The U.S Federal Bureau of Investigation’s laboratory in Quantico, Virginia houses one of the largest and most exhaustive gun collections in the world. It is more of a library of firearms rather than a collection, where individual specimens are stored for their rarity, uniqueness and historical provenance. Items such as John Dillinger’s .45 caliber revolver, the weapons from Ma Barker and her gang, and “Pretty Boy” Floyd’s Colt 1911 are all stored here, firearms not only connected to a famous name but noteworthy in themselves. A walk through the rows of the Quantico collection is almost a walk through the history of modern gunsmithing. It does however, have a more functional use.
“The collection has been extremely useful in criminal cases, not only for an examiner’s experience and education in handling nearly every firearm case that comes into the Laboratory,” said Firearms Examiner John Webb, “but it has been directly responsible for assisting to solve crimes.”
FBI agents use the ever-expanding laboratory as something of a physical reference. Firearm examiners are able to identify the firearms used in criminal acts and produce a variety of vital information pertinent to active cases. A vast database of information is also available to law enforcement.
The collection houses over 15,000 types of commercial and military ammunition in addition to firearms. Webb and his colleagues continue to add firearms to the collection, which has been growing since it began in 1933. Pieces are often confiscated from criminal cases, bought, and even donated. The aim of the collection is to have a comprehensive database to assist crime solvers, no matter the make and model of the firearm in question.
An additional thanks to our friends at The Truth About Guns for finding this video.