PRIO Network

Sifting the Sources Authorized Small Arms Transfers

Dreyfus, Pablo; Nicholas Marsh, Matt Schroeder & Jasna Lazarevic , 2009. 'Sifting the Sources Authorized Small Arms Transfers' in Eric G. Berman, Keith Krause, Emile LeBrun & Glenn McDonald , eds, Small Arms Survey 2009 Shadows of War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (6–59).

This chapter of the Small Arms Survey yearbook provides an in-depth analysis of available firearms data—the first phase of a multi-year project that will examine all components of the global trade in small arms and light weapons. According to customs data reported to the UN Commodity Trade Statistics Database (UN Comtrade), trade in the three main categories of firearms—sporting and hunting shotguns and rifles, pistols and revolvers, and military firearms—totaled approximately USD 1.44 billion in 2006. A 53-country comparison of data from UN Comtrade with information from other sources—including the UN Register of Conventional Arms (UN Register) and national and regional arms transfer reports—reveals an estimated USD 140 million in additional firearms transfers not captured in customs data. In total, then, the Small Arms Survey estimates that the documented global authorized trade in firearms reached about USD 1.58 billion in 2006. The undocumented trade, which remains significant despite greater reporting on firearms transfers, is likely to be at least USD 100 million (see Box 1.3 in the chapter).

Download the full chapter from the Small Arms Survey here.