James Bevan
Weapon specialist and conflict analyst
James Bevan
Research Resources

The internet hosts increasingly detailed information useful to the identification of weapons and ammunition. However, this information is often fragmentary and difficult to find.

The reference books, databases and websites listed below centralize comprehensive and reliable information on weapons and ammunition, including technical specifications and markings. The 'useful contacts' section of this page indicates organizations that can be contacted for background information on weapons and ammunition, or for assistance in identifying specific items.

James Bevan provides confidential assistance in the identification of weapons and ammunition to numerous organizations, ranging from the news media to national governments and UN sanctions groups. Please visit the Contact page of this website to request assistance or to contribute information.

Resources by James Bevan

Ammunition Tracing Kit

Developed by James Bevan, this is a practical guide to field-based recording of ammunition, including methods of ammunition tracing. Published by the Small Arms Survey.

A secure forum for the discussion of sensitive information on weapons, ammunition and related materiel to support of ongoing investigations. Hosted by Conflict Armament Research Ltd. [restricted access, please contact for more information]

Small arms and light weapon terminology
A trilingual taxonomy of small arms and light weapons in English, French and Spanish. Useful for researchers and editors alike.

Weapon marks
Probably the most comprehensive collection of marks on Chinese, Eastern European and former-USSR weapons (including Kalashnikov variants).
Books, databases and websites

Culots de munitions - Atlas (Vols. I & II)

A detailed listing of small-calibre cartridge headstamps (base markings) in French. This publication is out of print but can still be found in some second-hand bookstores. ISBN 9782854283518.

Probably the most complete electronic reference guide to small-calibre ammunition headstamps (markings) for researchers [commercial database].

Conflict Tracing
A chapter in the 2009 Small Arms Survey, written by James Bevan, which provides a concise overview of weapon tracing, its uses and political implications.

A leading supplier of technical services and information on all aspects of weapons and ammunition tracing, including support to UN Sanctions Monitoring Groups and other international organisations. 

Jane's Infantry Weapons
A reference guide to infantry weapons, including most major categories of small arms and light weapons [available in book or online format].

Modern firearms and ammunition
One of the most useful, free online guides to modern small arms and light weapons with a high standard of technical accuracy.

Small Arms Survey - Weapons ID Portal
Probably the most detailed, dedicated weapons identification site with cross-referenced data sheets on a range of small arms and light weapons.

SIPRI database of major conventional weapons transfers
The most user-friendly online database of major conventional arms transfers produced by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
Useful contacts

Royal Armouries (UK) - National Firearms Centre
The most comprehensive repository of modern military infantry weapons and a key source of technical information on weapons.

European Cartridge Research Association
Wide-ranging research and information sharing on small-calibre cartridges. Provides ballistics-related information to official bodies.

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