Practical Analysis and Reconstruction of Shooting Incidents: 2nd Edition (Hardback) book cover

Practical Analysis and Reconstruction of Shooting Incidents

2nd Edition

By Edward E. Hueske

CRC Press

484 pages | 24 Color Illus. | 158 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2015-11-17
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Practical Analysis and Reconstruction of Shooting Incidents, Second Edition presents a holistic approach to shooting incident analysis and reconstruction, covering the entire spectrum of related sub-disciplines of forensic science. The book reviews basic firearm design and function, ammunition components, and terminology, explaining what constitutes pertinent evidence and appropriate results relative to autopsies, forensic laboratory analysis, and reenactments.

The second edition features numerous additions including:

  • Four new chapters
  • Complete and extensive updates to all 16 original chapters
  • Three case studies contributed by renowned professionals in the field
  • New and revised exercises at the ends of chapters, with answers provided
  • An expanded glossary of terminology
  • Nearly 340 figures and illustrations, with several in full color
  • New and updated references and suggested readings
  • Appendices containing relevant terminology, checklists, and other resources

The book details the mathematics of shooting reconstruction in clear, precise language that allows readers—both those with and without extensive science backgrounds—to apply a logical thought process to the evaluation of shooting scene evidence in order to establish the probable related events to the shooting incident.

This new edition provides up-to-date information for field investigators to recognize, preserve, document, and interpret the physical evidence typically found after shooting incidents. In addition to the hundreds of illustrations, the book uses both case studies and step-by-step outlines to clearly describe the required analytical processes involved in reconstructing and interpreting shooting incident scenes.

Table of Contents

Terminology: Its Use and Abuse—"The Devil Is in the Details"

Ammunition Components



Other Misused Terms

Suggested Reading

Shooting Reconstruction Myth Busters

Bullets and Newton’s Third Law

Bullets and Intermediary Targets

Bullet and Shot Pellet Ricochets

Shotgun Wads, Cups, and Wrappers

Gunshot Residues

Cartridge Case Ejection

Blood Back Spatter from Gunshots

Suggested Reading


Theory and Practice of Shooting Reconstruction

Shooting Reconstruction and the Scientific Method

On-Scene Evidence Evaluation/Documentation

Off-Scene Evaluation and Documentation

Goal of Shooting Reconstruction

Limitations of Shooting Reconstructions

Reenactment in Shooting Reconstructions

Other Body Indicators

Other Scene Indicators

Suggested Reading


Mathematics of Shooting Reconstruction

Trigonometry, Geometry, and Shooting Incident Analysis

Calculation of Impact Angles

Other Calculations


Firearms and Ammunition Components

Firearms Categories and Nomenclature

Special Notes Concerning Firearms

Ammunition Components

Scene Documentation of Weapons


Shooting Reconstruction Equipment and Its Use

Documentation of Bullet Holes at Shooting Scenes

Trajectory Rods and Their Use at Shooting Scenes

Other Equipment Required

Laser Measuring Devices

Total Data Stations

3-D Laser Scanners


Specialized Fixtures for Shooting Reconstruction

Camera Equipment for Shooting Reconstruction


Smart Phone/Pad Apps for Shooting Reconstruction

Plumb Bob App

Compass App

Angle Gauge App

Scientific Calculator App

Level App

Global Positioning System App

Measuring Apps

Flashlight App

Other Useful Specialty Apps

Other Visual Aids

Cartridge Case Ejection Pattern Testing for Semiautomatics

Testing Considerations


Interpretation of Results

References and Further Reading

Shotgun Pattern Testing and Evidence Evaluation

Approximating Muzzle-to-Target Distance

Angle of Impact Estimation

Test Firing

Graphical Analysis

Shot Shell Buffer and Distance Estimation

Reporting of Results


Examination/Testing of Weapons and Ammunition Components

Trace Evidence Examination

Function Testing

Accuracy Determination

Rate of Fire Determination

Suggested Reading

Gunshot Residue Testing

GSR Sources

Persistence of Primer Residue

Primer Residues and Shooter Determination

Muzzle-to-Target Distance Approximation Testing—Inanimate Objects

Collection of GSR from Fixed Inanimate Objects

Muzzle-to-Target Distance Approximation Testing—Human Tissue

"Paraffin" Test

Determination of Time Since Discharge

Case Study

Suggested Reading

Bullet Hole and Wound Characteristics

Bullet Holes in Clothing and Underlying Tissue

Reconciling Bullet Holes in Clothing with Underlying Wounds

Bullet Holes in Glass and Glass Injuries

Bullet Holes in Tires and Other Elastic Materials


Case Study

Suggested Reading

Bullet Ricochet Phenomena

Ricochet Terminology

Conditions Conducive to Ricochets

Directionality Based on Point of Impact

Other Indicators of Directionality

Ricochet Crease Profiles

Direction of Twist Determination from a Ricochet Mark

Establishing Critical Angles

Establishing Ricochet Angles

Establishing Deflection Angles

Establishing Shooter Position


Evidence That a Ricochet Has Occurred

Case Study

Suggested Reading

Bloodstains and Blood Spatter at Shooting Scenes

Blood Characteristics and Drop Formation

Blood Spatter Associated with Firearms Injuries

Blood on/in Weapons

Blood on the Hands of the Shooter

Blood on Objects at the Shooting Scene

Nongunshot Dynamics That Can Mimic High-Velocity Impact Blood Spatter

Blood and Its Use in Time Line Development

Case Study

Locating Latent Bloodstains

Suggested Reading

Officer-Involved Shootings

General Considerations

Unintentional Discharge of Weapons

Suicide by Cop

Case Studies

Why Is the Suspect Shot in the Back?

Suggested Reading

Case Analysis

General Considerations

Shot Accounting

Recognizing Staged/Misrepresented Crime Scenes

Off-Scene Analysis of Crime Scene Data

Homicide versus Suicide Issues

Participant Information to Obtain

Shots Fired into Vehicles

General Case Analysis Examples

Suggested Reading



Internal Ballistics

External Ballistics

Terminal Ballistics

Sound Suppressors

Case Studies

Suggested Reading

Firearm/Ammunition Reference Collections, Databases, and Software


Vehicle Information

Architectural Information

Weather and Meteorological Data


Crime Scene Software


Report Writing, Demonstrative Evidence, and Courtroom Presentation

Report Format

Drawings, Diagrams, and Photographic Images

Full-Scale Reproductions

PowerPoint Presentations

Court Testimony

Trial Presentation and Demonstrative Evidence

Suggested Reading

Maximizing Crime Laboratory Results

Failure to Request Appropriate Analyses

Failure to Provide Pertinent Details

Failure to Collect Appropriate Samples/Controls


Suggested Readings


Appendix A: A Ballistics Fable

Appendix B: Ammunition Component and Related Terminology

Appendix C: Recommended Terminology

About the Author/Editor

Edward E. Hueske began his career in forensic science with the Fort Worth Police Department Criminalistics Laboratory, progressing into forensic firearms identification and shooting incident reconstruction. Following his retirement from government crime laboratory service, he established Forensic Training & Consulting, LLC, which he continues to operate. He has also taught domestically and abroad, having provided training to a range of agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Turkish National Police, and the Guatemala Attorney General’s Office. He has published more than 40 papers in forensic science and is a distinguished member of several organizations in the field.

About the Series

Practical Aspects of Criminal and Forensic Investigations

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Criminal Law / General
LAW / Forensic Science