CRIMINALISTIC RESEARCH ON AIRSOFT RIFLES MODIFIED FOR SHOOTING CARTRIDGES OF THE CALIBER 5.56×45 MM
Recently experts of the Israel police ballistic laboratory encountered a new version of the atypical firearms that is Airsoft pneumatic rifles converted for shooting cartridges of the caliber 5.56×45 mm. The Airsoft rifles are made to shoot nonmetal spherical projectiles in diameter of 6 mm. All variety Airsoft constructions can by divided into three groups: a) with spring mechanisms where the energy of compressed spring is used to produce air pressure; b) with electrical mechanisms where air pressure is provided by electrical pump; c) with mechanisms called Gas Blowback use energy of gas compressed in gas balloons. In many cases the Gas Blowback constructions of Airsoft rifle look similar to military firearms. They have similar construction of internal mechanisms. Different companies produce Airsoft copies of M-16 assault rifle. This Airsoft rifles can have the construction of trigger mechanism that is exact copy of the one used in M-16 assault rifle. Moreover, in some models detail sizes are the same as in real M-16 assault rifle. This makes possible to upgrade the Airsoft rifle for shooting cartridges of the caliber 5.56×45 mm by installing the rifled barrel (which can be bought on the Internet in USA) and using the original bolt carrier. The laboratory also received for the examination the upgraded Airsoft rifle samples with converted bolt carrier. So it made possible nоt use these firearm details. In some case identification of the evidence as atypical weapon is difficult because markings made by manufactures are identical to real M-16 assault rifles markings. This article discuses criminalistic examination methods of this homemade weapon type.
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