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The FBI Reference Firearms Collection: Over 7,000 weapons and growing

The FBI Reference Firearms Collection, begun in the 1930s, now contains over seven thousand different firearms collected over eighty years. They try to keep one example of every type of firearm on hand. Make, model, finish and serial number configuration. Most are from adjudicated criminal cases, some are historically significant, some were purchased and other donated.

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“During the firearms manufacturing process, when the barrels are rifled and the breechfaces are formed or milled, it's gonna create individual tool-marks to that firearm. Those individual tool marks will be transferred onto the bullets cartridge cases…during the firing process. It's those microscopic individual marks that we can compare under the microscope to determine if those bullets and cartridge cases were fired by a particular firearm. ”

John Webb, firearms examiner, Firearms/Toolmarks Unit, FBI Laboratory


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