How to recognize the traces left on a crime scene by a 3D-printed Liberator?: Part 1. Discharge, exterior ballistic and wounding potential.

Honsberger, Hanna; Rhumorbarbe, Damien; Werner, Denis; Riva, Fabiano; Glardon, Matthieu; Gallusser, Alain; Delémont, Olivier (2018). How to recognize the traces left on a crime scene by a 3D-printed Liberator?: Part 1. Discharge, exterior ballistic and wounding potential. Forensic science international, 286, pp. 245-251. Elsevier Scientific Publ. Ireland 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.026

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The Liberator is a firearm that can be manufactured from its blueprints, using a 3D-printer. This weapon made of nineteen pieces - eighteen in printed plastic and one metallic nail - raises questions such as its ability to fire a round, its wounding potential and the traces produced by its discharge. In particular, knowledge must be gained to infer that a 3D-printed handgun was used, reconstruct the shooting event involving such handgun, and gather information related to the type of 3D-printed handgun used. This study focused on the traces that could orientate forensic investigations when the use of a 3D-printed Liberator is suspected. In a first step, the Liberator was investigated to study its behaviour during the discharge and characterize traces produced by the discharge. To fulfil this goal, some Liberators were printed and assembled. Six Liberators fired a round. The discharge of the weapons was done under specific conditions allowing to collect ballistics data and traces produced by the shooting. The results showed that the barrel tended to break between the ignition of the primer and the moment the projectile exited the muzzle. The speed of the projectiles reached 140m/s when the barrel broke, while it was about 170m/s when barrel remained intact. The trajectory of the projectiles was sometimes disrupted, and the projectile tumbled on itself. It was thus very difficult to characterize the trajectory. The cavity wound caused by the fastest bullet was typical of a handgun wound firing a FMJ projectile (penetration of 21cm in ballistics soap). On the other hand, the cavity caused by the slowest bullet was more representative of a splinter wound (penetration of 14cm in ballistics soap). The study of gunshot residues collected on adhesive targets showed the presence of unburnt particles and small perforations caused by polymer pieces that concentrated around the entry holes.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine > Forensic Physics (Ballistics)

UniBE Contributor:

Riva, Fabiano and Glardon, Matthieu

ISSN:

0379-0738

Publisher:

Elsevier Scientific Publ. Ireland

Language:

English

Submitter:

Antoinette Angehrn

Date Deposited:

26 Jul 2018 10:26

Last Modified:

26 Jul 2018 10:36

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.026

PubMed ID:

29602152

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Additive manufacturing Handgun Homemade firearm

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.118958

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/118958

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