Modified blank ammunition injuries

Forensic Sci Int. 2009 Dec 15;193(1-3):112-7. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2009.09.021. Epub 2009 Oct 29.


Blank firing weapons are designed only for discharging blank ammunition cartridges. Because they are cost-effective, are easily accessible and can be modified to live firearms plus their unclear legal situation in Turkish Law makes them very popular in Turkey. 2004 through 2008, a total of 1115 modified blank weapons were seized in Turkey. Blank firing weapons are easily modified by owners, making them suitable for discharging live firearm ammunition or modified blank ammunitions. Two common methods are used for modification of blank weapons. After the modification, these weapons can discharge the live ammunition. However, due to compositional durability problems with these types of weapons; the main trend is to use the modified blank ammunitions rather than live firearm ammunition fired from modified blank firing weapons. In this study, two types of modified blank weapons and two types of modified blank cartridges were tested on three different target models. Each of the models' shooting side was coated with 1.3+/-2 mm thickness chrome tanned cowhide as a skin simulant. The first model was only coated with skin simulant. The second model was coated with skin simulant and 100% cotton police shirt. The third model was coated with skin simulant and jean denim. After the literature evaluation four high risky anatomic locations (the neck area; the eyes; the thorax area and inguinal area) were pointed out for the steel and lead projectiles are discharged from the modified blank weapons especially in close range (0-50 cm). The target models were designed for these anatomic locations. For the target models six Transparent Ballistic Candle blocks (TCB) were prepared and divided into two test groups. The first group tests were performed with lead projectiles and second group with steel projectile. The shortest penetration depth (lead projectile: 4.358 cm; steel projectile 8.032 cm) was recorded in the skin simulant and jean denim coated block for both groups. In both groups, the longest penetration depth (lead projectile: 6.434 cm; steel projectile 8.608 cm) was recorded in the only skin simulant coated block. And the penetration depth of skin simulant and 100% cotton police shirt coated model was 5.870 cm for lead projectile; 8.440 cm for steel projectile. According to penetration results, national and international legislations and production standards should be re-evaluated in order to prevent the modification of blank weapons and ammunitions. There are three methods for preventing modification of blank weapons: completely closed barrel structure; intersected restrain pieces application; eccentric barrel structure.

MeSH terms

  • Clothing
  • Firearms*
  • Forensic Ballistics*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Wounds, Gunshot / pathology*