NFSTC recently bid farewell to five Firearms Examiner candidates from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory (USACIL) Expeditionary Forensic Laboratory Training Program, who completed a 17-week training course at NFSTC’s facilities in Largo, Florida. The training provided these military personnel from Fort Gillem, Georgia, with crucial Firearms Examiner skills to equip them with advanced technician capabilities so they can be rapidly deployed overseas.
Starting last November, NFSTC began training the candidates using instruction condensed from NFSTC’s existing Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners (AFTE)-certified, blended-learning firearms academy. NFSTC instructors Bill Conrad (Virginia), Bob Poole (Texas), David Brundage (Tennessee), and Ronnie Freels (Kentucky), all of whom are AFTE-certified Firearms Examiners themselves, provided various aspects of the instruction based on their expertise.
The training included intensive comparison scope time – hands-on lab work comparing sample sets of fired projectiles side by side on a split-screen microscope – as well as instruction on firearms manufacturing, small arms ammunition, examination of firearms, cartridge and shotshell examination, and more.
“The training was really well received by this remarkable group of candidates,” said Dave Sylvester, NFSTC’s chief projects officer. “They were eager to learn and were demonstrating expert abilities by the end of the course.”
Now that the candidates have completed the 17 weeks of training, they will expand their skills with an additional 10 weeks of hands-on training at USACIL’s facilities, where they will participate in realistic battlefield scenarios to prepare them for deployment.