Forensic Firearm and Toolmark Identification and Shooting Reconstruction Hot

Forensic Firearm and Toolmark Identification and Shooting Reconstruction


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This advanced course/seminar will introduce the students to the methods used by firearm and toolmark examiners in the examination of large caliber fired bullets such as .45 caliber, various rifle and various shotshell components; large caliber cartridge cases and various types of toolmarks including pry bars, screwdrivers, knives and cutting type tools.

The students will learn how examiners obtain class information that may aid investigators in searching for a firearm or tool that has been used in the commission of a crime including how a fired bullet, cartridge case or tool may be matched to a particular firearm or tool.

The course will:

  • Explore the reconstruction of shooting incidents, including determinations of the range, direction of fire and the identification of gunshot residues
  • Include many hands on exercises, including a mock crime scene and vehicle shooting reconstruction.



DAY 1 (Introduction to and History of Firearms)

  • History of firearms manufacturing
  • Anatomy of firearms
  • Firearm function and mechanism of ammunition /science
  • Firearm examination, functionality testing
  • General rifling concepts
  • Characteristics of fired bullets, comparison microscopy

DAY 2 (Firearms Continued / Toolmark Identification)

  • Review of tool mark types
  • Lock picking and related concepts
  • Bolt cutters and other entry methods
  • Casting and recording of tool marks
  • Serial number restoration

DAY 3 (Crime Scene Processing)

  • GSR analysis
  • Shotgun patterns
  • Handgun patterns
  • Shooting reconstruction methods and equipment
  • Courtroom testimony


  • Review of actual case studies and practical exercises


  • Shooting reconstruction of an automobile



Don Mikko spent most of his career as a Special Agent in the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command (USACIDC). He has been a Forensic Firearm and Toolmark Examiner since 1990 and spent twenty-two years at the United States Army Crime Laboratory (USACIL). He served as the Director of the Atlanta Police Department Crime Laboratory. He is certified by the Association of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners (AFTE) in all three forensic disciplines, which includes firearms, toolmarks and gunshot residue. Don has trained as well as consulted within the discipline for over 20 years.