ballistics | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Criminal Investigations 

Forensic ballistics is the use of scientific methods to examine and analyze physical evidence related to firearms in criminal investigations.

Ballistics is the scientific study of the motion, behavior, and effects of projectiles, particularly bullets. Forensic ballistics, on the other hand, refers to the application of this scientific discipline in the context of criminal investigations.

Forensic ballistics involves the examination and analysis of physical evidence related to firearms, such as bullets, cartridge cases, and other related materials. The goal of forensic ballistics is to identify and compare the characteristics of these materials found at a crime scene with those of a particular firearm.

Through the use of specialized techniques and equipment, forensic ballistics experts can determine whether a particular firearm was used in a crime and, if so, whether it was used in other crimes. This information can be crucial in identifying suspects and building a case against them.

Forensic ballistics experts may use a variety of techniques in their analyses. For example, they may use microscopes to examine bullets and cartridge cases for unique markings left by the firearm that fired them. They may also use X-ray machines to examine the internal components of bullets and cartridges.

In addition to examining physical evidence, forensic ballistics experts may also conduct tests to determine the velocity and trajectory of bullets fired from a particular firearm. This information can help reconstruct the sequence of events that occurred during a crime and provide important clues about the identity of the perpetrator.

Forensic ballistics experts may be called upon to testify in court as expert witnesses. They may provide information about their findings, explain the significance of the physical evidence in a case, and help jurors understand complex scientific concepts.

Overall, forensic ballistics plays an important role in criminal investigations. By using scientific techniques to analyze physical evidence related to firearms, experts can help identify suspects, link crimes together, and provide critical evidence in court.

[ Glossary ]

Last Modified: 05/04/2023

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