2 day - Firearms, Ammunition and Gunshot Residue Analysis 

2 day - Firearms, Ammunition and Gunshot Residue Analysis 
Course Title: Firearms, Ammunition & GSR (FAGSR)

Course Length: 2 days

Time: 9am – 5pm

Date: 27 - 28 August 2020

Location: Leeds (Day 1) and Stoke-on-Trent (Day 2)

Please see full description below.

Please note:
• Payment must be with the University no later than 15 days before the course starts.
• No refunds will be made within 14 days of the commencement of the course; however, substitutions can be made at any time.
• Staffordshire University reserves the right to cancel the course if unsubscribed.

* Due to the nature of the course, it is important that you disclose any required information below, as this may affect your involvement in practical work both outdoors or in the laboratory.

* Required Fields



Brief Description:

This 2 day course aims to provide an understanding of the role of the gunshot residue (GSR) analyst in forensic firearms investigations and detail the underlying chemical and physical principles relevant to forensic GSR analysis. In this course, students will expand their knowledge and understanding of the fundamental principles of firearms firing mechanisms, ammunition composition, production of gunshot residue (GSR) and the forensic chemical analysis of GSR.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Differentiate between different types of firearm (prohibited and non-prohibited)
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the physical and chemical composition of various modern cartridge ammunition for a variety of firearm types
  • Identify the appropriate ammunition for the type of firearm.
  • Consider how the design of a firearm and the composition of the ammunition may influence the distribution of gunshot residue
  • Apply presumptive tests specific to aid in the identification of chemical gunshot residues potentially present on firearms evidence (clothing)
  • Infer information about the chemical composition of ammunition by interpreting the results of presumptive tests on gunshot residue evidence
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the scientific theory underpinning the unique identification of gunshot residue from inorganic primer composition and morphology
  • Apply gunshot residue identification criteria and interpret energy dispersive x-ray (EDX) data obtained from the analysis of GSR swabs
  • Consider the evidential value of GSR evidence in various scenarios.

Module Details:

Indicative Content

In this course, students will expand their knowledge and understanding of the fundamental principles of firearms, modern ammunition and gunshot residue. 

Subject matter will include:

  • Relevant UK firearm legislation
  • Firearm components
  • Firearm operating systems
  • Ammunition composition
  • Relationship between operating systems and firearm type to the examination and recovery of GSR
  • Collection of potential GSR evidence
  • Chemical testing of evidence for indicative presence of GSR
  • Identification of inorganic GSR particles using SEM/EDX and INCA GSR Software

Day 1 will be delivered by the Royal Armouries and Eurofins at their site in Leeds. The material will be delivered in four workshops covering handguns (pistol, revolver and SMG), shotgun, rifle, reactivated and converted weapons. A live firing demonstration will be undertaken for the weapons examined and samples collected for analysis at the university on Day 2 in Stoke.

Day 2 will cover the chemical analysis and interpretation of GSR evidence. This will be achieved using wet chemical techniques (modified Griess test, DTO and sodium rhodizonate) to indicate the presence and distribution of GSR on clothing. In addition swabs taken during live firing demonstrations will be analysed for their chemical composition and characterisation using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive x-ray (EDX) analysis. Where possible this will be achieved using INCA GSR Software.

Learning Strategies

Practical workshops (5 hours)

Laboratory practicals (7 hours)

Resources Required 

Royal Armouries and Eurofins - armoury, firearms, ammunition, indoor firing range.

Stoke - chemistry laboratory, gun room and SEM/EDX laboratory.

Special Admission Requirements

Completed GCSE Mathematics (Grade C and above)

GCSE Science (Grade C and above)


Due to close proximity of individuals to Section 5 prohibited weapons, individuals must:

be 18 years of age or over;

have completed the Staffordshire University 2 or 3 day Forensic Firearms Identification, Ballistics (and Ricochet) short course prior to commencing this 2 day FAGSR course;


be able to demonstrate (in writing) their professional experience in the safe handling of such Section 5 weapons.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Start date 27 Aug 2020
End date 28 Aug 2020