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Author Topic: Pistol models most commonly used in criminal offences  (Read 16819 times)

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Offline Rachel B-K

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Pistol models most commonly used in criminal offences
« on: July 02, 2010, 12:51:18 PM »
Dear All,

For my PhD research I am focusing on 9 x 19 mm calibre semi-automatic pistols and as there are so many manufacturers and models available, I am trying to narrow down the possible manufacturers and models to those of specific interest to practitioners.

However, I am finding it difficult to source information regarding which models are the most commonly encountered in criminal activities. Do you as labs/states/countries etc. publish such detailed information that I could look at?

Failing that, can you give details of those models you commonly recover or obtain fired samples from (of 9 x 19mm calibre) and the area that you are based?

I thank you in advance for your assistance.


Offline Justine Kreso

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Re: Pistol models most commonly used in criminal offences
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2010, 01:37:38 PM »
I think your best place to find that information is the DOJ/ATF.  I'm sure that isn't something some (majority? I don't know) labs keep track of.  Each state/city/county is going to have different requirements that they have to report, I'm sure.

It ebbs and flows too.  What might be "en vouge" one year for crimes might not be as common the next.  We used to get several of gun A in a week.  Now we're only seeing it a few times a month and gun B is more common.  A gun company fails, and the guns start getting phased out.  A new one starts, and there is an influx of those guns.  Some areas of the country see more rifles than others.  Some more handguns than others.

Something like a Baer or a sawed of CT Shotgun isn't something that you're going to see often....they are guns out of the realm of possibility for most "normal" people, yet alone people using it on the street........

Are you looking for specific numbers or just a generality?  As a general rule, I'd say the more common the gun, the more you'd see it in casework.  I don't think there's any magic to it.  More people have it, the more likely it is to be used in a crime.
Justine Kreso
Onondaga County Center for Forensic Sciences
Syracuse, NY

Offline Bob Shem

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Re: Pistol models most commonly used in criminal offences
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2010, 02:08:18 PM »
I was asked a few years ago to bring several of the most common case firearms to a conference of District Attorneys to demonstrate safe gun handling in the courtroom.

I did some research in my database to see what guns are the most common.

My research revealed that criminals use what they have.

Folks in the Alaska bush use a lot of hunting rifles because that is what is propped up against the wall in the arctic entry.  Folks in the city use a lot of handguns.  Grandpa uses his old revolver, and so forth.

At the time of my research I found that no single model of firearm occurs more than 3 percent of the time.  Of the next 100 firearms that I encounter I can expect to see a particular model no more than three times.

At that time, the Ruger Model 10-22 semiautomatic rimfire rifle was the top model occurring about three percent of the time.  There are a lot of runners up.  Like Justine said, what is vouge likely takes the top spot and is quickly replaced when the next "in" gun comes along.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2010, 02:14:18 PM by Bob Shem »
Robert J. Shem, 4900 Buckingham Way., Anchorage, AK  99503, ph 907 952-2254,

Offline Laura Draga

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Re: Pistol models most commonly used in criminal offences
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2010, 10:34:42 AM »
I'll carry the motion that there are trends in what's popular. I haven't seen a (working) Bryco/Jennings in a while. At least here in our lab, we very often never see the gun, and when we do get a gun, it's most often just a weapons charge. Also, this is just based on the cases I've worked, so it might be skewed based on what I was assigned: my finger-on-the-pulse-of-my-own-casework says most popular brands in northeast Florida in the last two or so years are Hi-Point (by firearms received) Glock (by firearms received), and Smith & Wesson (by firearms received and no-gun cases). Most of the firearms we look at are 9mm Luger caliber. We're seeing a lot more 40S&W cc's than I remember seeing even a year ago, though (overwhelmingly more with S&W Sigma class characteristics).

I personally like getting central Florida transfer cases, because we seem to get a totally different set of guns.

A while back, I started keeping a tally of firearms I've personally examined. I count eighty different brands among about three hundred different firearms...

3.9% of those are a model C or C9 (Hi Point).

Offline Rachel B-K

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Re: Pistol models most commonly used in criminal offences
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2010, 08:34:42 AM »
Many thanks for all your insights, this is very informative thank you and I understand that 'in' guns are likely to change from one period of time to the next and that criminals are likely to use guns they have access to.

Justine - I suppose I am looking in general to see if there are any particular models that appear to be popular, but sometimes specific numbers would be useful to back up such a statement. I also wanted to see if the UK was similar/different to the rest of the world where handguns are more readily available.

Bob and Laura I will contact you separately.

Kind regards


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