The Examination and Comparison of Toolmarks
The Examination and Comparison of Bullets and Shotshell Components

This one week lecture/lab class covers a wide variety of general toolmark examinations and comparisons. All toolmarks are a result of a harder surface (tool) generating a mark on a softer surface (toolmark). Commonly observed tools and tooled surfaces will be examined. Examination and evaluation of toolmarks to determine the machining methods used and if they are class, subclass, or individual in nature will be emphasized. Techniques for generating test marks will be examined. Documentation and report writing methods will also be addressed.

 

Class size dependent on availability of comparison microscopes, two students per microscope recommended

 

“Excellent, excellent class”

 

“Really enjoyed Nancy’s style of teaching, she really encouraged interaction and provided a good learning environment.”

This one week lecture/lab class examines marks observed on bullets and shotshell components. Examination and evaluation of various barrel and chamber manufacturing and machining methods will be examined to determine if toolmarks observed are class, subclass, or individual in nature. Techniques for measuring and documenting general rifling characteristics will be examined in order to accurately generate a list of possible firearms. Documentation and report writing methods will also be addressed.

 

Class size dependent on availability of comparison microscopes, two students per microscope recommended

 

“Instructor truly enjoys teaching and it comes across.”

 

“Well organized and planned out.”

Classes

Subclass Characteristics Workshop
The Examination and Comparison of Fired and Cycled Cartridge Cases and Shotshells

This one week lecture/lab class examines marks observed on cartridges, cartridge cases, shotshells and fired shotshells. Marks resulting from both firing and cycling cartridges and shotshells will be examined. Commonly observed toolmarks including firing pin impressions, breechface marks, extractor marks, ejector marks, chamber marks, ejection port marks, anvil marks, magazine marks, as well as more unusually encountered marks will be examined. Examination and evaluation of toolmarks to determine the machining methods used and if they are class, subclass, or individual in nature will be emphasized. Documentation and report writing methods will also be addressed.

 

Class size dependent on availability of comparison microscopes, two students per microscope recommended

 

 

“Above my expectations, very important-well worth the time spent.”

 

“Another example of excellence!”

 

“Very well presented with lots of visual examples.” 

This one or two day workshop explores the historical development and evolution of “Subclass Characteristics” and critically examines the use and definition of the term. A wide variety of firearm and tool manufacturing processes commonly encountered in the industry will be evaluated for subclass potential. Methods of recognizing potential subclass characteristics on tooled surfaces will be examined. Lab practices, interpretation, and legal challenges will be discussed. Emphasis will be on recognizing or eliminating the potential of subclass involvement, developing strategies to ensure identifications are not subclass in nature, and documenting and report writing methods when subclass influence is suspected.

 

One day workshops are lecture only to include interactive discussion among participants. (Recommended class size approximately 20)

 

Two day workshops include one day of lecture and one day of microscopic examination of consecutively manufactured tooled surfaces, microscopic evaluation of tooled surfaces, and report writing exercises. 

(Class size dependent on availability of comparison microscopes, two students per microscope recommended)

 

“This sort of workshop is invaluable for all firearm and toolmark examiners, no matter what experience level.”

 

“Class was great. Topics were all pertinent to firearms examiners and is a must for all examiners learning in this field of study.”

 

“Every firearms examiner needs to take this course.”

 

 “Many are afraid to discuss, but it is very important information everyone needs to have.”

 

“This was a wonderful class, the first of its kind!”

Case Review, Reanalysis, and Consultation

Technical and/or administrative review performed on firearm and toolmark related cases. Review may include general firearms case folders involving guns and fired/cycled components, distance determinations, crime scenes, toolmark cases, etc. Reexamination of firearm and toolmark related cases. To avoid any conflict of interest, FATE Forensic Instruction will not accept any criminal or civil cases in the state of California.