What is a Ballistics Expert?

You’ve probably seen movies and TV shows featuring a cool ballistic expert that helps solve crimes. But what is a ballistics expert and what do they do? How does one become a ballistic expert and what does their job entail? We’ll be taking an in-depth look at the world of ballistics to provide you with all the information you seek.

What a Ballistic Expert Does

Ballistics experts fall within the specialty of forensic science, according to The Balance. Like most other professions within forensics, these experts perform the majority of their work in a laboratory, but collect their evidence from a wide variety of fields. Ballistic experts study the dynamics of projectiles, or the internal action of firearms. Usually, these experts can determine what type of firearm was used, the location it was fired from, and how many shots were discharged from the firearm.

They use the evidence at hand make these decisions. Ballistic experts can find out which type of firearm was used by finding certain markings left behind. They can find the location it was fired from by analyzing angles, bullet calibers, and/or depth of wounds. Experts typically examine a crime scene, but are sometimes given evidence by other officers, detectives, or investigators.

Ballistic experts’ responsibilities include collecting evidence, performing gunshot residue analysis, taking photographs of scenes, analyzing evidence, identifying bullet calibers, identifying firearm types, writing reports, and even performing testimonies in court.

How To Become a Ballistics Expert

Since ballistics is typically considered a forensic science, most of these experts have at least an undergraduate degree in natural/forensic sciences. Those looking for a career in this field could also pursue a criminal justice degree. A strong understanding of physics, science, and math are a must in this field. Outside of educational requirements, ballistic experts are typically expected to undergo extensive training and are expected to always maintain working knowledge of every area related to field of ballistics.

Most novice ballistic experts begin their work by working alongside more seasoned experts in the field to help them attain more hands-on training. These types of experts should have extremely strong written and oral communication skills, strong knowledge of firearms, and strong analytical skills. Other terms for a ballistic expert are ballistics analyst, firearms examiner, forensic firearms analyst, and forensic ballistics expert.

While most ballistic experts work in the field of forensics, for police/federal departments, there are other employment opportunities for this area. You’ve probably seen these types of experts on various shows that work for themselves or for private companies, using their firearm expertise for various purposes.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, experts in this area can expect to make an average of $56,750 each year. The job outlook for this career is growing must faster than average, with the rate of crime increasing and the need for training experts growing with it.

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If you’re looking for a career in this area or are just interested in the science behind firearms, the information here can help you understand everything there is to know about ballistics. Ballistic experts are highly-trained professionals that spend their lives studying firearms, how they function, and the science behind them; providing in-depth information and solving crimes.