There is a general lack of accessible, publicly available and non-specialist information on commonly used SALW in organized violence. SALW have become part of the everyday lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world, yet few people know the difference between a small arm and a light weapon, or that not all assault rifles are AK-47s. BICC aims to fill this gap by providing a non-specialist, user-friendly platform to learn the distinctions between different SALW categories and types; their whereabouts in the world; and where possible, by whom they are held.
The interactive SALW Guide is based on the Small Arms and Light Weapons Guide (2016), a printed handbook developed by the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) Verification Center (BwVC) to educate their field officers on common weapons used in organized violence around the world. It is not an exhaustive list of all SALW around the world.
We believe that our Guide should be as transparent as possible without endangering the confidentiality of our sources. Rather than name the exact source for each unit of data, we have created tags so that users can at least know whether the data comes from a primary or secondary source, and by which medium it can or has been found. All incoming data is validated and then tagged by the project team at BICC before it enters our database.
Interviews with experts, including radio or telephone
Speeches or interventions by experts or national representatives in government or international meetings
Artifacts (e.g. the weapons themselves, ammunition)
Photographs of weapons, ammunition, etc.
Videos (e.g. YouTube, those recorded by mobile phone)
Television documentaries, news reports
Weapons Transfer authorizations
Transcripts of interviews, legal proceedings, speeches/presentations, meetings, conferences or symposia
Written correspondence (e.g. letters, emails, text messages, etc.)
Peer-reviewed journal articles
Treaties, constitution, laws
Records of organizations (e.g. annual reports)
Speeches, panel presentations, etc. on data provided by experts
PowerPoint presentations on results found by experts
Training or safety manuals on gun control, ammunition, physical stockpile security management)
Data from the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) Verification Center (BwVC) is the foundation of this Guide, which has been validated by the literature and responses to a structured questionnaire that BICC sent to all national points of contact for the Programme of Action (PoA) on small arms and light weapons (see Methods).