Small arms: New technologies

New technologies in small arms manufacturing and management are often established technologies with a history of application in other industries. Those include the use of non-traditional materials, such as polymers, the use of 3-D printing, and modularity in weapon design.

These developments in weapon design and production could have consequences for international efforts to address the illicit trade in small arms.

The marking, record-keeping and tracing of small arms is affected by new technology applications, such as laser markings, microstamping, automatic information and data collection and tracking technologies. Many of those technologies have the potential to profoundly influence the way weapons are marked and traced, as well as how records of weapons are kept.

Innovative ways for governments to address the management of weapons have become technologically feasible. Such technologies have already been put to broad use in commercial sectors such as the parcel business or the food industry.