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Small Arms and Light Weapons


Small Arms and Light Weapons, hereafter referred to as SALW are categorized by a 1997 UN panel decision that the level of portability is a key characteristic of defining SALW. This includes weapons that fire a projectile and could be carried by an individual, small number of people, or transported by pack animal or light vehicle, SALW are determined primarily by numbers and portability. The ease of use, versatility and mobility in terms of operation and trade make SALW one of the most critical and effective categories of weapons used by militaries and militias around the world, making the regulation of their trade vital.

The most commonly produced and sold small arms include; revolvers and self-loading pistols, rifles and carbines, assault rifles, submachine guns and light machine guns. The most common light weapons include; heavy machine guns, hand-held under-barrel and mounted grenade launchers, portable anti-aircraft guns, portable anti-tank guns, recoilless rifles, portable launchers of anti-tank missile and rocket systems; portable launchers of anti-aircraft missile systems (MANPADS); and mortar of calibers of less than 100 mm. The primary the exporting countries of SALW are; Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Italy, North Korea, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States.  

Counter Proliferation Efforts



The Online Trade of Light Weapons in Libya

Omed Isam -- April 8, 2018
The Online Trade of Light Weapons in Libya Summary: Libya has been added to the list of failed states in the tumultuous region of the Middle East and Africa after the dramatic fall of Qaddafi.  Lack of any viable leadership with a strong grip on national security and illicit arms trades and the increasing numbers Read More

Armed groups’ holdings of guided light weapons

Omed Isam -- April 8, 2018
Armed groups’ holdings of guided light weapons Summary: This report sheds light on the various non-state groups and actors who have through legal or illegal ways acquired portable weapons such as MANPADs and Anti-tank guided weapons that can be operated by one person or a small crew. The increasingly sophisticated arsenals of guided light weapons Read More

New Research Note Highlights the Challenges of Monitoring Illicit Small Arms in Honduras

Omed Isam -- April 8, 2018
Summary: Illicit firearms account for 81% of homicides in Honduras and more than three-quarters of weapons seized in the country are pistols and revolvers. The country is facing challenges to achieve vision 2030 that calls for a significant reduction of illicit arms by the year 2030. This report explores the methods Honduras uses and  challenges it Read More

New report: More than one million lives could be saved by 2030

Omed Isam -- March 25, 2018
Summary: According to the latest reports the number of violent deaths caused by small arms is alarmingly on the rise. The 2030 initiative aims at significantly reducing the rate by the year 2030 through working with ATT members and other international players.   New report: More than one million lives could be saved by 2030 Read More

Europeans Cut Saudi Arms Sales

Rachel Gooding-Lord -- March 5, 2018 (1 comments)
Europeans Cut Saudi Arms Sales Summary: The conflicts in Saudi Arabia have lead to three European countries, Belgium, Germany, and Norway to cut off their exports of arms to Saudi Arabia. A provision of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) prohibits arms to be exported to areas where they can be expected to be used to Read More

New Study Highlights Challenges of Monitoring UN Arms Embargoes

Omed Isam -- February 25, 2018
New Study Highlights Challenges of Monitoring UN Arms Embargoes Experts charged with monitoring United Nations arms embargoes identify numerous organizational, operational, and political obstacles to their work, according to a new study released today by the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey. Interviews with current and former arms experts on UN Panels of Experts (PoEs) reveal that Read More

The Road Ahead for Small Arms and Light Weapons – the 2018 Review Conference

Rachel Gooding-Lord -- February 15, 2018
The Road Ahead for Small Arms and Light Weapons – the 2018 Review Conference October 17th, 2016 Informed open discussion organized by IANSA On Monday 17 October 2016 in a side event held on the margins of the seventy-first session of the First Committee entitled, “Small Arms and Light Weapons: The Road to the 2018 Read More

Launch of the ‘Trade Update 2017: Out of the Shadows’

Martin Widzer -- February 7, 2018
Launch of the ‘Trade Update 2017: Out of the Shadows’ The Small Arms Survey’s Trade Update 2017: Out of the Shadows provides an overview of the international trade in small arms and light weapons in 2014, identifies the world’s top and major exporters of small arms and light weapons, and assesses changes in trade patterns Read More

Proliferation Challenges



Modifiers: A Snapshot of Convertible Firearms in Europe

Omed Isam -- April 5, 2018 (1 comments)
Modifiers: A Snapshot of Convertible Firearms in Europe  Summary: The increase use of modifiable weapons in violent crimes throughout the world and especially in Europe has sparked global interest in ways to counter their rapidly increasing use. Weapons that are modified to serve as movie props or other visual effect uses have been used to convert Read More

Small Arms and Conflict Among East African Pastoralist; The Karamoja Security Complex

Rachel Gooding-Lord -- April 3, 2018
Summary: This Article, written by Dr. Mercy Fekadu Mulugeta of the Institute of Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) evaluates the role that the proliferation of small arms in Africa played in cross-border conflicts and cattle raids amount pastoralists in East Africa. The traditional argument reguarding territorial conflicts among pastoralists holds that the proliferation os small Read More

U.S. May Ease Arms Export Rules

Rachel Gooding-Lord -- March 5, 2018 (1 comments)
ACA’s journal, Arms Control Today, remains the best in the market. Well focused. Solidly researched. Prudent. U.S. May Ease Arms Export Rules Summary: The Trump administration is working on new plan to increase sales of American made arms abroad. It is expected that new arms transfer policies will follow, this reform will likely change the Read More

Global Arms Industry: First Rise in Arms Sales Since 2010, says SIPRI

Rachel Gooding-Lord -- February 19, 2018
Global arms industry: First rise in arms sales since 2010, says SIPRI Overview: Arms sales are increasing for many countries around the world, posing counter proliferation challenges for the coming years. Sales of arms and military services by the world’s largest arms-producing and military services companies—the SIPRI Top 100—totalled $374.8 billion in 2016, according to Read More

Behind the Curve: New Technologies, New Control Challenges

Omed Isam -- February 15, 2018
Behind the Curve: New Technologies, New Control Challenges Behind the Curve: New Technologies, New Control Challenges, a new Occasional Paper from the Small Arms Survey, looks at three recent developments in small arms manufacturing, technology, and design—polymer frames, modular weapons, and 3D printing—as well as the use of new technologies for improved small arms control. Read More

Making a Tough Job more Difficult: The Loss of Arms and Ammunition in Peace Operations

Omed Isam -- February 11, 2018
Making a Tough Job more Difficult: The Loss of Arms and Ammunition in Peace Operations This Report highlights results of research into the loss of arms and ammunition in a range of peace operations. Losses include assault rifles and pistols, armoured vehicles and numerous types of light weapons that in aggregate represent thousands of weapons Read More

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