This map layer shows the estimated number of civilian small arms and light weapons (SALW) per country in reference to 100 inhabitants, grouped into five categories for the year 2017.
Worldwide, there are an estimated 1 billion SALW. The margin of error of these estimates, however, is very high, as the production of and trade in SALW are highly opaque. While individually, SALW cannot compete with the destructive power of weapons of mass destruction, as a whole, they are highly destructive: An estimated 50,000 to 100,000 people are 'direct' victims of SALW every year; added to this must be the 'collateral deaths', about twice as many. Various characteristics of SALW contribute to this: SALW are relatively cheap and easily available; SALW can be hidden and smuggled easily; SALW are resistant against dirt and corrosion, extremely easy to maintain and have a long service life—even after many decades, they can still be operational.