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Top Arms Exporting Countries

Try to name the countries that have exported the most weapons in the last 10 years.
For the ten-year period, 2013–2022
According to SIPRI
Quiz by cuotak
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Last updated: October 6, 2023
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First submittedAugust 15, 2013
Times taken68,864
Average score83.3%
Rating4.93
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USD
Country
104 bil
United States
54.7 bil
Russia
25.2 bil
France
16.4 bil
China
14.6 bil
Germany
11.2 bil
United Kingdom
USD
Country
8.89 bil
Italy
7.22 bil
Spain
7.00 bil
Israel
5.14 bil
South Korea
4.91 bil
Netherlands
3.17 bil
Turkey
USD
Country
2.52 bil
Ukraine
2.33 bil
Switzerland
2.30 bil
Sweden
1.55 bil
Canada
1.25 bil
Australia
1.20 bil
Norway
77 Comments
+24
Level 64
Sep 19, 2014
Switzerland as an arms exporter surprised me. I just wouldn't assume they would be in the business of producing arms let alone selling them. Unless this includes the exportation of arms to allied nations (UN Members)?
+15
Level 75
Oct 27, 2014
Same here. I always thought they were neutral - I guess that means they can supply both sides.
+157
Level 90
Jun 15, 2017
It's all of the Swiss Army Knives
+5
Level 65
Oct 14, 2017
LoL Stevediverse,love it.
+58
Level 69
Jun 20, 2017
Switzerland is heavily militarized. Mandatory service, soldiers bring their guns home with them, tunnels and facilities underground all over the place. They are militantly neutral.
+13
Level 74
Jun 25, 2017
And founded by mercenaries back in the day...
+33
Level 74
Oct 14, 2017
"Neutral" doesn't mean, they don't profit from wars; look i.e. on their role in WWII.
+4
Level 77
Oct 7, 2023
Write a complete sentence, man.
+4
Level 65
Oct 14, 2017
Must be all those Swiss Army knives
+1
Level 31
Oct 15, 2017
Agreed
+12
Level 62
Oct 16, 2017
I think some of the posters misunderstand one thing: the European countries have a heavy cross-border consolidation of the arms industry. So the exports you see from, say, Spain, the Netherlands and Switzerland are the share of production that is statistically allocated to them. For example, Switzlerland is the home of a company that produces very advanced armored personnel carriers. The owner of this company is a German firm. The machine gun and anti-aircraft manufacturer Örlikon is also Swiss. And so on. The clients are mostly Middle Eastern and South-East Asian.
+10
Level 69
Sep 27, 2019
If you want peace, prepare for war.
+8
Level 82
Aug 22, 2021
Neutral doesn't mean pacifist. In fact, in practice it often means you need to be armed to the teeth, because if anyone attacks you, you've got no allies coming to your aid. It also means you don't have treaties with allies to supply you with all those weapons. The result? You make them yourself. And if you're doing that, you may as well make a few extra and make a buck off it all. So that's what Switzerland does.
+1
Level 75
Sep 30, 2021
I think being a UN member hardly makes countries allies since nearly every country is a member, including ones that are outright enemies e.g. South and North Korea or Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel. Switzerland does not have any formal allies, or enemies for that matter. I guess it's as ander217 said and they can just supply all sides of a conflict. I did some research and found an article that said their biggest clients in 2019 were, in descending order, Denmark, Germany, Romania, Bangladesh, and the USA. So the first three can hardly be seen as threats to global peace, but Bangladesh and some of their other clients including Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are more problematic and known for massive human rights violations.
+1
Level 69
Sep 30, 2021
Surprised me too. In fact I started typing it but then stopped as it just felt wrong. Only one I missed!
+1
Level 57
Oct 1, 2021
there are more guns than people in switzerland
+2
Level 67
May 16, 2023
and bullets
+1
Level 75
Nov 16, 2023
So you're saying there's at least one bullet for every gun? That's an astoundingly dull statistic.
+1
Level 60
Nov 15, 2023
funny enough, the same applies to the USA
+2
Level 43
Jan 6, 2015
Forgot Israel - stupid! Surprised by Switzerland!
+12
Level 67
Jan 10, 2015
Remember arms include everything from fighter jets and tanks to guns and bullets. Switzerland is famous for its rifles.
+1
Level 71
Jun 20, 2017
Grenades, Tanks, Ammunition etc.
+1
Level 73
Jun 20, 2017
Also hunting and sporting arms?
+2
Level 62
Jun 21, 2017
If that's the case, then it seems like sales of rifles, knives, armor, etc would be inconsequential in the grand scheme of things since the Joint Strike Fighters are selling for over 100 million dollars per plane. How many rifles equals a tank or a plane
+5
Level 70
Oct 16, 2017
They don't equal that. Switzerland is still 12 places behind the USA.
+3
Level 74
Jun 15, 2017
Really surprised by the Ukraine.
+8
Level 50
Nov 17, 2019
I meant they were former Soviets and they have a better army/military than you think!
+11
Level 81
Jun 28, 2023
This aged well…
+14
Level 77
Jun 16, 2017
Realy surprised with the all of those peacekeepers...
+3
Level 90
Jun 19, 2017
Remember that just because you export something doesn't mean that you produce it. Just like unofficial diplomatic communications go through intermediary countries, I imagine that companies in so called "neutral" countries still purchase arms from major manufacturers and send them in small quantities to less than desirable peoples. That was very very common in the pre 9/11 world.
+2
Level 71
Jun 19, 2017
Netherlands?
+5
Level 52
Oct 14, 2017
Mainly ships (Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding) and naval surveillance systems (Thales goalkeeper systems)

Stork builds parts for fighter jets.

DAF generally produces trucks, and also sells trucks to the military.

+1
Level 56
Oct 14, 2017
These figures probably do not account for the black market and other illegal transactions. Or maybe thousands of old automatic rifles with ammunition are not as valuable as a couple of high-tech fighter jets. I'm not an expert, so I don't know the prices of these things.
+5
Level 86
Sep 11, 2018
The source does include a category for unknown suppliers. Their numbers are absolutely dwarfed by all the big countries.
+7
Level 74
Oct 14, 2017
You see the hypocrisy at work in this list. All those countries that thumb their noses at the US for it's violence making a a lot of money with weapons.
+12
Level 67
Oct 14, 2017
Does that excuse the US public from believing they need to be armed with high-powered rifles? Also, the US sells more weapons than every other name on this list put together. Americans first need to get their own house in order, as you point out.
+3
Level 88
Apr 10, 2020
You only show your complete ignorance by calling them "high power rifles." Define a "high power rifle." And what US citizens own is none of your business. In fact, it's almost like you want more Americans to die considering what happens in gun free US cities.

In other news, the majority of the US' clients are countries that are trying to defend themselves, like Taiwan and Israel, or Europe. In fact, they throw a hissy fit when the US decides to stop throwing weapons at them. Interesting how Russia and the PRC get no flack for their clients, which consist mainly of terrorist Islamist states, Communist shitholes, African tinpot dictators....

+3
Level 79
Oct 6, 2023
What's a "high power rifle" then? Please enlighten us instead of just being rude. What American citizens own seems to me to be of significant importance to fellow citizens and the government, at least to some degree. It's not as if the companies selling and advertising what we buy don't already know what we own. And what happens in gun-free American cities? I'm sure it has everything to do with the fact that they're gun-free and nothing else. You seem to ignore the atrocious history of gun violence in the US and the fact that it has the highest gun ownership rate in the world.
+4
Level 79
Oct 6, 2023
If you'd actually looked at the source data, you'd see that you're contention that American exports mostly go to countries trying to defend themselves is questionable at best. Taiwan and Israel are relatively high on the list but not top. No clue how Europe qualifies as trying to defend itself and even so doesn't make up even 20 percent of exports as an entire bloody continent. The US supplies more to the Middle East (not sure which actual countries you mean by "terrorist Islamist states") than Russia and China combined. In fact, regardless of the pejorative category you so eloquently used to describe vast regions of the world, the US almost invariably supplies them with more weapons than Russia or China. Try doing some research next time instead of just vomiting reactionary nonsense with no basis in facts or data. The info's out there, you just have to look at it.
+1
Level 61
Oct 14, 2017
I was surprised with Ukraine. Wonder what weapons they make.
+1
Level 60
Feb 23, 2021
Probably some soviet tech
+9
Level 33
Oct 14, 2017
Israel dealing with weapons?? Such peaceful people, always suffering, oppressed by their gigantic tough neighbours...I'm quite surprised by this news...
+20
Level 82
Oct 15, 2017
What a dumb strawman argument. Nobody ever said Israel was a hippie commune without any weapons. They've been fighting for their survival since day one. Of course they have weapons.
+15
Level ∞
Jul 30, 2019
Can you even imagine what would happen if Israel decided to adopt pacifism and just disband their military? Anyone calling for them to do so is naive.
+10
Level 43
Nov 17, 2019
I mean I guess they could defend themselves without stealing any more land to Palestine
+5
Level 82
Nov 17, 2019
Israel has been in a state of war, that the Arab League declared, since the day after the Israeli declaration of independence from the Ottoman Empire and the British Mandate of Palestine. Though peace treaties were brokered with Egypt and Jordan, there has never been a sovereign Palestinian state that Israel recognized in order to establish relations with, and Israel is still technically in a state of war with some of the other countries that attacked them in '48. The last time Israel took any significant amount of land from anyone was in 1967, and this land was taken from Jordan, Syria, and Egypt, whom Israel was at war with at the time. Yasser Arafat did not declare Palestinian independence until 1988.
+2
Level 82
Sep 30, 2021
It actually has a lot to do with that. The biggest weapons sellers are all countries that produce the most weapons for their own use, and then sell off surplus or older supply to other countries. You're never going to see Costa Rica on this list.
+2
Level 85
Sep 30, 2021
Remember, Israel gave, or rather sold, Uzis to the world. From the Wikipedia article: "The Uzi has been exported to over 90 countries. Over its service lifetime, it has been manufactured by Israel Military Industries, FN Herstal, and other manufacturers. From the 1960s through the 1980s, more Uzi submachine guns were sold to more military, law enforcement and security markets than any other submachine gun ever made."

I'm surprised Austria (home of Glock) didn't make the list, although admittedly Glock firearms are not all manufactured in Austria.

+1
Level 84
Sep 30, 2021
I thought of Austria with Glock and Steyr. Also Belgium, which as you mention, has FN. But assuming the small arms don't add up as much as the larger weapon systems sold by other countries.
+9
Level 81
Oct 15, 2017
This quiz is quite eye opening. Western countries make massive profits selling weapons to be used in third world conflicts. Sort of a modern day colonialism.
+19
Level ∞
Jul 30, 2019
I'm sure third world countries would be happy to export arms if they were making anything that anyone wanted.
+6
Level 79
Oct 6, 2023
Perhaps they could make things people wanted if their natural resources weren't being extracted and sold for dirt cheap to developed countries.
+4
Level 76
Oct 10, 2023
Bingo. Aside from the fact that arguing "if they were in the same position, they'd do it too" is not only wildly speculative but also doesn't make the action any less questionable. But hey, you gotta justify the hegemony, especially when you're benefitting from it, directly or indirectly.
+1
Level 66
Nov 15, 2023
Somehow the rest of the world has been able to invent, develop, progress
+1
Level 79
Nov 15, 2023
I hope this is a joke
+1
Level 75
Nov 16, 2023
One of your least insightful comments, I have to say. While true on its face, it completely misses all the context - all of history! Disappointing.

I may be off-base here, but I think I've detected a distinct libertarian streak in you. This is what is so galling about libertarians. You look at all the countries on this list and credit them with what they have accomplished. Then you disparage countries that have not done as well. Which of those two groups do you think has had less-involved government? Libertarians go on about how much better everything would be if government would just stop interfering, but they don't want to confront the reality of what happens in that context. Why not move to Somalia? You can do anything you want there without the government bothering you. Except you can't thrive there because nobody is protecting your work. You can't buy, sell, or invest securely. Anything might be taken or destroyed at any time and you have no recourse. Libertarianism is hollow.

+3
Level 83
Oct 19, 2017
This one really tells a story
+4
Level 86
Sep 11, 2018
Informative quiz! One small suggestion: I think totals (i.e. dollar amounts) would be more interesting to see than ranks.
+3
Level ∞
Jul 30, 2019
Done.
+2
Level 46
Sep 10, 2020
What about Japan?, I'm not saying it should be on the list though
+1
Level 50
Sep 30, 2021
Japan doesn't even have a military... I don't think they are much into the arms business.
+8
Level 63
Sep 30, 2021
They call it a "Self-Defense Force" but I can assure you they are better equipped than most militaries
+1
Level 67
Sep 30, 2021
Missed Netherlands and Switzerland, they sort of crossed my mind but I was impatient and gave up
+1
Level 48
Oct 1, 2021
south korea 69 what
+1
Level 63
Nov 13, 2022
South Korea has a very large arms industry partially owned and funded by the government, and quite a few of their vehicles and planes have been succesfully exported to other countries.
+4
Level 66
Nov 1, 2021
How many "peaceful" countries - Sweden, Spain, Switzerland, Canada, Italy, Netherlands, Germany - produce weapons for killing! Hypocrisy.
+1
Level 45
Nov 26, 2021
I missed sweden
+1
Level 71
Dec 8, 2021
I'm a little surprised Brazil isn't on the list, given that some of these numbers are kind of small. There aren't too many producers of military aircraft in the world and they seem like high-ticket items. Not enough, I suppose.
+2
Level 55
Jan 10, 2022
I for one am surprised Austria isn't on here, what with Glock being one of the most popular gun brands in the world right now.
+1
Level 63
Nov 13, 2022
That same logic led to me trying Belgium; after all FN is quite the export powerhouse. But clearly they didn't quite make the list.
+1
Level 18
Jan 11, 2022
Switzerland??? I'm Suprised
+1
Level 52
Feb 16, 2022
Switzerland may try to think us their neutral
+3
Level 72
Jun 20, 2023
This quiz could use a slight update. I doubt Ukraine has been exporting any weapons since all-out-war with Russia started in 2022.
+5
Level ∞
Oct 6, 2023
Fully updated. Keep in mind this is over a 10 year period.
+1
Level 75
Oct 7, 2023
You swapped the ranks Ukraine and Turkey.
+2
Level 40
Nov 15, 2023
Look at all those liberal "peace-touting" European countries being hypocrites!
+1
Level 76
Jan 4, 2024
Look at all those peace-loving, civilized countries, champions of democracy and beacons of progress, who wring their hands at the violence in the world while profiting from throwing fuel to the fire; and then complain about refugees knocking on their doors cause they wanna escape the bullets these civilized countries have sold to their oppresors.