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UID Marking for Small Arms and Ammunition

Fiber Laser Can Aid in Meeting Government Mandates


Small Arms MarkingIdentification and tracking of small arms and ammunition are certainly not new ideas. However, recently issued Department of Defense directives mandating unique identification (UID) marks and an international initiative to standardize marking, record keeping and tracing of small arms and light weapons, have those in the industry reevaluating existing processes and procedures for marking equipment.


The overarching goal of all of these directives is to make small arms, light weapons and ammunition easily traceable to decrease illicit arms trafficking and aid in the investigation of criminal and terrorist activities.


Small Arms MarkingThe United Nations broadly defines  “small arms" as weapons designed for individual use such as revolvers and self-loading pistols, rifles and carbines, sub-machine guns, assault rifles and light machines guns, and "light weapons” as those designed for use by two or three persons although some may be carried and used by a single person (A/CONF.192/15).


Standardization of marking and tracing on an international level will require a significant level of collaboration between countries. As a starting point, the UN directives state each mark should contain:


1.      Name of manufacturer

2.      Country of origin

3.      Serial number or other alternative unique identifying code


The inclusion of additional information such as the year of manufacture, weapon type/model and caliber are also encouraged.


Small Arms MarkingUN directives make the choice of method for marking a national prerogative but specify the marking must be conspicuous, recognizable, legible, durable and recoverable.  Many in the industry are discovering laser marking is the perfect solution for creating marks that are legible, durable and non-alterable or removable.


Laser Photonics (LPC) has been assisting clients in successfully complying with UID directives through the use of “off the shelf” laser systems for marking small arms, as well as custom built systems.  LPC fiber laser marking systems boast no consumables and are virtually maintenance-free.  Systems include FiberScan C3, user friendly software developed by Laser Photonics, and optional extended warranties are available.  Contact Laser Photonics to request more information about marking systems and UID requirements or to learn more about special offers.