A novel method for the analysis of discharged smokeless powder residues

Dan Muller, Aharon Levy, Asya Vinokurov, Mark Ravreby, Ran Shelef, Ehud Wolf, Baruch Eldar, Baruch Glattstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A novel method for the estimation of intermediate-long firing distance range is proposed. The method is based on the characterization and chemical analysis of the smokeless powder particles on the target. An adhesive lifter is applied to collect the suspected gunshot residues (GSRs) from the surface of an object, and a Modified Griess Test (MGT) is carried out after alkaline hydrolysis on the adhesive lifter. Visualized particles are removed from the adhesive lifter under a microscope. Two systems are used for the analysis of organic discharge residues from the smokeless powder: (1) gas chromatography/thermal energy analysis (GC/TEA) for the analysis of nitroglycerine (NG) and 2,4-dinitrotoluene (2,4-DNT), (2) gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) for the identification of organic components such as DNT, NG, and some stabilizers. By using this procedure and confirming that the suspected particles are indeed GSR, one can estimate the intermediate-long firing distance of c. 0.75-3 m in the presence of very few particles and provide information for the classification of ammunition type in casework.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-78
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Firing distance
  • Forensic science
  • Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry
  • Gas chromatography-thermal energy analyzer
  • Gunpowder residues
  • Smokeless powder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Genetics


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