Registration of acoustic emission (AE) events during tensile loading of fiber-reinforced composites allows the damage caused by these events to be defined and monitored, including damage initiation and progression thresholds. It also provides frequency-based recognition of different types of damage and comparison of its intensity in materials with different reinforcement architectures. The paper reports results of AE registration for 3D non-crimp orthogonal woven (3DNCOW) carbon/epoxy composites. The observed repeatability and spatial distribution of AE events confirm that damage initiation and development are uniform over the tensile sample. The damage characterization by AE is compared with the morphology of damage observed on the specimen cross-sections at characteristic stages of the damage development. The main parameter distinguishing damage mode obtained from the AE registration is the AE energy. It has however been found that the peak frequency of the AE events does not correlate directly with the sequence of the observed damage modes. AE events of high peak frequency, assumed to be related to fiber fracture, suggest that it starts at a later stage than predicted by the Weibull statistics of fiber strength.