SAQA All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.
SOUTH AFRICAN QUALIFICATIONS AUTHORITY 
REGISTERED UNIT STANDARD: 

Demonstrate an understanding of firearms in the field of forensic ballistics 
SAQA US ID UNIT STANDARD TITLE
244151  Demonstrate an understanding of firearms in the field of forensic ballistics 
ORIGINATOR
SGB Forensic Science 
PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QUALITY ASSURANCE FUNCTIONARY
-  
FIELD SUBFIELD
Field 08 - Law, Military Science and Security Safety in Society 
ABET BAND UNIT STANDARD TYPE PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL CREDITS
Undefined  Regular  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
REGISTRATION STATUS REGISTRATION START DATE REGISTRATION END DATE SAQA DECISION NUMBER
Reregistered  2018-07-01  2023-06-30  SAQA 06120/18 
LAST DATE FOR ENROLMENT LAST DATE FOR ACHIEVEMENT
2024-06-30   2027-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This unit standard does not replace any other unit standard and is not replaced by any other unit standard. 

PURPOSE OF THE UNIT STANDARD 
This unit standard is intended for learners who will be required to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of ballistics examinations in a forensic science environment. The purpose of ballistic investigations is to individualise or identify types of firearms used in crime or an incidence.

On completion of this unit standard the learner will be able to understand the elementary operational principles of firearms and have elementary knowledge of the types and classification of firearms in order to prepare him/her for understanding of ballistics examinations for the purpose of forensic investigations. In addition, the learner will also have an understanding of the history of firearms, current firearms as well as the future of firearms.

A person credited with this unit standard will be able to:
  • Explain elementary operational principles of firearms in order to identify firearm mechanism types.
  • Explain types of firearm mechanisms for the purpose of forensic ballistic examinations.
  • Demonstrate and understanding of firearm manufacturing methods in terms of the different firearm components and materials.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of firearm safety in forensic ballistics firearm handling and examination. 

  • LEARNING ASSUMED TO BE IN PLACE AND RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING 
  • "Demonstrate an understanding of forensic science", ID 242712.
  • "Demonstrate an understanding of the specialised fields in forensic science", ID 242708.
  • "Demonstrate an understanding of the field of forensic ballistics", ID 244150.
  • Communication at NQF level 4.
  • Mathematics and Physical Science at NQF level 4. 

  • UNIT STANDARD RANGE 
    N/A 

    Specific Outcomes and Assessment Criteria: 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 1 
    Explain elementary operational principles of firearms in order to identify firearm mechanism types. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Firearms are explained in terms of the development of firearm mechanisms. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Firearm mechanisms refers to but are not limited to:
  • Early hand cannons, matchlock, wheellock, flintlock, percussion system, pinfire systems, rimfire systems, centre fire systems, rifling, single shot rifle, needle gun, revolver, self-loading firearms and pistols.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Types of firearms are described for the purpose of forensic ballistics examinations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Types of firearms refers to but are not limited to:
  • Handguns (single shot handguns, revolvers and semi-automatic pistols), rifles (single shot, bolt action, self-loading and pump action), shoulder weapons (semi-automatic firearms, automatic firearms, volley firing firearms, selective firing firearms), shotguns, sub-machine guns, machine guns and heavy machine guns.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Elementary operational principles of firearm action are explained for the purpose of forensic ballistic examinations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Elementary operational principles of firearm action refer to, but are not limited to:
  • Feeding, locking, cocking, firing, unlocking, extraction and ejection.
     

  • SPECIFIC OUTCOME 2 
    Explain firearm mechanisms types in context of forensic ballistic examinations. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    The elementary concepts of handguns are explained in terms of firearm design and purpose. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The elementary concepts of rifles are explained in terms of firearm design and purpose. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    The elementary concepts of sub-machine guns are explained in terms of firearm design and purpose. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    The elementary concepts of machine guns are explained in terms of firearm design and purpose. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 5 
    Forensic firearm mechanism examinations are briefly outlined in accordance with the steps of a standard functioning cycle. 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 3 
    Demonstrate an understanding of firearm manufacturing methods in terms of the different firearm components and materials. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Materials are listed for the manufacture of firearm components. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Firearm components refer to but are not limited to:
  • The component barrel, rifle frames, final finishing and proof marks.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Barrel manufacture processes are explained for the purpose of forensic ballistics firearm identification examinations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Barrel manufacture processes refer to but are not limited to:
  • Hook-Cutter system, Scrape-Cutter system, broaching system, button system and Mandrel Swedging system.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Different component manufacture processes are distinguished in accordance with international firearm assembly practices. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Components refer to but are not limited to:
  • Sights and gas blocks, assembly cover, bolt, smaller components like firing pins, barrel, final finishing, burnishing and blueing and gun coating.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    Proof testing is explained in accordance with firearm manufacturing standards. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 5 
    Calibre and shotgun designations are explained in accordance with international designation systems. 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 4 
    Demonstrate an understanding of firearm safety in forensic ballistics collection and preservation of firearm evidence. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Trigger pressure is explained in terms of the firing process of a firearm. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The effect of broken or missing parts of firearms is explained in terms of the testing risks of firearms. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Precautionary safety steps are explained when collecting firearms for the purpose of forensic ballistic investigations. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    The collection and preservation of firearm evidence is explained in a structured scenario. 


    UNIT STANDARD ACCREDITATION AND MODERATION OPTIONS 
  • Any individual who wishes to be assessed against this unit standard (including assessment of RPL) may apply to an assessment agency, assessor or provider institution accredited by the relevant ETQA, or with an ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant ETQA.
  • Anyone assessing a learner against this unit standard must be registered as an assessor with the relevant ETQA, or with an ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant ETQA. Assessors must be competent in the outcome of the Unit.
  • Any institution offering learning that will enable achievement of this unit standard or assessing this unit standard must be accredited as a provider with the relevant ETQA or with an ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant ETQA.
  • Moderation of assessment will be conducted by the relevant ETQA according to the moderation guidelines in the relevant qualification and the relevant ETQA procedures. 

  • UNIT STANDARD ESSENTIAL EMBEDDED KNOWLEDGE 
  • Current and as amended Section 205 of the Criminal Procedure Act (Act 51 of 1977) as substituted by Section 11 of the General Law Sixth Amendment Act (Act 204 of 1993).
  • Current and as amended Civil Proceedings Evidence Act (Act 25 of 1965).
  • Current and as amended Section 212(4) (a) of the Criminal Procedure Act (Act 51 of 1977).
  • Current and as amended Inquests Act (Act 58 of 1959).
  • Current and as amended Arms and Ammunition Act (Act 75 of 1969).
  • Current and as amended Dangerous Weapons Act (Act 71 of 1968) and Arms and Ammunition Act (Act 75 of 1969).
  • Current and as amended Firearms Control Act (Act 60 of 2000).
  • Current relevant occupational health and safety legislation. 

  • UNIT STANDARD DEVELOPMENTAL OUTCOME 
    N/A 

    UNIT STANDARD LINKAGES 
    N/A 


    Critical Cross-field Outcomes (CCFO): 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO IDENTIFYING 
    Identify and solve problems in which responses display that responsible decisions, using critical thinking, have been made. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO WORKING 
    Work effectively with others as a member of a team, group, organisation or community. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO ORGANISING 
    Organise and manage oneself and one's activities responsibly and effectively. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO COLLECTING 
    Collect, analyse, organise and critically evaluate information. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO COMMUNICATING 
    Communicate effectively using visual, mathematical, and/or language skills in the modes of written and/or oral presentation. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO SCIENCE 
    Use science and technology effectively and critically, show responsibility towards the environment and the health of others. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO DEMONSTRATING 
    Demonstrate an understanding of the world as a set of related systems by recognising that problem-solving contexts do not exist in isolation. 

    UNIT STANDARD ASSESSOR CRITERIA 
    N/A 

    REREGISTRATION HISTORY 
    As per the SAQA Board decision/s at that time, this unit standard was Reregistered in 2012; 2015. 

    UNIT STANDARD NOTES 
    Glossary of Terminology:

    Forensic ballistics refers to the following five fields:
  • Internal ballistics.
  • External ballistics.
  • Intermediate ballistics.
  • Terminal ballistics.
  • Tool marks.
  • Automatic firearms: A firearm design that feeds cartridges, fires, extracts and ejects cartridge cases as long as the trigger is fully depressed and there are cartridges in the feed system. (AFTE Glossary, 2001).
  • Barrel: That part of a firearm through which a projectile or shot charge travels under the impetus of powder gasses, compressed air, or other like means. May be rifled or smooth. (AFTE Glossary, 2001).
  • Blueing: The typical blue-black finishing applied to ferrous metals of most firearms. This is a treatment which oxidizes an extremely thin layer of metal.
  • Bolt action: A firearm in which the breech closure (1) is in line with the bore at all times, (2) manually reciprocates to load, unload and cock, (3) is locked in place by breech bolt lugs and engaging abutments usually in the receiver. There are two principal types of bolt actions: the turn bolt and the straight pull. (AFTE Glossary, 2001).
  • Calibre: A value indicating the approximate diameter of a missile and which is included in the name of the cardtridge.
  • Centre fire systems: Type of cartridge that can be identified by the primer cap located in the centre of the cartridge head.
  • Cocking: To place a firing mechanism under spring tension. (AFTE Glossary, 2001).
  • Ejection: The act of expelling a cartridge case from a firearm. (AFTE Glossary, 2001).
  • Extraction: The act of withdrawing a cartridge or cartridge case from the chamber of a firearm. (AFTE Glossary, 2001).
  • Flintlock: A firearm ignition system where the flintlock provided a hammer or cork in whose jaws was clamped a shaped piece of flint. The spring-powered movement of the hammer striking the flint against an upright steel frizzen showered sparks into the priming powder whose flash ignites the main charge.
  • Firing pin: The part of the mechanism which strikes the primer to fire the cartridge. (BJ Heard, 1997).
  • Firing: To shoot or discharge a firearm. (AFTE Glossary, 2001).
  • Gun coating: See blueing.
  • Hand cannons: The earliest form of small firearms, consisting simply of an iron (bronze or copper) tube closed at one end and fitted to a pole similar to a spike pole.
  • Heavy machine gun: A heavy machine gun refers to either a larger-calibre, high-power machine gun or one of the smaller, medium-calibre (rifle calibre) machine guns meant for prolonged firing from heavy mounts, less mobile, or static positions (or some combination of the two).
  • Locking: A general term referring to the total firing mechanism of a firearm. (AFTE Glossary, 2001).
    or
  • The action, either manual or automatic, of locking or supporting the bolt of a firearm immediately prior to firing. (AFTE Glossary, 2001).
  • Machine guns: A machine gun is a fully-automatic mounted or portable firearm, usually designed to fire rifle cartridges in quick succession from an ammunition belt or large-capacity magazine, typically at a rate of several hundred bullets per minute.
  • Matchlock: The first mechanical system for firing a gun. A matchlock consists of a trigger - a simple lever system - connected to a hammer - like "serpentine" which holds a burning slow-match.
  • Needle gun: An early breech-loading rifle that used a long, slender needle-like firing pin to penetrate completely through a black-powder propelling charge and detonate a primer seated against the base of the bullet.
  • Percussion system: A means of ignition of a propellant charge by mechanical blow against the primer or percussion cap (AFTE Glossary, 2001).
  • Pistols: A handgun in which the chamber is part of the barrel. (AFTE Glossary, 2001).
  • Proofmarks: A stamp applied to a firearm after it has passed a proof test. (AFTE Glossary, 2001).
  • Pump action: An action which features a movable forearm which is manually actuated in motion parallel to the barrel by the shooter. Forearm motion is transmitted to a breech bolt assembly which performs all the functions of the firing cycle assigned to it by the design. (AFTE Glossary, 2001).
  • Revolver: A firearm, usually a handgun, with a cylinder having several chambers so arranged as to rotate around an axis and be discharged successively by the same firing mechanism. (AFTE Glossary, 2001).
  • Rifles: A firearm having rifling in the bore and designed to be fired from the shoulder. (AFTE Glossary, 2001).
  • Rifle frames: The basic unit of a firearm which houses the firing and breech mechanism and to which the barrel and stock are assembled.
  • Rifling: A series of spiral grooves cut into the inside of the bore of the barrel to impart a spin to the bullet through its longitudinal axis. (BJ Heard, 1997).
  • Rim fire systems: A flange-headed cartridge with the priming composition in the hollow rim.
  • Selective firing firearms: Firearms with a lever or devise which enables the shooter to choose the type of fire - full automatic or semiautomatic, high or low rate of automatic fire.
  • Semi-automatic firearms: A repeating firearm requiring a separate pull of the trigger for each shot fired, and which uses the energy of discharge to perform a portion of the operating or firing cycle (usually the loading portion).
  • Shotguns: A smooth bore shoulder firearm designed to fire shotshells containing numerous pellets or sometimes a single projectile. (AFTE Glossary, 2001).
  • Shoulder weapons: The act of placing a shotgun or a rifle to a shooter's shoulder to align the sights and fire at a target. (AFTE Glossary, 2001).
  • Sights: Any of a variety of devices, mechanical or optical, designed to assist in aiming a firearm.
  • Single shot handguns: A handgun in which the breech closure manually, reciprocates to load, unload and cock.
  • Single shot rifle: A rifle in which the breech closure manually reciprocates to load, unload and cock.
  • Standard functioning cycle: A firearm cycle designed to feed cartridges, fires, extracts and ejects cartridge cases as long as the trigger is depressed for each shot and there are cartridges in the feed system.
  • Sub-machine guns: Submachine gun: A lightweight automatic weapon to use pistol ammunition and to be fired with two hands.
  • Unlocking: Manual or mechanical unlocking of the breech bolt lugs or locking mechanisms usually engaging abutments in the receiver or frame.
  • Volley firing firearms: Volley gun is a gun with several barrels for firing a number of shots simultaneously. Some volley guns could also fire their barrels in sequence. They differ from traditional machine guns in that they lack automatic loading and automatic fire and are limited by the number of barrels bundled together.
  • Wheellock: Wheellock, wheel-lock or wheel lock, is a mechanism for firing a firearm. It was the next major development in firearms technology after the matchlock and the first self-igniting firearm. The mechanism is so-called because it uses a rotating steel wheel to provide ignition. Developed around 1500 AD, it was used alongside the matchlock and was later superseded by the snaphance (1560s) and the flintlock (c. 1600).

    List of Abbreviations:
  • AFTE: Association of Firearm and Tool mark Examiners. 

  • QUALIFICATIONS UTILISING THIS UNIT STANDARD: 
      ID QUALIFICATION TITLE PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL STATUS END DATE PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QA FUNCTIONARY
    Elective  57651   National Certificate: Forensic Science  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5  Reregistered  2023-06-30  SAS SETA 


    PROVIDERS CURRENTLY ACCREDITED TO OFFER THIS UNIT STANDARD: 
    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.
     
    NONE 



    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.