Cartridge Casings In situations in which fired projectiles may not be found, cartridge casings may be very valu- able. If a cartridge casing is collected, it can provide the investigator with some immediate information that will also be important to the firearms examiner. On the back end of the car- tridge casing are markings placed by the manufacturer; these are called the headstamp. The headstamp includes information such as the caliber of the cartridge and the manufacturer. Additionally, the breech face markings from the firearm itself, which may be found on the cartridge casing, can be used to tie it to a particular gun just as easily as a fired projectile. The breech face is essentially the back end of the firing chamber of a firearm. The cartridge case will be forced backward as the bullet is forced out of the barrel by the burning propellant. Breech face markings are marks left on the breech face from the recoil of the firearm. The firearms examiner can make use of several different markings that may be present, such as
Which bullet design for a 9 mm semiautomatic pistol do you think would be easier for a firearms examiner to use in comparison after the bullet has been fired and has hit a hard surface: a copper-jacketed hollow point, or a simple, lead flat-nose bullet? Why?
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