Ballistic Forensics

By: Kaleb Hansens

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Duty of a Ballistic Forensics Detective

  • Collecting Evidence
  • Photographing crime scenes
  • Firing test rounds
  • Providing courtroom testimony
  • Analyzing firearm evidence
  • Identify firearms

Skills Needed to Become a Forensics Expert

They must have experiences or a bachelor's degree in natural sciences, usually a good understanding of physics is also needed. Along with college you must undergo extensive training in firearms, ballistics, muzzle velocity, gun powder residue, and more.
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Salary and Job Growth

It is estimated that the need for forensic experts is going to grow much larger in the upcoming years due to newer technology, and a demand for better evidence in criminal cases. Currently ballistic forensics experts only earn on average $55,000 a year, but it can commonly range from $30,000 to $80,000 depending on where, who, and when.
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Basics of Ballistic Forensics

When you fire a firearm a special print is made on the bottom of the shell casing from the firing pin. The the shell ejects onto the ground as the bullet itself is sent downrange. If the bullet is found it also has special marks on the sides which are caused by the rifling of the firearm. On impact a bullet deforms into a "mushroom" shape, by using the severity of the mushroom they are able to sometimes determine the density of the target, range at which it was fired, and other vital pieces of information. When a gun is discharged it also sends gunpowder residue down the bore of the gun, if the weapon was discharged close to the target it leaves black residue on the surfaces around the point of firing. This all is only one part of a ballistics forensics job.
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Work details

Ballistic forensic experts are expected to work a standard work day. A call can come at any time, and the scene can be gruesome depending on the crime committed. Many ballistic forensic experts work for state agencies, state police departments, large city police departments, private firms, or for themselves as a private detective.
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MLA format

"North Carolina Sheriff Has New Way of Tracking Firearms with Forensic Ballistics Tube." Tactical Life Gun Magazine Gun News and Gun Reviews. N.p., 28 Sept. 2011. Web. 07 Sept. 2015.

"Become a Ballistics Expert: Step-by-Step Career Guide." N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Sept. 2015.

"Firearms Examiner Career Description and Education Requirements." How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Sept. 2015.