German exports of small arms and light weapons (export value in numbers) 2008 to 2016


The map shows recipient countries of German small arms exports from 2008 to 2016 All countries that have imported small arms and light weapons from Germany in the above period of time Countries, that have imported small arms and light weapons between 2008 and 2015 are coloured in grey. It shows an exact representation of import figures for 2016; the numbers are classified into five categories and colour-coded.


In 2016, Lithuania was the main recipient country with 7,585 imported SALW, followed by France (7,136) and Iraq (4,000). The weapons exported to Iraq are the so-called "equipment aid" ('Ausstattungshilfe') to the Kurdish regional government.

The export of SALW is controlled in German law by the law on the control of weapons of war ('Kriegswaffenkontrollgesetz'). In EU law, the export of war materials is controlled by the EU Common Position 2008/944/CFSP. All member states must be informed of export licenses of war materials; these licenses ought to be granted in accordance with eight criteria.

Small arms are often used in non-state conflicts and are the weapons preferred by criminals and politically motivated groups. While individually, small arms 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 small arms every year; added to this must be the 'collateral deaths', about twice the amount. A number of characteristics of small arms contribute to this: Small arms are relatively cheap and easily available; small arms can be hidden and smuggled easily; small arms are extremely easy to maintain and have a long service life—even after many decades, they can still be operational.

Terms, notes on methodology or reading aids

Small arms and light weapons are portable arms with a calibre of up to 100mm. They range from revolvers and pistols, assault rifles and machine guns to grenade launchers and MANPADS (man-portable air defence systems). Small arms are firearms that have been designed for the use by one person and have a calibre of up to 12.7 mm, while light weapons have a higher calibre (12.7 to 100 mm) and are operated by a team of two or three. Their acronym is SALW.

The information on exported numbers are based on voluntary information provided by UN member states to the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs Arms export data from different sources are difficult to compare as there is no unified way that countries collect and transfer data on their exports. They report at different times and for different weapon categories.

Data sources

EU Arms Exports Reports 2009 to 2013 In 1998, in the framework of the Common Foreign and Security Policy of EU Member States, a code of conduct for arms exports was adopted that, however, is not legally binding. In 2008, this code of conduct was integrated into the Common Position No 944. All members have agreed to abide by them and that they will integrate it into national law. Core element of the Common Position are eight criteria regarding arms exports licenses and the commitment to present an annual arms exports report. The eight criteria lay down when trade or the movement of military goods and weapons is permitted. A final decision on whether a country wants to finally permit the transfer of military technology, however, is up to each individual nation. These annual export reports are intended to improve transparency in arms deals. In these reports, each country lists its exports of military weapons and military equipment according to the country of destination. These goods are divided into 22 categories Small arms exports are recorded in category ML1 : "Smooth-bore weapons with a calilbre of less than 20mm, other arms and automatic weapons with a calibre of 12.7mm (calibre 0.50 inches) or less and accessories, as follows, as specially designed components therefor."

15th EU Arms Exports Report

UNODA - United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs The United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs is an office of the United Nations Secretariat. The General Assembly calls upon all members of the United Nations to present an annual report about their im- and exports of weapons. UNODA, since mid-2011, has published an online overview that is based on these country reports—the Global Reported Arms Trade.

The Global Reported Arms Trade - the UN Register of Conventional Arms

Buchhandlungen bangen um die Buchpreisbindung

Data tables

For some select map layers, the information portal ‘War and Peace’ provides the user with all used data sets as tables.

More ...
Magnifying Glass in front of a Boston map

Country portraits

In the country reports, data and information are collected by country and put into tables that are used in the modules as a basis for maps and illustrations.

More ...
Compass with Mirror

Navigation and operation

The information and data of each module are primarily made available as selectable map layers and are complemented by texts and graphs. The map layers can be found on the right hand side and are listed according to themes and sub-themes.

More ...