Figures on the trade in SALW vary significantly and are difficult to confirm, because they rely mostly on reporting from states, which may not always provide complete or accurate data. Moreover, national data might not be comparable, due to varying categorisation of weapons. In particular, data about ammunition flows are difficult to obtain, with as much as 80% of global trade in ammunition not being covered by reliable export data. Some databases (e.g. NISAT) however provide valuable information about states’ legal SALW transfers. Estimates point to around 875 million SALW in circulation globally and 7.5 to 8 million produced each year. Around 70% are in civilian possession.
Major exporters and importers of SALW, 2011 and 2012
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