Global firearms holdings

Submitted by Lionel Kosirnik on 23 September, 2021

There are more than one billion firearms in the world, the vast majority of which are in civilian hands. The Small Arms Survey estimates that of the one billion firearms in global circulation as of 2017, 857 million (85 per cent) were in civilian hands, 133 million (13 per cent) were in military arsenals, and 23 million (2 per cent) were owned by law enforcement agencies.

This infographic offers a further breakdown of these numbers by, region, country, and sector.

Estimating Civilian Owned Firearms (Research Note 9)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on 24 November, 2020

Most of the world’s firearms are privately owned. In 2007 the Small Arms Survey estimated that civilians owned some 650 million of the world’s firearms, with armed forces owning around 200 million, and 26 million in the hands of law enforcement.

With the world’s factories delivering millions of newly manufactured firearms annually—far outnumbering those being destroyed—civilian ownership is growing in most countries. The highest national rate of civilian firearm ownership is in the United States, with at least 90 firearms per every 100 people.