Covering All the Angles
Firearms examiners use old-fashioned and high-tech methods to reconstruct shooting incidents and help solve crimes.
A bullet can travel thousands of feet per second.
The path that bullet travels may be a key piece of evidence in a crime scene investigation.
Deciphering bullet trajectories—including what happens when bullets strike objects—is the job of firearms examiners at the FBI’s Laboratory.
Investigators use high-speed video and 3D graphics, as well as old-fashioned tape measures and trigonometry, to reconstruct how a particular shooting unfolded.
At crime scenes, investigators take precise measurements, locating all the bullet holes and determining their origin.
Wooden dowels called “trajectory rods” are inserted through holes to help determine angles.
In some cases, scenes are digitally recreated in 3D graphics, giving investigators a unique viewpoint.
Bullet fragments and shell casing can be compared at the Lab’s headquarters in Quantico, Virginia, where we maintain an inventory of thousands of types of ammunition and firearms.
Reconstructed crime scenes can tell a lot about a shooting. The process can be painstaking, but the result may be the discovery of a clue that solves a crime.
- 03.08.2023 — FBI Jacksonville Diversity Agent Recruitment Event Trailer: Special Agent Alex Silverstein
- 03.08.2023 — FBI Jacksonville Diversity Agent Recruitment Event Trailer: Special Agent Justin Brannon
- 03.08.2023 — FBI Jacksonville Diversity Agent Recruitment Event Trailer: Special Agent Lauren Regucci
- 03.08.2023 — FBI Jacksonville Diversity Agent Recruitment Event Trailer: Special Agent in Charge Sherri Onks
- 03.03.2023 — FBI Pittsburgh joint operation_03032023
- 02.09.2023 — Chinese High-Altitude Balloon Recovery
- 02.06.2023 — Inside The FBI Podcast: For The Love Of Money
- 02.01.2023 — Inside the FBI Podcast: Romance Scams (2021 Rerelease)
- 02.01.2023 — Inside the FBI Podcast: Submitting Tips to the Bureau
- 01.31.2023 — FBI Seattle Discusses Myths of Human Trafficking
- 01.16.2023 — FBI Announces $10,000 Reward for Information Leading to Arrest in Unsolved Murders
- 01.13.2023 — Section Chief Jose Perez on Violent Crime Operations
- 01.12.2023 — Sextortion PSA – Salt Lake City
- 01.10.2023 — Madalina Cojocari Missing Person's Vodcast
- 12.29.2022 — FBI Atlanta: Surveillance in Ebenezer Baptist Church Vandalism Investigation
- 11.22.2022 — FBI Charlotte: Surveillance Video in Crisis Pregnancy Center Arson Investigation (2 of 2)
- 11.21.2022 — B-Roll JCODE Takedown Los Angeles 110122
- 11.18.2022 — FBI Philadelphia: Surveillance Video in Serial Armed Robberies Investigation (September 12, 2022 Robbery)
- 11.18.2022 — FBI Philadelphia: Surveillance Video in Serial Armed Robberies Investigation (October 8, 2022 Robbery)
- 11.15.2022 — FBI Charlotte: Surveillance Video in Crisis Pregnancy Center Arson Investigation (1 of 2)
FBI Weekly Newsletter
Subscribe to our email newsletter for news on the FBI, sent out every week.