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.
Forensic ballistics is the branch of forensic science that deals with weapons. This module will introduce you to 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 lead then its classification like smooth bore and rifled bore. Single shot firearm, repeaters- self-loaders, automatics and assault rifles. It will also familiarize you to the ammunition- case less cartridge, smokeless powder, gunpowder, projectiles, cartridge case and wads.
Module-2 The problems and location
Problems in identification of firearms module would familiarize you to the Fired ammunition- firearm injuries, medico-legal problem, muzzle- loaders and live ammunition. Location will comprise the position of victim and culprit and the scene of occurrence.
Collection and preservation of firearm would be accustomed to the collection of bullets, firearm, cartridge cases, slugs, clothes, glass fragments and discharge residues. Examination of the injuries and bullets holes.
Examination techniques comprising the principle of examination, class and individual marks, text exhibits- ammunition, defective firearms, high velocity rifles, damaged firearms, recovery and cleaning. The stereoscopy, comparison microscopy, comparison camera, stereograph, periphery camera and photographic comparison.
Module-5 Special situation
Under this module, students will be accustomed to the damaged cartridge cases, damaged bullets, burnt bullets and cartridge cases, smooth barrel marks, buckshot and pallets.
Module-6 Gunshot residues
Gunshot and powder residues would be comprises the nature of black powder residues, smokeless powder residues, its nature, detection and collection. Evaluation method- 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. Then comprising neutron activation analysis, flame-less atomic absorption spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and X-ray fluorescence.
Module-7 Range of fire
Firing patterns would be includes the muzzle patterns, scorching, blackening, tattooing, powder residues, metal particles, wad distribution, pellet patterns and direction of wound.
Module-8 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 age of injuries.
Crime scene reconstruction play a vital role in the investigation of scene of crime. Module will familiarize you to the photographs of the scene, victim’s clothes, medico-legal report, arms and ammunitions and the basic ballistics.
Module-10 Duration of fire
Identification and examination of fire would be acquaint you to the gunpowder residue, carbon monoxide, mercury, bloodstains and Flesh, rust, dust and the nitrite variations.
Module-11 Muzzle-loading firearms
Under this module, students will be accustomed to the muzzle- loading firearms, percussion caps, projectile charge, wads and powder charge.
Module-12 Improved firearms
Improved firearms or advanced firearm would be explain you to its importance, classification, characteristics of barrel, chamber, action and lock and the firing process with its evaluation.
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-14 Presentation of evidence
Expert opinion and evaluation of the case will acquaint you to the exhibit opinion, experimental data, and illustration like cartridge cases, bullets and range. It will also comprising the medical evidence, language of the experts, cross-examination- to discredit the expert, to clarify evidence, to prove inadequate and to elicit additional evidence.
Module-15 Case law
Expert law related to ballistics would be familiarize you to the unsatisfactory report, photographs not indispensable, ballistic expert’s vacillating report, scientific evidence v. eyewitness account, acceptability and expert evidence not essential.
The evaluation process varies depending upon the course you enroll for, likewise: if you are enrolled for Certification, you will be allotted an assignment during the mid-session of the course, which you are deemed to complete within the month. Similar process is followed in Diploma. But in PG Diploma, after the completion of the assignment during the mid-sessions; a Project-work is assigned during the last quarter, which you have to complete in a month’s time.
The mode of examination will be online for the students enrolled either in online courses or in distance course. After the completion of the respective course duration, a username and password would be generated for all the enlisted students. The username and the password would be mailed to every student prior to the date allotted for the examination to be held, and accordingly they would be requested by the concerned authorities to check their mails, so that they could use the specified details in order to give their exams on our online examination portal on the allocated date and time.
Note: Every student will be given a username and password a month before the conducting of the exams for the demo-exams, so that they get to know every detail concerned with the online examination pattern.
The complete correction and evaluation takes about two weeks. After the evaluation process is finally done, the mark sheets and certificates are posted on to the postal address of every student, but only after verifying their postal addresses as mentioned on the submitted application forms. Therefore, the students are always requested to mention their correct and complete address on their application form, in order to avoid further confusion and disappointment.
Training is a decisive part to get a practical and professional knowledge. SIFS India provides an affluence training of Ballistics and Firearm Study. Training schedule is arranged to provide a sympathetic knowledge of Ballistics and Firearm Study practices, principles, and case studies and so on.
This collaborative training session is designed for online and distance students. The practical training module is divided into seven modules such as-
Module-1: Introduction to firearms and its parts- The training session is designed to make students aware of the science of Ballistics and Firearm. As a matter of fact, Ballistics and Firearm Investigation deals solely with the principles of Physics, normally dealing with the projectile and the path of trajectory. Thus, in this module, students will be acquainted with the Ballistics, Firearms, their classification, working mechanism and parts.
Module-2: Collection and preservation of firearms- Collection and preservation part plays a major role in Forensic Science. Therefore, Firearm being a major evidence and a source to unveil various facts; thus proper measures should be taken in collecting firearm-related evidences as spent cartridges, live cartridges, live ammunition, wads etc. the students will be taught with all the basic fundamentals one must own for a proper collection and preservation of Firearms.
Module-3: Examination techniques of Firearms- Examination of the suspected Firearm, if found at a crime scene or any nearby area plays a significant role in the criminal investigation processes. As a result, students will be taught with all the tactics and techniques of examining a firearm visually, either under microscope or various light sources; as it a can be a source of related evidence as fingerprint, blood or any other soft tissue, which may aid a lot in unfolding the mystery behind.
Module-4: Gunshot Residues Analysis- Various visual and chemical examinations are performed to determine the presence of Gunshot residue. Therefore, in this module, the students will be taught with all the skills and techniques of analyzing GSR found on a victim(s) or any of their belongings and so.
Module-5: Firearm Injuries- Injuries possess a significant role in medico-legal aspect related to certain case. Firearm Injury and its pattern differs very evidently when compared to other patterns of injury. Therefore, in this module, students would be taught by showing them real-cases of firearm injuries, so that they will be very aptly able to differentiate one from the other patterns of injury. Medico-legal significance will also be a major part of this training session.
Module-6: Presentation of evidence- The presentation of each evidence with their forensic significance inside the court-room, is of great use in Forensic Science. Therefore, in this module, students will be taught with the skill of presenting oneself in the court of law as Ballistic and Firearm Expert, to aid the court in a sequential processing of the related case.
DURATION OF TRAINING
The duration scheduled for the training is one month during the summer vacations.
ADVANTAGES OF TRAINING
>> The training session specially focusses to bring together online and distance students to enhance their knowledge.
>> Training will provide you the practical knowledge and opportunities to investigate the legal cases.
>> The training session of the course FSP 404 Ballistics and Firearm Study familiarizes you to the brief knowledge of course in classroom assembly.
>> Online and distance students attend to plenary training session and case studies, and learn more about Forensic Science and Criminal Investigation.
FEE FOR TRAINING
The training would be payable for online and distance learning students. But they already being enrolled as students, therefore they can avail an add-on advantage of earning 15% scholarship on their respective course fee.
After the successful completion of one month training, a valedictory function is organized on the last day where students are distributed the certificate and a farewell treat is arranged for the students from the Organization.
Outline towards Ballistics & Firearm Study career paths
Now a days Forensic Science stands in very broad manner with multiple sub-fields. Ballistics & Firearm Study is one of the chief sub-disciplines of Forensic Science, which offers a myriad career opportunities to the keen aspirants. After a thorough theoretical and practical sessions provided under this course, the student would be able to gain the capability understand the motion of projectile, its mechanism in air as well as on the target. The students would be trained and taught in such a way that they will learn to analyze the action of the projectile on the object, and thus the students would be enable to bring out a number of hidden facts by observing the crime scene and the evidences themselves. After completing this course, a student has innumerable options for grooming one’s career, some of them are listed below:
>> Student can be appointed as a Ballistics & Firearm Investigator in the Central Forensic Science Laboratories.
>> Student can also be appointed as Ballistics & Firearm Investigator in the State Forensic Labs.
>> Student can be appointed as a faculty/ trainer of Ballistics & Firearm Investigation in the various institutes offering Forensic
Science courses as undergraduate and master’s programme.
Educational Qualification to set a career in Ballistics & Firearm Study
First level course of the Ballistics & Firearm Study is a Certification Programme. In order to opt for this course one must be of Science background. Ballistics & Firearm Study courses are also available for the Science background graduate level students who are interested to start their career from master level programme in the respective investigating science. For those students, who are opting for their Doctorate degree can choose any of the fields of Ballistics & Firearm Investigation for their further research and study.
Law students and professionals both can do Certification, Diploma Course and P.G. Diploma course offered in Forensic Science to elevate their legal knowledge.
Sectors in Ballistics & Firearm Study
Job prospects for Ballistics & Firearm Study are in Forensic labs; Government and Private Laboratories.
Alternate job besides working in a Laboratory is teaching with abundant opportunity to upheld one’s career by imparting education.
1. What is Ballistics & Firearm Study?
In the course Ballistics & Firearm Study, the students 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 students to extract out various hidden facts like direction, speed, etc. by the position and condition of the related evidences at a crime scene.
2. What is the course content of FSP 404?
The course Ballistics & Firearm Study (FSP 404) includes all the details regarding the significance of studying Ballistics & Firearm Investigation in criminal investigations. Course will introduce you to interactive training session and practicals on the scientific and practical methods involved in a proper analysis firearm related cases.
For more details click on- http://www.sifs.in/prospectus/FSP-404-forensic-ballistics.pdf
3. What is the course duration of Certificate, Diploma and PG Diploma courses?
All online and distance courses are divided into three certifications i.e. Certificate course for three months, Diploma course for six months and PG Diploma for one year.
4. What qualification is required to be eligible for the above-mentioned courses?
If you are looking for Certificate and Diploma courses, you must have completed your 10+2 or appearing in any discipline from Recognized Board/ School and for PG Diploma course graduation will be required. In the admission process, self-attested mark-sheets and certificates of the previous school/college and transfer certificate along with 2 passport size photographs will be required from the student.
5. Where can I register for distance or online education courses?
We provide online application form for all online or distance students. To download application, form click on- http://www.sifs.in/application-form.pdf
6. When will I receive my study materials, books etc.?
After the completion of your admission process and payment of fee, the students enrolled for online courses will receive a username and password to access e-library within 7-10 working days through mail on their mail id which is mentioned on the application form; whereas distance education students will receive hardcopy of related course materials on the mentioned address by courier or post within 15 working days.
7. What about exams and course credits?
In the last month of your course, we will conduct your online exam. All details regarding your exam will sent to you on the mail id provided by you and the course credits differs according to course code and divided into assignment, project and exam.
For more detail please click on- www.sifs.in/ims
8. How do I get my certificate/mark-sheet, when I have completed my exams?
You will receive your mark-sheet and certificate within a month on your mentioned address by courier or post.
9. What is the difference between online and distance education? Which is the best mode of education?
Both modes of education are good. The only difference between online and distance education is distance education students will get hardcopy material related to their course code, and so the distance learning students will pay Rs. 1000 more as compared to online education students. An extra amount is charged for distance learning students, as the postal charges are included in the course fee.
10. Where do I find out what courses are being offered distance or online?
We provide all information on the website- www.sifs.in
11. Although my degree is in an unrelated field of study, I have taken quite a few science courses. Am I eligible to apply?
Yes. You are eligible for this Ballistics & Firearm Study (FSP 404), if you have completed or if you are pursuing your 10+2 or graduation in any discipline from a Recognized Board/ School/ College.
12. What is the scope and career of forensic education and related courses?
Forensic Science offers a wide range of opportunity to the students aspiring to make their careers as Forensic Scientists and Investigators. With a sense of keen observation and the ability of seeing the unseen are a few traits that would promise the aspiring students to make a colorful career in the wonderful arena of Forensic.
13. Should I pay any extra fee for examination, study materials etc.?
No. Your course fee includes Study materials, Books, Notes, I-Card, Examination Fee. You are not required to pay any extra amount, but in some cases- additional taxes / fees may apply. If you are living out of India and interested in printed notes and books, then you have to pay shipping/postal charges extra. Summer training and practical sessions will be payable for online and distance students with 15% scholarship.
14. What will I get after joining distance course?
You will get User-id and password to access e-library within 7-10 working days. Study materials, notes and books related to your course and id-card will be sent on the address mentioned by you, either by courier or post within 15 working days.
15. How can I pay my course fee by credit card in USD?
Indian Students may use Universal Currency Converter from http://www.xe.com/ucc/ to pay fee in other currencies, or International students visit this link- http://www.sifs.in/onlinefee.php to check out the fee structure. You can pay your course fee from here- http://www.sifs.org.in/payment (Students enrolled for courses having course duration more than 6 months can pay their Course Fee in maximum two instalments, but Rs. 2000 will be charged extra.)
16. Why is training important?
Training is a vital part of online and distance students. It is intended to provide students with the opportunity to place theories into practicals. It is also very helpful to develop their skills that support professional life by preparing and encouraging them to apply their abilities and knowledge acquired through study in a work later on. So, even before the students completed their course they are trained to be job-ready, therefore increasing the student’s employment prospects.
17. What is the best route to prepare for a career as a forensic scientist?
SIFS INDIA provides professional course Ballistics & Firearm Study (FSP 404) to acquire knowledge from the basics. The course interest attribute to up showing television shows focused on law enforcement and forensics. Subject offers the opportunity to grow your career in many sub disciples.
18. I am interested in a career in this field. Where do I start?
In order to initiate a career into this field, you should have a zeal and urge to unveil the veiled. A certificate, diploma and PG diploma course would help you groom your knowledge theoretically as well as practically, thereby ensuring a safe and secure career.
19. Where will I work?
You may avail opportunities as a Ballistics and Firearm Investigator in the central as well as state forensic laboratories.
20. What are the other specialized forensic science careers can be found outside the crime laboratory?
Other than working in the Crime Laboratory, you can also be appointed as a Crime Scene Investigator in Police Stations or you can also be appointed as an Investigator for the Mobile Forensic Laboratory.
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.
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.
All these courses are Online / Distance mode. Each student can access their course module by login our online study portal i.e.
Apart from above course details, there are some additional details of this course. More details can be get by clicking here such as-
1. Eligibility for the Admission
2. Admission Procedure
3. Examination Pattern
4. Grading System in Examination
5. Course Fee and Concession
6. Types of Certificates
7. Study Materials
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