Rearward movement of the slide in semi-automatic pistols: a factor potentially influencing the configuration of muzzle imprint marks in contact shots.

Pircher, Rebecca; Glardon, Matthieu; Perdekamp, Markus Große; Pollak, Stefan; Geisenberger, Dorothee (2019). Rearward movement of the slide in semi-automatic pistols: a factor potentially influencing the configuration of muzzle imprint marks in contact shots. International journal of legal medicine, 133(1), pp. 169-176. Springer 10.1007/s00414-018-1978-2

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A muzzle imprint mark is a highly diagnostic finding, which indicates a contact shot. In many cases, it also provides additional information on the type of the weapon used and on the way in which it was held at the time of firing. In semi-automatic pistols, some constructional elements constituting the muzzle plane move to the rear together with the slide, which may prevent them from causing a corresponding imprint close to the bullet entrance hole. The present study comprises 30 consecutive autopsy cases of fatal contact shots to the head inflicted with semi-automatic pistols. The imprint marks accompanying the entrance wounds were compared with the muzzle ends of the respective weapons both before and after retracting the slide. It turned out that in a considerable number of cases (3 out of 30), the retractable parts were not depicted or only to a minor degree as components of the imprint mark. In order to validate the presumed correlation, experimental shots were fired to composite models using pistols in which the movable and the stationary parts forming the muzzle plane were dyed with different paints. Thus, it could be demonstrated that the muzzle imprint preferentially mirrors the front sides of the stationary parts such as the barrel end, the recoil guide, and the gun housing. Immediately after discharge, the slide and the ballooning skin of the bullet entrance site move in the same direction. The stationary parts of the weapon block the expansion of the skin bulging towards the muzzle, so that the skin gets firmly pressed against them. The dynamic interaction between the gun and the entrance region resulting in a characteristic imprint mark could be visualized by the use of a high-speed motion camera recording test shots to different composite models.

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:

Glardon, Matthieu

ISSN:

0937-9827

Publisher:

Springer

Language:

English

Submitter:

Antoinette Angehrn

Date Deposited:

31 Jan 2019 12:31

Last Modified:

31 Jan 2019 12:31

Publisher DOI:

10.1007/s00414-018-1978-2

PubMed ID:

30515588

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Barrel marking Composite model Contact shot Muzzle imprint mark Recoil spring guide Semi-automatic pistols Slide

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.122646

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/122646

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