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.
- 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.
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 staff at the National Firearms Centre 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.
Practical workshops (5 hours)
Laboratory practicals (7 hours)
NFC - 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.