3D-Printed Guns Get Better

Flickr user perpetualplum (CC)

As both gun nuts and control nuts violently yell at each other in Washington DC and in the mainstream media, the very-real gradient of rational opinion-holders debate reasonable alternatives. Bans notwithstanding, as low as 6% oppose simple background checks. Inventors are talking about the feasibility of smart gun technology. There’s been talk for ages of numbering bullet casings. Most importantly, we’re actually starting to reevaluate our archaic mental health infrastructure and attitudes toward the nature of killers and perpetrators of gun violence. Plenty of intelligent minds are reminding us that, as with terrorism, your odds of getting gunned down are still pretty low. But best of all, we’re looking at the societal problems on the whole, and smaller DIY solutions.

The rational people, I mean.

There are still those who see any move to regulate any aspect of guns as total despotism. And there are those who think that big, bad (um… inanimate) guns are lurking around every corner, waiting to strike. There are those on both sides who want to cherry-pick the stats for their argument. So much of it may be moot in the near future.

A self-proclaimed ‘crypto-anarchist’ (like Chupacabras?) Cody Wilson and his nonprofit organization, Defense Distributedreleased a video this week showing a 3D-printed gun firing off over 600 rounds, without the breakages that were problematic with earlier attempts. And I could be wrong, but he doesn’t seem like an extremist to me. Wilson and his group merely want to ‘disintermediate’ the state (and presumably, big gun manufacturers and the NRA) from the process. It’s sort of a consumer’s rights stance in the same way that Bitcoin is circumventing the financial sector.

Via Ars Technica:

Last year, his group famously demonstrated that it could use a 3D-printed “lower” for an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle—but the gun failed after six rounds. Now, after some re-tooling, Defense Distributed has shown that it has fixed the design flaws and a gun using its lower can seemingly fire for quite a while. (The AR-15 is the civilian version of the military M16 rifle.)

The lower, or “lower receiver” part of a firearm, is the crucial part that contains all of the gun’s operating parts, including the trigger group and the magazine port. (Under American law, the lower is what’s defined as the firearm itself.) The AR is designed to be modular, meaning it can receive different types of “uppers” (barrels) as well as different-sized magazines.

“This is the first publicly printed AR lower demonstrated to withstand a large volume of .223 without structural degradation or failure,” Wilson wrote on Wednesday. “The actual count was 660+ on day 1 with the SLA lower. The test ended when we ran out of ammunition, but this lower could easily withstand 1,000 rounds.”

Already, he says, over 10,000 people have downloaded the lower CAD file, and more have downloaded it through BitTorrent.

The group’s entire set of design files are freely available on DEFCAD, (with Glocks, AKs, and various magazine sizes) and their message is: “download this gun.” Which would make attempts to criminalize or ban any certain rifle or magazine pretty silly. Currently, the ATF has no restrictions on an individual manufacturing a firearm for personal use, so long as they are not operating a business without a license. So whether you are a homeowner, hobbyist, collector, range shooter, hunter, or even domestic terrorist, acquiring the guns and parts shouldn’t present a problem in the foreseeable future.

When my survivalist friend espoused the need to have fully automatic weapons because the government has them, I asked if he needed the right to bear nuclear arms, drones, ICBMs, chemical gasses and weaponized smallpox. Ideologically cornered, he answered ‘yes.’ But most of these ‘rhetorical escalation’ arguments on either side just aren’t relevant to a world of self-guided bullets and home-kit bio-hacking. When every body in the world (with the minimum technical requirements and resources) can build surveillance drones, assault rifles, and artificially-engineered SARs, good luck regulating that.

Read the entire article at Ars.

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7 Responses to 3D-Printed Guns Get Better

  1. InfvoCuernos April 9, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

    Did I miss that news bulletin about the home made SARS? Jeez, I’m never going to get a good night’s sleep.

    • Breshvic April 9, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

      I’ve got a google alert. It hasn’t rang yet. I’ll keep everyone posted.

  2. landydavis April 9, 2013 at 6:59 pm #

    fearfearfearfearfearfearfear……600, 10000, 7 billion rounds or a world without any firearms won’t kill it. no difference ever in these “sides.”

  3. BuzzCoastin April 9, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

    Blessed are the meek
    for they shall inherit the Earth
    after the weapons freaks finally kill themselves off

    • mannyfurious April 10, 2013 at 12:38 pm #

      Shh. We don’t talk like that here on disinfo.

  4. kowalityjesus April 10, 2013 at 2:49 am #

    It would make more sense to have anti-vehicle weapons rather than extremely capable anti-personnel weapons in the event of some kind of hostile takeover.

    • I_abide April 10, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

      I can’t find a big enough 3-d printer to print my recoil-less rifle designs.

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