Course Introduction

FSP 404 : Ballistics & Firearm Study

  • Course Outline
  • Curriculum
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Ballistics and Firearm Investigation is that discipline of Forensic which deals with the motion of projectile and the path it covers after being fired. Firearm investigation is a specialty of forensic science focusing on the examination of firearms and related subjects; whereas ballistics is the branch of applied physics which deals with the motion of projectile and conditions that govern the motion of projection. This area of study examines the path of a bullet from when it leaves the firearm up until it strikes the target. During investigations in which the use of firearms is suspected, a number of objects may be collected for examination and analysis, including firearms, cartridge cases, bullets, live ammunition, trace materials, and any material damaged by a projectile.


The study of firearms and ballistics is often divided into three: interior, exterior and terminal ballistics. Interior ballistics refers to the processes inside the firearm, the minute space of time between the shooter pulling the trigger and the bullet exiting the muzzle of the gun. It can also be defined as the process of imparting energy to projectile. Following this, external ballistics deals with the bullet’s flight between leaving the firearm and striking a target, or precisely it can be described as the performance of missile or the projectile both in air as well as in space. Finally, terminal ballistics, also known as impact ballistics, refers to the effect of the projectile/missile striking at the target.


In addition, along with the basics and principles of Forensic Ballistics and Firearm Investigation, the students will be familiarized with the usefulness and significance of live and spent cartridges as well as ammunition in forensic ballistics. The students will be given a detailed description of the application of physics and its techniques in determining the motion, speed, direction and other related facts concerned with the use of firearm at a crime scene. The firearm injuries and their chief characteristics are one of the key factors of the mentioned course structure.

  • Level I : Ballistics & Firearm Study

    MODULE 1 – BALLISTICS AND FIREARM

    Forensic ballistics is the branch of forensic science that deals with weapons. This module will introduce you the history of firearm, branches of ballistics, the introduction to firearms and its parts such as barrel, action, stock, firing pin or striker, breech face, chamber, extractor and ejector, barrel, choked barrel and also include its classifications i.e. on the basis of bore, on the Basis of Loading Characteristics, on the Basis of Action Mechanism, on the Basis of Handling Condition and on the basis of velocity.

    MODULE 2 – AMMUINITION

    In this module, student will familiarize with the history of ammunition and different type of propellant, projectiles types such as lead pellets and jacketed bullet, primer and wad with their types and also consider the types of cartridge case and hand stamps.

    MODULE 3 – MUZZLE LOADING FIREAMS

    This module defines the detail description of muzzle loading firearms with the historical background. And also include percussion cap, projectile charge, wad, powder charge and contain the mechanism of muzzle loading firearms.

    MODULE 4 – MECHANISM OF FIRING

    In this module, student get the detailed description about the mechanism of firing of different types of firearm like shotgun, pistol, rifle, revolver and machine gun. The knowledge of mechanism of firing is important as the forensic aspects.

    MODULE 5 – INTERNAL BALLISTICS

    This module defines the internal ballistics as a branch of ballistics in which student will be able to learn about the ignition of the propellant, hang fire, pressure space curve, shot start pressure, Velocity and Space Curve that occur in the firearm. This module also includes the factors affecting the muzzle velocity and theory of recoil, Piobett law and Le Due’s formula for the understanding of internal ballistics.

    MODULE 6 – EXTERNAL BALLISTICS

    This module gives the detailed description of the external ballistics (the motion of projectile in the air). In the external ballistics, scholars will learn how the velocity of the projectile can be determined from the equation derived from motion of projectile. The principle problem of exterior ballistics and misfire which occur spontaneously due to the defect in the firearm.

    MODULE 7 – TERMINAL BALLISTICS / FIREARM INJURIES

    Firearm injuries as the name signifies will be dealing with various types of injuries and their nature such as wound ballistics- the target site, the velocity, constructional features and range. It also comprising the identification like pink coloration, blackening, tattooing, dirt ring, foreign materials, charring, contusion and wounds. Postmortem report, nature of firearm such as pistol and revolver injuries, rifle injuries, shotgun injuries, muzzle-loading firearm injuries and zip gun injuries. It will covers the postmortem or ante mortem injuries, fatal injuries and extraordinary facts, age of injuries. It also cover the evaluation of firearm injuries.

  • Level II : Ballistics & Firearm Study

    MODULE 1 – BALLISTICS AND FIREARM

    Forensic ballistics is the branch of forensic science that deals with weapons. This module will introduce you the history of firearm, branches of ballistics, the introduction to firearms and its parts such as barrel, action, stock, firing pin or striker, breech face, chamber, extractor and ejector, barrel, choked barrel and also include its classifications i.e. on the basis of bore, on the Basis of Loading Characteristics, on the Basis of Action Mechanism, on the Basis of Handling Condition and on the basis of velocity.

    MODULE 2 – AMMUINITION

    In this module, student will familiarize with the history of ammunition and different type of propellant, projectiles types such as lead pellets and jacketed bullet, primer and wad with their types and also consider the types of cartridge case and hand stamps.

    MODULE 3 – MUZZLE LOADING FIREAMS

    This module defines the detail description of muzzle loading firearms with the historical background. And also include percussion cap, projectile charge, wad, powder charge and contain the mechanism of muzzle loading firearms.

    MODULE 4 – MECHANISM OF FIRING

    In this module, student get the detailed description about the mechanism of firing of different types of firearm like shotgun, pistol, rifle, revolver and machine gun. The knowledge of mechanism of firing is important as the forensic aspects.

    MODULE 5 – INTERNAL BALLISTICS

    This module defines the internal ballistics as a branch of ballistics in which student will be able to learn about the ignition of the propellant, hang fire, pressure space curve, shot start pressure, Velocity and Space Curve that occur in the firearm. This module also includes the factors affecting the muzzle velocity and theory of recoil, Piobett law and Le Due’s formula for the understanding of internal ballistics.

    MODULE 6 – EXTERNAL BALLISTICS

    This module gives the detailed description of the external ballistics (the motion of projectile in the air). In the external ballistics, scholars will learn how the velocity of the projectile can be determined from the equation derived from motion of projectile. The principle problem of exterior ballistics and misfire which occur spontaneously due to the defect in the firearm.

    MODULE 7 – TERMINAL BALLISTICS / FIREARM INJURIES

    Firearm injuries as the name signifies will be dealing with various types of injuries and their nature such as wound ballistics- the target site, the velocity, constructional features and range. It also comprising the identification like pink coloration, blackening, tattooing, dirt ring, foreign materials, charring, contusion and wounds. Postmortem report, nature of firearm such as pistol and revolver injuries, rifle injuries, shotgun injuries, muzzle-loading firearm injuries and zip gun injuries. It will covers the postmortem or ante mortem injuries, fatal injuries and extraordinary facts, age of injuries. It also cover the evaluation of firearm injuries.

    MODULE 11 – COLLECTION AND PRESERVATION OF FIREARM EVIDENCE

    Collection and preservation of firearm evidence would be accustomed to the collection of bullets, firearm, cartridge cases, slugs, clothes, glass fragments and discharge residues. Examination of the injuries, bullets holes and test exhibits.

    MODULE 12 – EXAMINATION OF FIREARM EVIDENCE

    Examination of Firearm Evidence module comprises the principle of examination, class and individual features of bullets and cartridges, text exhibits which includes ammunition, defective firearms, high velocity, rifles, damaged firearms, recovery and cleaning. In the module scholars will learn about different examination techniques such as stereoscopy, comparison microscopy, comparison camera, stereograph, periphery camera, photographic comparison, SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope), NAA (Neutron Activation Analysis), AAS (Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy) and AES (Atomic Emission Spectroscopy). This module also comprises the restoration of erased serial number of firearm evidence.

    MODULE 17 – CRIME SCENE RECONSTRUCTION

    Crime scene reconstruction help the investigator in rearrange the event happened at crime scene. This module will explain the learner about the major topics of photographing the crime scene, collection of relevant evidences and their analysis, formation of medico-legal report and theories helpful to solve crime

  • Level III : Ballistics & Firearm Study

    MODULE 1 – BALLISTICS AND FIREARM

    Forensic ballistics is the branch of forensic science that deals with weapons. This module will introduce you the history of firearm, branches of ballistics, the introduction to firearms and its parts such as barrel, action, stock, firing pin or striker, breech face, chamber, extractor and ejector, barrel, choked barrel and also include its classifications i.e. on the basis of bore, on the Basis of Loading Characteristics, on the Basis of Action Mechanism, on the Basis of Handling Condition and on the basis of velocity.

    MODULE 2 – AMMUINITION

    In this module, student will familiarize with the history of ammunition and different type of propellant, projectiles types such as lead pellets and jacketed bullet, primer and wad with their types and also consider the types of cartridge case and hand stamps.

    MODULE 3 – MUZZLE LOADING FIREAMS

    This module defines the detail description of muzzle loading firearms with the historical background. And also include percussion cap, projectile charge, wad, powder charge and contain the mechanism of muzzle loading firearms.

    MODULE 4 – MECHANISM OF FIRING

    In this module, student get the detailed description about the mechanism of firing of different types of firearm like shotgun, pistol, rifle, revolver and machine gun. The knowledge of mechanism of firing is important as the forensic aspects.

    MODULE 5 – INTERNAL BALLISTICS

    This module defines the internal ballistics as a branch of ballistics in which student will be able to learn about the ignition of the propellant, hang fire, pressure space curve, shot start pressure, Velocity and Space Curve that occur in the firearm. This module also includes the factors affecting the muzzle velocity and theory of recoil, Piobett law and Le Due’s formula for the understanding of internal ballistics.

    MODULE 6 – EXTERNAL BALLISTICS

    This module gives the detailed description of the external ballistics (the motion of projectile in the air). In the external ballistics, scholars will learn how the velocity of the projectile can be determined from the equation derived from motion of projectile. The principle problem of exterior ballistics and misfire which occur spontaneously due to the defect in the firearm.

    MODULE 7 – TERMINAL BALLISTICS / FIREARM INJURIES

    Firearm injuries as the name signifies will be dealing with various types of injuries and their nature such as wound ballistics – the target site, the velocity, constructional features and range. It also comprising the identification like pink coloration, blackening, tattooing, dirt ring, foreign materials, charring, contusion and wounds. Postmortem report, nature of firearm such as pistol and revolver injuries, rifle injuries, shotgun injuries, muzzle-loading firearm injuries and zip gun injuries. It will covers the postmortem or ante mortem injuries, fatal injuries and extraordinary facts, age of injuries. It also cover the evaluation of firearm injuries.

    MODULE 8 – IMPROVISED FIREARMS

    Improved firearms or advanced firearm would be explain you to its introduction, history, classification, characteristics of barrel, chamber, action and lock and the firing process with its evaluation.

    MODULE 9 – MISCELLANEOUS

    This module focusses on various firearm such as freak firearms, toy firearms, penetration power, and range of firearms, comparative calibers, bore diameters and conversion barrels.

    MODULE 10 – PROBLEMS AND LOCATION

    Problems in identification of firearms module would familiarize you to the Fired ammunition, firearm injuries, medico-legal problem, muzzle- loaders, live ammunition and fraudulent manipulation. Location will comprise the position of victim and culprit and the scene of occurrence.

    MODULE 11 – COLLECTION AND PRESERVATION OF FIREARM EVIDENCE

    Collection and preservation of firearm evidence would be accustomed to the collection of bullets, firearm, cartridge cases, slugs, clothes, glass fragments and discharge residues. Examination of the injuries, bullets holes and test exhibits.

    MODULE 12 – EXAMINATION OF FIREARM EVIDENCE

    Examination of Firearm Evidence module comprises the principle of examination, class and individual features of bullets and cartridges, text exhibits which includes ammunition, defective firearms, high velocity, rifles, damaged firearms, recovery and cleaning. In the module scholars will learn about different examination techniques such as stereoscopy, comparison microscopy, comparison camera, stereograph, periphery camera, photographic comparison, SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope), NAA (Neutron Activation Analysis), AAS (Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy) and AES (Atomic Emission Spectroscopy). This module also comprises the restoration of erased serial number of firearm evidence.

    MODULE 13 – GUNSHOT RESIDUES

    Gunshot residue (GSR) is the burnt and unburnt particles comes out from the firearm. This module provide the detailed information about different powders that is black powder residues, smokeless powder residues, its nature, location, collection (dry, wet method) and evaluation. Whereas evaluation method comprises of Visual Examination, Infra-Red Photography, Soft X-Ray Radiography, Dermal Nitrate Test, Walker’s Test, Harrison and Gilroy’s Test and Price’s Spot Test, Griess Test, Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA), Flame-less Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (F-AAS), Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF).

    MODULE 14 – SPECIAL SITUATION

    This module deals with the special situations which can be seen in the cases oriented with forensic ballistic The topics covered under special situations module are damaged cartridge cases, damaged bullets, burnt bullets and cartridge cases, smooth barrel marks, buckshot and pellets and no firearm. These situation sometime become challenging for the investigator while dealing with the cases.

    MODULE 15 – EXAMINATION OF RANGE OF FIRE

    This module contains the detail regarding the examination of range which is the necessary step in estimating the range of firearm. This module provide the scholars a detail description about how to estimate the range of firearm with the help of muzzle patterns, scorching, blackening, tattooing, powder residues, metal particles, wad distribution, pellet patterns and direction of wound.

    MODULE 16 – AUTOMATED FIREARM IDENTIFICATION SYSTEM

    This module will describe about different systems Automated Firearm Identification System (AFIS) such as National Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN) and Integrated Ballistics Information (IBIS). These Automated Firearm Identification System are time consuming technique which help the expert in examining the firearm. Here in this module history, working principles, examination and limitations of Automated Firearm Identification System has been discussed in detail.

    MODULE 17 – CRIME SCENE RECONSTRUCTION

    Crime scene reconstruction help the investigator in rearrange the event happened at crime scene. This module will explain the learner about the major topics of photographing the crime scene, collection of relevant evidences and their analysis, formation of medico-legal report and theories helpful to solve crime.

    MODULE 18 – COURTROOM PRESENTATION OF EVIDENCE

    In this module learner will be provided with the information of about expert opinion and evaluation of the case, experimental data, and illustration like cartridge cases, bullets and range. It will also comprise the medical evidence, language of the experts, cross-examination- to discredit the expert, to clarify evidence, to prove inadequate and to elicit additional evidence.

  • What is Forensic Ballistics & Firearm?

    In Ballistics & Firearm Study, the learner will be acquainted with importance of applied physics in the study of Ballistics, along with a detailed information of the motion of projectile and its impact on the target. This course would also enable the learners to extract out various hidden facts like direction, speed, etc. by the position and condition of the related evidences at a crime scene.

  • How can I become an Expert of Forensic Ballistic & Firearm?

    Get yourselves enrolled for the course to get accustomed to the fundamentals of Forensic Ballistics and Firearms to tailor the learner into an Expert with suitable training. This will include professional view with an aid of instructors to grab on the basics and mold them into an Expert. 

  • What are the responsibilities as an Expert of Forensic Ballistics & Firearm?

    As per the duties of an Expert, he/she has to visit and analyse the crime scene, collect the evidences and analyse the same to give an opinion of the ammunition, range, firearm type, path of the projectile and other related aspects. 

  • What are the scope and the opportunistic aspects of the course?

    The learners can avail opportunities in the Central Forensic Science Laboratories and also at State as well as Regional Forensic Laboratories as an Expert of Forensic Ballistics and Firearms. They can also assist in the legal proceedings by giving their valuable opinion. 

  • Where can I contact in case of any queries?

    You can write to us at education@sifs.in or call us at +91-1147074263 or WhatsApp us +91-7303913002 or +91-7303913003.


The Beltway Snipers

During September and October 2002, a series of random shootings terrorized the public along the east coast of the United States. The murders were coined the Beltway sniper killings because the majority of the shootings occurred near a freeway called the Capital Beltway in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. The shooter used a high-powered rifle from a concealed location approximately 100 m or less away from each victim. Thirteen people were killed, and three people were critically injured while in various outdoor public places. Ballistic evidence played a critical role in the capture and conviction of the two males responsible for the shootings and it was later discovered that the pair was also responsible for sniper attacks in California, Arizona and Texas.

Identity of the Snipers

The older of the two men responsible for the Beltway sniper killings was John Allen Williams. After converting to Islam, he changed his name to John Allen Muhammad in 2002. A 41-year-old ex-member of the United States National Guard and the United States Army, he had earned medals for expert marksmanship while serving in the army.

The younger of the two Beltway snipers was 17-year-old Lee Boyd Malvo who also used the name John Lee Malvo. He had posed as John Allen Muhammad's son, but he was the son of a woman with whom Muhammad had a friendship. Malvo shoplifted the rifle used in the sniper shootings from 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. Bullets fired from this rifle had an average muzzle velocity of 960 m/s. A bullet fired at this high velocity disintegrates when it hits bone or tissue leaving behind hundreds of bullet fragments. In an X-ray, these numerous bullet fragments form a pattern known as the snowstorm effect. The snowstorm effect was visible on X-rays of each of the Beltway sniper’s victims.

The recovered bullet fragments and cartridge casings were compared to 150 different guns. Ballistic experts were unable to link any of those weapons to the crime scene evidence. The bullet fragments and cartridge casings from the shootings were then compared to test bullets fired from the rifle recovered from Muhammad’s car. Ballistic experts concluded that 11 of the 14 bullet fragments recovered from the shootings matched the rifling impressions from the rifle seized from the suspect’s car.

A forensic chemist found both gunpowder residue and primer residue in the trunk of Muhammad’s car. The presence of these chemicals indicated that a gun was likely fired from inside the trunk.

Although not considered ballistic evidence, numerous amounts of DNA matching both Malvo and Muhammad were identified on several areas of the rifle found in the suspects’ 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

Dr. Ranjeet Singh

Dr. Ranjeet Singh

Managing Director

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