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Improve the NIBIN System by Providing Examiners a Capability to Match Infrared Images of Firing Pin Impressions and Deformed Bullets as Well as Accurate Large Database Searches

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2012
77 pages
This project focused on ways to improve the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) by providing examiners with advanced capabilities.
Three improvements are recommended. First, NIBIN should have the capability to identify cartridge casings by using infrared (IR) images of firing pin impressions (FPI). Second, NIBIN should have the capability to identify bullets by using IR images of land impressions. Third, NIBIN should have the capability to perform an accurate high-speed search of a large database to identify fired cartridge casings. Reviewers of the draft version of this report found that the research underlying these recommendations provided compelling proof of concept in demonstrating the effectiveness of IR imaging for toolmark identification, thus showing an underlying scientific basis that can be quantified and statistically measured. The project was divided into three separate but inter-related efforts. First, it determined the persistence of firing-pin impressions (FPI) by collecting 1,000 cartridge cases fired in each of eight different firearms. Second, it conducted a proof-of- principle using IR to obtain accurate matches of fired bullets bearing minimal damage collected from sample firearms. Third, it created a large database of cartridge cases that contains multiple fired cartridge cases from an unknown number of firearms. The ability to image, store, and accurately identify sibling cartridge cases from a large database of infrared images was clearly demonstrated. 31 references, extensive tables and figures

Date Published: February 1, 2012