Forensic firearms examination
The history of forensic firearms examination was evaluated to determine how the field has developed during the past 200 years; especially within the past 100 years. As aresult of this evaluation, some related issues were identified for study. The economic and general uses of firearms reference collections were considered as the collections represent potential security considerations within forensic laboratories. A survey was conducted to determine how firearms examiners used their collections, as well as their receptivity to augmenting the collections with modem technology such as photographs and CD-ROM's. A world-wide survey resulted in responses from 110 forensic laboratories. Examiners stated that the collections were used for training, repairing damaged evidence firearms, and demonstration purposes, and whilst they were prepared to accept modem techriology to augment their collection, stated that such augmentation could not replace the actual collection. Research was conducted to partially answer some legal issues, such as Daubert, et al., by test firing bullets from consecutively rifled barrels to obtain best known 'match' and 'non-match' bullets. To date, some 201 examiners from several countries have evaluated the bullet test sets with no errors. Further research was conducted by test firing four cartridges from 617 similar 9mm Glock pistols and microscopically evaluating the fired cartridge casings to determine if they were identifiable to themselves and not the other casings. All of the casings were identifiable to themselves and not to the other 616 casings. Advances in technology have allowed the development of automated ballistics imaging systems. Research, using the previously cited test bullets and cartridge casings, was conducted to evaluate the capability of the various systems, in conjunction with the abilities offirearms examiners. Three different automated systems were used to evaluate the bullets from the l0-barrel test results. One automated system was used to evaluate the 617 cartridge casings, again with excellent results.