The 1930s was a decade that provided impressive breakthroughs in the field of forensic ballistics, or firearms identification. Following the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre of 1929, where ballistic expert Calvin Goddard’s testimony brought attention to the relatively new field, several forensic ballistic books were published. Among these were Burrard’s The Identification of Firearms and Forensic Ballistics and Hatcher’s Textbook of Firearms Investigations, Identification, and Evidence. Burrard introduced forensic examination to the British judicial system; Hatcher applied his considerable knowledge of firearms and ammunition to weapons’ design, manufacture, and testing.
Gunthers’ The Identification of Firearms combined the approaches of these volumes into a new book that emphasized both the painstaking scientific methodology vital to firearms identification, complete with ballistics photographs, and its practical use by analyses of several legal cases where firearms identification was used. These include the infamous Sacco-Vanzetti case, the first in American legal history where forensic ballistics played a very prominent role in courtroom proceedings. The Gunther brothers utilized their respective legal and military experience to provide a comprehensive reference volume that is noteworthy for those interested in law enforcement or ballistics as well as gun enthusiasts.