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 a European focus. Always ready to increase my collection of modern semi-automatics, optics, thermals and suppressors. TCCC Certified. Occasionaly seen in a 6×6 Bug Out Vehicle, always with a big smile.