It is essential that evidence be collected, preserved, transported, and documented in an orderly and proper fashion to ensure the chain of custody and admissibility in a legal action. The preservation and documentation of the evidence on the body must be initiated by the investigator at the scene to prevent alterations or contamination. (NIJ; A Guide to Death Scene Investigation: Documenting and Evaluating the Body) In cases where trace evidence needs to be preserved, the breathable Hand Preservation bag proves invaluable. The Hand Preservation bag can be used to cover the hands of a suspected shooter, resulting in the preservation of valuable GSR evidence. This bag can also be used to prevent contamination on the hands of the deceased. Made of Tyvek® material with a drawstring and new string-lock attachment for securing the bag in place without tying.

Gunshot Residue Collection
GSR can be transferred to an individual by discharging a firearm, handling a firearm or fired ammunition components, or by contact with another object that has GSR on it.  The presence of GSR on a person may provide useful information linking an individual with an action that could transfer this residue to them.  As a very general guide, after four to eight hours it is unlikely that residues will be found on a live and mobile individual's hands unless steps have been taken to preserve such evidence (e.g. bagging the hands).  The residue can persist for longer periods of time on some areas of interest such as on the deceased, on clothing, or other stationary objects.  (Minnesota Bureau of Apprehension: Gunshot Residue Collection)

Trace Evidence/Clippings:
Trace evidence can be recovered from fingernails by nail clipping, scraping, or both. Fingernails may be clipped with clean scissors or clippers and packaged in clean paper. Fingernails may be scraped with a clean implement to collect debris from under the fingernails. Package the collected debris and the scraping device as one unit. Commonly, fingernails from the right and left hands are packaged separately.(Trace Evidence Recovery Guidelines, Scientific Working Group on Materials Analysis,SWGMAT)


Watch this demonstration video on usage of the Hand Preservation Bag.