Artisanal or Crafted Weapons

Artisanal weapons are homemade crafted weapons, usually produced by local blacksmiths or small enterprises. In the field of small arms and light weapons (SALW), crafting is not limited to firearms, also mortars, single launched rockets and other light weapons are locally produced.

  • Artisanal weapons
  • Artisanally manufactured weapons
  • Crafted weapons, craft production
  • Homemade weapons

Especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, homemade weapons by local blacksmiths are widely distributed. Nevertheless, international gun control efforts focus on mass-produced weapons while artisanally weapons are just equally lethal. They are less reliable, but also much cheaper than mass-produced (imported) weapons and hard to trace as they usually don’t have any serial number. Furthermore, they are often distributed among remote areas where people don’t have access to imported mass-products. These conditions complicate data pooling and empirical research resulting in a lack of sound (qualitative and quantitative) studies on the topic.

Due to the rise of 3D printing technology, a new type of crafted weapons has appeared in industrial countries: homemade 3D printed guns. Although these kind of weapons have only recently emerged and are not as widely spread, they can pose a serious threat in the future as printing guides can simply be downloaded by everybody via internet.

According to the Small Arms Survey, many small and light weapons are craft-produced. As these weapons are often used in criminal attacks, especially against the government, arti-sanal weapons pose a serious threat and public awareness of this topic has to be fostered.

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