House of Cards – Small Arms Survey Identification Play Cards

The Small Arms Survey is a global center with a mandate to “generate evidence-based, impartial, and policy-relevant knowledge on all aspects of small arms and armed violence“.

Over ten years ago, in 2006, the Small Arms Survey launched a set of Small Arms ID Cards to aid in the visual identification of a selection of firearms commonly used in contemporary armed conflict and crime.

In 2010 Spanish-language cards were developed with focus on the firearms used in Central and South America. The Spanish ID cards can be found in this link.

I am thinking these cards would be a great tool for some, if not the majority, of journalists, so the most common mistakes can be avoided. Like where is the stock, where is the muzzle and even some basic identification instead of pure guesswork.

Regardless the cards must make life easier on the field for those who may not have firearms as their main interest. At least it would be quite easy even for a complete noob to report back to base if they’ve found an M16 or an AK with these cars as a reference.

Small Arms Survey Identification and Support Cards:

The Small Arms Survey’s Marking, Record-keeping, and Tracing Implementation Support Cards were released in August 2012 as a resource to promote easy understanding of the International Tracing Instrument (ITI). These were produced with support from the US Department of State’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement.

The English PDF can be found here:

The Spanish PDF can be found here:

It’s interesting to compare the Spanish and the English PDFs, and to compare which type and models of firearms that are more common.

Examples from the English PDF below:

Below: Colt M16A1


Below: The Kalashnikovs are in the deck, of course. The AK 47, AK 74, AKS 74 and Type 56-1 and -2.

AK74 ak47


Below: The M1 Garand. qww

Fully automatic machine guns are also represented.

Below: The M60 is quite easy to recognize in my opinion. 22211

Below: FN Minimi in 5,56×45 mm. 22111


The SKS is a Soviet semi-automatic carbine chambered for the 7.62×39mm round, designed in 1943. The new AK-47 was adopted by the Soviet military almost in parallel, so the SKS was considered obsolete.


No House of Cards is complete without an Uzi. tt444


Some of the Spanish:

You don’t find this one in the English pdf… the “home made” stuff.



Below: Ingram MAC10 488

Below: AMD 65 in 7,62×39 mm with T-shaped stock. 112223

Below: FN FAL in 7,62×51 mm.FNfal

Eric B

Ex-Arctic Ranger. Competitive practical shooter and hunter with an European focus. Always ready to increase my collection of modern semi-automatic firearms, optics and sound suppressors. Owning the night would be nice too.


  • Edeco

    Aw, the ace of spades doesn’t have a gun, just crappy text. Make it a G34 plz.

  • Dougscamo

    Can’t open the dang thing! Which firearm is the Ace of Hearts? A MaDuece?….

    • Edeco

      None, unfortunately, all of the aces have text 🙁 The M2 isn’t any of the deuces either, it’s the ten/spades.

      Hey which king is the suicide king? That should be the Colt Walker since apparently they were a bit explodey, even by the standards of the time.

      • Dougscamo

        Bummer…..yeah, the Walker was a little….”sporty” to shoot….but interestingly enough, its power wasn’t surpassed until the .357 was invented….

  • Great_Baldung

    [faint “shoulder thing that goes up” echoing in the distance]

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Must have put Glock on the card with the game rules.

    • Keiichi

      Nobody ever accused them of having “distinguishing features”…

  • Quest

    Stg 44 , MG42 …?

    • User

      Oh i mistaken it. Its for other stuff, not just directly playing as it seems.

  • Swarf

    Arma Artesanal: Feo. Muy malo. Chingada feo y malo, ese.

  • datimes

    I maybe should be concerned. I had to turn in my M16 when I retired 5 years ago and I sold my M14 two weeks ago. That leaves me with 8 other guns in the deck and 2 full auto not listed. I hope this doesn’t mean I have a collecting problem.

  • Scott Connors

    Do we really want the news media to be more accurate? Nothing short of a radical lobotomy is going to bring them to our side, and in the meanwhile every stupid mistake they commit allows us to discredit them.