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Department of Forensic Sciences

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The Forensic Firearm and Tool Mark Discipline is responsible for the examination of firearms, ammunition components, ammunition, tools, and related evidence. The section utilizes forensic microscopes to examine evidence and make comparisons. The section maintains a firing range that is used for test firing and related purposes. The discipline also utilizes a water tank and/or cotton to facilitate the recovery of test specimens used in firearms examinations. The discipline is located in the Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile Regional Laboratories of the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences (ADFS). See Firearm and Tool Mark location services map.

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Research and Development in the Firearm and Tool Mark Discipline revolves around advancing conventional firearms and tool mark examination by:

  • Incorporating objective analytical methodologies (including digital data acquisition and chemical spectroscopy/spectrometry)
  • Validating of methodologies
  • Supplementing conventional firearms examination with validated methodologies
  • Current Projects: 3D Confocal Microscopy and Quantitative Distance Determination/Uncertainty of Measurement