The process of disarmament, demobilization, reinsertion and reintegration (DDRR) of former combatants plays a critical role in transitions from war to peace. The success or failure of this endeavour directly affects the long-term peacebuilding prospects for any post-conflict society. The exploration of the closely interwoven relationship between peacebuilding and the DDRR process also provides a theoretical framework for this article, which aims to present an assessment of various disarmament, demobilization and reinsertion (DDR) programmes planned or implemented in a number of countries over the last two decades. The assessment is conducted by focusing on three specific DDR issues: disarmament as a social contract; demobilization without cantonment; and the relevance of financial reinsertion assistance. The majority of these initiatives adopted a ‘guns–camps–cash’ approach that seems to provide only a limited perspective for dealing with a wide range of complex issues related to the DDR process. Therefore, the article questions whether there is a need for a more comprehensive consideration of disarmament by acknowledging and responding to its social, economic and political implications. In conjunction with the above-mentioned consideration, disarmament in terms of a social contract is proposed as an alternative to the current military-centred approach. Experience also indicates a tendency towards the inclusion of cantonment in the demobilization phase, regardless of whether it actually can have some negative impacts on the DDRR process in general. Subsequently, the article questions such implications and possible approaches to demobilization without cantonment. Finally, the article focuses on the effectiveness of cash payments during reinsertion as an easier alternative to the provision of other material assistance, since this tends to be the most controversial aspect of the reinsertion phase.