Detecting the Organic Constituents of Gunshot Residue

Organic gunshot residue (OGSR) analysis may improve the reliability of determining whether a suspect has discharged a firearm because OGSR materials are less likely to be contaminated by the environment. A new In Brief from NIJ’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence examines how ion mobility spectrometry and mass spectrometry can be used to detect OGSR. Portable x-ray fluorescence has promise as a rapid screening method for detecting inorganic constituents.

The evaluation, conducted by West Virginia University, found that performance of any instrument was more likely to be affected by the hand swabbing technique used rather than instrument limitations. All three instruments showed promise for detecting OGSR, but significant work remains to fine tune these approaches.

Read Organic Gunshot Residue Analysis for Potential Shooter Determination.

 
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Editorial

ONE OF THE CHALLENGES of writing and editing a magazine is telling a story in a relatively small amount of space. Sometimes it seems like there is never enough room to say everything that needs to be said. I find myself making tough decisions about what parts stay and what parts go.

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