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Industrial Production

Most of the top manufacturing countries are also the top exporting countries. Some countries, however, such as India, Pakistan, and North Korea, also have substantial small arms industrial production capacities to accommodate sizeable domestic markets.

Main producing countries include all the top exporters (USD 100 million or more in a single calendar year) as well as several countries with significant industrial capacities that meet the needs of the domestic market. The Survey has yet to estimate domestic production (focusing instead on transfers). But top producers would include the following 15 countries (in alphabetical order):

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • China
  • Germany
  • India
  • Italy
  • North Korea
  • Pakistan
  • Russian Federation
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

The companies producing arms in these countries may be state-owned or private—or a combination of the two. They usually produce a mix of either cartridge-based SALWs (such as handguns, shotguns, assault rifles, machine guns and heavy machine guns), non-cartridge-based LWs (portable grenade launchers and rifle grenades, man-portable anti-tank weapons and ammunition, MANPADS), ammunition and pyrotechnics. Many of these companies also produce and export firearms for civilian markets (personal defense and sporting).

Some of the largest companies include, in alphabetical order (with non-exhaustive examples of their products relevant to the SALW category):

  • Anschütz (hunting and sporting rifles)
  • Arsenal ( Pistols, submachine guns, assault rifles, grenade launchers  and mortars, cartridge-based ammunition and rifle grenades)
  • Beretta (hunting and sporting rifles, defence pistols, shotguns and carbines)
  • Česká Zbrojovka (CZ) (hunting rifles, pistols, submachine guns and carbines)
  • Chemring Group (pyrotechnics, medium and large calibre ammunition, 40mm grenades)
  • Dynamit Nobel (recoilless shoulder-fired anti-armour weapons)
  • FN Herstal (handguns, rifles, shotguns, machine guns, ammunition and less-lethal launchers)
  • General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems (small and medium calibre ammunition, mortars)
  • Glock (handguns)
  • Heckler & Koch (handguns, rifles, submachine guns, machine guns, and grenade launchers)
  • Indian Ordnance factories (handguns, rifles, submachine guns, machine guns, mortars, medium calibre firearms and recoilless guns)
  • Indústria de Material Bélico do Brasil (IMBEL) (pistols, rifles, light weapon ammunition and mortar shells)
  • Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) (pistols, submachine guns, carbines, rifles, and machine guns)
  • Nordic Ammunition Group (NAMMO) (small calibre ammunition, fuzes and pyrotechnics, shoulder-launched anti-armour and bunker-defeat systems)
  • Nexter (medium calibre ammunition, pyrotechnics)
  • China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) (pistols, assault rifles, small arms ammunition)
  • Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) (infantry rifles and machine guns, small arms ammunition, mortar bombs and pyrotechnics)
  • Remington (shotguns, handguns, rifles, small arms ammunition)
  • Saab Bofors Dynamics (MANPADS, shoulder-fired anti-armour weapons)
  • Smith & Wesson (handguns, shotguns, rifles)
  • Singapore Technologies Kinetics (ST Kinetics) (assault rifles, machine guns, 40 mm grenade launchers and ammunition, small arms ammunition)
  • Zastava (hunting and sporting rifles, assault rifles, machine guns and grenade launchers)

Ammunition products, production, and markets differ from those of small arms and light weapons. The production capacity of a single production line is calculated on the basis of its maximum output of rounds produced per minute, per hour, or per shift. A typical assembly line might manufacture 130 rounds per minute, with a potential annual output of 7–12 million rounds per line. Total ammunition production will fluctuate, however, to adapt to higher demand, routine maintenance, and new client requirements.

Some of the largest producers specializing in ammunition include (in alphabetical order):

  • Alliant Techsystems (ATK) and the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant
  • Companhia Brasileira de Cartuchos (CBC)
  • Igman
  • Metallwerk Elisenhütte (MEN)
  • Prvi Partizan
  • Sellier & Bellot



Small Arms Survey Publications

  • An Introductory Guide to the Identification of Small Arms, Light Weapons, and Associated Ammunition, edited by N.R. Jenzen-Jones and Matt Schroeder. Small Arms Survey Handbook, November 2018.

    More information
  • Behind the Curve: New Technologies, New Control Challenges, edited by Benjamin King and Glenn McDonald, February 2015. Occasional Paper No. 32 (also available in Arabic).

    Download (1.58 MB)
  • Producers of Small Arms, Light Weapons, and Their Ammunition, July 2014. Research Note No. 43, Weapons and Markets.

    Download (315.32 KB)
  • Small Arms of the Indian State: A Century of Procurement and Production, January 2014. India Armed Violence Assessment Issue Brief No. 4 (also available in Hindi).

  • The US Firearms Industry: Production and Supply, by Jurgen Brauer, February 2013. Working Paper No. 14.

    Download (1.82 MB)
  • The Method behind the Mark: A Review of Firearm Marking Technologies, December 2010. Issue Brief No. 1.

    Download (1004.37 KB)
  • Small Arms in Brazil: Production, Trade, and Holdings, by Pablo Dreyfus, Benjamin Lessing, Marcelo de Sousa Nascimento, and Júlio Cesar Purcena, a joint publication of Viva Rio, ISER, and the Small Arms Survey, September 2010. Special Report No. 11

    Download (5.43 MB)
  • Surveying Europe’s Production and Procurement of Small Arms and Light Weapons Ammunition: The Cases of Italy, France, and the Russian Federation, edited by Benjamin King, July 2010. Working Paper No. 10

    Download (1.04 MB)
  • Blowback: Kenya's Illicit Ammunition Problem in Turkana North District, by James Bevan, June 2008. Occasional Paper No. 22 (Executive Summary also available)

    Download (2.34 MB)
  • A Guide to the US Small Arms Market, Industry, and Exports, by Tamar Gabelnick, Maria Haug, and Lora Lumpe, September 2006. Occasional Paper No. 19

    Download (1.69 MB)
  • Basic Characteristics of Ammunition: From Handguns to MANPADS, by James Bevan and Stéphanie Pézard, 2006. In Stéphanie Pézard and Holger Anders, eds. Targeting Ammunition: A Primer.

    Download (1.73 MB)
  • Targeting Ammunition: A Primer, edited by Stéphanie Pézard and Holger Anders, co-published with CICS, GRIP, SEESAC, and Viva Rio, June 2006.

    More information
  • Small Arms and Light Weapons Production in Eastern, Central, and Southeast Europe, by Yudit Kiss, October 2004. Occasional Paper No. 13

    Download (252.08 KB)
  • Beyond the Kalashnikov: Small Arms Production, Exports, and Stockpiles in the Russian Federation, by Maxim Pyadushkin with Maria Haug and Anna Matveeva, August 2003. Occasional Paper No. 10

    Download (212.98 KB)
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Other Publications

  • Karp, Aaron. 2009. The Global Small Arms Industry – Transformed by War and Society. In Richard A. Bitzinger ed. The Modern Defense Industry: Political, Economic and, Technological Issues, pp 272-292. Santa Barbara: Praeger Security International, ABC-CLIO.

    More information
  • SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute). 2003. Volume of arms production, export sales, and employment in the arms industry: France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, 1991–2000. SIPRI Military Expenditure and Arms Production Project. 

    More information
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