Matching Bullets to Weapons with Ballistics Analysis
The CSI experience Las Vegas combines the fun of a game with hands-on learning about forensic science concepts. You might not even realize you are learning science.
One forensic method you’ll use, ballistics, matches tool marks on bullets to the firearm that fired them. In production, the manufacture of a firearm produces tool marks within the barrel unique to the weapon. When the guns fires, these marks transfer to the bullet emitted.
The examination of a bullet begins with three traits:
– Its caliber determined by its size
– The rifling marks direction
– The degree of twist
Those three combined traits lead the forensic scientist to the weapon’s manufacturer.
When police obtain a suspect’s weapon, they test-fire it to obtain a bullet for matching. They then compare the slugs, another name for fired bullets, to one another using a microscope. If the striations on the bullet match, the investigators know the bullet came from the gun.
Computer Assisted Techniques
The investigators can query databases like the ATF’s National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) for matches to a fired bullet. They’re now aided by 3D imaging technology that lets them analyze markings for depth and surface pattern.