Forensic scientists, law enforcement, and crime scene investigators are often tasked with reconstruction of events based on crime scene evidence, and the subsequent analysis of that evidence. The use and misuse of firearms to perpetrate crimes from theft to murder necessitates numerous invitations to reconstruct shooting incidents. The discharge of firearms and the behavior of projectiles create many forms of physical evidence that, through proper testing and interpretation by a skilled forensic scientist, can establish what did and what did not occur. This book is generated from the authors' numerous years of conducting courses and seminars on the subject of shooting incident reconstruction. It seeks to thoroughly address matters from simple to complex in providing the reader an explanation of the factors surrounding ballistics, trajectory, and shooting scenes. The ultimate objectives of this unique book are to assist investigators, crime scene analysts, pathologists, ballistics experts, and lawyers to understand the terminology, science, and factors involved in reconstructing shooting incident events to solve forensic cases. The book will cover the full range of related topics including the range from which a firearm was discharged, the sequence of shots in a multiple discharge shooting incident, the position of a firearm at the moment of discharge, the position of a victim at the moment of impact, the probable flight path of a projectile, the manner in which a firearm was discharged and much more.

Key Features

- Written by the most well-respected shooting scene and ballistics experts in the world
- Contains over 200 full-color diagrams and photographs that support and illustrate key concepts
- Case studies illustrate real-world application of technical concepts


The audience would include practicing forensic scientists (firearm and toolmark examiners), ballistics experts, crime scene personnel, police departments, forensic consultants (generalists), attorneys and judges, medical examiners (coroners), and forensic pathologists.

Table of Contents

  1. Case Approach
  2. Working Shooting Scenes
  3. The Reconstructive Aspects of Class Characteristics and a Limited Universe
  4. Is it a Bullet Hole?
  5. Some Useful Reagents and Their Application
  6. Distance And Orientation Derived from Gunshot Residue Patterns
  7. Projectile Penetration and Perforation
  8. Projectiles and Glass
  9. Projectile Ricochet and Deflection
10. The Principles of “Trajectory” Reconstruction
11. Gunshot Wounds and Trajectories in Human Bodies
12. Trace Evidence Considerations Associated with Firearms Evidence
13. True Ballistics: Long Distance Shootings and Falling Bullets
14. Cartridge Case Ejection and Ejection Patterns
15. The Shooting of Motor Vehicles
16. Shotgun Shootings and Evidence
17. The Sound Levels of Gunshots, Supersonic Bullets, and Other Impulse Sounds
18. Ultimate Objectives, Reports and Court Presentation   


No. of pages:
© 2011
Academic Press
Print ISBN:
Electronic ISBN:

About the author

Michael Haag

Affiliations and Expertise

Forensic Scientist, Forensic Science Consultants, Albuquerque, NM, USA


"Well illustrated with diagrams and photographs, the book will give police oversight practitioners a better understanding of what crime scene investigators and criminalists can (and perhaps should) do in an officer involved shooting investigation…. The chapter on bullet track determinations in gunshot victims is an excellent primer for a layperson reviewing an autopsy report…. The chapter on shooting of vehicles will be particularly useful for agencies investigating or reviewing such incidents."--National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) Review

Praise for the first edition:
“Shooting Incident Reconstruction is an informative and comprehensive guide to the analysis of firearms at crime scenes ranging from accidental injuries to carefully planned murders . . . This book covers it all. No longer will investigators be forced to rely on eyewitness accounts alone; instead, they will be able to use the reconstructive aspects of firearms evidence to determine what did and did not happen at a crime scene.” – Law Enforcement Technology

In creating this book, author Lucien C. Haag drew from years of experience in the field, first as a criminalist and later as the former technical director of Phoenix, Ariz., Police Department's forensic laboratory. Shooting Incident Reconstruction provides an explanation of the factors surrounding ballistics, trajectory, and shooting scenes for both the layman and the professional. Key concepts are supported and illustrated by more than 100 diagrams and photographs, many of which are in color. Gun enthusiasts will find much of this book of interest... - American Rifleman