Google’s Visualization of Small Arms, Light Weapons and Ammunition transfers

Google and the Igarape Institute and the Norwegian Initiative on Small Arms Transfers teamed up to develop this beautiful visualization of small arms, light weapons and ammunition transfers between 1992 and 2010. The visualization requires a modern web browser and graphics card that supports WebGL. I suggest using Chrome or Firefox.

I discovered a number of interesting relationships but there are a some of limitations to the data. Syria, for example, appears to export far more than they import and Iraq does not have any imports or exports listed, yet they have been almost entirely refitted with small arms, vehicles and aircraft in the past decade.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • KC

    change the year at the bottom of the screen.

    You can see millions are imported since 2004

    • Avery

      $53 dollars worth of civilian weapons transferred out from Iraq to Poland in 2007? That’s…unusual.

  • Twiggul

    I think it’s not very accurate, considering looking at Canada and Russia’s import/export ratio. I would assume the numbers should have been a lot higher.

    • Kyle

      This might just be recorded imports/exports. Who knows how many guns have been illegally imported/exported over the decades

    • Anonymoose

      Nobody legally buys from Russia anymore. Venezuela and a few countries in Africa bought some AK-103 a few years back but that’s about all I’ve heard of in a long time. Most countries who use AKs these days choose to make them themselves, with or without a license.

  • Mr. Fahrenheit

    That’s pretty sharp. Very cool visualization of the data.

  • Avery

    It’s weird to see the sub-hundred-thousand dollar transactions coming from places like Libya? What does those mean? That they were giving this stuff away at even less than cost?

    • Mobious

      Well, the rebels were backed by foreign support, weapons were practically dumped there

  • bob

    I am all for having a regulated international weapons industry when it concerns government-to-government weapons transactions and these NGO’s do an important job of tracking these transactions and uncovering some the shady international arms trade deals that every country on this planet engages in and shining a light on them(which no international treaty on earth will ever bring to an end, no mater how well intentioned).

    Where I strongly disagree with these groups is them going after lawful civilian gunowners globally and seeking to regulate our rights(where ever you live on this blue planet) thru the unelected UN and bundling civilian guns in the same category as government sales are.

    The two mentioned groups had and active role in the recently failed UN ACT treaty talks in support/crafting/lobbying the UN to regulate international civilian firearms transactions. As if a civilian owned 1911 or a hunting rifle where the same thing as a government buying artillery or helicopter gunships on the international market with the same international transfer requirements and end-user certificates as government sales fall under, there by pushing prices up for imported civilian firearms for example due to these compliance transactions for the international civilian gun makers had they succeeded with the ACT.

    As civilian gunowners worldwide, we should remain vigilant against these groups and the UN for what they could do to international civilian firearms transactions and local gun-laws and not letting unelected UN bureaucrats or well-intentioned international NGO groups regulating/trampling your rights, especially if its a constitutional guaranteed right like here in the US.

  • Joe the lV

    Consider the source is a CIA front and realize you will never get the whole truth about what goes on in the arms trade. The last UN report is available to read online concerning on the amount of heroine out of Afghanistan too. Seems like they skipped the years we have been guarding it. That report has yet to be written. I hope they have a cool shock and awe website for that one too. The UN runs congress. And they will be there to mob up the rabble when we get done shooting looters and “Zombies”. Were f&#$@.

  • Fred

    I smell just another propaganda operation hiding behind good intentions. And all the “NGO” stuff is a bunch of crap, this is common knowledge.

  • jack

    Fuck Chrome or Firefox.I wont use google for shit and firefox sucks

    • W

      ? calm down and use internet explorer. the world is not ending.

      • Charles222

        Opera. Although that is made by fredum-hatin commie swedin, so that probably wont work for you either. Looks like a copy of IE9 factory-installed by people working for slave wages in a totalitarian society is your best bet!

  • Lance

    I have firefox and it doesn’t work!

  • Yves

    The sales of North Korea are interesting, some reach Latin America.
    Is it possible to get more information?

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      Spambot, hahaha.