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Shot-to-Shot Variation in Gunshot Acoustics Experiments

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Audio forensic examinations may involve recordings containing gunshot sounds. Forensic questions may include determining the number of shots, what firearms were involved, the position and orientation of the firearms, and similar queries of importance to the investigation. A common question is whether a sequence of shots are attributable to a single gun fired repeatedly, or if the sounds could possibly come from two or more different guns fired in succession. This paper describes a controlled experiment comparing ten repeated shots from several common handguns and rifles. Differences between shots are observed, apparently attributable to subtle differences between ammunition cartridges. The shot-to-shot differences are also compared at different azimuths, and between different firearms. Practical examples and applications are presented.

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