Advertisement

International Journal of Legal Medicine

, Volume 133, Issue 1, pp 169–176 | Cite as

Rearward movement of the slide in semi-automatic pistols: a factor potentially influencing the configuration of muzzle imprint marks in contact shots

  • Rebecca PircherEmail author
  • Matthieu Glardon
  • Markus Große Perdekamp
  • Stefan Pollak
  • Dorothee Geisenberger
Original Article

Abstract

A muzzle imprint mark is a highly diagnostic finding, which indicates a contact shot. In many cases, it also provides additional information on the type of the weapon used and on the way in which it was held at the time of firing. In semi-automatic pistols, some constructional elements constituting the muzzle plane move to the rear together with the slide, which may prevent them from causing a corresponding imprint close to the bullet entrance hole. The present study comprises 30 consecutive autopsy cases of fatal contact shots to the head inflicted with semi-automatic pistols. The imprint marks accompanying the entrance wounds were compared with the muzzle ends of the respective weapons both before and after retracting the slide. It turned out that in a considerable number of cases (3 out of 30), the retractable parts were not depicted or only to a minor degree as components of the imprint mark. In order to validate the presumed correlation, experimental shots were fired to composite models using pistols in which the movable and the stationary parts forming the muzzle plane were dyed with different paints. Thus, it could be demonstrated that the muzzle imprint preferentially mirrors the front sides of the stationary parts such as the barrel end, the recoil guide, and the gun housing. Immediately after discharge, the slide and the ballooning skin of the bullet entrance site move in the same direction. The stationary parts of the weapon block the expansion of the skin bulging towards the muzzle, so that the skin gets firmly pressed against them. The dynamic interaction between the gun and the entrance region resulting in a characteristic imprint mark could be visualized by the use of a high-speed motion camera recording test shots to different composite models.

Keywords

Contact shot Muzzle imprint mark Semi-automatic pistols Slide Barrel marking Recoil spring guide Composite model 

Notes

References

  1. 1.
    Geserick G, Vendura K, Wirth I (2009) Werkgartner’s muzzle imprint mark – a literature study. Arch Kriminol 224:145–157Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Pollak S, Saukko P (2013) Gunshot wounds. In: Siegel JA, Saukko PJ (eds) Encyclopedia of forensic sciences, vol 3, 2nd edn. Academic Press, London, pp 70–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Werkgartner A (1924) Eigenartige Hautverletzungen durch Schüsse aus angesetzten Selbstladepistolen. Beitr Gerichtl Med 6:148–161Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Werkgartner A (1928) Schürfungs- und Stanzverletzungen der Haut am Einschuss durch die Mündung der Waffe. Dtsch Z Ges Gerichtl Med 11:154–168Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Medinger P, Molitor L (1933) Mord mittels einer 4,25-mm-Liliputpistole. Arch Kriminol 93:22–30Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Garsche R (1935) Die Stanzmarke, ein Zeichen des absoluten Nahschusses. Arch Kriminol 97:120–153Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Sellier K (1988) Schußentfernungsbestimmung, 2nd edn. Schmidt-Römhild, Lübeck, pp 35–42Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Pollak S, Saukko P (2003) Atlas of forensic medicine. CD-ROM. Elsevier, Amsterdam, Figs 7.1.074–7.1.075Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Große Perdekamp M, Nadjem H, Merkel J, Braunwarth R, Pollak S, Thierauf A (2011) Two-gun suicide by simultaneous shots to the head: interdisciplinary reconstruction on the basis of scene investigation, autopsy findings, GSR analysis and examination of firearms, bullets and cartridge cases. Int J Legal Med 125:479–485CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Karger B (2014) Forensic ballistics: injuries from gunshots, explosives and arrows. In: Madea B (ed) Handbook of forensic medicine. Wiley, Chichester, pp 328–366CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Pircher R, Bielefeld L, Geisenberger D, Große Perdekamp M, Pollak S, Thierauf-Emberger A (2014) Muzzle imprint mark: a patterned injury which may be constituted of intradermal blood extravasations. Forensic Sci Int 244:166–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hausbrandt F (1944) Experimentelle Studie zur Entstehungsmechanik und Morphologie einiger Nahschusszeichen. Dtsch Z Ges Gerichtl Med 38:45–76Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Elbel H (1958) Studien zur Entstehung der Stanzverletzung bei absoluten Nahschüssen. Med Welt 20:343–345Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Thali MJ, Kneubuehl BP, Dirnhofer R, Zollinger U (2002) The dynamic development of the muzzle imprint by contact gunshot: high speed documentation utilizing the skin-skull-brain model. Forensic Sci Int 127:168–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Rothschild MA (2011) Conventional forensic medicine. In: Kneubuehl BP, Coupland RM, Rothschild MA, Thali MJ (eds) Wound ballistics. Basics and applications. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg, pp 253–285Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Rothschild MA (1999) Freiverkäufliche Schreckschusswaffen. Medizinische, rechtliche und kriminaltechnische Bewertung. Schmidt-Römhild, Lübeck, pp 145–146Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Spitz WU (2006) Gunshot wounds. In: Spitz WU (ed) Medicolegal investigation of death, 4th edn. Charles C Thomas, Springfield, pp 607–705Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Hofmann Ev (1898) Atlas der Gerichtlichen Medizin. Lehmann, München, Fig 122Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Nippe M (1921) Beiträge zur Frage nach Mord, Selbstmord oder Unfall. Vierteljahrsschr Gerichtl Med 61:204–211Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Liebegott G (1948/49) Zur Entstehung der Schürfungs- und Stanzverletzungen. Dtsch Z Ges Gerichtl Med 39:356–363Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Pollak S, Reiter C (1986) CO-Hämoglobin in Gefäßbezirken abseits des Schußkanals. In: Eisenmenger W, Liebhardt E, Schuck M (eds) Medizin und Recht. Festschrift für Wolfgang Spann. Springer, Berlin, pp 261–267Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Bohnert M, Zollinger U, Kneubuehl BP, Pollak S (1995) Recoil-induced rifle butt mark on the ceiling in suicidal shotgun injury. Arch Kriminol 195:85–94Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Dodd MJ (2006) Terminal ballistics. A text and atlas of gunshot wounds. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 63–76Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Pollak S (2015) Schussverletzungen. In: Madea B (ed) Rechtsmedizin. Befunderhebung, Rekonstruktion, Begutachtung. Springer, Berlin, pp 245–262Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Saukko P, Knight B (2016) Knight’s forensic pathology, 4th edn. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 241–275Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Große Perdekamp M, Braunwarth R, Pollak S (2008) Patterned imprint mark due to the folded shoulder stock: a possible finding in contact shots from submachine guns. Forensic Sci Int 178:e1–e5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Fischer H (1924) Zur Diagnostik der Schußverletzungen. Z Medizinalbeamte 37:101–113Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Kramer L, Nadjem H, Glardon M, Kneubuehl BP, Pollak S, Große Perdekamp M, Pircher R (2016) A patterned abrasion caused by the impact of a cartridge case may simulate an atypical muzzle imprint mark. Int J Legal Med 130:751–757CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Heard BJ (1997) Handbook of firearms and ballistics. Wiley, Chichester, pp 19–21Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Di Maio VJM (1999) Gunshot wounds. Practical aspects of firearm, ballistics, and forensic techniques, 2nd edn. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 5–12Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Pollak S, Rothschild MA (2004) Gunshot injuries as a topic of medicolegal research in the German speaking countries from the beginning of the 20th century up to the present time. Forensic Sci Int 144:201–210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Rommeney G (1942) Stanzverletzungen durch Feuerwaffen. Kriminalistik 16:1–5Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Brüning A, Wiethold F (1934) Die Untersuchung und Beurteilung von Selbstmörderwaffen. Dtsch Z Ges Gerichtl Med 23:71–82Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Pollak S, Saukko PJ (2009) Gunshot wounds. In: Jamieson A, Moenssons A (eds) Wiley encyclopedia of forensic science, vol 3. Wiley, Chichester, pp 1380–1401Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Wietrich A (1932) Täuschende Nebenverletzung. Werkgartner’sche Stanzverletzung beim Schuß einer Walther-Pistole. Dtsch Z Ges Gerichtl Med 19:460–462Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Große Perdekamp M, Glardon M, Kneubuehl BP, Bielefeld L, Nadjem H, Pollak S, Pircher R (2015) Fatal contact shot to the chest caused by the gas jet from a muzzle-loading pistol discharging only black powder and no bullet: case study and experimental simulation of the wounding effects. Int J Legal Med 129:125–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Schyma C, Bauer K, Brünig J, Schwendener N, Müller R (2017) Visualization of the powder pocket and its influence on staining in firearm barrels in experimental contact shots. Int J Legal Med 131:167–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Pircher R, Große Perdekamp M, Thierauf-Emberger A, Kramer L, Pollak S, Geisenberger D (2017) Wound morphology in contact shots from blank cartridge handguns: a study on composite models. Int J Legal Med 131:1333–1339CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Schyma C (2012) Wounding capacity of muzzle-gas pressure. Int J Legal Med 126:371–376CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca Pircher
    • 1
    Email author
  • Matthieu Glardon
    • 2
  • Markus Große Perdekamp
    • 1
  • Stefan Pollak
    • 1
  • Dorothee Geisenberger
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Legal Medicine, University Medical Center, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  2. 2.Center of Forensic Physics and Ballistics, Institute of Legal MedicineUniversity of BerneBerneSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations