Land engraved areas (LEAs) provide evidence to address the same source–different source problem in forensic firearms examination. Collecting 3D images of bullet LEAs requires capturing portions of the neighboring groove engraved areas (GEAs). Analyzing LEA and GEA data separately is imperative to accuracy in automated comparison methods such as the one developed by Hare et al. (Ann Appl Stat 2017;11, 2332). Existing standard statistical modeling techniques often fail to adequately separate LEA and GEA data due to the atypical structure of 3D bullet data. We developed a method for automated removal of GEA data based on robust locally weighted regression (LOESS). This automated method was tested on high‐resolution 3D scans of LEAs from two bullet test sets with a total of 622 LEA scans. Our robust LOESS method outperforms a previously proposed “rollapply” method. We conclude that our method is a major improvement upon rollapply, but that further validation needs to be conducted before the method can be applied in a fully automated fashion.