Reply To: Ballistics

  • Encyclios

    May 17, 2023 at 3:58 PM

    Forensic ballistics

    Forensic ballistics is a branch of forensic science that includes investigations aimed at the reconstruction of the events related to a crime in which a firearm was used, aimed at the definition of responsibility and the imposition of punishment. Forensic ballistics is based on the principle that all firearms have indelible differences due to the different mechanism with which they were manufactured.

    In the cases in which a firearm has been used, with consequent lesions or death, a correct medico-legal diagnosis, even if based on the careful examination of the “basic” data (number of exploded shots, distance of shooting and reciprocal position between the wounded and the victim), can sometimes prove to be incomplete or insufficient in the absence of an integrated evaluation with the results of investigations commonly considered to be of a more exquisitely criminalistic nature, such as the examination of the weapon and its mechanics, the definition of the number of unexploded shots in the magazine, the identification of the caliber of the exploded bullets, as well as the interpretation of environmental and testimonial findings.

    Specific to forensic ballistics are investigations for:

    • the identification and description of the place where the event occurred;
    • the examination of damage from ballistic agents in environments and on vehicles;
    • the search, collection, preservation and identification of findings of ballistic interest;
    • the examination of the weapon, the ascertainment of its characteristics and functionality;
    • identification of the shooter;
    • the evaluation of the shooting distance.

    In addition to these, in proposing reconstructive hypotheses of the event, due account must be taken of the certainly not secondary and classic medico-legal themes of:

    • evaluation of the time of death and/or injury, of the cause and of the means used;
    • the survival time and the possibility of autonomously carrying out actions or movements after the injury;
    • type(s) of weapon(s) used, caliber, number of rounds fired, still firing distance and mutual position between victim and shooter.

    The forensic ballistics suffers however of some difficulties of analysis with particular types of weapons whose bullets slide through plastic coatings that prevent the contact with the barrel. For these types of weapons there are other analyses that can reveal their sources.