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Light Weapons Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Type (Heavy machine guns, MANPAT, Infantry Mortar, Anti-Tank Weapons, Recoilless Rifles, Launchers, Light Cannon, Anti-Tank Missiles, MANPADS, Grenade, Landmines), Guidance (Guided, Unguided), Application (Defense, Homeland Security), and Regional Forecast, 2020-2027

Last Updated: April 08, 2024 | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI103529



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The global light weapons market size was USD 12.61 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 17.33 billion by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 4.67% during the forecast period.


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Light weapons are weapons designed to use by more than one person serving as crew. These weapons are majorly used in combat missions and naval operations by defense forces. It includes heavy machine guns, mounted grenade launchers, recoilless rifles, MANPADS (Man-portable anti-defense systems), MANPAT (Man-portable anti-tank) guns, launchers of anti-tank missiles, landmines, mortars of caliber less than 100mm, anti-aircraft missile systems, and others.

Defense Industry is Facing Unprecedented Challenges due to COVID-19 Pandemic

Since the COVID-19 virus outbreak, most of the countries have reduced their defense spending, several contracts kept on hold, reduction in demand for defense equipment, and delayed product deliveries are the major factors that affected the defense industry due to COVID-19.

Furthermore, the spread of coronavirus resulted in the decline of the defense budget and military expenditure by various governments across the globe. The onset of COVID-19 lockdown has its economic toll that resulted in the production halt, disrupted the supply chain, and impacted inventories.


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Adoption of Precision Guided Firearms and Laser Cannon to Boost Growth

In recent years, the defense sector has witnessed a strong growth rate due to the demand for advanced weapons in military and homeland security applications. The rise in the research and development capabilities by companies in weapons manufacturing is likely to spur opportunities in the near future. Rising demand for precision-guided firearms directs the bullet to hit its target. These guided firearms use target tracking, fire control, and advanced head-up display technologies to hit the target even at a long-range.

Furthermore, technically advanced ship-mounted laser cannons are gaining popularity due to the rising demand for naval applications. The laser system allows pinpointing, targeting, and destruction of enemy assets. The XM25 counter defilade target engagement system is a semi-automatic airburst grenade launcher that helps soldiers to calculate target distance for effective combat use.


Wide Availability and Low Cost of Weapons to Propel the Growth of the Market

The weapons are majorly used by military, civilian, and police use. There are plenty of weapon suppliers around the world that manufacture weapons in a variety of configurations. With the increasing lethality of submachine guns, rapid-fire assault rifles drive the growth of the market. Furthermore, these weapons are easily portable and concealable, thus, easier for transportation to battlegrounds. It requires less training to operate these weapons as they are highly durable and low maintenance. Growing contracts for light weapons from military forces and homeland security for strengthening armed forces can propel the growth of the market.

Increasing Terrorist Activities and Civilian Conflicts Drive the Growth of the Market

Rising terrorist activities, cross border disputes, and political unrest between neighboring countries creates demand for light weapons. Growing military modernization programs and the expansion of defense forces drive the growth of the market. Furthermore, rising defense expenditure and increased spending on research and development will boost the key market. Technological advancements in weapons manufacturing such as laser systems in light cannons increased the range of anti-tank missiles; precision-guided firearms drive the market.


Stringent Regulation Policies and Licensing Procedure Hampers the Market Growth

Increasing mass shooting incidents in most of the countries leads to stringent law formulation from governments for gun possession. In 2019, 417 mass shooting incidents in the U.S. caused injuries to thousands of people. Thus, the United States supreme court has imposed stringent rules on the possession of weapons and bans concealed guns. Similarly, other countries such as Australia, Israel, Canada imposed stringent regulation policies and complex licensing procedures to purchase these weapons for civilians.


By Type Analysis

Adoption of Next Generation Anti-Tank Weapons Due to Changing Nature of Warfare Boosts the Market

Based on type segment, the market for light weapons is segmented into heavy machine guns, recoilless rifles, anti-tank weapons, anti-aircraft missiles, light cannon, MANPAD, MANPAT, infantry mortar, grenades, launchers, landmines. The anti-tank weapons segment is estimated to grow at a significant pace during the forecast period. Changing the nature of warfare and growing defense budgets from various countries drive the growth of the segment. Heavy machine guns, MANPATS, recoilless rifles, grenade launchers come under unguided technology. Grenade launcher segment held major share in 2019. Growing defense contracts and military modernization programs from military forces propel the growth of the segment.

Anti-aircraft missiles and light cannons will exhibit significant growth owing to the introduction of laser technology in the development of these weapons. Rising expenditure in research and development and expansion of military forces, especially in developing countries drive the growth of the market.

By Guidance Analysis  

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Guided Segment is Anticipated to Grow at Faster Pace during 2020-2027

Based on guidance, the market for light weapons is classified as guided and unguided. Weapons such as MANPADS, light anti-tank weapons, rocket systems, anti-tank missiles, and others come under guided technology. Unguided technology products include heavy machine guns, grenade launchers, light cannons, recoilless rifles, and others. The guided segment held the largest share of the market during the forecast period. The dominance is due to the increasing demand for guided weapons because of its accuracy and longer-range target hits. The unguided segment is projected to show significant growth during the forecast period due to the increasing demand for heavy machine guns and grenade launchers for military applications.

By Application Analysis

Growing Demand from Defense Forces is Propelling the Light Weapons Industry Growth

Based on the application, the market for light weapons is segmented into defense and homeland security. The defense segment held the largest light weapons market share and is predicted to grow at the highest CAGR from 2020 to 2027. The growth is attributed due to the growing expenditure in the defense industry across the globe. Weapons are used by armed forces, naval forces, and air force. Growing military modernization programs and rising defense budgets from most of the countries are driving the growth of the market. Homeland security segments showcase significant growth owing to increasing terrorism worldwide, civilian conflicts, and rising crime rates.


North America Light Weapons Market Size, 2019 (USD Billion)

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The market size in North America stood at USD 5.67 billion in 2019. The dominance of this region is attributable to the highest defense budget of the U.S. and growing military forces in Canada. The presence of key OEMs such as General Dynamics Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, and Raytheon Technologies Corporation drives the market in North America.

Asia Pacific registers a remarkable growth in the market due to growing defense expenditure from emerging economies such as India and South Asia countries. Out of the total defense budget in the year 2020-2021, the Indian government spends USD 18.52 billion for weapons purchases. Military modernization programs and the expansion of defense forces due to cross-border conflicts, and ongoing clashes between India and China propels the growth of the market across Asia Pacific.

Europe is expected to exhibit significant growth during the forecast period owing to the expanding defense sector in countries such as Russia, the U.K, Germany, and others. In addition to this, the presence of key players such as Saab AB, Rheinmetall AG, Heckler & Koch GmbH, Thales Group, and others boosts the growth of the market across the region.

The Middle East and Africa is anticipated to show healthy growth owing to rising defense budget from Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Turkey. The adoption of advanced weapons and the strengthening of military forces drive the growth of the market in the Middle East. The rest of the world registers significant growth during the forecast period. This growth is attributed to increased spending on the procurement of advanced weapons.


Introduction of Laser Technology in Cannons and Development of Precision Guided Weapons are Propelling the Market Growth

The introduction of laser technology for the development of guided weapons is the upcoming trends in the market. Lockheed Martin Corporation developed the latest version of HELLFIRE II air-to-ground missiles, AGM-114R HELLFIRE II Romeo. Furthermore, Eurospike, a joint venture between Diehl BGT Defense and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Rheinmetall Defense developed Spike family fourth generation anti-tank missiles.

Additionally, key players are focusing on the development of weapons with higher accuracy, improved material, increased lethality, and reliability. A diversified product portfolio of firearms, along with innovative research technology adopted by key players, is the major factor to drive the market.


  • ARSENAL (Bulgaria)

  • BAE Systems (The U.K)

  • FN HERSTAL (Belgium)

  • General Dynamics Corporation (The U.S.)

  • Heckler & Koch GmbH (Germany)

  • Lockheed Martin Corporation (The U.S.)

  • Northrop Grumman Corporation (The U.S.)

  • Raytheon Technologies Corporation (The U.S.)

  • Rheinmetall AG (Germany)

  • Saab AB (Sweden)

  • Thales Group (France)


  • In January 2021, Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) signed a contract with the Indian Navy to supply light amplification by stimulating emission of laser dazzlers for the Indian Navy. Under the contract, the company will supply 20 laser dazzlers to the Navy.

  • In September 2020, Lockheed Martin Corporation signed a contract worth USD 183 million with the U.S. Army to develop mobile rocket launcher systems for the U.S. Marine Corps and an international customer. The company will manufacture 28 high mobility artillery rocket system launchers for the U.S. Marine Corps.

  • In August 2020, The Indian Ministry of Defense signed a contract worth Rs 2,580 crores with Tata Power Company Ltd (TPCL) and Larsen & Toubro (L&T) to procure Pinaka rocket launchers. It will enhance the operational preparedness of the armed forces.


An Infographic Representation of Light Weapons Market

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The light weapons market research report provides an in-depth technical analysis of the market and majorly focusing on key aspects such as leading market players, COVID-19 effect on the market, product systems, and leading technological trends, research ideology of the product. Besides this, the report offers insights into the market trends and highlights key industry developments. In addition to the aforementioned factors, the report provides multiple factors that will contribute to the growth of the market during the forecast period.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



  Value (USD Billion)


By Type

  • Heavy Machine Guns

  • Light Cannon

  • Recoilless Rifles


  • Grenades

  • 9=’MANPAT

  • Infantry Mortar

  • Anti-tank missiles

  • Anti-tank weapons

  • Launchers

  • Landmines

By Guidance

  • Guided

  • Unguided

By Application

  • Defense

  • Homeland Security

By Geography

  • North America (The U.S. and Canada)

  • Europe (The U.K., Germany, France, Russia, and Rest of Europe)

  • Asia-Pacific (Japan, China, India, Australia, and Rest of Asia- Pacific)

  • The Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, and rest of the Middle East)

  • Rest of the World (Latin America and Africa)

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 12.61 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 17.33 billion by 2027.

In 2019, the market value stood at USD 5.57 billion.

Growing at a CAGR of 4.67%, the market will exhibit steady growth in the forecast period (2020-2027).

The defense segment is expected to be the leading segment in this market during the forecast period.

Low cost and wide availability of weapons are propelling the growth of the market.

General Dynamics Corporation, BAE Systems, Heckler & Koch GmbH, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Thales Group, and others are major players of the global market.

North America dominated the market share in 2019.

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