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18.4.2021 : 5:00 : +0200

Accessories for Small Arms and Light Weapons

Accessories for small arms and light weapons have become increasingly sophisticated, making weapons more lethal and more versatile. Their trade, both in civilian and military markets, is often not given the degree of attention paid to the weapons themselves.

Accessories for Small Arms and Light Weapons, a new Research Note from the Small Arms Survey, defines accessories, explores their usage on the modern battlefield, and assesses the international trade in these items. The research note focuses on five subsets of accessories:

  • weapons sights,
  • night vision devices,
  • aiming lasers,
  • laser rangefinders, and
  • fire-control systems.

The Survey estimates the annual international trade in such items to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. But data on international transfers  of accessories is sparse: reporting requirements are quite limited, national  reporting is vague or non-existent, and little is known about the illicit acquisition and use of accessories by armed groups and criminals. 

This Research Note summarizes existing data on small arms accessories and highlights the gaps in this data. 


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