Ballistic Expert








What is an Ballistic Expert?

  • What is Ballistics?
  • The study of the effects of a gun being fired, the marks on the bullet or cartride, the angle, the penetration, etc 

Ballistic experts are responsible for the processing of crime scenes for ballistic related evidence; examining firearms and tool marks.
Every firearm has its own particular characteristics which are carried over onto the cartridge case and the bullet during the firing process.

Etching processes are applied to restore serial numbers/ marks which have obliterated on firearms.

Ballistics Experts also perform individualization of firearms, investigation of mechanism and tool marks.

He/she perform internal, external and terminal ballistic examinations and examination of the effects which propellant particles have on a target.

He/she attends to post mortem examinations, prepares documentation of the outcome of the ballistic examination and presentation of expert evidence in court.

Ballistics Experts also maintain a computer database on cartridges and bullets and conduct research in the field of ballistic related issues.

What does a Ballistic Expert do?

  • examines firearms, amunitions (bullets) and tool marks
  • examines the angle from where the gun was fired
  • performs experiments with the ballistic evidence
  • recreates crime scenes with regard the ballistics
  • writes reports
  • appears as an expert witness in court

Are you … ?

  • interested in crime?
  • detail orientated?
  • a person with good vision?
  • methodical?
  • analytical?
  • organised?
  • determined?

How do I become a Ballistic Expert?

What are the minimum requirements to become a Ballistic Expert?

 Suitable members of the South African Police Service are recruited for this unit. A qualification in Mechanical engineering, metallurgy, criminology, anthropology, armourer, forensic science/ investigation are recommended. 


 Individuals undergo 3 years in- house training and specialized training in the field of Forensic science.

Where can you be stationed?

 Ballistic Experts are stationed at the Forensic Science Laboratories of South African Police Service: Detective Services.

Information supplied by SAPS. 


OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER: Police Diver or Chemical Pathologist

Is becoming a Ballistic Expert the right career choice for me?