Forensic Ballistics Expert

Examine bullets or casings to help solve a crime.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$33,000 – $83,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Forensic Ballistics Experts do?

Imagine the end of a shootout. The guns stop blazin’ and the police need to figure out who shot who, where, and when. That’s where the Forensic Ballistics Expert comes in. Forensic Ballistics Experts work on crime scenes to discover and prove who the shooter was and what gun they used.

As a Forensic Ballistics Expert, you use a lot of technical knowledge. Often after a crime, all you have to work with will be a leftover bullet or casing. These might not seem much, but for you, they’re enough. Every single gun makes a unique mark on the bullets it fires, and guns don’t change that much over time. As long as you know guns and the types of markings they make, you can trace every bullet back to the individual gun that fired it, even if you’re looking years after a crime occurred.

On a crime scene, you trace the flight path of bullets in order to tell where they came from. This lets you know things like how tall the criminal is, which hand they use, and what type of gun they own. It lets the police create a profile of the person they’re looking for, and helps them narrow down the suspect pool significantly.

This position often calls for you to appear in court. You act as an expert witness, giving presentations that explain evidence and linking individual guns with their owners. Often, you use side-by-side comparisons to show the link between a gun and a specific crime.

Should I be a Forensic Ballistics Expert?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.

  • Also known as: Ballistic Expert, Ballistics Expert, Ballistics Expert, Forensic, Lieutenant, Ballistics

    How to Become a
    Forensic Ballistics Expert

    Most Forensic Ballistics Experts have a Master's degree or a Bachelor's degree. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:fzp9na&chl=no+college+%284%25%29|certificate+%2817%25%29|associate%27s+%2828%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2842%25%29|master%27s+%289%25%29|&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,4,42
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