An Introductory Guide to the Identification of Small Arms, Light Weapons, and Associated Ammunition

An Introductory Guide to the Identification of Small Arms, Light Weapons, and Associated Ammunition

Edited by N.R. Jenzen-Jones and Matt Schroeder, November 2018

Arms and ammunition are evidence. Many weapons carry marks that, combined with their physical characteristics, reveal important information about them, including their manufacturer, age, and origin. This information, in turn, provides vital clues about the sources and flows of weapons in the area in which they were found.

The goal of this Handbook is to provide the reader with a basic understanding of how to identify and analyse small arms and light weapons, and to track their proliferation. The process of identifying arms is complex, and no single guide can provide all of the information required to identify every weapon or round of ammunition that may be encountered at crime scenes or in conflict zones. Instead, this guide explains the process by which weapons and ammunition are identified and arms flows are tracked. Reference material on specific small arms, light weapons, and ammunition is included throughout the guide. This material will help readers to take the steps necessary to identify the make and model of the most commonly encountered weapons and ammunition.

Download the sections:

  • Preliminary pages : About the authors; Acknowledgements; Disclaimer; Table of contents; List of boxes, figures, maps, and tables; List of abbreviations and acronyms.
    Download (350.4 KB)

  • Chapter 1 Small Arms Identification: An Introduction
    Download (530.98 KB)

  • Chapter 2 Understanding the Trade in Small Arms: Key Concepts
    Download (384.16 KB)

  • Chapter 3 Weapons Identification: Small Arms
    Download (6.26 MB)

  • Chapter 4 Weapons Identification: Small-calibre Ammunition
    Download (3.04 MB)

  • Chapter 5 Weapons Identification: Light Weapons and their Ammunition
    Download (5.73 MB)

  • Chapter 6 Weapons Identification: Other Small Arms and Light Weapons
    Download (2.36 MB)

  • Chapter 7 Gathering Arms and Ammunition Data in the Field: Advice for Researchers
    Download (1.57 MB)

  • Chapter 8 Analysing Arms Flows: Authorized Transfers
    Download (871.99 KB)

  • Chapter 9 Analysing Arms Flows: Illicit Weapons
    Download (649.64 KB)

  • Bibliography
    Download (303.83 KB)

1 Like

More aptly titled “Guns and Bullets for Dummies 101” this is an admirably done packaging of very basic information about arms and ammunition and basic identification techniques with illustrated examples. Looks like it is aimed primarily at journalists and bureaucrats who want to write something about weapons so they will not look totally foolish. And, obviously tied in with the ongoing United Nations *Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (PoA)". This is an effort to dictate global gun control schemes, which so far the U.S. has refused to embrace due to its conflicting with freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment. But after nearly 20 years working on this scheme the UN continues to impose increasing incremental restrictions.

The book was done by recognized experts, including frequent poster here, Tony Williams, and people from ARES (Armament Research Services). It accurately helps with identification, and has lots of examples, and a few short “case histories” showing how details of markings enable the tracking of illegal arms shipments which ended up in the hands of bad guys.

It covers the full range of arms, including mass produced military arms, sporting arms, and even a lengthy section (Chapter 6) on improvised and primitive firearms. (Which alone should show that the fantasy of being able to take away all guns from bad guys is impossible.)

Well done to the authors on a work which is good for its intended purposes, although admittedly of limited use for most gun or ammunition collectors. However, even for them, it may be worth reading just to refresh on the basics and remind us of the broad scope of makers, sellers, users and purposes of items which are far removed from our normal collecting or academic focus.

Thanks alot PJB.
It is very useful.

Elementary indeed it is. Very good material & useful.