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What is a ballistics expert?

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February 13, 2012 1:54PM

Examines and tests firearms, spent bullets, and related evidence in criminal cases to develop facts useful in apprehension and prosecution of suspects: Examines bullets, bullet fragments, cartridge clips, firearms, and related evidence found at scene of crime or in possession of suspect to identify make and caliber of weapon. Test-fires weapons allegedly used to facilitate microscopic comparison of bullets from test weapon with those discovered at scene of crime. Determines, from knowledge of ballistics theory and standard test procedures, probable angle and distance from which crime weapon was fired, revealing origin of shot. Prepares reports of findings and testifies at inquests, trials, and other hearings to facilitate prosecution or exoneration of suspects on basis of determinations. May perform standardized tests on other articles of evidence, using chemical agents, physical-testing equipment, measuring instruments, and prescribed procedure, to determine relationship of evidence to suspect and to crime. May order and maintain departmental weapons and related equipment. May be designated by rank as Lieutenant, Ballistics (government ser.).

The main duty of a ballistics expert is to analyze guns and weapons used to commit crimes. They may fire test shots from a certain weapon in order to compare bullet fragments or shell casings. They also may present ballistic evidence and their findings in court as and expert witness. Another major part of their job is to use an etching process in order to restore serial numbers and they also use the ballistics theory to determine angles and bullet trajectories.

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