The National Institute of Standards and Technology is developing reference standards through its Office of Law Enforcement Standards with funding provided by the National Institute of Justice. The standard reference materials are used by crime laboratories to verify that results obtained when using their protocols and methodologies meet legal requirements and that equipment is operating properly. The NIST Reference Materials 8240/8250 standard bullets and casings is an example of materials that will assist laboratories in calibrating their instruments and ensuring quality control.The Office of Law Enforcement Standards (OLES) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) manages research in many different disciplines of forensic science. One of these projects supports the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN). NIST digitized six bullet signatures from samples provided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Using these signatures as a virtual standard, NIST’s Instrument Shop manufactured 20 reference materials (RM) 8240 standard bullets using a numerically-controlled diamond turning machine. Test results show high reproducibility of the bullet signatures on standard bullets. NIST has also developed a new parameter for bullet signature comparisons, using autocorrelation functions, and proposed a diagram for tracing local ballistics measurements to the National Laboratory Center of the ATF and to the FBI. Using an electro-forming process, NIST has manufactured prototype standard casings and test results show high reproducibility for the casing signatures.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(02)01139-2