Better understanding of gunshot residues and the major elemental composition would be valuable to forensic scientists for their analysis work and interpretation of results. In the present work, the effective atomic numbers of gunshot residues (cartridge case, bullet core, bullet jacket and gunpowder) were analyzed using energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDX). The scattering of 59.54 keV gamma rays is studied using a high-resolution HPGe detector. The experiment is performed on various elements with atomic number in the 4 <= Z <= 82. The intensity ratio of coherent to Compton scattered peaks, corrected for photo-peak efficiency of gamma detector and absorption of photons in the sample and air, is plotted as a function of atomic number and constituted a best-fit-curve. From this fit-curve, the respective effective atomic numbers of gunshot residues are determined. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.