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Comparison of GSR Composition Occurring at Different Locations Around the Firing Position

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Variations in gunshot residue (GSR) compositions are used in the reconstruction of shooting incidents. In this study, GSR samples taken from seven different locations around and in the firearm were collected and analyzed using scanning electron microscopy/energy dispersive X-ray analysis. Four different types of ammunition were applied. Very low correlations were found when different ammunition were used. This clearly shows that it is possible to differentiate between ammunition types. When the same ammunition was used, high correlations were found between samples taken from external positions (such as hands of shooter, bullet-entrance holes) but poor correlation was found between internal samples (such as firearm barrel, cartridge case) and external samples. A high degree of association was found between samples that simulated victim and shooter. These findings clearly demonstrate that GSR comparison studies are meaningful but care needs to be taken when choosing suitable exhibits. External samples (such as hands of shooter, bullet-entrance holes) are more suitable candidates than internal samples (barrel of the firearm, cartridge case).

Keywords: association; composition comparison; correlation; firearm; forensic science; gunshot residue; scanning electron microscopy

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI), Laan van Ypenburg 6, 2497 GB Den Haag, The Netherlands.

Publication date: 2010-05-01

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