Second Amendment

Complete 3D-Printed Handgun Just Weeks Away, Says Cody Wilson


Reason 24/7

If you think 3D printers have given would-be gun controllers the vapors already, just wait until you hear the latest from Cody Wilson, the head honcho of Defense Distributed. He told reporters at the Inside 3D Printing Conference in New York City that the group's latest project — a gun made entirely with 3D-printed parts (except for a metal firing pin) — is just weeks away from success. If Wilson and company can deliver on the promise, it would be an important step beyond their already impressive accomplishments in producing functioning AR-15 lower receivers and "high-capacity" magazines for AR-15s and AK-style rifles. It would also be an unmistakable message to government officials that gun control laws are becoming ever-more unenforceable.

From Mashable:

For Cody Wilson, the world's most notorious 3D printing gunsmith, it all started with a simple question: "Can you use a 3D printer to print a gun?" The answer to that question might come sooner than anybody expected, as Wilson says he will 3D-print an entire handgun in just a couple of weeks.

If Wilson does print an entire handgun, he will reach a milestone that many thought couldn't be reached so soon. And he will also throw a monkey wrench into not only the broader gun control debate, but also into recent legislative efforts to limit the use of 3D printers to make weapons.

Yesterday, the controversial founder and director of Defense Distributed, a non-profit that he launched to explore the possibility of manufacturing weapons with 3D printers, was in Manhattan to talk at the Inside 3D Printing Conference. After a panel on how copyright affects the 3D printing industry, he confirmed to Mashable what he had already hinted at before: that what was once unthinkable — a gun entirely made of 3D-printed parts — is actually right around the corner.

Will it work? Wilson thinks it will, and it won't be just a one-shot wonder it will be able to fire a few shots before melting or breaking.

Some critics of Defense Distributed's efforts have pointed to the limitations of the materials used by all but the highest-end 3D printers as imposing barriers to creating a full firearm, at least at the current state of technology. But CNet separately reports Wilson's claim that "he and others successfully fired 11 rounds through a 3D-printed gun barrel not long ago." The trick seems to be that Defense Distributed is creating an all-new design around the material (ABS plastic) rather than trying to print parts for an existing firearm design.

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  1. This isn’t “weeks away” the same way Iran has been “six months from a nuclear weapon” for the past five years, is it? Time for sanctions!

    1. All I know is I now must save 2k to buy a 3d printer…DO WANT!!!

      Kind of like justifying a Lambo but a little cheaper.

      1. A lot more useful than a Lambo too.

        1. I’d rather have a Ferrari

          1. You SURE about that?

            1. I would be. Ridiculous tacky cars. Ferraris, at least all of them but the ones they made in the 80s and 90s, are just classic beauties.

              1. Ferarri all the way. Gimme a 1978 308 GTS. Just like Robin Masters had.

                1. 63 250 GT Lusso like Steve McQueen had, only in a better color. classic red.

          2. Bugatti, me. The Veyron gives me goosebumps.

          3. Nissan Z. To replace my Nissan Versa.

            1. 2006 250Z

              1. oops, 2006 350Z.

              1. SKYLine…my local Nissan had a 2012 for 92k…drool.

              2. When I win the Lottery

            2. Nissan Figaro. 2nd choice, Datsun 2000.

              1. 1999 Mitsubishi GT 3000 VR4

                1. my 1989 Mustang GT would regularly whip the shit out of those.

                  1. The GT 3000 or the GT 3000 VR4?

                    1. VR4s…they were my second favorite to smoke cause their owners thought they had power but were wrong. GT3000s never even tried.

                    2. My absolute favorite were the LT1 Cameros but hey I am a Mustang guy so…

          1. Fuck Government Motors.

            1. second

      2. $2k. Sheesh. I remember when you paid that for a daisy-wheel B&W printer. Getting old.

    2. I’m concerned that Iran will begin 3D printing pressure cookers.

      1. I’ve already moved on to 3-D designs with variable thickness walls like scribing a pipe. Just to prove that homegrown ‘Murcans can do better than lazy immigrants!

    3. Well, since it’s not war mongering politicians making the statement, I wouldn’t necessarily draw a correlation there.

    4. “Days…not weeks…”

    5. Scientists pedict they are only 10 years away from 3D printing a fusion reactor.

      1. That’s really going to piss off the greenies.

        Cheap efficient long lasting energy supply that doesn’t pollute?

        Yep, greenies will freak out.

        1. Maybe their new cause would be that we are going to rape Mother Luna for Helium 3.

        2. I was referring to the frequent joke about how we’ve been perpetually “10 years away from a fusion reactor” for more than 50 years now.

    6. If you think Sylvia`s story is unbelievable…, three weeks ago my moms boyfriend brought home $8899 working a 20 hour week at home and their roomate’s step-aunt`s neighbour did this for six months and easily made over $8899 part-time at there pc. apply the tips at this website…

  2. Printing presses can be banned.

    1. Why I don’t trust my own cohorts in the tech world, Slashdot included:

      As the race ? and it’s basically a race ? to release as many 3D-printed gun parts as possible heats up, it’s never been harder for me to come down on the side of the “Freedom To Tinker” crowd.…..egislated/

      1. Slashdotters are statist whiners.

        1. Ok, techie nerds that don’t like folks who want to tinker?

          WTF sort of an extremely paradoxical existence are these people living?

          Do they all own MacBooks and refuse to ever download anything that is not sold through the Apple Store?

          1. They are the ultimate in “tinkering for me but not for thee” crowd.

            1. Hacker News is a better site and has a strong libertarian streak.

              1. I should clarify:
                This Hacker News

                1. Thanks for this link. Do we all get on the terrorist watch list for going there?

                  Oh, never mind, I forgot, we’re all on there already for being here.

                  1. “hacker” in the benevolent sense…anyone who uses creativity and technology to solve problems types…hack your life, hack your email inbox, hack your marriage type people. That site is Paul Grahm’s, of ycombinator, and attracts super techies with real brains and real genius. It is a start-up haven.

                    Not hacker as in “the Trinity who hacked the IRS Dbase?” (*barf*).

                    (disclaimer: they did actually use NMAP, and correctly i might add, in the Matrix 2 so I can’t bitch too much)

          2. No, I mean they are like most liberals. The rules don’t need to be there for them. It is the other people who need a boot on their neck. Until one of their own tribe gets caught by the net like Aaron Schwartz. Then you see a lot of hand-wringing “how could this happen to one of ours” posts.

            1. Then you see a lot of hand-wringing “how could this happen to one of ours” posts.

              And then they slap a Biden 2016 sticker on their car.

            2. Read the “RISKS Digest” for this kind of thinking.

          3. Young techies are drawn to hyper-regulators like Obama because… they know who Jay Z is… or something. Because of that, they’re able to straddle a world which is driven by pure garage-based innovation, and a world of centralized, top-down regulatory thinking.

            1. Those worlds are about to come into a head on collision.

        2. About 50% of Slashdotters are statist whiners, some (but not all) from continental Europe. These are the real Quislings, people who love technology, are capable, and want to work for The State to make Star Trek a reality as soon as possible.

          Then you get about 25% who are real old-school hackers who are some blend of anarchist/libertarian/nihilist. They’ve got an inherent dislike and distrust of authority and regulation, but they’re usually a little soft on the personal property aspect. These guys are the ones who will usually pop up with anti-government posts, especially when it comes to any IT-related stuff. And they HATE copyright.

          The remainder are sort of just apolitical tech enthusiasts. They’re generally what you might call “center left” and mostly just want to be able to download stuff on their iPad or do weird stuff with Raspberry Pi’s without being bothered.

          1. and want to work for The State to make Star Trek a reality as soon as possible

            Right… the same State that kept us in low orbit for 40 years and who are now doing nothing.

            Instead of deep space, the only thing deep they are going to be dealing with working for the state, is deep regulation and deep bureaucracy.

            1. Life on the Enterprise if you weren’t Captain Kirk or Spock looked duller than the luster on a patato farmer’s shit. They must assume they’ll have the captains job while possessing the charisma and the face of an average slashdot commentator.

              1. That’s pOtato, Dan.

  3. Ban it. For the children. He’s a dangerous anti-government nutjob that needs to be stopped.

  4. OH NOES!

    We have to act fast and ban these evil printers, for the children! 3D printers should be declared weapons of mass destruction! Write that bill and pass it now, so we can find out what’s in it! Or you hate the children!

    /Stoopid Congress Clowns

    1. This seems to be the default setting for archons.

      The more this brain-dead shitty shit continues despite the self-evident consequences of decades of previous interventions, the more apparent it is that the American Revolution was a near miracle.

  5. The big question is: what cartridge? I could see a low pressure, low velocity round like .45ACP working better than a 9mm or .40 S&W, but not for very long.

    Theoretically, a plastic barrel would be made with enough wall thickness to resist the hoop stress of firing a pistol cartridge. The friction of firing the round will strip out any rifling rather quickly.

    1. So print a new one instead of wasting your valuable printing budget on all those “FAIL” posters.

    2. I bet it’s a .22LR

      1. Ohh wait he did say “firing pin” hrmmmmm

      2. The. 22lr travels faster than a .45 ACP and has a max chamber pressure of 30,000 psi vs. 21,000 psi for the .45.

    3. .22 LR would probably be best to start. Low recoil, low chamber pressure, and easy to overbuild, while still being somewhat useful.

      1. Higher chamber pressure than the .45. Lower recoil yes but a polymer sllide could be designed to absorb it.

        1. Not much, and I think the low recoil and lower energy would make it far easier to work with.

          1. Not sure I’d classify 50% higher pressure as “not much.”

            Plus, higher velocity so more friction heating in the barrel.

    4. Um, can’t some of these printers actually print metal parts? Why fuck with plastic?

      1. Metal parts printers are absurdly expensive owing to the need for high power lasers, cooling, and an inert atmosphere. Like $500k. I’ve thought about building one, but it’s a technical challenge.

        1. I was reading something the other day about the various techniques and they were discussing spraying metal powder and getting it to adhere like particles of plastic. Is that the technique you’re talking about?

          I assume they would need heat to get the particles to adhere.

          1. A composite composed of metal particles bonded together by polymer is not going to be anywhere near as strong as actual metal.

            1. I think what FdA is talking about is similar to powder coating. Basically induce an electric charge onto the particles and getting them to stick electrostatically. Interesting idea, but I’d think a dielectric would be needed.

              FdA, link?

              1. Sorry, it was weeks ago and I didn’t save it. It had 5 or 6 different techniques using various materials. It didn’t go into great detail, just kinda gave an overview, and made no mention of costs of each.

            2. But you can use post-processing like sintering.

              1. Then you’re back to laser heating if you want to do it with precision. How power laser heating if you want to do it relatively quickly.

                1. No, it can be done in an oven. The polymer hold stuff together into its form, then essentially burns away as the metal melts.

                  1. Ok. Sorry – I missed that part. It would have to be a furnace, not an oven, as most metals melt at pretty high temperatures. I would think that oxidation will still be an issue. And what happens to all the void space created by those now-burned away polymer particles? How do the engineering properties change with a bunch of pores in the material?

                    1. If you’re gonna go this way, why not just 3D print the inverse of what you want and then cast the metal?

                    2. That’ll work, too.

                      We do that kind of “lost polymer” sinter forming routinely. Get the temperature profile right and you can make a pretty good part. Not as good as a conventional casting, but WAY better than a metal-polymer composite.

      2. Seems like most metal ones are subtractive (like a CNC machine, or a lathe), while 3d printing is additive, and the plastic is a lot easier to work with. Probably don’t want the extruder at the temperature it would need to be to melt various metals. Probably plastic ones are much more available/forgiving.

        I’m just guessing, though.

        1. People do additive 3D printing of metals. It basically involves hitting a fine metal powder with a high powder laser to melt and fuse it in selected spots. So you need a high power laser and an inert atmosphere (to prevent oxidation of the metal at high temperatures).

          I’ve thought about 3D printing with liquid metal. If you wanted to do aluminum, it wouldn’t be that bad. Aluminum melts at pretty low temperatures and you could heat it inductively pretty easily. You’d still want an inert atmosphere, but you get rid of the need for high power lasers.

          1. You’d still want an inert atmosphere

            What? No inadvertant thermite disasters?!

            1. That’s not so much the issue as just a loss of your engineering properties. Aluminum will gladly form aluminum oxide at those temperatures and will thus lose all those metal properties we love so much.

  6. I imagine there’s a high density polymer that weighs enough to sub in for the firing pin. Now for all-nonferrous bullets that wont set off the magnetometers…

    1. A complete round should already be non-ferrous, right?

      Lead Bullet w/Copper Plating
      Brass Case

      Unless the primer cup itself is steel?

      1. Yeah, sorry. I mean, should not set off the metal detector (which I believe is works by measuring the change in a magnetic field), not non-iron containing. I believe some other metals also change magnetic fields as they pass through them, but I’m not 100% on the details.

        1. All metals will change the magnetic field due to induction. You want to get around having your rounds detected, you need to use something which doesn’t conduct electricity.

          1. Could you wrap them in enough insulation material to mediate this?

            1. *This is a purely hypothetical question, NSA monitors. Don’t drone me, bros.

              1. Nope. Metal detection works by having a changing magnetic field. This induces currents in electrically conductive materials, which set up their own magnetic fields. Which of course, would permeate any insulating materials nearby. You could shield these effects one of two ways. First would be to use such a large piece of metal that the induced current (and thus change in magnetic field) is tiny. You probably don’t want giant bullets though. Second would be to put a high permeability magnetic material around the thing to shield the fields. Of course, then you have magnetic materials, which are also detectable.

                Only way to avoid detection in a way that keeps the ammunition small and light is to make it completely out of non-metallic components.

          2. Easy peasy. Caseless ammo with non metallic bullet.

            I don’t think H&K/Dynamit Nobel ever got caseless to work very well, though, did they? Or was the G11 ditched for some other reason?

            1. This is the way to do it. People have worked on it for decades. Supposedly there’s a company out there doing it reproducibly but they’re not at production level and the news reports on it are pretty spare with the details.

            2. Caseless ammo doesn’t fix the problem of needing to do somethi g witg thr waste heat from burning powder. Instead it just expoaes the plastic chamber directly to the most intense heat of the entire firing cycle.

              1. Could have a heat shield.

  7. but but but guns are scary

  8. How the hell will they make the barrel not melt or rapidly wear out?

    1. Who cares if you have to change it out every 3rd magazine?

      1. No one needs more than 3 magazines.

        1. Popular Science, Discovery and The Utne Reader?

          1. Utne’s cheating; it’s a paper mash-up for Christ’s nuts.

            Ever since you started the First World War, I ‘ve viewed you with an ineffable combination of contempt and lust.

      2. Even supposing that the parts are incredibly cheap, how often do you want to have to keep buying replacement parts?

        1. What you mean “buy”? Melt the old barrel down push it through a die and reuse it.

          1. And by reuse I mean print another one out of the old one. Or print something more useful to you at the moment.

  9. This means access to 3d printers will be blackmarket soon

    1. Can a 3D printer be used to print a 3D printer?

      1. Parts. You still need the motors, circuit boards and extruders purchased separately.

      2. Mmmm bootstrapping nano-factories.

      3. Can I print a woman?

        1. Stick to your Fleshlight and don’t be greedy.

          1. I’m getting tired of fuckin’ the Fleshlight.

        2. If you can figure out how to 3D print a fembot, you will be obscenely rich.

      4. Yes, check out

  10. I was just having a discussion with my son last night, about a variety of topics. We got onto a tangent of trivia, and he asked me if I knew what the number 1 3D printed item is in American today?

    I don’t know where the source of his info came from, so maybe is accurate or not. I right off guessed, high capacity magazine for a firearm?

    I was wrong, according to his source.

    Anyone care to guess?

    1. iPhone cases

    2. Earl Grey tea?

    3. Sex toys?

    4. Dildos of your own penis.

      1. Since the technology was in its infancy I’ve wanted a 3d print of my skull as a paperweight.

        1. Paperweight? I say Beer Mug!

          1. Are 3d printouts food safe? I suppose you could make a mold, slipcast it and then high fire that, glaze it with something low in barium and then it’d be food safe (and probably more durable).

            1. Depends on the plastic you use, I think. So long as it was food grade, it should be fine, though I don’t know if they make food-grade plastics for 3d printers.

              1. Considering that the average melt temp is something like 140C for ABS, any VOCs are probably long gone by the time you get around to drinking from it.

            2. “I’d drink from the skull of my enemy if I wasn’t so depressed due to self-loathing.”

    5. Dildos of SugarFree’s penis.

      1. HAWT!

        But seriously, can you think of a more romantic gift? “Hey, baby. I want you to have a thick, meaty piece of me. And it’s sturdy enough to handle that ass.”

        1. “Clone-a-Willy” is a lot of fun.

    6. Hitler?

      1. Ohh sorry…got caught up in the moment.

        1. Hitler Dildo.

          DP macht frei

          1. ahh the doors through which we unwittingly walk…

            1. Mein Kampf um Ihre Prostata

      2. Somebody already used “dildos of SugarFree’s penis.”

    7. Fried chicken?

    8. According to my son’s source, paraphernalia, in particular, bongs.

      1. This is so obvious. Shit.

      2. I ain’t a pot smoker…even though I just got back from Amsterdam…but it is not very difficult to make a quality bong from basically anything. Look, if stoners can do it a 3d printer certainly isn’t needed.

        1. Apples, soda cans, PVC pipe, 2-liter bottles, natural gas line hardware…

          1. aquarium pumps

            oil lamps

            coffee cans + straws

          2. Friend of mine made a pipe out of a mini maglight and a screen. Worst fucking pipe I ever used*, but it worked.

            *which, to be fair, was that pipe and a glass pipe. I only smoked a handful of times; it wasn’t really my thing.

        2. Yeah, you can make a crude bong out of anything, but if you’re a geek pot smoker who just happens to have a 3D printer available, you might get other ideas.

          Apparently this happens, A LOT.

          1. They’re becoming standard equipment in art and vocational schools, so yeah. I’m kicking myself for not thinking of this.

          2. I made one out of clay in Gifted and Talented class. Said it was a fireworks launcher. Right before I glazed it, a sissy little asshole narced on me and I stomped it to pieces before it could be used as evidence. 🙁

            1. stomped it to pieces

              The sissy or the pipe?

              1. The pipe. I was fucking the girl the sissy had been mooning over for years so I figured that was punishment enough. He tried to get back at me by dating a female friend of mine, but that backfired because Jesus wouldn’t let her put out.

                1. Jesus is such a fucking cock-blocker.

                2. put out from the rear though?

                  1. No, her’s was not a Catholic Jesus. We dated for a thin slice of time when we first met. She never even let me kiss her on the lips. She was a really funny and sweet person though, even to a monstrous atheist monster like me, and we were good friends for years.

            2. in Gifted and Talented class

              were you in the wrong class again?

              1. At the time (1987) it was a catch-all class for the art school bound. I was the only one that got into it with a writing portfolio, the teacher had no idea what to do with me. I ended working the lights on the school plays and building sets. It was fun enough, and I had access to the prop room, which led to hi-jinks galore.

                1. ah. that makes sense with the clay pipe then. and the sissy.

      3. Kids are the ones doing this. And dildos and pron are for old perverts. Kids have real sex. And most people doing this are probably guys and really don’t have much need to give their g/f a dildo. Bongs being number one doesn’t surprise me at all.

        1. Just another reason for the nannybots in congress to try banning these printers.

        2. “In my day we didn’t have these fancy 3-D printed bongs! In my day if you wanted to smoke the reefer you had to take an empty plastic soda bottle, punch a hole in it, and stick a straw or the plastic tube from an ink pen through the hole. That’s the way it was and we liked it!”

          1. Oh yeah, well when I was a kid, we smoked our weed in a pipe made out of a damn corn cob from grandmas garden, while we walked to school and back, barefoot in the snow, uphill both ways!

            Your generation were a bunch of lazy punks with all your fancy plastics and straws!

            1. we smoked out of an origami pipe.

      4. I would have figured D&D miniatures.

        1. The Lego company is in serious trouble if this becomes wide spread.

          1. I’d imagine there’s a good chance that a reasonable, viable 3d printer will be made out of legos fairly soon, if one hasn’t been.

            Scratch that

            1. common Raspberry Pi cases are made from legos.

    9. Hugh Akston’s Vagina?

      1. Buy both and have a matched set!

      2. Has it been completely mapped yet? I heard it’s haunted and/or booby trapped, and no research team is willing to go down there after what happened to the last crew.

        1. I believe they let a dolphin loose in there and it gathered sufficient echolocation data.

          1. I had no idea dolphins could dive deeper than 1000ft. Such surprising creatures.

            1. They really are the legless squeaky magical giant feral dogs of the sea.

      3. Maybe if it was Tatiana’s vibrating cyborg vagina we’d have a deal.

  11. The trick seems to be that Defense Distributed is creating an all-new design around the material (ABS plastic) rather than trying to print parts for an existing firearm design.

    Does this mean they could patent that design?

    1. They should, and refuse to license it to anyone who sells arms to governments.

      1. A device (plastic barrel), a system (for producing a plastic barrel), and a method (for producing a plastic barrel).

  12. 3-D printers banned for public sale in 3… 2… 1…

  13. Obviously, BATFE will arrest Wilson as soon as he violates the undetectable firearms act.

    1. When did they add the “E”? And who gave them permission?

      1. How can the government effectively do its job if its continuously hampered by “consent of the people”?

      2. Shortly after 9/11, I think, after they were moved from Treasury into DHS. I don’t know if congress authorized it or not.

        1. Err…that should be DOJ, not DHS.

    2. Actually, as long as he doesn’t sell (or give away) any without a license, he can’t be in violation.

      1. Isn’t manufacture in the statute somewhere?

        1. Not really. IIRC, you can make an infinite number of guns for yourself. You can make an infinite number of parts, too. Its only when you manufacture the receiver for sale that you need a serial number and a license.

          1. That’s true for manufacturing in general. I seem to recall the Undetectable Weapons Act being more stringent.

  14. Do they mean “gun” in the same sense that a Pop Tart is a gun?

  15. The trick seems to be that Defense Distributed is creating an all-new design around the material (ABS plastic) rather than trying to print parts for an existing firearm design.


  16. I understand the dream of the 3D printed “assualt” weapon, but wouldn’t a one-shot disposable make more sense to get up and running and out to the public?

    FP-45 Liberator

    1. You might want more than one shot. But yeah, something small and very concealable and usable for self defense.

    2. A one-shot edible would be awesome.

      Heh heh.

      1. Now there is an idea. A guns and babes calender with edible lingerie and guns.

        1. How about a love gun? Multiple options for the load.

    3. How about a gun that dispenses vodka?

      OK, it only dispenses vodka, but it still looks cool. I bet you could dupe someone into thinking you were a space alien invader with it.

      1. A double child-corruption whammy. The visual of a gun… containing liquor.

        Where do I get one?

          1. $450? What do I look like, a public school teacher?

            Let the internet search begin.

      2. Fill it with pure grain and you have a half-ass flamethrower.

      3. How about a high capacity, edible assault bong that dispenses vodka?

  17. A revolver type gun might work, you’d have one chamber for each shot, give it a long cylinder each round would have a one time chamber and barrel, rotate to the next then print a new cyclinder.

    1. So, a peperbox, then.

  18. cool interview with cody wilson by Vice mag here =

    interesting guy

  19. Yesterday, I watched part of one of those Awesome Military Tech! shows. They babbled on and on about the M60 without ever even bothering to mention what fucking caliber it is. WTF?

    Then they started rambling on about the M60’s replacement. One reason the new gun is substantially lighter, apparently, is a plastic (resin?) shell casing which brings the weight of the ammo belt down by about half(?).

    Any knowledgeable corroboration/clarification?

    1. An M60 is a .30 caliber weapon. It is a full on automatic rifle with full on long rifle ammunition, unlike the M16 which is .223 and is a true assault weapon with a smaller powder load in the ammunition.

      1. An M60 is a .30 caliber weapon

        7.62 mm.

        1. Touche. But close enough.

          1. *shrug*

            When I think of a .30 cal machine gun, I think of that little tripod mounted thing in WWII with the barrel shroud.

            I’m no expert on 7.62 vs .308 vs .30 cal, but I’m going to guess it’s like the debate about .223 vs 5.56. People like to say they’re “the same”, but apparently, they’re not, and not the same enough to give a civilian weapon problems if you fire the other in a receiver not designed for it.

            1. It is not the same and you are right. But I always lump 7.62 and .308 and .30 and such all together. I just misspoke.

              1. I just misspoke.

                This is how people get hurt, John.


                1. Yes it is Paul .

              2. They’re close enough that it doesn’t make a whole hell of a lot of a difference. Civilian .308 Win can run to much higher pressures than 7.62x51mm NATO, which means you have to be careful when using civilian ammo with military rifles, but that’s pretty much it. Any gun that can chamber and use one can chamber and use the other.

            2. 7.62 / .308 are the same, just the NATO designation.

              .223 and 5.56 are close to the same, but not completely. Slightly different tolerance on the headspace, I think.

              .30 could refer to .30 carbine (pistol caliber), or .30-06 (or probably others)

              .308 is the same diameter as .30-06, but shorter cartridge. In practice, with better gunpower today, .30-06 generally runs a little hotter than .308, but not much.

              1. .308 and 7.62×51 are NOT the same.
                .308 chambers are designed for significantly higher pressures.

                1. Good to know, I didn’t realize that.

              2. .223 and 5.56 are close to the same, but not completely. Slightly different tolerance on the headspace, I think.

                I watched a long, geeky, dry youtube video on the differences. Shoulder sizing on the cartridge,different expansion characteristics, blah blah blah. Frankly, about five minutes in, I was exhausted.

                The best word I’ve heard is if you by an AR, you’re supposed to get one that’s chambered for both. That way it won’t matter. Or something.

            3. The classic “.30 cal” cartridge is the. 30-06. The 7.62×51 has essentially identical ballistics in a slightly smaller case.

              The 5.56×45 is close to a .223 but the chamber dimensions are slightly looser jn the throat area which allows for higher pressures to be used safely. .308 Winchester is a higher pressyre version of 7.62×51 and is dangerous to use in firearms chambered for that caliber.

            4. Cabela’s near me used to have one of these (semi-auto) for sale. Coveted that a lot. Was $2000 probably 8 years ago.

              1. Cabela’s near me used to have one of these (semi-auto) for sale. Coveted that a lot. Was $2000 probably 8 years ago.


              2. I have one in 30.06 – registered NFA transferable. I picked up the parts set and registered right side plate then built it – all about 20 years ago when the entire project only cost me about $1,500.

                It looked really cool mounted technical style on the back of my Ford pick-up.

            5. Bleagh. This a conversation I really don’t ever want to have again, so I won’t.

              No, 5.56 and .223 are not the same round.

              No, 7.62 and .308 aren’t the same round.

              The odds of it making a damn bit of difference out here in the real world are so close to zero as to be safely ignored.

        2. Hey, what’s 7.62mm when you convert it to USCS?

          Why, it’s .300in! Imagine that!

          And guess what size bullets can be fired out of a 7.62mm rifle?

          .30 caliber bullets!

          Neat, huh?

          1. They’re actually .308 inches. .300 is the land-land diameter of the barrel, where .308 is the groove-to-groove diameter.

            1. You’ll notice I cleverly left off the last digit when I went to bullet size.

              1. Damn, I’ve been out pedanted.

    2. The M60 was replaced by the M240B which uses the exact same ammo (7.62x51mm).

      Unless they’re claiming the M249 (5.56×45) is a direct replacement in all applications, which it isn’t.

      1. Huh, I thought it was replaced by the m249.

        1. The M249 and M240B are used in different roles. The 249 is used more often as a squad automatic weapon, which is close to the old use of an M60. It is not a direct replacement in all applications. Like all those military tech shows, they take significant license in their descriptions an leave out very significant information.

          I bet they didn’t mention that the M60’s bolt and bolt carrier are capable of being assembled upside down, resulting in a belt-fed single shot rifle that requires an armorer to repair.

          1. I was in the hospital once with a guy who shot himself in the stomach with an M60. Bonus points to you if you can tell me how.

            1. Going out on a limb here…
              Extractor tore the case rim off, bolt locked back (since M60 fires from the open bolt). He tried to clear the weapon by pushing the roud out with a cleaning rod from the muzzle end, released the bolt by hitting the gun too hard, which then flew forwqrd and set off the round which was back in the chamber.

              1. db’s story sounds complicated enough that I’ll believe him on that alone.

            2. he was unloading it and had it pointed at himself?

    3. Last time I checked, they replaced the M60 with some variation of the M240, which is a rebranded FN-MAG. Same ammo, same belts: 7.62 NATO in disintegrating metal link belts.

      I am unaware that any military is using plastic casings for ammo. Plastic belt links may be a possibility, but I doubt it.

      1. They keep trying plastic casing, but it hasn’t worked out so well. The plastic casings start to melt a bit as the gun heats up, which leaves plastic deposits in the chamber, which can cause jamming.

    4. I never had much to do with m60s, but I was a m240 gunner when we went dismount. 7.62mm, easier to operate and maintain. It is a beautiful weapon. I could put 3 rounds in a 2 inch circle at 600m. Oddly, I was only an average shot with an m4.

      1. The reason it’s so accurate: It’s essentially a BAR action, flipped upside down with a belt run through it.

        Browning was a genius. He got a lot of stuff right the very first time it was done.

        1. They are starting to or already have phased it out. But the Army was still using the venerable Ma Duce all the way into the 00s. Pretty much the exact same .50 caliber machine gun that Browning designed in the 1920s was still being used and used very effectively in the 2000s. That is just amazing.

          1. They still use Ma Deuce. Because it still works perfectly. They had a competition to replace it with some wizzbang microchipped grenade launching thing. But just like with all the attempts to replace the M16, they found out that the improvement just wasn’t that drastic.

            Browning, in my opinion, was the most brilliant inventor who ever lived. His designs, basically unchanged, are still deployed all over the world by front line military forces of advanced nations.

            1. They were talking about phasing it out in the late 00s when I went off active duty. I am glad to hear they decided against it. Yeah, it is pretty much perfection in a machine gun. You really can’t design one any better. What amazed me was those things would ride up on top of a Humvee for days in the worst possible dust you can imagine. But when they needed to fire, they always did. Just amazing weapons.

              1. Agree with everything John says, but they still suck giant donkey balls to man pack them. As does the Mk 19.

      2. I was in before they went to widespread adoption of the 240 for dismount. So I had a 240C up in the turret and an M60 in the back. I thought it was fucking stupid to have two seperate weapon systems for the same caliber, and the Army finally agreed with me.

        I wouldn’t mind owning an M60 now, because I will never have to hump that pig ever again.

        1. Had to chance to fire one again a couple years back at a machine gun shoot. Brought a tear to my eye to get behind one and send rounds down range and on target.

          Still have my wrench packed away somewhere.

    5. Why not use a round that has a shell made of a combustible? Something like a variant on compressed-powder shells.

      1. “Why not use a round that has a shell made of a combustible? Something like a variant on compressed-powder shells.”

        Barrel fouling, I’d imagine.

        1. Those rounds are old, but I never knew many details. If the case is made out of the same propellant then it is no more of a fouling issue than a regular shell.

    6. a) 7.62×51 NATO, derp (if there is a difference between NATO round & .308 winchester, i am unawares)

      b) the ‘replacement’ for the m60, depending on how you mean (squad portable LMG? or 7.62 ‘crew served’ gun?) would either be the M240 (7.62) or the M249 SAW (5.56)…both designed by FN, and both around (in service) since the 1980s… not exactly new.

      c)…One reason the new gun is substantially lighter, apparently, is a plastic (resin?) shell casing…?

      ‘shell casings’ out of plastic?

      Not bloody likely. gas pressures dude. go boom.

      even the ammo links are metallic

      Perhaps they were talking about some prototype which is great for TV-wow but is completely retarded and impractical. a la XM29 OICW

  20. The trick seems to be that Defense Distributed is creating an all-new design around the material (ABS plastic) rather than trying to print parts for an existing firearm design.

    This is my favorite part of the story, and it made me think of parts in The Fountainhead that talk about how new building materials should lead to new designs, not copies of old ones.

  21. So you’ve got a completely plastic gun. It’s obviously not going to hold up to repeated firings as well as a metal gun will. What is the point at which you decided it’s more cost effective to just buy a metal gun? And then there’s materials. Plastic basically comes from oil. If suddenly everyone has a 3D printer and is just endlessly printing out new gun parts is that going to cause a change in oil prices? If so, how much? How possible will it be to melt down and recast used parts?

    1. It’s not about replacing metal guns with plastic 3d printed ones, it’s about being able to make a gun yourself, never having been seen/touched/fired/recorded by government, so that you can resist coercion.

      It only has to fire once, and then you can take the real weapon from the coercer.

      1. But if you have just shot a cop, you have more problems than an unregistered gun. And the point of having an untraceable gun is so you can leave it at the scene of the murder so the murder weapon can never be found on you or connected to you. Taking the person you just murdered weapon defeats the entire purpose.

        1. You can legally make a real gun with no serial numbers. You just can’t sell it to anybody.

      2. So you just want to be able to print a plastic gun that gives you the chance to kill someone and take their metal gun? OK, I guess.

        1. Well, in extremis, yes. The US airdropped thousands of shitty little smoothbore pistols over France. You got two or three bullets with it. Get close to a Kraut or a traitor, pop him in the back of the head, take his weapon.

          1. And that’s fine. I’m looking at this from more of a casual owner viewpoint. Is there even any reason a casual owner would want to go this route?

            1. Nah. Just like I don’t really have anything worth encrypting. But I do it anyway, because fuck the State.

            2. same reason people brew their own beer. more of a hobbyist type thing.

          2. I read about the Liberator a while back and thought it’d be cool to have one as a bit of historic interest. When I realized that the shitty little pistol would cost me more than my last truck, that idea went off the board quickly.

    2. How possible will it be to melt down and recast used parts?

      Very. All you need is a heating element capable of achieving melt temps (think “stove”) and a die capable of extruding the right diameter plastic. Here is an example.

      1. That will certainly extend material life, but not indefinitely. That will probably also alleviate any major shifts in oil prices. I think it’s still going to take a significant startup fee to get this going which still leads to the question of cost effectiveness.

        1. Your average pistol starts at, what, $400? ABS runs $2-$10/lb depending on the bulk purchase. Call it $6/lb and assume your gun weighs 3lbs, 2/3 of which need to be replaced every 20 rounds. By my calculations, that gives me approximately 400/12*20= 670 rounds before replacement costs get you to a cheap pistol. Assuming NO recycling. Even being able to recycle your barrels twice (total of 3 uses) would get you to 2000 rounds.

          1. And figure in the cost of the 3D printer. I’m sure there’s no need to go over $10k, say get a decent one for somewhere in the $2k range.

  22. Any word on what caliber this magic handgun is? Even if they’re shooting .22 short through it, it’s still pretty damned impressive.

  23. Why not use the same blueprints in a CNC machine with the proper materials?

  24. If the gun and ammo manufacturers think that individually-owned 3D printers will make a dent in their business, they’ll be the first up on Capitol Hill shrieking for legislation.

  25. Is it just me or is anyone else excited at the possibility of disposable firearms?

    1. Since I don’t plan to go into business killing people for the mafia, I don’t really see the point. What do these weapons do that regular ones don’t besides make really great untraceable drop guns to leave at the scene of a crime?

      1. Show the motherfuckers in Congress that we take the 2nd Amendment very seriously.

        1. I can do that now by just buying a metal weapon. The only way these things make sense is that if you are just really cheap and want a weapon for personal defense that will probably never be fired or if it is fired a couple of times. Then you print yourself a cheap plastic one and save the money of buying a metal one.

          1. Obviously not a good thing, but it’s back to the Liberator pistol idea.

          2. I think the idea is that ultimately these will be highly reliable. If that’s the case, why bother to buy from manufacturers? I don’t need a serial number or need to register the gun or comply with any other of the myriad regulations that may be enacted? It’s an attempt to render gun control laws so impotent that we force a radical rethinking of what the 2nd Amendment means. Hint: it ain’t about sport shooting.

            1. If they get it to where I can print out a gun in my home that is better than what I can buy, then sure.

              1. I would say even comparable. I’m willing to pay more or sacrifice a bit of performance for the added pleasure of a big fuck you to the feds.

        2. Let’s assume that responsible gun owners would like to be able to do something other than go on a killing spree. How practical are plastic guns for people that want to go to the range from time to time?

          1. Don’t know yet. In the future, they could be highly practical. Hard to know where a technology will take us.

            1. Considering that my wife has kitchen utensils that look and feel like plastic or hard rubber, but won’t melt in a 600 degree oven, I would say that some progress has been made in heat resistant products that are not metal.

              With nano-scale assembly a coming reality, who knows what type of materials we are going to see that we never dreamed of.

              1. Teflon is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? Unfortunately, the only engineering property it has is heat resistance. It’s not hard, doesn’t hold shape particularly well, couldn’t be printed, etc.

                I’m not convinced that nanomaterials will be great for this purpose. They’ll be absurdly expensive.

                Remington actually did work on plastic firearms way back in the day. They had some success, even making a production rifle out of plastic. It was called the Nylon 66 or something like that. Built from a Du Pont engineered plastic called Zytec or Zytel or something like that. I’m too lazy to look it up, but I looked pretty seriously into this material’s usefulness in 3D printing a gun awhile back. It seems promising – very rigid, high elastic modulus, and a melting point low enough to be easily 3D printed by high enough to withstand chamber temperatures. It’s expensive, but at least it’s available.

                1. Incidentally, Teflon is also a pain in the ass to machine, particularly for small parts. It bends way too much to hold tolerances.

        3. I agree with what you are saying, DJK.

          I think part of the obvious path to liberty, is just to overwhelm these fuckers with so much stuff that most of it becomes unenforceable.

          They’ve already built an impossibly cumbersome mega-bureaucracy regulatory machine that will just eventually collapse under it’s own monstrous weight. Our job is to just hurry up the collapse.

  26. An M60 is a .30 caliber weapon.

    That’s what I assumed, but it seemed pretty dumb for them not to specify. Thanks.

    1. Yeah. The quality of military documentaries has gone down so far. Like everything on TV, they seem to be written on the level of about a seven year old boy.

      1. Look up the old Tales of the Gun series on YouTube/Netflix/Amazon, wherever.

    1. Never in the entire article do they define “youth”. Just how old do you have to be to no longer count as one? Kind of important to know, especially since they use loaded words like kids which make people think of young kids not necessarily 18 and 19 year olds.

      1. Since Obamacare, it’s 26.

        1. Yep, soon to be 40, I’m sure.

      2. It was a classic tactic going back to the 90s to define youth as people under 25.

    2. According to the CDC. 2.79 kids defined as 0-18 years of age, per 100,000 were killed by firearms between the years 2000 and 2007. 2007 being the last year the cdc has on record.

      That makes a total of 17,304 kids killed by firearms, ALL INTENTS. That includes both accidental and criminal activity.

      0.18 kids (same definition as above) per 100,000 people (or a total of 1,120 were unintentionally killed by firearm, same years as above.

      Query tool found here:…..10_sy.html

  27. Time to roll that beautiful bean footage!

  28. Oh Boy! Oh Boy!! Oh Boy!!! I can’t wait till I get one in my box of Wheaties!!!

  29. Yes, equally skeptical here. A plastic gun won’t be able to do much, not to mention the difficulty in producing it. It’s not like every tom dick and harry is going to have a 3-d printer.

    If someone’s going to go that far out of their way to obtain a gun, they could just as easily make-shift one out of pipes, nails (or something) and powder. I mean, am I the only one who realizes that concrete-driver nailguns are completely free and easy to buy and are powder-actuated? At the very least it’s a source of powder, not to mention you could just drive to a fireworks stand. Hell, you can make powder yourself so easy (maybe not smokeless, but it’ll still work)! Hell, who the hell needs powder anyway? You could easily make a deadly and suprisingly quiet gun run on pressurized air-tanks, like on paintball guns.

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