chapter  Chapter 8
32 Pages

Toolmarks and firearms

WithHoward A. Harris, Henry C. Lee

Toolmarks and firearms examinations are usually grouped together because, although firearms examination is a significantly larger volume of work in forensic science laboratories, intellectually the most important aspect of firearms examination is basically a toolmark examination. The three types of toolmarks are indented, striated, or a combination of the two. Toolmarks can have both class and individual characteristics. In summary, a toolmark may yield information about what kind of tool was used, size of the marking portion, any unusual features, some information about the action by which the mark was made, residue consistent with the damaged surface, and, in some cases, even that a particular tool was responsible for that toolmark. Firearms examination can be one of the busiest and most important sections of a forensic science laboratory. A firearm has three major components: the frame, the action, and the barrel.