Small Arms Survey Issue Brief: Profiling ammunition in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia

ARES Director N.R. Jenzen-Jones has co-authored an Issue Brief for the Small Arms Survey, a Geneva-based research institute, published in late July. With an aim to inform measures for reducing illicit proliferation, the paper discusses small arms ammunition found in the holdings of non-state armed groups within Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia. An excerpt from the paper, discussing some of its main findings, can be read below:

  • The main calibre observed in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia is the Soviet-designed 7.62 x 39 mm cartridge. Ammunition of this calibre is used with AK and AKM assault rifles, as well as other Kalashnikov-pattern rifles and variants produced in numerous countries.

  • Most of the reviewed cartridges fall within a few standard calibres, primarily of Soviet design, along with some NATO standards. Other calibres are comparatively few in variety and quantity.

  • Most of the small arms ammunition observed was manufactured in China, Iraq, the former Soviet Union, and Sudan.

  • All of the observed calibres were designed and adopted before or during the cold war era. No modern calibres – ones designed and adopted during the past 30 years – were documented.

  • Analysis of small arms ammunition is often limited as a result of poor documenting practices.

You can read the full text of Issue Brief 8: Feeding the Fire: Illicit Small Arms Ammunition in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia here.