FBI Reference Firearms Collection

7,000+ firearms (none on display)

Created in 1933

Quantico, VA

The FBI Reference Firearms Collection is a repository of firearms and related evidence used for forensic analysis and investigative purposes.

  • The FBI Reference Firearms Collection was established in early 1933 as a means of studying and identifying firearms used in crimes.
  • The collection initially consisted of firearms seized in the course of FBI investigations, as well as firearms donated by other law enforcement agencies and private citizens.
  • Over time, the collection grew to include firearms from around the world, as well as ammunition, tool marks, and other forensic evidence.
  • As of 2021, the collection contains over 7,000 firearms, ranging from antique muskets to modern assault rifles.
  • The collection includes firearms of all types, including handguns, rifles, shotguns, submachine guns, and machine guns.
  • Many of the firearms in the collection are rare or unusual, including prototypes, experimental designs, and firearms used in historic crimes.
  • The collection also includes firearms associated with famous law enforcement cases, such as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and the Lindbergh kidnapping.
  • In addition to firearms, the collection includes thousands of rounds of ammunition, as well as tools used to manufacture firearms and ammunition.
  • The collection is housed at the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, where it is available for use by FBI agents, other law enforcement agencies, and researchers.
  • The collection serves as a valuable resource for forensic analysis and investigative work, helping law enforcement officials identify firearms used in crimes and track down their owners.
  • Began t the Hoover Building
  • Now at larger facility
  • an example of every gun made
  •  factory stock and are kept functional, to be checked out, fired and studied by law enforcement departments across the country
  • FBI Reference Ammunition Collection” – 17,000 cartridges, selections of ammunition
  • Bank of spare parts
  • Scholars can get access to the collection, but the vetting process is stringent

“We keep them functional. We keep them clean. But they are certainly not in museum quality because they do see a lot of use.”



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