Basically, a yard sale for helicopter gunships, tanks, artillery, large quantities of automatic weapons, and other useful tools for starting and finishing small wars.
Coming in two forms:
- Legal: Organised by a government or big corporation and taking place in a conference centre. Attracts protestors.
- Illegal: By a crime gang or terrorist group, located in some field somewhere. Attracts police and military.
While it has obviously occurred in fiction, having a Hood Ornament Hottie in skimpy camo holding a large machine gun sounds too much like self-parody for any real company to actually do it, regardless of what occurs at E3.
- Steamboy is set at a grand exhibition in Victorian London of the Empire's best science and technology, with an emphasis on its philanthropic benefits for mankind. However, arms manufacturers inevitably set up shop as well, and the O'Hara Foundation intends to use Steam Castle as a giant advertisement to foreign governments for its advanced armaments.
- A short for Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Astray shows Lowe and the gang at a fair on Earth and getting in trouble after he buys the head of a BuCue containing sensitive military information.
- The first The Punisher Summer Special opens with Frank visiting one, and coincidentally meeting an old Vietnam War acquaitance there. Said acquaitance turns out to be a villain of the story.
- In Robin Ulysses Armstrong, otherwise known as "the General", first meets Ali Ben Khadir, the young leader of a country bordering Qurac, at an arms fair. The two become friends and Ali gives Armstrong some influence on his military, until he realizes just how violent and blood thirsty his new friend is.
- Black Hawk Down features extensive sequences showing off that the entire city Mogadishu qualifies as an arms fair, despite being under the control of a ruthless warlord who will kill people trying to get the food supplies sent by various aid groups.
- In The Teaser of Tomorrow Never Dies, James Bond must infiltrate an arms fair to confirm its location and is observing the event. Over the objections of M, who wants Bond to finish his recon, British and Russian generals order a Tomahawk missile to destroy the equipment. As the missile is launched, Bond discovers an L-39 Albatros with nuclear torpedoes on board.
- Which wouldn't have gone nuclear in the case of being hit by cruise missiles anyway. Since you need a very specific trigger and critical mass to arm and detonate a nuclear device, all it would have done was splash some nuclear material round. Not the best outcome (and certainly an outcome that would have produced unacceptable collateral damage and political fallout), but not a Chernobyl-level event, either.
- Lord of War has had several all illegal. And with Russian militarythemed women dancing on tanks. The one with the Russian militarythemed women was implied to be legit, or as legit as you can get with an arms sale held by corrupt elements of the post-Soviet military hosted by a laissez-faire Middle Eastern state.
- The plot of Deal of the Century revolves around one.
- Babylon A.D. opens with Vin Diesel striding through a rain-drenched arms market in Eastern Europe to complain about a pistol he bought for only $20 that misfired on him.
- One appears in Street Fighter being run by M. Bison. Chun-Li ends up rigging a truck full of explosives to crash into the main tent, but Bison and everyone else manage to escape.
- An example of the second variant exaggerated for comic effect in Spike Milligan's Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall "memoirs":
Any Sunday, down Petticoat Lane, you could find some of the lads selling lorries, jerrycans, bullets, webbing. Git your luverly Anti-Aircraft Guns ere. It got so that Military Depots were shopping there for supplies. Often London-based regiments sent their Quarter Blokes out for a gross of three-inch Mortars and a dozen bananas. It was common knowledge that Caledonian Road Market was a German supply depot. The true story behind Hess: he flew here for cut-price black-market underwear for the S.S., but on arrival he chickened out when Churchill told him the price, unconditional surrender.
- In An Instinct for War, At the Fair is set in one of the Association of the U.S. Army's trade shows.
- The Eighth Doctor Adventures novel Interference, is partly set at an arms fair where Sarah Jane Smith is undercover writing an expose.
- DSEi, held every year in London.
- Similarly, small gun shows held in various places all over America.
- The Gun Markets of Pakistan from Vice TV
- After the collapse of the Soviet Union, just about anything military was up for sale from KGB badges to mothballed fighter planes.
- The annual Las Vegas SHOT show, probably the most publicized convention for high tech, brand new, and just plain interesting weaponry. It's not open to the public and it is difficult to get an invite: you must either be part of the gun industry, be an important member of an organization that is heavily tied to the gun industry (such as the NRA or other outdoors companies), or be part of a prominent Youtube channel that focuses on firearms with a lot of subscribers.
- The gun markets in the Bakaara Market in Somalia during the civil war there. Gained infamy for being the place where you could buy an assault rifle for less than fifty dollars.