Small arms

Small arms

Small arms is a term used by the armed forces to refer to infantry weapons, such as the firearms that an individual soldier can carry. It is usually limited to revolvers, pistols, submachine guns, shotguns, carbines, assault rifles, rifles, sniper rifles, squad automatic weapons, light machine guns, general purpose machine guns, medium machine guns, and sometimes hand grenades.

Small arms do not include infantry support weapons. In the US military, small arms refers to hand guns or firearms less than 20 mm in caliber, and therefore include heavy machine guns. [p.169, Marchant-Smith & Haslam] The NATO definition extends to "all crew-portable direct fire weapons of a calibre less than 50mm and will include a secondary capability to defeat light armour and helicopters." [p. 189, Dikshif] Though there is really no civilian definition within the US, since any firearm utilizing a projectile greater than 1/2 inch (.50 caliber or 12.7 mm) in diameter is considered a "destructive device" , anything .50 caliber or less would be considered "small arms". [ [ Title 18 US Code 921] The 1/2 inch rule does not apply to shotguns, sporting cartridge big bore rifles (such as rifles chambered in .600 Nitro Express) or muzzleloading black powder firearms, many of which are larger than .50 caliber.]

The term which encompasses both, SALW (Small Arms and Light Weapons), is used by some organizations (see IANSA) which work to limit their proliferation. [ [] Conventional arms ] For example much of the action of the UN to tackle the issue is raised in the UN SALW conference. [ [] UN Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) Conference]

Small arms proliferation is also a set of issues for the international movement to restrict the sale of military-grade small arms in conflict zones. The International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) is an international non-governmental organisation, working to stop the proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons.

Many organizations, such as Unicef, are very concerned over the misuse of such easy to obtain weapons, and the estimation that every day, tens or even hundreds of thousands are abused in through acts involving small arms.

The Dutch film director Sander Francken made a documentary called "Dealing and Wheeling in Small Arms" about the problems concerning the use and trade of small arms, especially for developing countries where the use of small arms has devastating effects on the civilian populations. [ [ Dealing and Wheeling in Small Arms] ]

ee also

*Submachine gun
*Assault rifle
*Sniper rifle
*Squad automatic weapon
*Light machine-gun
*List of firearms
*Antique guns

Citations and notes


* Marchant-Smith, C.J., & Haslam, P.R., "Small Arms & Cannons", Brassey's Battlefield Weapons Systems & Technology, Volume V, Brassey's Publishers, London, 1982
* Dikshif, P. Proliferation of Small Arms and Minor Weapons, "Strategic Analysis", Vol. 17(2) May 1994

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • small arms — small arms, firearms that can be easily carried and used by a single person, such as rifles, revolvers, or submachine guns. * * * plural n. portable firearms, esp. rifles, pistols, and light machine guns * * * noun [plural] : weapons (such as… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Small arms — Arms Arms, n. pl. [OE. armes, F. arme, pl. armes, fr. L. arma, pl., arms, orig. fittings, akin to armus shoulder, and E. arm. See {Arm}, n.] 1. Instruments or weapons of offense or defense. [1913 Webster] He lays down his arms, but not his wiles …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Small arms — Small Small (sm[add]l), a. [Compar. {Smaller}; superl. {Smallest}.] [OE. small, AS. sm[ae]l; akin to D. smal narrow, OS. & OHG. smal small, G. schmal narrow, Dan. & Sw. smal, Goth. smals small, Icel. smali smal cattle, sheep, or goats; cf. Gr.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Small arms — est un jeu vidéo d action sur la Xbox 360. Il est uniquement disponible sur le Xbox Live Arcade. Portail du jeu vidéo Ce document provient de « Small Arms ». Catégories  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • small arms — n. firearms of small caliber, held in the hand or hands when fired, as pistols, rifles, etc. * * * …   Universalium

  • small arms — n. firearms of small caliber, held in the hand or hands when fired, as pistols, rifles, etc …   English World dictionary

  • Small Arms — est un jeu vidéo d action sur la Xbox 360. Il est uniquement disponible sur le Xbox Live Arcade. Portail du jeu vidéo Catégories : Jeu d actionJeu …   Wikipédia en Français

  • small arms — ► PLURAL NOUN ▪ portable firearms …   English terms dictionary

  • small arms — N PLURAL Small arms are guns that are light and easy to carry. The two sides exchanged small arms fire for about three hours. Syn: handgun …   English dictionary

  • small arms — Gun Gun (g[u^]n), n. [OE. gonne, gunne; of uncertain origin; cf. Ir., Gael., & LL. gunna, W. gum; possibly (like cannon) fr. L. canna reed, tube; or abbreviated fr. OF. mangonnel, E. mangonel, a machine for hurling stones.] 1. A weapon which… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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