Australian researchers have come up with what is considered in the forensics world as a huge breakthrough.

Scientists and police researchers at Flinders University in South Australia say they can now identify what specific brand of ammunition was fired from a gun, based upon the type of gunshot residue found on the weapon and people's hands.

You've probably seen in countless episodes of CSI Vegas, New York,  and on Criminal Minds, where forensics experts swab a suspect weapon or person's hands for the almost microscopic powder left behind when a weapon is fired. Until now, all it could tell officials is that yes, that suspect did indeed fire a weapon.

Now, that powder has been broken down and analyzed. Researchers say they can now tell what brand of ammunition was used, based upon the chemical compounds used in the bullets. And, they can tell if the gunshot residue on a suspect's hands matches that found on the gun itself.

The research applies to the most commonly used pistol in crimes in Australia and one of the most common in the U.S., the .22 caliber.  Although they haven't yet unlocked the secrets of other calibers, such as 9mm, world wide officials say this is a huge breakthrough. More ammunition breakdowns are expected in the future.

Now, using this technology in the near future, police will be able to tell which brand of ammo was used when a gun is fired in a crime. This will greatly allow them to narrow down where the ammo was sold, speeding up investigations.

No word yet on when this new technology will be put into operation in the U.S., but it's already begun to be used in Australia.

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