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NIST Ballistics Toolmark Research Database

Welcome to NIST Ballistics Toolmark Research Database

The NIST Ballistics Toolmark Research Database (NBTRD) is an open-access research database of bullet and cartridge case toolmark data. The development of the database is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice's National Institute of Justice. The database is being developed to:

  • foster the development and validation of measurement methods, algorithms, metrics, and quantitative confidence limits for objective firearm identification
  • improve the scientific knowledge base on the similarity of marks from different firearms and the variability of marks from the same firearm, and
  • ease the transition to the application of three-dimensional surface topography data in firearms identification.

The database contains traditional reflectance microscopy images and three-dimensional surface topography data acquired by NIST or submitted by database users.
The goal is a collection of data sets that:

  1. represents the large variety of ballistic toolmarks encountered by forensic examiners, and
  2. represents challenging identification scenarios, such as those posed by consecutively manufactured firearm components.

A user account is only required if you are interested in UPLOADING data. To DOWNLOAD data, please click Search & Download.
  • Click Register to complete a new user registration.
  • Click Log in to log into the system using user name and password.


Scientific contact

Xiaoyu Alan Zheng

National Institute of Standards and Technology
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8212
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8212



Certain commercial equipment, instruments, or materials are identified in this database in order to specify the experimental procedure adequately. Such identification is not intended to imply recommendation or endorsement by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), nor is it intended to imply that the materials or equipment identified are necessarily the best available for the purpose.

This database is an experimental system. The data in this database was submitted by researchers from NIST and other organizations. NIST assumes no responsibility whatsoever for use of the data, and makes no guarantees, expressed or implied, about its quality, reliability, or any other characteristic.