Course Introduction

FSP 404: Ballistics and Firearm Study

  • Course Outline
  • Curriculum
  • FAQ
  • Case Studies
  • Reviews

July Batch 2024

Last Date to Register : 25th July 2024

The Ballistics & Firearm Study Online Course by SIFS India is designed to equip you with knowledge about how the fields of physics, firearms, and forensic investigation correlate with each other.

You will learn the science behind firearm dynamics, projectile behavior, the process of reconstructing shooting scenes, and the skills to handle the complexities of firearms, ammunition, and gunshot analysis.

With in-depth pre-recorded sessions and the mentorship of expert professionals, you will become a proficient ballistics expert in no time.

Associate Degree Program comprises of three levels: Level 1 (certificate), Level 2 (diploma), and Level 3 (Post Graduate Diploma), and the entire curriculum is divided among these levels.

A few of the topics you will learn about are: branches of ballistics, firearms and their parts, ammunition, muzzle loading firearms, firing mechanisms, internal and external ballistics, various firearm injuries, improvised firearms, problems in firearm identification, collecting and preserving firearm evidence, firearm evidence examination, types of gunshot residues and their examination, fire range examination, automated identification system, crime scene reconstruction, and presentation of evidence in court.

So enroll now to begin your journey to learn how to uncover the truth behind firearm-related incidents, contributing significantly to criminal investigations and legal proceedings.

Course Benefits

Enrolling in this course will equip you with forensic ballistics and firearm analysis skills and help you gain mastery over the techniques for identifying and analyzing firearms, examining ammunition, and reconstructing shooting incidents. With this valuable knowledge, you can look forward to working with forensic laboratories or collaborating with law enforcement agencies to assist in solving firearm-related crimes, thereby ensuring justice.

Course Outcome

Upon successful completion of this course, you will gain expertise to implement the principles of ballistics and firearm dynamics to effectively conduct firearm and ammunition analysis, reconstruct shooting crime scenes, and provide expert testimony. You will have a profound understanding of the legal and ethical aspects of firearm-related investigations. Thereby making your expertise invaluable in criminal investigations and legal proceedings.

Course Highlights

- Pre-recorded sessions with know-how about ballistics and firearm analysis equipment

- Expert mentors with extensive backgrounds in forensic ballistics and firearm study

- Industry-specific and comprehensive study material and reference books

- Community of ballistics and firearm experts

- Professional networking for job opportunities

Payment Details:

International Student : PayPal: forensicdocument@gmail.com

Account Details for National Student

Bank Name  - ICICI BANK
Acc. Name    - SIFS INDIA PVT. LTD.
Account No. - 663505500086
Type         - Current
IFSC Code    -   ICIC0000160
Address         - ICICI Bank, H-4, Model Town -III, New Delhi - 110009




  • Level I : Ballistics & Firearm Study

    MODULE 1 – BALLISTICS AND FIREARM

    In this introductory module, you will learn about the fundamentals of ballistics, its historical development, branches (internal, intermediate, external, and terminal ballistic), the process of manufacturing firearms, and its various components, including the barrel, action, stock, firing pin, breech face, chamber, extractor, ejector, bore, choke, lead, muzzle, trigger, sear, and magazine. The module also covers the classification of firearms based on bore characteristics, loading features, action mechanisms, handling conditions, and velocity.

    MODULE 2 – AMMUINITION

    This module covers the history and types of propellants and their significance in ballistic applications, the study of projectiles, including lead pellets, and various types of jacketed bullets such as paper-patch, wire, metal patch, electroplated, gas-check, armor-piercing, tracer, incendiary, dum-dum, hollow point, and aluminum-tipped bullets.

    You will be introduced to the concept of crannelures, primer's diverse compositions, including boxer and berdan types, along with percussion caps, cartridge cases or shells (composition, shapes, types, and head stamps), and the roles and types of wads.

    MODULE 3 – MUZZLE LOADING FIREAMS

    In this module, you will learn about the historical and technical aspects of muzzle-loading firearms, the percussion cap, a crucial component in the ignition system, and the projectile charge, wads, and powder charge, highlighting their roles in the functioning of muzzle-loading firearms. You will also gain insights about the mechanism of these firearms, along with the sequential interactions of components during firing and how these contribute to forensic investigation.

    MODULE 4 – MECHANISM OF FIRING

    This module focuses on an introductory understanding of various firearms within a forensic context, including shotguns, pistols, rifles, revolvers, and machine guns, and their firing mechanisms. A foundational understanding of each type, including their unique characteristics and applications, will be covered. Shotguns are widely used for hunting and sport shooting, whereas pistols are more compact and versatile. Rifles are known for their accuracy and range, whereas revolvers are known for their revolving mechanism. Machine guns, on the other hand, are known for their automatic firing capability.

    MODULE 5 – INTERNAL BALLISTICS

    In this module, you will learn about firearm mechanics and internal ballistics, the ignition of propellants, the phenomenon of hang fire, the pressure space curve during firing, factors influencing muzzle velocity, short start pressure, velocity, space curve, the theory of recoil, Piobett's Law, and Le Due's Formula. The relationship between these elements is a valuable source for understanding the scientific principles governing firearm function and behavior.

    MODULE 6 – EXTERNAL BALLISTICS

    This module covers a foundational understanding of exterior ballistics (the motion of a projectile in the air), the equations governing the motion of projectiles for determining the velocity of the projectile, the principal problems in exterior ballistics, and misfire, highlighting the potential issues during the ignition and discharge process that might arise due to a defect in the firearm.

    MODULE 7 – TERMINAL BALLISTICS / FIREARM INJURIES

    This module focuses on the wounding effects of projectiles (including factors like the target site, velocity, constructional features, and range) and the identification of firearm injuries (using indicators like pink coloration, blackening, tattooing, dirt rings, foreign material, charring, contusion, and specific wound characteristics).

    The module further explores the evaluation of firearm injuries, including an in-depth analysis of wounds caused by various firearms, including pistols, revolvers, rifles, shotguns, muzzle-loading firearms, and zip guns; the concept of fatal injuries; extraordinary facts, difference between postmortem and antemortem injuries; and considerations related to determining the age of injuries.

  • Level II : Ballistics & Firearm Study

    MODULE 1 – BALLISTICS AND FIREARM

    In this introductory module, you will learn about the fundamentals of ballistics, its historical development, branches (internal, intermediate, external, and terminal ballistic), the process of manufacturing firearms, and its various components, including the barrel, action, stock, firing pin, breech face, chamber, extractor, ejector, bore, choke, lead, muzzle, trigger, sear, and magazine. The module also covers the classification of firearms based on bore characteristics, loading features, action mechanisms, handling conditions, and velocity.

    MODULE 2 – AMMUINITION

    This module covers the history and types of propellants and their significance in ballistic applications, the study of projectiles, including lead pellets, and various types of jacketed bullets such as paper-patch, wire, metal patch, electroplated, gas-check, armor-piercing, tracer, incendiary, dum-dum, hollow point, and aluminum-tipped bullets.

    You will be introduced to the concept of crannelures, primer's diverse compositions, including boxer and berdan types, along with percussion caps, cartridge cases or shells (composition, shapes, types, and head stamps), and the roles and types of wads.

    MODULE 3 – MUZZLE LOADING FIREAMS

    In this module, you will learn about the historical and technical aspects of muzzle-loading firearms, the percussion cap, a crucial component in the ignition system, and the projectile charge, wads, and powder charge, highlighting their roles in the functioning of muzzle-loading firearms. You will also gain insights about the mechanism of these firearms, along with the sequential interactions of components during firing and how these contribute to forensic investigation.

    MODULE 4 – MECHANISM OF FIRING

    This module focuses on an introductory understanding of various firearms within a forensic context, including shotguns, pistols, rifles, revolvers, and machine guns, and their firing mechanisms. A foundational understanding of each type, including their unique characteristics and applications, will be covered. Shotguns are widely used for hunting and sport shooting, whereas pistols are more compact and versatile. Rifles are known for their accuracy and range, whereas revolvers are known for their revolving mechanism. Machine guns, on the other hand, are known for their automatic firing capability.

    MODULE 5 – INTERNAL BALLISTICS

    In this module, you will learn about firearm mechanics and internal ballistics, the ignition of propellants, the phenomenon of hang fire, the pressure space curve during firing, factors influencing muzzle velocity, short start pressure, velocity, space curve, the theory of recoil, Piobett's Law, and Le Due's Formula. The relationship between these elements is a valuable source for understanding the scientific principles governing firearm function and behavior.

    MODULE 6 – EXTERNAL BALLISTICS

    This module covers a foundational understanding of exterior ballistics (the motion of a projectile in the air), the equations governing the motion of projectiles for determining the velocity of the projectile, the principal problems in exterior ballistics, and misfire, highlighting the potential issues during the ignition and discharge process that might arise due to a defect in the firearm.

    MODULE 7 – TERMINAL BALLISTICS / FIREARM INJURIES

    This module focuses on the wounding effects of projectiles (including factors like the target site, velocity, constructional features, and range) and the identification of firearm injuries (using indicators like pink coloration, blackening, tattooing, dirt rings, foreign material, charring, contusion, and specific wound characteristics).

    The module further explores the evaluation of firearm injuries, including an in-depth analysis of wounds caused by various firearms, including pistols, revolvers, rifles, shotguns, muzzle-loading firearms, and zip guns; the concept of fatal injuries; extraordinary facts, difference between postmortem and antemortem injuries; and considerations related to determining the age of injuries.

    MODULE 8 – COLLECTION AND PRESERVATION OF FIREARM EVIDENCE

    In this module, you will learn about investigations involving firearms, including cartridge cases, the characteristics of bullets, slugs and slots, clothes worn during an incident, glass fragments, discharge residues, injuries sustained, bullet holes, and test exhibits. All these provide valuable information and play a crucial role in reconstructing the sequence of events, identifying the weapons involved, and establishing the trajectory and impact dynamics.

    MODULE 9 – EXAMINATION OF FIREARM EVIDENCE

    In this module, you will learn about the principles of firearm examination, identification features associated with bullets and cartridges, test exhibits including ammunition, no firearms, defective firearms, damaged firearms, high-velocity rifles, and their recovery and cleaning. The examination process involves techniques like spectroscopy, comparison microscopy, comparison camera, stereography, photographic comparison, scanning electron microscopy, periphery camera, scanning electron microscope, and elemental analysis methods like NAA, AAS, and AES, along with methods to restore erased serial numbers.

    MODULE 10 – CRIME SCENE RECONSTRUCTION

    This module covers the process of crime scene reconstruction and the need for proper documentation, including photography of the crime scene, the collection of relevant evidence, including arms and ammunition, as well as the victim's clothing, the hypothetical conjecture and analysis of the collected evidence, a medico-legal report that acts as an essential document providing professional assessment of injuries and forensic findings, and the theory formulation of the crime scene for a more accurate reconstruction of the events surrounding the crime.

  • Level III : Ballistics & Firearm Study

    MODULE 1 - BALLISTICS AND FIREARM

    In this introductory module, you will learn about the fundamentals of ballistics, its historical development, branches (internal, intermediate, external, and terminal ballistic), the process of manufacturing firearms, and its various components, including the barrel, action, stock, firing pin, breech face, chamber, extractor, ejector, bore, choke, lead, muzzle, trigger, sear, and magazine. The module also covers the classification of firearms based on bore characteristics, loading features, action mechanisms, handling conditions, and velocity.

    MODULE 2 - AMMUNITION

    This module covers the history and types of propellants and their significance in ballistic applications, the study of projectiles, including lead pellets, and various types of jacketed bullets such as paper-patch, wire, metal patch, electroplated, gas-check, armor-piercing, tracer, incendiary, dum-dum, hollow point, and aluminum-tipped bullets.

    You will be introduced to the concept of crannelures, primer's diverse compositions, including boxer and berdan types, along with percussion caps, cartridge cases or shells (composition, shapes, types, and head stamps), and the roles and types of wads.

    MODULE 3 - MUZZLE LOADING FIREARMS

    In this module, you will learn about the historical and technical aspects of muzzle-loading firearms, the percussion cap, a crucial component in the ignition system, and the projectile charge, wads, and powder charge, highlighting their roles in the functioning of muzzle-loading firearms. You will also gain insights about the mechanism of these firearms, along with the sequential interactions of components during firing and how these contribute to forensic investigation.

    MODULE 4 - MECHANISM OF FIRING

    This module focuses on an introductory understanding of various firearms within a forensic context, including shotguns, pistols, rifles, revolvers, and machine guns, and their firing mechanisms. A foundational understanding of each type, including their unique characteristics and applications, will be covered. Shotguns are widely used for hunting and sport shooting, whereas pistols are more compact and versatile. Rifles are known for their accuracy and range, whereas revolvers are known for their revolving mechanism. Machine guns, on the other hand, are known for their automatic firing capability.

    MODULE 5 - INTERNAL BALLISTICS

    In this module, you will learn about firearm mechanics and internal ballistics, the ignition of propellants, the phenomenon of hang fire, the pressure space curve during firing, factors influencing muzzle velocity, short start pressure, velocity, space curve, the theory of recoil, Piobett's Law, and Le Due's Formula. The relationship between these elements is a valuable source for understanding the scientific principles governing firearm function and behavior.

    MODULE 6 - EXTERNAL BALLISTICS

    This module covers a foundational understanding of exterior ballistics (the motion of a projectile in the air), the equations governing the motion of projectiles for determining the velocity of the projectile, the principal problems in exterior ballistics, and misfire, highlighting the potential issues during the ignition and discharge process that might arise due to a defect in the firearm.

    MODULE 7 - TERMINAL BALLISTICS / FIREARM INJURIES

    This module focuses on the wounding effects of projectiles (including factors like the target site, velocity, constructional features, and range) and the identification of firearm injuries (using indicators like pink coloration, blackening, tattooing, dirt rings, foreign material, charring, contusion, and specific wound characteristics).

    The module further explores the evaluation of firearm injuries, including an in-depth analysis of wounds caused by various firearms, including pistols, revolvers, rifles, shotguns, muzzle-loading firearms, and zip guns; the concept of fatal injuries; extraordinary facts, difference between postmortem and antemortem injuries; and considerations related to determining the age of injuries.

    MODULE 8 - IMPROVISED FIREARMS

    In this module, you will learn about firearms with a focus on their classification, characteristics, historical evolution, and firing process. The classification includes essential components like the barrel, chamber, action, and lock, each playing a unique role in firearm functioning. The module also covers a deep understanding of the firing process and the evaluation of firearms, including a detailed analysis of their components.

    MODULE 9 - MISCELLANEOUS

    This module focuses on specialized firearm categories like freak firearms and toy firearms, providing insights about their distinctive characteristics and applications. The concept of penetration power is covered, which addresses the ability of the firearm to penetrate various materials. Finally, you will learn about the examination of conversion barrels, which can alter a firearm’s caliber or functionality. This module will equip you with the knowledge to assess and interpret forensic evidence related to these specialized firearm categories accurately.

    MODULE 10 - PROBLEMS AND LOCATION

    This module highlights the challenges involved in firearm identification, including issues that arise from fired ammunition, firearm injuries, medico-legal complexities, muzzle loaders, live ammunition, and fraudulent manipulation activities. You will then learn about the location aspect, including firearm-related incidents, from the perspectives of victims, culprits, and the scene of occurrence.

    MODULE 11 - COLLECTION AND PRESERVATION OF FIREARM EVIDENCE

    In this module, you will learn about investigations involving firearms, including cartridge cases, the characteristics of bullets, slugs and slots, clothes worn during an incident, glass fragments, discharge residues, injuries sustained, bullet holes, and test exhibits. All these provide valuable information and play a crucial role in reconstructing the sequence of events, identifying the weapons involved, and establishing the trajectory and impact dynamics.

    MODULE 12 - EXAMINATION OF FIREARM EVIDENCE

    In this module, you will learn about the principles of firearm examination, identification features associated with bullets and cartridges, test exhibits including ammunition, no firearms, defective firearms, damaged firearms, high-velocity rifles, and their recovery and cleaning. The examination process involves techniques like spectroscopy, comparison microscopy, comparison camera, stereography, photographic comparison, scanning electron microscopy, periphery camera, scanning electron microscope, and elemental analysis methods like NAA, AAS, and AES, along with methods to restore erased serial numbers.

    MODULE 13 - GUNSHOT RESIDUES

    This module covers the role of gunshot residue in forensic investigations, types of residues (black powder and smokeless powder residues), methods to determine the nature and location of GSR, dry and wet methods of collecting GSR, and the collection of organic residue.

    You will also learn about GSR evidence evaluation techniques, like visual examination, infrared photography, soft X-ray radiography, dermal nitrate tests, Walker's test, Harrison and Gilroy's test, Price's spot test, Greiss test, neutron activation analysis (NAA), flame-less atomic absorption spectroscopy (F-AAS), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and X-ray fluorescence (XRF).

    MODULE 14 - SPECIAL SITUATION

    This module focuses on special cases encountered by forensic investigators, like damaged cartridge cases, bullets, burnt projectiles, smooth barrel marks, buckshots, and pellets, as well as instances involving no firearm. In-depth examination and interpretation of these elements helps forensic investigators reconstruct events and establish the evidential significance of the findings.

    MODULE 15 - EXAMINATION OF RANGE OF FIRE

    In this module, the concept of range of fire in firearm-related incidents is discussed, including a detailed analysis of various factors like muzzle patterns, burning, scorching, blackening, tattooing, powder residues, metal particles, wad distribution, pellet patterns, and the direction of wounds. Accurately estimating the direction of fire helps investigators determine the circumstances surrounding the discharge of the firearm.

    MODULE 16 - AUTOMATED IDENTIFICATION SYSTEM

    This module explores the most commonly used automated identification systems, like the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN) and Integrated Ballistics Information (IBIS) systems. These systems utilize a comprehensive database and imaging technology to analyze and match ballistic evidence from different crime scenes. You will gain an understanding of historical evolution, working principles, examination procedures, and limitations due to the quality of input data in both systems.

    MODULE 17 - CRIME SCENE RECONSTRUCTION

    This module covers the process of crime scene reconstruction and the need for proper documentation, including photography of the crime scene, the collection of relevant evidence, including arms and ammunition, as well as the victim's clothing, the hypothetical conjecture and analysis of the collected evidence, a medico-legal report that acts as an essential document providing professional assessment of injuries and forensic findings, and the theory formulation of the crime scene for a more accurate reconstruction of the events surrounding the crime.

    MODULE 18 - COURTROOM PRESENTATION OF EVIDENCE

    In this module, you will learn the role of the expert witness, opinions on exhibits, presentation of experimental data to support forensic analysis, illustrations including those of cartridge cases, bullets, and the range of a firearm, medical evidence to strengthen the expert's testimony, the language of the expert to ensure clear communication during court proceedings, and the art of cross-examination to discredit, clarify, prove inadequacy, or elicit additional evidence from the expert.

  • What steps should I follow to enroll in this online course?

    To enroll, click on the “Register for Course” option available on the right side of the screen, followed by the provided instructions and payment procedure.

  • Can I pay directly to the bank account of SIFS India?

    Yes, you have the option to make a direct payment to the bank account of SIFS India;, all you have to do is write an email at education@sifs.in requesting the bank details. 

  • Which documents I have to upload at the time of enrollment?

    Academic Qualification Documents, Professional Qualification Certificates, and National ID Proof or Passport Copy are required at the time of enrollment.

  • What if I am unable to upload my documents?

    Kindly send your necessary documents with proof of payment to admission@sifs.in.

  • How will I receive confirmation once I have completed the payment procedure?

    An Admission Confirmation email will be sent with your portal credentials once the proof of payment and application form with all the necessary documents are received at admission@sifs.in.

  • How do I login to the portal for my online course?

    To login, visit the portal at the given link: https://www.sifs.in/student and enter your login credentials, i.e., your username and password shared via email. 

  • What study material access will I have after logging into the portal?

    After logging into the portal, you will have access to reading material, reference eBooks, and e-research papers.

  • Will I receive any assignments during my course duration?

    Yes, all your assignments, projects, case studies and practice tests will be assigned to you through your portal as per the level you will be enrolled in.

  • What technical prerequisites are necessary for an online course?

    You can easily access our online course on mobile / tablet devices. We highly recommend that you use your desktop or laptop and a reliable internet connection for a better view.

  • Will there be any exams after completing the course?

    Yes, there will be an online exam after completing the course.

  • Will I receive any certificates after completing the online course?

    Yes, upon successful completion of the course, you will receive a certificate and marksheet, which can be a valuable addition to your resume and may enhance your career prospects in the field.

  • Where to contact in case of any queries or technical support?

    Write to us at admission@sifs.in, call: +91-1147074263, or WhatsApp: +91-7303913002.

The Beltway Snipers Case Study

During September and October 2002, the public along the east coast of the United States was terrorized due to a series of random shootings.

Most of the shootings took place near a freeway called the Capital Beltway in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., and hence were given the name Beltway sniper killings.

A high-powered rifle was used from a distance of about 100m or less from every victim in a secret location. Three people were seriously injured, and thirteen people were killed at several outdoor public places.

Ballistic evidence played a crucial role in catching and convicting two males liable for these shootings, and later it was also found that the shooter duo was also accountable for the sniper attacks in California, Arizona, and Texas.


Snipers’ Identity

John Allen Williams was the older of the two men and responsible for the Beltway sniper killings.

In 2002, he converted to Islam and renamed himself John Allen Muhammad.

This 41-year-old John was an ex-member of the United States National Guard and the United States Army and had won numerous medals for expert marksmanship during his time in the army.

17-year-old Lee Boyd Malvo was younger than the shooter duo and called himself John Lee Malvo.

He presented himself as John Allen Muhammad's son. However, he was the son of a woman with whom Muhammad had a friendship. He stole the rifle from the shop of a gun dealer in Tacoma, Washington.


Ballistic Evidence

A Bushmaster.223 semi-automatic rifle and bipod were found in a bag in John Allen Muhammad's car. 

The rifle fired bullets with an average muzzle velocity of 960 m/s. When a bullet is fired at this high velocity, it disintegrates upon hitting a bone or tissue and leaves behind hundreds of bullet fragments.

During X-rays, these bullet fragments formed a snowstorm effect pattern, and this pattern was visible on X-rays of each of the Beltway sniper’s victims.

A comparison of bullet fragments and cartridge casings was carried out with 150 different guns.

None of the weapons could be linked to the crime scene evidence. After this, ballistics experts compared bullet fragments and cartridge casings from the shootings to those fired from the rifle recovered from Muhammad’s car.

11 of the 14 bullet fragments recovered from the shootings matched the rifling pattern from the rifle he grabbed from his car.

Both gunpowder residue and primer residue were found in the trunk of Muhammad’s car by a forensic chemist, and their presence showed that a gun was likely fired from inside the trunk.

Along with ballistic evidence, DNA matching was done on both Malvo and Muhammad, with residue found on several areas of the rifle found in the suspect's car.

Cornelius Christopher Etim

5

Sherlock Institute of Forensic Science online course is just excellence, educational and timely. The staff with so vast expert knowledge professionally impart his great experience in the field. We received best noble coordination and responses from the team. I feel delighted that the objective of application is achieved, no doubt it is adding not only to my certification but also value to my work. Thanks to SIFS India.

Abhijeet Tiwari

4

The course was very Good. Sir, I thank you and your team thank you very much.

Yashshvi

5

It was the amazing and informational online course I have attended. I hope in future I will attend more course like this related to forensics from the same institute SIFS. I thank you that you have gave me such a wonderful opportunity.

Flora Geo Jose

5

Nice online course.There were no faults at all from SIFS side in case of connectivity etc..beautiful and memorable experience.Learned lot without even knowing that we are learning.thank you sir and the whole team behind this.

 

Instructors

Afreen Tarannum

Afreen Tarannum

Senior Scientific Officer
Dr. Ranjeet Singh

Dr. Ranjeet Singh

Managing Director
Dr. Saurabh P. Singh

Dr. Saurabh P. Singh

Forensic Instructor

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