Improvements in technology and information sharing have transformed PMFs from crude, impractical homemade devices of limited value to most criminals into highly functional weapons that are increasingly viewed as viable substitutes for factory-built firearms. The effectiveness of national and international small arms control regimes are gradually being eroded; the lack of serial numbers on such weapons, for example, undermines tracing efforts that have been a cornerstone of investigations.
The following Weapons ID Sheets present comprehensive visual identification information for some of the most common small arms and light weapons.
The purpose of the North Korean Small Arms and Light Weapons: Recognition Guide is to increase the capacity of UN investigators and government officials to detect and interdict illicit transfers of small arms and light weapons by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and its affiliates by enabling key stakeholders to:
In July 2006, the Small Arms Survey launched a set of Small Arms ID Cards to aid in the visual identification of a selection of firearms commonly used in contemporary armed conflict and crime. Accurate reporting on small arms and light weapons is essential for research, analysis, and, ultimately, policy-making aimed at curbing their illicit proliferation. These cards have been requested by peacekeepers and researchers in countries as diverse as Afghanistan and Uganda.
'Agence France Presse estimates that in Burkina Faso alone, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have killed nearly 300 civilians and soldiers since 2018. The Small Arms Survey documents the trafficking of IED components in the Sahel and West Africa, having undertaken fieldwork in Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, and Niger, to date. By considering the regional dimensions of the trafficking in question, the aim is to be able to establish an evidence base for developing a regional response...'
This blog post was published as part of the Global Partnership on Small Arms project, which was managed by the Small Arms Survey and funded by the German Federal Foreign Office.
The Global Partnership on Small Arms was a platform where stakeholders engaged in reducing or preventing illicit arms trafficking were able to interact; exchange information, experience, and knowledge; and give feedback to further their shared goals.
'Europe and the UK along with it, have some of the strictest laws regarding the possession of firearms. However, this alone does not stop the use of firearms in crime; partly due to the prevalence of modified and converted firearms seen throughout the continent which are being used by criminals, from gang-related street violence to terror attacks...'
'Au printemps 2020, je me suis rendu à Conakry, en Guinée, pour présenter, en marge d’une conférence, les résultats d’une étude sur le monitoring des armes à feu en Guinée. À cette occasion, j’avais prévu de rester sur place pour dispenser à l’équipe de l’unité régionale de police scientifique de la gendarmerie un module de formation à la balistique judiciaire. La pandémie de COVID-19 en a décidé autrement, et m’a amené à donner à distance cette formation sur laquelle je reviendrai plus en détail...'
'The International Tracing Instrument (ITI) was adopted in 2005 and outlines requirements for tracing illicit small arms and light weapons in a timely and reliable manner. Since the time of its adoption, however, some new methods in design and manufacture of small arms and light weapons have emerged that pose new challenges in terms of marking and tracing.