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Organic gunshot residues: observations about sampling and transfer mechanisms
Forensic Science International
This work aimed at studying the sampling, storage, transfer and persistence of organic gunshot residue (OGSR), mainly stabilizers, using liquid chromatography hyphenated to mass spectrometry. Collection using swabs and stubs was compared through sequential sampling in terms of amount of residues left on the hand of a shooter. While stubs collected nearly all residues, swabs left about 50% of the residues on the hands. Moreover, the study of storage conditions after sampling showed that stubs were more stable than swabs and could be held at room temperature without significant compound loss up to two weeks. Then, shooting experiments were performed to evaluate transfer of OGSR. It was not possible to differentiate different brands of ammunition based on a single compound concentration. Moreover, a memory effect was identified when different ammunition was shot using the same firearm. Finally, various exposed skin surfaces and hair as well as clothing were sampled to estimate what surfaces might be the best targets for OGSR sampling by comparing results just after discharge and two hours after discharging a pistol. The results indicated that OGSR were more rapidly lost from hands than from clothing. Moreover, it was shown that the face and hair of a suspect might be contaminated through secondary transfer. Thus, OGSR might remain longer on other skin surfaces, hair and clothing than on the hands of a suspect. As a consequence, sampling should also include clothing, hair and face.
Firearm discharge residue, sample collection, swab, stub, LC-MS, persistence
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