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.
- 08.18.2017 — Inside the FBI’s Public Access Line
- 08.10.2017 — Becoming an Agent: John Woodill Recalls Graduation
- 08.10.2017 — Becoming an Agent: Fulfilling a Dream
- 08.03.2017 — Becoming an Agent: Firearms Training
- 08.03.2017 — Becoming an Agent: Driving the Precision Obstacle Course (360-Degree Video)
- 08.03.2017 — Becoming an Agent: Preparing for the Field
- 08.01.2017 — 360-Degree Video of Mock Crime Scene, FBI Honolulu Adopt-a-School
- 07.31.2017 — Becoming an Agent: The First Week
- 07.28.2017 — Becoming an Agent: Inside the Classroom
- 07.28.2017 — Becoming an Agent: Kellie Holland’s Perspective
- 07.27.2017 — How the FBI's Adopt-a-School Program is Working in Hawaii
- 07.24.2017 — Vermont Drug-Related Forfeiture Leads to Renewal of Homes, Neighborhood
- 07.18.2017 — Becoming an Agent: The ONE Program
- 07.18.2017 — Becoming an Agent: John Woodill’s Perspective
- 07.18.2017 — Becoming an Agent: David Lewis’ Perspective
- 07.14.2017 — Security Video of 2013 Connecticut Jewelry Store Robbery
- 06.29.2017 — Wanted by the FBI: Phillip Leron Miller
- 06.16.2017 — Wanted by the FBI: Reward Offered in Maurice Spagnoletti Murder Case
- 06.15.2017 — Surveillance Video of Missing Student Yingying Zhang
- 06.08.2017 — Thieves Steal Jeep from Rancho Bernardo Home