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School of Criminal Justice and Public Safety


A Term Paper
Presented to the Faculty of
School of Criminal Justice and Public Safety
University of Baguio

In Partial Fulfilment
on the Requirements for the Subject
Effective Writing

Cyril P. Bannagao
Jet Lee B. Lang-agan

July 2018


Ballistics, in the most general sense, is the study of firearms –‘guns’ in the vernacular. As a term of art , ballistics technically refers to the study of a bullets path from the fire arm, through the air , and into the target”.

Ballistics is usually divided into the three distinct areas, the internal, external, and terminal ballistics.

This division is necessary to make the study of separate ballistics aspects more effective, and to provide forensic experts with sufficient analytical instruments. Moreover, this division is based on the path, which a bullet usually passes down the barrel, through the air, and finally, through a target. Internal ballistics is concentrated around the path, which a bullet passes within the gun.

(Carlucci and Jacobson, 2007).

Ballistics involves the study of firearms and ammunition. It’s an area of forensic science, which applies the scientific method to solving crimes. Ballistics looks at why and how firearms are used in the commission of crimes. As a seasoned detective, realizes that ballistics can hold the key to solving what took place at his crime scene. That’s because he knows that ballistics examiners can use the shell casings he located in an effort to identify the murder weapon, which is an important step in solving a crime (Millicent, 2004).

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The objective of this term paper is to know the reasons why criminology students study ballistics. The researcher related to forensic ballistics. It will provide an overview to this arena starting with the history of firearms and ammunitions and slowly moving on to the classification of firearm into rifled and smooth bored weapons.

This will be further followed up with a detailed study regarding the two types of firing mechanism namely manual and automatic mechanism in addition with the study of principle of identification of firearms comprising identification of bullets and cartridge cases and also the automated technique used for them. It will further take up a detailed study on the subject of internal, external and terminal ballistics which are the further three categorization of forensic.


As a criminology students must have the knowledge on the study of ballistics because we can prove a link between many different crimes carried out over a lengthy period of time and much of its evidence is used in criminal proceedings. Advantages of ballistics is that many information or evidence you can determine at the crime scene even if the gun that was used in the crime scene is taken by the perpetrator in the way that student can determine it by the given serial number of the bullet that was fired at the crime scene.

The reasons why do we study ballistics

As a future criminologist we need to have a knowledge on ballistics because it is part of our field, thus we should know the projectile motions of such bullets in order to perform and execute firing properly, objectively and perfectly. Ballistics imaging technology has received national attention as a potent tool for moving the law enforcement response to violent gun criminals forward by linking multiple crime scenes to one firearm.

This study examines the impact of ballistics imaging technology on the productivity of the Boston Police Department’s Ballistics Unit. Using negative binomial regression models to analyze times series data on ballistics matches, we find that ballistics imaging technology was associated with a more than sixfold increase in the monthly number of ballistics matches made by the Boston Police Department’s Ballistics Unit.

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 (Braga, 2004).

According to Cranfield University (2018) The course is highly practical and hands-on, aiming to produce a clear understanding of how firearms and ammunition function, the science of ballistics, the role of the forensic firearms examiner and how the forensic evidence produced in gun crime can be used to help resolve issues in relation to criminal and civil law.

The advantages in studying ballistics

In relation to Criminology, it is an advantages to know about ballistics especially when students are already on field thus, students should know the things should done before, during and after executing firearms especially in crimes. And the main advantages of ballistics in forensics and criminology is that it helps to narrow down which firearm was used in a crime.

Most guns have their own unique identifying features so in studying ballistics is that students can identify the gun that has been use in the crime scene even if the gun has not been left at the crime scene many degrees of information can be determined from the bullet and the nature of the wound and any residue that is left around it. It can also identify the person who fired the gun because bullets contain a mixture of gunpowder and these leave burn marks on the skin and it also leave a fine residue on the fingers and hand of the individual firing the gun (Claridge, 2016).

The disadvantages in studying ballistics

Ballistics is a very important part of the world of Forensic Science and much of its evidence is used in criminal proceedings. In some cases the use of ballistics research can prove a link between many different crimes carried out over a lengthy period of time. This is also an important function of the ballistics team as many weapons are passed and sold on between criminals during their life cycle (Claridge, 2016).

Ballistics is important when relating to crimes in such a that you can identify the bullet impact to estimate the most likely path it has traveled in crime scene and you can also identify the weapon that has fired a certain bullet by analysis of the pattern of striations left by the lands and grooves of the weapon done with a microscope.

It may also identify if someone is found to have a firearms or ammo without a license, the characteristics of said items are used to determine how this person will be charged by the courts and it may also identify who gave the weapon to the person by looking for the identification number of the bullet that was fired in the crime scene (Gasparino, 2017).

Ballistics plays an important role as it helps in ascertaining the culprit who fired the bullet. Future Criminologist can ascertain the culprit by studying the gunshot residue if it is present on person’s hand who fired the bullet and by comparing the identification marks present on bullet due to firing pin or striation marks present on the cartridge.

Future Criminologist can also ascertain the culprit by comparing the individual and class characteristics of firearm and bullet and by determining the actual distance from where the bullet was fired (Kiran Yadav, 2017).

Conclusion and Recommendation

Based on a careful analysis of the findings, the researchers conclude that in studying ballistics we will be able to expand our knowledge about firearms and ammunitions and how to use this knowledge in investigation. Furthermore, the knowledge about ballistics plays an important role in our field specially on crime scene investigation.

The knowledge about ballistics can help to identify guns and bullets and can also help narrow down suspects. Forensic Ballistics has grown and improved and it is being used even more in solving crimes. The study of ballistics is not just about guns, bullets it also includes bomb and other projectiles. Studying ballistics is that students will able to have a knowledge about the advantage and disadvantages of ballistics as it use as an evidence in criminal proceedings.

We researchers recommend based on our problems and conclusion that students have to widen their knowledge on this specific subject for the

  • Millcent, K.(2004). Ballistics study and overview Retrieved June 30, 2018 from definition-lesson.html
  • Braga, A. and Pierce, G., “Linking Crime Guns: The Impact of Ballistics Imaging Technology on the Productivity of the Boston Police Department’s Ballistics Unit,” Journal of Forensic Sciences, Vol. 49, No. 4, 2004, pp. 1- 6, ISSN 002-1198
  • Claridge, J. (2016) “Ballistics: The use and study of firearms” Retrieved June 30, 2018 from and-study-of-firearms.html
  • Gasparino T. and Kiran Yadav M. (2017) “What are forensic ballistics? Why is it important?” Retrieved June 30, 2018 from ballistics-why-is-it-important.html
  • Cranfield University. (2018) “Forensic Ballistics MSc” Retrieved June 30, 2018 from ballistics-MSc.html
  • AG Popa (2016) Forensic Ballistics
  • Jack, C. (2016) Handbook Firearms and Ballistics Retrieved July 1, 2018 s.pdf
  • Navedtra 12970 Principles of Naval Ordinance and Gunnery. Retrieved on June 1, 2018 from https:// .swos.gunno.info6
  • Carlucci, D.E. & Jacobson,S. (2007).Ballistics:Theory and design of guns and ammunition. Retrieved on June 1, 2018 from science/

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School of Criminal Justice and Public Safety. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from

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