The 10 Countries with the Most Guns in Private Hands

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This is from OutDoorHub.

I was surprised by some of the countries on the list.


Somebody should probably tell this man about trigger discipline. Image from Yann on the Wikimedia Commons

Every wonder which countries have the most firepower in private hands? This article lists off those nations. Unlike most lists that cover this subject, ours will be based on total amount of privately-owned firearms rather than guns per capita.

Data is taken from Small Arms Survey.

Honorable mentions that didn’t make the top 10 include Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Serbia, and Finland.

10. Canada

  • Estimated private firearms: 9,950,000
  • 31 guns per 100 residents

We expected Canada to be a lot higher on this list but the True North barely squeezed by into the top 10. Canada does have a long and rich history of gun ownership, and experts say that more and more young people are getting involved in shooting sports. However, a lengthy and complicated process to purchase firearms dissuades many from buying their own.

Check out our list of guns that are available in Canada but not the United States here.

9. Thailand

  • Estimated private firearms: 10,000,000
  • 16 guns per 100 residents

On a single road in Bangkok, over 80 gun shops fight and jostle for customers to enter their shops or check their stalls. This is indicative of the reverent gun culture in Thailand—one that is a match for the United States. Actually purchasing a firearm is still a long and demanding process, but that does not stop residents from being armed. Firearms are much more expensive in Thailand than in the States, and the same brand-name guns that are widely available elsewhere can cost up to five times higher in the Asian nation. This is due to the fact that there are few gun manufacturers in Thailand and most weapons are imported. Most of the guns there are American or Chinese-made.

“Consumers for firearms in Thailand are mostly middle to upper class,” Firearms Association of Thailand’s Polpatr Tanomsup told CNN. “They want better quality, because if they imported China-made guns, it would not be much cheaper than American-made firearms, and the quality for American is much higher. It is collectible, easy to sell, easy to buy, easy to get parts.”

8. Yemen

  • Estimated private firearms: 11,500,000
  • 55 guns per 100 residents

If there is a country that can outmatch the United States in gun ownership, it might be Yemen. It is nearly mandatory for residents to own at least one firearm, and almost wherever you go, you will find guns up for grab. Uncertain about their future, the people of Yemen rely on their trusty firearms for protection.

“In Yemen, no matter if you’re rich or poor, you must have guns. Even if it’s just one piece,” Abdul Wahab al-Ammari, a tribal sheikh from Yemen’s Ibb province, told The Atlantic. “I have maybe 14 high powered weapons, and 3 handguns [at home].”

7. Brazil

  • Estimated private firearms: 14,840,000
  • 8 guns per 100 residents

Unlike Yemen, one of the world’s poorest nations, Brazil is a rising star on the global stage. Like most of the nations on this list, gun ownership is not a legal right in Brazil. Residents have to be at least 25 years old to apply for a ownership permit, which must be renewed every three years, and actual carry permits are hard to obtain. Despite these hurdles, gun ownership remains popular in Brazil and being home to notable manufacturers like Taurus makes the country the second-largest gun-producing nation in the Western Hemisphere.

6. Mexico

  • Estimated private firearms: 15,500,000
  • 15 guns per 100 residents

Previously, Mexico’s constitution guaranteed the right to bear arms. The current version limits that right to only keeping arms, and in practice, gun ownership is heavily restricted. In some of Mexico’s more dangerous areas, security forces are spread thin and residents are called upon to defend themselves with their own firearms.

5. Pakistan

  • Estimated private firearms: 18,000,000
  • 12 guns per 100 residents

Home of the notorious Khyber Pass and its gun “industry,” it comes as no surprise that Pakistan made it onto this list. Amateur and experienced gunsmiths alike work in the Khyber Pass region, producing unlicensed and, in many cases, homemade-quality firearms from materials like railway rails and scrap metal.

4. Germany

  • Estimated private firearms: 25,000,000
  • 30 guns per 100 residents

Whether it’s for hunting wild boar or sport shooting, guns are very popular in Germany. Commonplace though they might be, Germany has severe restrictions on what kind of guns one can buy, and applicants for gun ownership must prove a need before being issued a permit. Self-defense isn’t necessarily an accepted reason. Nonetheless, German gun owners say that such regulations are expected.

“On the one hand, we think, ‘Oh, it’s very restrictive, and we don’t like that,’” sport shooter Friedrich Gepperth told NPR. “On the other hand, each case of misuse by a legal gun owner is very bad for us, so we are not going against the restrictions very much.”

3. China

  • Estimated private firearms: 40,000,000
  • 5 guns per 100 residents

Surprised to see this country on the list? Despite having some of the strictest gun laws in the world—a blanket ban on private firearm ownership—gun culture seems to be taking hold. How is this possible? With a multitude of shooting and hunting clubs, guns are once again finding their place back into Chinese hands. According to some, it’s hard not to romanticize firearms due to their popularity in film and television.

“In the 1960s, shooting was for national defense,” Xie Xianqiao, a former shooting coach, told The Wall Street Journal. “These days, shooting is entertainment.”

That said, private ownership without the proper permits can still lead to a hefty fine and lengthy prison sentence. Crimes committed with a firearm often receive the death penalty.

2. India

  • Estimated private firearms: 45,000,000
  • 5 guns per 100 residents

Guns in the world’s most populous democracy are both protection and a status symbol. Proper firearms are expensive—enough to be included in dowries—and a single 1911 pistol can sell for several times its asking US price. Domestically-produced guns are available, but lack the reliability and style of foreign-made firearms. Concern over sexual attacks have also led to guns becoming more popular among women—as well as fathers.

Bank manager Jagdeep Singh says he keeps a pistol on his hip to fight off bandits during long car rides, but it also gives him safety of mind when he’s home.

“I have two good-looking daughters,” he told The Los Angeles Times, “another reason I keep a gun.”

1. United States of America

  • Estimated private firearms: 270,000,000
  • 89 guns per 100 residents

Was there ever really any doubt that we’d be number one on this list? The United States of America is by far the best country in the world to be in if you want to own guns. The constitutional right to keep and bear arms (where it isn’t infringed upon by local law), combined with large popular support for gun ownership and easy availability, make the United States a gun collector’s dream.


A Look At The War in the Pacific

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This is from History In Orbit.

Some pictures from The Pacific War you may or may not have seen these before.

Some of the largest atrocities in world history took place within Europe during World War II. However, the Mediterranean theater wasn’t the only battleground. On the other side of the world, another war was being fought against an entirely different enemy. The Pacific War began with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941, and ran until the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of 1945. Among the countries involved, there were a total of 6 million military deaths and a staggering 26 million civilian deaths.

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Notice this tiny boat attempting to rescue a fallen crew member of the USS West Virginia during the Pearl Harbor bombing. The Japanese surprise attack led to the death of 2,403 American citizens, and crippled 8 American battleships. Prior to the attack, The America First Committee was in solid opposition to intervening in the war. But on the following day, the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and the Netherlands, declared war on the nation of Japan. Thus, the theater began.

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At the time of the Pearl Harbor sneak attack, there were 96 ships anchored to the shore. During the conflict, 18 were either sunken or irreversibly damaged.

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Four days after the American declaration of war, Germany and Italy declared war against the United States. Suddenly, America went from being completely not involved, to suddenly becoming a part of two wars on opposite sides of the globe. The Allied forces appointed a British General, Sir Archibald Wavell to command forces in Southeast Asia, while General Douglas MacArthur took charge of the Southwest.

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During the course of the war, Japanese forces launched 9,000 “balloon weapons” which were comprised of paper and rubberized-silk balloons. These contained small bombs (anti-personnel), that traveled by air to the U.S. Over 1,000 found their targets as some reached all the way to Michigan. The only victims were a family of six who were outside having a picnic in Oregon. Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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One state which assisted Japan was the authoritarian leadership of Thailand. However, they soon realized the Japan was simply blackmailing them and trying to procure their territory. With this in mind, the U.S.has never declared Thailand an enemy.

The logic being they were “forced” into certain actions due to Japanese pressure.

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Japan, being a relatively small country, had to enlist the help of many soldiers from its colonies of Korea and Taiwan. In some cases, the Indian Burmese National Armies helped them out. They could have used more support from Italy and Germany, but both nations were busy in Europe. Only a small handful of Italian or German naval vessels ever found Pacific waters.


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By late 1941, a major threat to the Allied forces had become the country of Australia. The Japanese had moved quickly into the Australian Territory of New Guinea, and most analysts saw Australia as the next stop. Fueling the fire for Japan was the fact that Australia had the vast majority of their forces stationed in the Mediterranean region, giving them less support in the Pacific.

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Under the direction of President Roosevelt and General Douglas MacArthur, the U.S. developed a plan to protect Australia from the Japanese hassle. MacArthur transitioned from his current post in Philippines, down to Sydney. American forces stocked the shores of Australia, anticipating a Japanese raid at some point. In May of 1942, the enemy invaded, but was met by forces almost immediately, before any Allied ships could be destructed. Japan was still making headway elsewhere…

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By the middle of 1942, the Japanese were controlling a huge portion of the Pacific, spanning from the Indian Ocean all the way east to the Central Pacific. The next stop appeared to be Port Moresby, on the island of Papua New Guinea. The resulting Battle of the Coral Sea was fought during May of 1942, in which the Japanese forces incurred extensive damage.

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The picture above is from the assault on Gilbert Islands, in which American soldiers emerged from the coral waters of Yellow Beach. In contrast, the aforementioned Battle of the Coral Sea was fought solely by air. Thankfully, the Allied forces came out ahead, and Japan lacked the firepower to make a realistic play for Australia.

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During all of the turmoil happening in the southern Pacific, many soldiers were stationed in Alaska. Here’s a picture from the inside of a bomber crew shack on Adak Island, where soldiers have covered the walls in pin-up girl “art.”

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At the conclusion of the Battle of the Coral Sea, Japanese forces were down to 4 fleet carriers in operation, making the Battle of Midway problematic. In its aftermath, military historians have referred to the conflict as the most decisive blow in the history of naval warfare.

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Most consider Midway the turning point in the Pacific War, as all 4 of Japan’s large aircraft carriers were destroyed, leaving them without the resources necessary to continue a strong attack. Additionally, the U.S. had successfully broken their main naval code, helping to get a jump on Japan’s points of attack.

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Despite the major losses in Midway, Japan headed for New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, in hopes to recapture lost momentum. Allied forces, primarily the Second Australian Imperial Force which had just returned from service in the Mediterranean Sea, fought back and squashed Japan’s efforts.

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This image, taken in July of 1944, shows U.S. Marines in full retreat after blowing up a Japanese foxhole on the island of Saipan. At the time, it was crucial for Japan to hold onto this island, but it was nearly impossible given the tremendous size of the American defense. The U.S. Fifth Fleet had 15 fleet carriers, nearly 1,000 aircraft, and nearly 100 other battleships and submarines.

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The sky lit up and flakes filled the air as American antiaircraft missiles were launched. Even though the U.S. suffered a loss of 130 planes and 76 men during the ordeal, Japan’s losses nearly quadrupled that total, losing 450 planes and 445 aircrew. In other words, the Japanese Navy was effectively torn to shreds.


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