The global small arms market is expected to witness considerate growth over the forecast period driven by rising demand from a civil application such as the military, law enforcement, hunting, sports, and self-defense. The recent incidences of armed violence and terrorism have driven several civilians to procure small arms for self-defense purposes, thus driving its industry growth.
Increasing defense expenditure of emerging economies coupled with FDI in defense is estimated to fuel growth over the forecast period. Further, law enforcement agencies and military forces investing more into procuring advanced weapon systems are determined to offer prominent growth opportunities for the industry.
Varied technological advancements such as smart guns, 3D printed guns, corner shot assault rifles, use of binary coded gun barrels along with metal injection molding and light weight molding technology is estimated to boost further growth. Implementation of Soldier and Police modernization programs across several countries is projected to trigger growth. For instance, in 2013, the national government of Philippines announced the procurement of over 30,000 primary rifles and 74,000 modern side arms to be issued to rural frontline units across the nation.
While the influence of individual technological innovations is easily exaggerated, cumulative development has yielded significant enhancements to the overall lethality of light military weapons through increased accuracy, penetration, and rate of fire. The introduction of laser sighting systems, such as, facilitates a move towards bulls-eye targeting. Incremental advances in the quality of light weapons are projected to produce significant enhancements to the overall precision and power of future weapons.
However, stringent regulations across various major countries such as the U.S., wherein strict licensing policies are deployed to the civilian end users and manufacturers and declining defense budgets of advanced economies such as Germany, UK, and Canada can promote restraint industry growth. Furthermore, illicit arms trade and trafficking and indiscriminate usage of these weapons can act as a challenge for the market.
The small arms market can be classified by the application into the military, law enforcement, hunting, self-defense and sports. Military segment dominated the industry owing to the increasing cross-border disputes and rising conflicts across the globe, thus driving the forces to procure more advanced and efficient small weapons and arms for different operations.
By type, the market can be fragmented into a revolver, pistol, shot gun, machine gun and revolver. By technology, it can be bifurcated into guided and unguided technology. The industry can be segregated by caliber into 9mm, 7.62 mm, 5.56 mm, 14.5 mm and 12.7 mm. By cutting type, it can be divided into a smooth bore and threaded type.
Further, by firing systems, the small arms market can be segmented into manually, gas and recoil operated firing systems. Gas-operated firing systems offer varied benefits including a higher number of round fires, durability, precision, and efficiency. Recoil and manually-operated mechanism are mainly observed in low-powered rifles which are used across civil applications such as short-range shooting sports and hunting.
North America is anticipated to dominate the industry owing to the high military expenditure and rising armed violence across the country. The U.S. remains one of the major exporters of light weapons and ammunitions. Asia Pacific is estimated to witness significant growth owing to the rising manufacturing capacities, increasing civil participation in shooting sports and rising demand from defense forces for advanced weapon systems.
In the recent years, there has been a significant improvement in both official and unofficial information about small arms production in Russia. The Russian military-industrial compels, including the country’s light weapons producers, has been undergoing a dramatic process of restructuring in recent years. The Russian government formed a new policy for the country’s light weapons industry. The aim is to merge all Russian developers and manufacturers of small arms into two major government-owned holding companies: the Light Weapons and Cartridges Corporation and the High-Precision Weapons Corporation, thus driving demand across the European region.
The key end-users across the small arms market comprise military, hunters, shooters, law enforcement and people procuring small arms for self-defense. Some of the prominent players across the industry include Sturm, Ruger & Company Inc, Freedom Group, Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation, Orbital ATK, General Dynamics Corporation, Colt’s Manufacturing Company, LLC, Beretta Holding S.P.A and Forjas Taurus SAamongst others. The global defense industry has become increasingly concentrated in recent years, as various companies are developing the capacity to produce light weapons. Last few years, regions have witnessed the creation of an increasingly chaotic global light weapons industry, with more suppliers and products chasing a diminishing industry.
The industry players are adopting various strategies such as long-term contracts, mergers and acquisitions and new product launches to strengthen their position across the industry. Further, they are focusing on considerable investments in R&D for introducing small arms with reduced weight and higher precision.
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