometimes difficult b/c: – Presence of grit & rust in a barrel – Recovered bullets too mutilated or distorted on impact 2.A spent bullet s weight can sometimes determine the gun make. 3.Microgrooves: 8-24 grooves; it s not as common 4.General Rifling Characteristics File – FBI database of known land/groove width for all weapons.

41 Shotguns 1.Smooth barrel – Projectile NOT marked as it passes through 2.Fire small lead balls or pellets contained within a shell. 3.Characterized by: – diameter of the shot – size & shape of the wad – Gauge: diameter of the barrel ( gauge diameter) 4.Identification can still be made by comparison of extractor/ejector markings on shotgun shell.

42 Features of a Semiautomatic Handgun

43 Firearms Evidence Individual: 1.Striae 2.Firing pin marks 3.Breech marks 4.Extractor marks 5.Ejector marks 6.Chamber marks Class: 1.Bullet type 2.Bullet caliber 3.Bullet weight 4.Lands and grooves 5.Rifling 6.Cartridge case 7.Head stamp

44 Gunshot Residue (GSR) 1.When a weapon is fired: -Primer and propellant particles blow back toward the shooter. -Combustion products (mostly NO 2 - ), unburned propellant, and particles of lead follow the bullet, spreading out with distance.

45 1.GSR Sources: – victim, clothing or target – shooter s hands 2.Gunpowder Chemistry – Major detectable elements are: lead (Pb), barium (Ba) & antimony (Sb) – Virtually all cartridge cases are made of brass (copper & zinc); also detectable.

46 Griess Test 1.Tests for the presence of nitrates (partially burned or unburned gunpowder) 2.Swab of shooter s hand 3.Must produce a pattern for a distance determination

47 Results of GSR Hand Test 1.Negative results may be caused by: – Washing the hands – Shooter may have been wearing gloves – Lead free ammunition 2.A rifle or shotgun may not deposit GSR on hands



50 3.GSR on the hand of a suicide victim, proving he was holding the weapon when it was fired.

51 4.With a contact or very close range gunshot wound, it is possible to have blood spatter as well as GSR on the hand of the person firing the weapon.


53 Contact Gunshot wound 1.This is a contact gunshot entrance wound. 1.Since the barrel contacts the skin, the gases released by the fired round go into the subcutaneous tissue & cause the star-shaped laceration.

54 Abrasion Ring 1.An abrasion ring, formed when the force of the gases entering below the skin blow the skin surface back against the muzzle of the gun, is seen here in this contact range gunshot wound to the right temple. 2.The abrasion ring, and a very clear muzzle imprint, are seen in this contact range gunshot wound.

55 Entrance/Exit Wounds 3.This is a contact range gunshot entrance wound with grey-black discoloration from the burned powder. Displayed here is an entrance at the left and an exit at the right. 1.Exit wounds vary considerably in size and shape because the bullet can be deformed in its transit through the body. 2.There may be no exit wound at all if the bullet's energy is absorbed by the tissues. Some bullets (such a a "hollowpoint") are designed to deform so that all their energy will be converted to tissue damage and not exit.

56 4.Powder tattooing is seen in this intermediate range gunshot wound. The actual entrance site is somewhat irregular, because the bullet can tumble in flight.

57 5.The surface of the skull demonstrates the heavy soot in this contact range entrance wound, as well as radiating fracture lines. The direction of fire was thus toward the back of this picture.


59 Trajectory


61 SERIAL NUMBER RESTORATION 1.When a serial number is stamped into a gun, the metal underneath the number is compressed & hardened. 2.If the number is filed-off, the hardened area may still be present. 3.By using an acid solution the metal can be slowly eaten away. – In this process the softer metal will be eaten away first and the number may reappear.

62 1.Make sure it is unloaded!!!!! 2.DO NOT put a pencil into a barrel 3.REVOLVERS – Indicate location of fired & unfired ammunition 4.AUTOMATICS – Check magazine for number of rounds – Fingerprint magazine 5.Place ID tag on trigger guard FIREARMS EVIDENCE COLLECTION

63 6.AMMUNITION – Write on base or nose – Package in pill box or envelope – Wrap in tissue to protect

64 7.CLOTHING – Protect & preserve any residue – Air dry if wet – Package separately in paper bags 8.Establish CHAIN OF CUSTODY

65 Toolmarks 1.Tools often used in burglaries may leave a mark. 2.Class characteristics: type, size, shape 3.Individual characteristics: features from wear and damage

66 TOOL MARK IMPRESSIONS 1.Impressions 2.Cuts 3.Gouges 4.Abrasions


68 Matching Toolmarks Photography & casting are important to match tool with mark ? ?






74 Impressions 1.Shoeprints –Class characteristics manufacturer, type, model, size –Individual characteristics wear patterns, nicks, marks, occlusions (like pebbles or sticks)

75 –Captured by oblique- angle photography or chemical enhancement –casting in soil –lifting.

76 2.Tire marks –Treated much the same as shoeprints –Class characteristics involve design, size, type, and model. –Wear and damage cause defects that can lead to individualization. –TreadMate is a database containing data on more than 5,000 vehicle tires and tread patterns. Tire Treads

77 3.Bite marks –Result from assault or sexual attack, common in domestic violence –Individual evidence, if enough impressions –Bite marks were the prime evidence in the conviction of serial killer Ted Bundy.

78 4.Serial Numbers/Restoration of serial numbers –Items of value may have ID numbers stamped into them. –Grinding is usually used to obliterate identification numbers. –To restore ID numbers on metal, an acid etching solution is employed. HCl-CuCl 2

79 Forensics: Debate Should gun sales and ownership be subject to federal regulation? Introduction Pro/con sides Assertion Evidence Personal opinion Both Sides of the Issue; Gun Control Laws

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