forensic ballistics


Summary: The science of studying projectiles in motion, ballistics, being applied to law. Ballistics on firearm projectiles, such as bullets, include the study of what happens inside the weapon, during the flight of the projectile, and when the projectile strikes the target, such as body tissue.

Top Publications

  1. Kolkutin V, Tolmachev I, Kir ianov P. [Effect of clothes on the size of gunshot wounds made by long-distance shots with small-calibre bullets]. Sud Med Ekspert. 2007;50:5-8 pubmed
    ..Almost complete forensic-medical characteristics of inlet gunshot wounds of the body allowing for clothes properties, anatomic structure of the affected body area, deformation of the hitting bullets were obtained. ..
  2. Volgas D, Stannard J, Alonso J. Ballistics: a primer for the surgeon. Injury. 2005;36:373-9 pubmed
    ..There are many factors that affect the flight of a bullet to its target. Many of these factors also affect the behaviour of the bullet after it strikes the target. It is primarily these factors that interest the surgeon. ..
  3. von See C, Bormann K, Schumann P, Goetz F, Gellrich N, Rücker M. Forensic imaging of projectiles using cone-beam computed tomography. Forensic Sci Int. 2009;190:38-41 pubmed publisher
    ..In particular, it is superior to MDCT in detecting structural hard-tissue damage in the immediate vicinity of high-density metal projectiles and in identifying the precise location of a projectile in the body. ..
  4. Machado B, Murr L, Suro R, Gaytan S, Ramirez D, Garza K, et al. Characterization and cytotoxic assessment of ballistic aerosol particulates for tungsten alloy penetrators into steel target plates. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2010;7:3313-31 pubmed publisher
  5. Lee H, Gong S. Finite element analysis for the evaluation of protective functions of helmets against ballistic impact. Comput Methods Biomech Biomed Engin. 2010;13:537-50 pubmed publisher
    ..The bulge section at the side of the Kevlar® helmet had more room for deformation that resulted in less serious head injuries. ..
  6. Bolliger S, Thali M, Bolliger M, Kneubuehl B. Gunshot energy transfer profile in ballistic gelatine, determined with computed tomography using the total crack length method. Int J Legal Med. 2010;124:613-6 pubmed publisher
    ..We believe that CT is a useful tool in evaluating gunshot wound profiles using the TCL method and is indeed superior to conventional methods applying physical slicing of the gelatine. ..
  7. Viano D, Bir C, Walilko T, Sherman D. Ballistic impact to the forehead, zygoma, and mandible: comparison of human and frangible dummy face biomechanics. J Trauma. 2004;56:1305-11 pubmed
    ..Correlation of the human and dummy responses allows injury risk assessment for munitions used in the field...
  8. Zhang J, Yoganandan N, Pintar F, Guan Y, Gennarelli T. Experimental model for civilian ballistic brain injury biomechanics quantification. J Biomech. 2007;40:2341-6 pubmed
    ..Models using Sylgard gel and FMJ projectiles are appropriate to enhance understanding and mechanisms of ballistic brain injury. ..
  9. Sarron J, Dannawi M, Faure A, Caillou J, Da Cunha J, Robert R. Dynamic effects of a 9 mm missile on cadaveric skull protected by aramid, polyethylene or aluminum plate: an experimental study. J Trauma. 2004;57:236-42; discussion 243 pubmed
    ..However, this deformation cannot be completely removed, which is why the gap between the helmet and the head must be maintained at more than 12 mm. ..

More Information


  1. Roberts J, Merkle A, Biermann P, Ward E, Carkhuff B, Cain R, et al. Computational and experimental models of the human torso for non-penetrating ballistic impact. J Biomech. 2007;40:125-36 pubmed
    ..These models provide comparative tools for determining the thoracic response to ballistic impact and could be used to evaluate soft body armor design and efficacy, determine thoracic injury mechanisms and assist with injury prevention. ..
  2. Oehmichen M, Meissner C, König H, Gehl H. Gunshot injuries to the head and brain caused by low-velocity handguns and rifles. A review. Forensic Sci Int. 2004;146:111-20 pubmed
    ..3) Microscopic studies of reactive changes demonstrated axonal injury at sites remote from the permanent cavity that could explain the very early respiratory arrest following low-velocity gunshot injury. ..
  3. Grosse Perdekamp M, Vennemann B, Mattern D, Serr A, Pollak S. Tissue defect at the gunshot entrance wound: what happens to the skin?. Int J Legal Med. 2005;119:217-22 pubmed
    ..The distribution of the skin particles showed certain peculiarities depending on the type of projectile. ..
  4. Rutty G, Boyce P, Robinson C, Jeffery A, Morgan B. The role of computed tomography in terminal ballistic analysis. Int J Legal Med. 2008;122:1-5 pubmed
    ..Multi-detector CT with 3-D analysis software is shown to create a reliable permanent record of the projectile path allowing rapid analysis of different firearms and projectiles. ..
  5. Bolliger M, Buck U, Thali M, Bolliger S. Reconstruction and 3D visualisation based on objective real 3D based documentation. Forensic Sci Med Pathol. 2012;8:208-17 pubmed publisher
    ..The images enable an immediate overview, give rise to enhanced clarity, and compel the examiner to look at all details if he or she is to create a complete image. ..
  6. Isakov V, Grigor ev I, Kuz menkov S. [Detection and investigation of microparticles of biological tissues in gunshot wounds]. Sud Med Ekspert. 2006;49:28-31 pubmed
    ..Laws of such traces formation are established, feasibility of localization of the place of wounding, of the shot direction finding, definition of the gender, group, species of bioobject is shown. ..
  7. Grosse Perdekamp M, Pollak S, Thierauf A, Strassburger E, Hunzinger M, Vennemann B. Experimental simulation of reentry shots using a skin-gelatine composite model. Int J Legal Med. 2009;123:419-25 pubmed publisher
    ..The morphological findings are presented and discussed with respect to the pertinent literature, and possible physical ballistic explanations are suggested. ..
  8. Trunkey D, Farjah F. Medical and surgical care of our four assassinated presidents. J Am Coll Surg. 2005;201:976-89 pubmed
  9. Ferllini R. Tissue preservation and projectile context in a Spanish Civil War victim. J Forensic Leg Med. 2010;17:285-8 pubmed publisher
    ..The information obtained has important relevance for human rights investigations and the work of the forensic anthropologist. ..
  10. Swift B, Rutty G. The exploding bullet. J Clin Pathol. 2004;57:108 pubmed
  11. Markovic G, Simek S, Bradic A. Are acute effects of maximal dynamic contractions on upper-body ballistic performance load specific?. J Strength Cond Res. 2008;22:1811-5 pubmed publisher
  12. Voisard M, Kneubuehl B. Danger assessment of a spring-gun device (muzzleloader) loaded only with black powder. Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2010;31:95-7 pubmed publisher
    ..Furthermore, our experiments indicated that the gunpowder load involved was not able to inflict permanent damage, not even to the eyes, at the here estimated firing distance. ..
  13. Corbett H, Paulsen E, Smith R, Carman C. Paradoxical bullet embolus from the vena cava: a case report. J Trauma. 2003;55:979-81 pubmed
  14. Engelgardt P, Wolska E, Bloch Bogusławska E. [Bullet embolism]. Arch Med Sadowej Kryminol. 2008;58:224-7 pubmed
    ..The wound channel had a downward course and terminated in the superior vena cava at the level of the pericardium, where from the bullet was transported down the inferior vena cava to the right femoral vein...
  15. Pinto A, Brunese L, Scaglione M, Scuderi M, Romano L. Gunshot injuries in the neck area: ballistics elements and forensic issues. Semin Ultrasound CT MR. 2009;30:215-20 pubmed
    ..The radiologist further evaluates the extent of wounding by determining missile fragmentation and secondary missile paths. ..
  16. Taylor I. Emergency care of patients with gunshot wounds. Nurs Stand. 2009;23:49-56; quiz 58, 60 pubmed
    ..This article provides an overview of the mechanism of ballistic injuries. It also explores the management of patients with gunshot wounds in the emergency department. ..
  17. Schyma C. Wounding capacity of muzzle-gas pressure. Int J Legal Med. 2012;126:371-6 pubmed publisher
    ..The first centimetre and the second half of the bullet path showed the greatest increase. The experimental findings prove the wounding capacity of muzzle gases. ..
  18. Kozachenko I. [The classification of the injuries inflicted to the human body by gunshots from the pneumatic weapons]. Sud Med Ekspert. 2016;59:10-14 pubmed publisher
  19. Buck U, Kneubuehl B, Näther S, Albertini N, Schmidt L, Thali M. 3D bloodstain pattern analysis: ballistic reconstruction of the trajectories of blood drops and determination of the centres of origin of the bloodstains. Forensic Sci Int. 2011;206:22-8 pubmed publisher
    ..In both cases relevant forensic conclusions regarding the course of events were enabled by the ballistic bloodstain pattern analysis. ..
  20. Berens S, Ketterer T, Kneubuehl B, Thali M, Ross S, Bolliger S. A case of homicidal intraoral gunshot and review of the literature. Forensic Sci Med Pathol. 2011;7:209-12 pubmed publisher
    ..We demonstrate these points in a case of a homicidal gunshot to the mouth assessed by both classical autopsy and post-mortem CT (PMCT). ..
  21. Marecek G, Earhart J, Gardner M, Davis J, Merk B. Surgeon preferences regarding antibiotic prophylaxis for ballistic fractures. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2016;136:751-4 pubmed publisher
    ..Given the high rate of antibiotic use for LVBF, further study should focus on providing evidence-based treatment guidelines. ..
  22. Stepniewski W, Mówiński G, Sokół W. [Experimental biological effect of the gunshot wound inflicted by type BB 4,5 cartridges fired from an A-101 pneumatic pistol]. Arch Med Sadowej Kryminol. 2006;56:223-7 pubmed
  23. Martrille L, Artuso A, Cattaneo C, Baccino E. A deceptive case of gunshot entry wounds -- beware of frangible bullets. J Forensic Leg Med. 2007;14:161-4 pubmed
    ..Shooting tests were performed, allowing the authors to conclude that a single bullet had fragmented before entering the body into two fragments. This lead the Procurator to consider the lesions consistent with an accident. ..
  24. Santucci R, Chang Y. Ballistics for physicians: myths about wound ballistics and gunshot injuries. J Urol. 2004;171:1408-14 pubmed
    ..Judicious use of débridement during surgical exploration limits the extent of iatrogenic injury in the surgical care of these patients. ..
  25. Havel J, Vajtr D, Starý V, Vrana J, Zelenka K, Adamek T. [Using of scanning electron microscopy for detection of gunshot residue]. Soud Lek. 2006;51:42-6 pubmed
    ..75 and machine gun No.58). ..
  26. Linsker R, Garwin R, Chernoff H, Horowitz P, Ramsey N. Synchronization of the acoustic evidence in the assassination of President Kennedy. Sci Justice. 2005;45:207-26 pubmed
    ..We reaffirm the earlier conclusion of the NRC report that the alleged "shot" sounds were recorded approximately one minute after the assassination. ..
  27. Duma S, Ng T, Kennedy E, Stitzel J, Herring I, Kuhn F. Determination of significant parameters for eye injury risk from projectiles. J Trauma. 2005;59:960-4 pubmed
    ..This finding is of great value for history-taking management triaging and as a design aid to minimize the risk of ocular injury for consumer products. ..
  28. Liu H, Kang J, Chen J, Li G, Li X, Wang J. Intracranial pressure response to non-penetrating ballistic impact: an experimental study using a pig physical head model and live pigs. Int J Med Sci. 2012;9:655-64 pubmed publisher
    ..This investigation suggests that P(max) is a preferred parameter for predicting the severity of the brain injury resulting from behind armor blunt trauma (BABT). ..
  29. Dubrovin I, Dubrovina I, Pigolkin I. [Morphological features of gunshot injuries of the cranial bones]. Sud Med Ekspert. 2005;48:9-11 pubmed
    ..Resultant morphological manifestations are aggravated by damage caused by hydrodynamic shock coming from the cranial cavity. ..
  30. Isakov V, Dyskin E, Panchuk I, Zlodeev N. [Characteristics of gunshot wounds caused by the special forces shooting knife (NRS and NRS-2)]. Sud Med Ekspert. 2004;47:10-4 pubmed
    ..e. the most informative shot products, were found to be the main distinctive features in the said wounds. The data obtained can be used in the differential diagnosis of a type and model of the used gun. ..
  31. Faller Marquardt M, Braunwarth R. [Suicidal shot in the mouth with a rubber shot shell]. Arch Kriminol. 2004;213:76-83 pubmed
    ..The weapon used was a double-barrelled SAPL break-action gun, mod. GC 54, from which a Mini Gomm-Cogne, cal. 12/50 rubber shot shell was fired. The wound findings and ballistic characteristics of the weapon are presented and discussed. ..
  32. Braga A, Pierce G. Linking crime guns: the impact of ballistics imaging technology on the productivity of the Boston Police Department's Ballistics Unit. J Forensic Sci. 2004;49:701-6 pubmed
    ..Cost-effectiveness estimates and qualitative evidence also suggest that ballistics imaging technology allows law enforcement agencies to make hits that would not have been possible using traditional ballistics methods. ..
  33. Schorge V, Grossjohann R, Schönekess H, Herbst J, Bockholdt B, Ekkernkamp A, et al. Modeling internal ballistics of gas combustion guns. Int J Legal Med. 2016;130:737-42 pubmed publisher
    ..The risk of injury to the operator or bystanders is high, because accidental explosions of the gun due to the high-pressure rise during combustion of the gas/air mixture may occur. ..
  34. Sponsel W, Gray W, Scribbick F, Stern A, Weiss C, Groth S, et al. Blunt eye trauma: empirical histopathologic paintball impact thresholds in fresh mounted porcine eyes. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2011;52:5157-66 pubmed publisher
    ..Paintball impact provides a robust ballistic model for isolating and quantifying the role of direct blunt force in ocular trauma...
  35. Grosse Perdekamp M, Braunwarth R, Pollak S. Patterned imprint mark due to the folded shoulder stock: a possible finding in contact shots from submachine guns. Forensic Sci Int. 2008;178:e1-5 pubmed publisher
    ..The paper presents the injury pattern in a 36-year-old man who committed suicide with a Scorpion SA Vz 61 submachine gun cal. 7.65mm Browning from former Czechoslovakia. ..
  36. Robat C, Bemelmans I, Marescaux L. Retrobulbar lymphoma associated with a ballistic foreign body in a cat. J Small Anim Pract. 2016;57:217-9 pubmed publisher
    ..A rapid clinical remission was obtained and the cat remained in remission for 3 years after therapy. This is the first report of large cell lymphoma likely occurring secondary to a foreign body. ..
  37. Kieser D, Carr D, Leclair S, Horsfall I, Theis J, Swain M, et al. Remote ballistic fractures in a gelatine model--aetiology and surgical implications. J Orthop Surg Res. 2013;8:15 pubmed publisher
    ..They result from the expanding temporary cavity affecting the weakest part of the bone, creating a potentially contaminated wedge-shaped fracture, important for surgeons considering operative intervention. ..
  38. Jurícek L, Moravanský N, Sova M. [The real firing wound of type of skull perforation and head penetration compared with the mathematical model of behaviour of FMJ pistol projectile of calibre of 6.35 mm Browning (25 Auto)]. Soud Lek. 2011;56:50-2 pubmed
    ..The results has been compared with the cases where the similar weapon system with the resembling energetic output has been used. ..
  39. Folio L, Solomon J, Biassou N, Fischer T, Dworzak J, Raymont V, et al. Semi-automated trajectory analysis of deep ballistic penetrating brain injury. Mil Med. 2013;178:338-45 pubmed publisher
    ..Results show potential for automated anatomical reporting as an adjunct to current practice of radiologist/neurosurgical review of brain injury by penetrating projectiles. ..
  40. Courtney M, Courtney A. Using sound of target impact for acoustic reconstructions of shooting events. Med Sci Law. 2012;52:89-92 pubmed publisher
    ..Spectrograms of the sound of bullet impact on a human-sized animal are also presented. ..
  41. Marshall J, Dahlstrom D, Powley K. Minimum velocity necessary for nonconventional projectiles to penetrate the eye: an experimental study using pig eyes. Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2011;32:100-3 pubmed publisher
    ..quot; The energy density parameter for typical 6-mm plastic airsoft projectiles is 4.3 to 4.8 J/cm². This calculation also encompasses 4.5-mm steel BBs. ..
  42. Sansare K, Khanna V, Karjodkar F. The role of maxillofacial radiologists in gunshot injuries: a hypothesized missile trajectory in two case reports. Dentomaxillofac Radiol. 2011;40:53-9 pubmed publisher
    ..This article, which examines two cases, attempts to highlight to the oral radiologist this emerging form of trauma and its implications. ..
  43. Berryman H, Kutyla A, Russell Davis J. Detection of gunshot primer residue on bone in an experimental setting-an unexpected finding. J Forensic Sci. 2010;55:488-91 pubmed publisher
    ..In this study, the presence of gunshot primer residue at a distance of 6 feet demonstrates the potential for establishing maximum gun-to-target distance for remote shootings. ..
  44. Galano E, Gelis A, Oujamaa L, Dutray A, Pelissier J, Dupeyron A. An atypical ballistic traumatic cauda equina syndrome with a positive outcome. Focus on prognostic factors. Ann Phys Rehabil Med. 2009;52:687-93 pubmed publisher
    ..Apart from the influence of a possible surgical act, the neurological and functional prognosis of a traumatic cauda equina syndrome caused by a projectile also depends on its physical characteristics. ..
  45. Jandial R, Reichwage B, Levy M, Duenas V, Sturdivan L. Ballistics for the neurosurgeon. Neurosurgery. 2008;62:472-80; discussion 480 pubmed publisher
    ..This basic knowledge can be applied to better understand the ultimate craniocerebral consequences of ballistic head injuries...
  46. Maruschke M, Hakenberg O. [Gunshot wound to the kidney: case report and therapeutic management]. Urologe A. 2008;47:482-5 pubmed publisher
    ..A 4-week postoperative intravenous pyelogram showed complete integrity of the upper left tract and good renal function. ..
  47. Jaganjac E, Kuba T, Visna P, Beitl E, Kalvach J. [Treatment of gunshot wounds and prevention of complications during the healing process]. Rozhl Chir. 2007;86:188-93 pubmed
    ..Standard treatment of penetrating gunshot wounds should consist of primary and prompt detailed debridement, sufficient fasciotomy, and complete drainage of the wound. ..
  48. Santos A, Magalhães T, Vieira D, Almeida A, Sousa A. Firing distance estimation through the analysis of the gunshot residue deposit pattern around the bullet entrance hole by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry: an experimental study. Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2007;28:24-30 pubmed
    ..The accuracy of firing distance estimation using only 1 or 2 elements was not significantly different from the one obtained with the 3 elements. ..
  49. Blissitt P. Care of the critically ill patient with penetrating head injury. Crit Care Nurs Clin North Am. 2006;18:321-32 pubmed
    ..Much remains scientifically unsubstantiated, however. Optimal management of critically ill patients who have penetrating head injury requires clinical expertise and care of the highest quality. ..
  50. Biedermann A, Taroni F. A probabilistic approach to the joint evaluation of firearm evidence and gunshot residues. Forensic Sci Int. 2006;163:18-33 pubmed
    ..Emphasis is made on the gain of insight into structural dependencies that may be uncovered when the evaluative process is extended beyond single items of scientific evidence. ..
  51. Pollak S, Rothschild M. Gunshot injuries as a topic of medicolegal research in the German-speaking countries from the beginning of the 20th century up to the present time. Forensic Sci Int. 2004;144:201-10 pubmed
  52. Havel J. [Energy-dispersive x-ray fluorescence spectrometry--a forensic chemistry method for determination of shooting distance]. Soud Lek. 2003;48:57-60 pubmed
    ..Havel and dipl. Ing. K. Zelenka and Energo-dispersive X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (EDXRF) as the forensic method as the tool for identification of inlets (gunshot--entries) and outlets (gunshot--exits)--author: dipl. Ing. J. Havel. ..
  53. Reis E, Sarkis J, Neto O, Rodrigues C, Kakazu M, Viebig S. A new method for collection and identification of gunshot residues from the hands of shooters. J Forensic Sci. 2003;48:1269-74 pubmed
    ..2% nitric acid solution, and simple deionized water as collecting solutions, proving the superior efficiency of EDTA in GSR recoveries. ..