Study of gunshot residues from Sintox® ammunition containing marking substances

by Kenneth Ujevich

Two types of factory marked Sintox® ammunition were investigated from the composition of gunshot residue particles (GSR) and occurrence of marking substance points of view. These marking substances aid in different investigations to help answer questions, such as who shot whom, with what weapon, and with which ammunition. The experiments were carried out with two cartridges of caliber 9 mm Luger of two producers, Ruag Ammotec and Men. The first cartridge (type Action 4, Ruag Ammotec) contains gadolinium as a marking element, while the other cartridge (type PEP II, Men) is marked with gallium in gunpowder. Scanning electron microscopy equipped with EDAX analyzer (SEM/EDX) was used to detect and analyze the GSR particles in samples collected from the cartridges, barrels and shooter’s hands. Besides those, particles from the hit clothes placed at different shooting distances were collected and analyzed. The spreading of GSR cloud from the gun was observed using the high-speed camera. Detailed GSR analysis showed that the addition of the marking substances directly to the primer mix is the better choice for the production of specially marked ammunition. In this case, GSR with marking substances (gadolinium) can be easily searched and identified, while the marking substance in gunshot powder (gallium) leads to relatively ambiguous results. These results clearly show that the way ammunition is produced and constructed can significantly affect the detection of marking elements in GSR.

Júlia Polovková, Miroslav Šimonič, Igor Szegényi. “Study of gunshot residues from Sintox® ammunition containing marking substances.” Egyptian Journal of Forensic Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 4, December 2015, Pages 174-179, ISSN 2090-536X, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejfs.2014.09.003.

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