The export of guns, ammunition, firearm parts, and accessories is classified under the small arms and weapons trade. The trade is constantly growing, with countries increasing their net production of small arms weapons. Most industrialized countries rank high among the leading producers of weaponry due to their advanced technological know-how, financial stability, and improved research in the development of new weapons. Countries in Asia and Africa are the major importers of these arms, due to the heightened conflicts in the regions. The sale and demand for small arms keep the vicious cycle of conflict going. The proliferation of small arms (legal and Illegal) has been linked to increased rates of armed crimes, murders, and wars in developing countries in Asia and Africa. The widening of the market for small arms has led to increased investment in weaponry research to develop many powerful and compact weapons that are easy to carry around. The number of people with access to small arms is also on the rise for reasons such as prestige and security. Guns and firearms are a major contributing factor to the decline of animal species in the wild due to increased sport and illegal game hunting.
10. Czech Republic ($318 Million USD)
The Czech Republic is the tenth leading exporter of small arms raising about $318 million. The defense in the country has been growing steadily due to increased insecurity and warfare which has increased the demand for small and light weapons as well as their accessories. Czech Republic exports its arms to Ukraine, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Algeria, the US, and Slovenia.
9. Brazil ($365 Million USD)
The growth of the small arms and light weapons trade in Brazil has increased over the years. Brazil exports guns, ammunition, firearms, and firearm accessories worth $365 million to more than 100 countries, mainly conflict stricken countries in the Middle East and Asia. The export of these weapons to fragile countries has been criticized by the United Nations and other humanitarian bodies, as the weapons are used in the abuse of human rights. Brazil is one of the leading small arms producers with small arms companies such as Taurus and the Avibras Industria Aerospacial.
8. Austria ($414 Million USD)
Austria makes about $414 million from the export of small arms and light weapons and their accessories making it the eighth leading exporter of small arms. Austria’s small trade industry mainly fulfills the external weapon demand due to a small, unreliable domestic market. Austria exports its guns, ammunitions, firearms, and firearm accessories to the US and Asian countries. Glock and Steyr Mannlicher are the leading weapon manufacturers in Austria.
7. South Korea ($438 Million USD)
South Korea generates $438 million from the export of guns, ammunition, firearms, and accessories. South Korea began developing its defense industry through partnerships with the US. Several South Korean arms companies such as Samsung and LIG Nex1 are listed among the top manufacturers in the world. The growth of defense industry has experienced enormous growth and by 2007 motivated South Korea to pursue the global market which placed the country among the world's top exporters of arms. South Korea exports its weapons to Iraq, Indonesia, the UK, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and the Philippines.
6. Turkey ($443 Million USD)
Turkey is one of the countries with an increasing level of independence in the production of its weapons. For more than ten years, Turkey has increased its small arms production consequently placing the country on the list of the world’s leading small arms and light weapons exporters. The small arms industry in Turkey generates about $443 million. Turkey exports its weapons to the US, Germany, Malaysia, Azerbaijan, Qatar, Britain, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Turkey has been striving to modernize its army and has seen tremendous growth of the defense industry which has subsequently contributed to the growth of the small arms industry.
5. Belgium ($517 Million USD)
Belgium receives revenue of $517 million from the export of small arms, light weapons, and their accessories making the country the fifth leading exporter in the category. Most of these weapons are exported to the unstable Middle East countries, primarily Saudi Arabia. Other countries that import Belgium small arms include countries in the European Union and the US. Belgium ranks high in countries with transparent weapon trading systems.
4. Germany ($578 Million USD)
Germany is the fourth leading country in small arms exporting and generates a revenue of $578 million. The weapon industry in Germany is one of the leading and most technically advanced industries in the world. Saudi Arabia, Iran, Algeria, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and South Korea are the top importers of Germany’s small arms. Despite the restrictive policies relating to the sales of small arms to conflict zones, the industry keeps expanding with more sales recorded annually
3. Israel ($868 Million USD)
The weapon industry in Israel was developed in the 1920s through illegal weapon manufacturing by Zionist movements. The industry has grown steadily since independence to become one of the world’s leading small arms exporter. Previously, most of its small arms were exported to the third world and communist countries. Israel exports arms worth about $868 million. Most of these arms are exported to more than 130 countries especially in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and India. India is currently the largest arms market for Israel.
2. Italy ($1.71 Billion USD)
Italy has the second largest small arms export industry after the US. Italy generates a revenue of about $1.7 billion. The United Arab Emirates, India, Turkey, Peru, Spain, and Chile are the leading importers of Italy’s small arms. The small arms industry grew rapidly between 2011 and 2014 due to the global financial crisis which forced the country to export more. As a result, Italy’s arms sales depend hugely on external rather than domestic orders for the weapons.
1. USA ($5.02 Billion USD)
The US is the world’s leading exporter of small arms with sales of about $5.02 billion. The US exports most of its weapons to war-torn countries and the Middle East countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and African countries such as Egypt. In these countries, the US has established a market stronghold which keeps growing. The US small arms industry is projected to keep growing due to investment in weaponry research and development. Top manufacturing companies in the US include Boeing and Lockheed Martin.