3D Printing

U.K. Newspaper 3D-Prints Pistol, Security Freakout Ensues


3D printed pistol
Daily Mail

Many modern Europeans have a special ability to piss themselves when the subject of firearms comes up, and the international worry-storm triggered by Defense Distributed's development and distribution of plans for a fully 3D-printed, single-shot pistol have created just the latest opportunity for merriment and mayhem in Great Britain. In a story full of very nicely staged assassinesque photos of reporters clutching a "Liberator" pistol in public, the Daily Mail reports how it printed out the gun and "smuggled" it onto the Eurostar train, past security, "alongside hundreds of unsuspecting travellers."

From the Daily Mail:

The pistol, capable of firing a deadly 0.38-calibre bullet, was produced in under 36 hours using a revolutionary £1,700 machine to 'print' its components. And because all the parts are plastic, they did not trigger the metal detectors all Euro-star passengers must pass through.

Last night, the train operator began an urgent investigation into the security breach as experts called for airports and public buildings to review their procedures in light of our revelations.

The Mail on Sunday pieced together the 16-part pistol – called The Liberator by its creators – after downloading the designs. They were originally published by an American university student, who proved the design works by successfully firing a bullet on a shooting range.

Defense distributed removed the plans from its Website last week under orders from U.S. government officials charging "export violations," and even the new, encrypted Mega online storage service is yanking the files, raising suspicions that the company's servers are located in the United States, but they remain available at Pirate Bay and lots and lots of locations elsewhere.

Defense Distributed's Cody Wilson bundled Chinese instructions with the Liberator plans (I've checked and they're in there, though I can't judge the quality of the translation) with the specific goal of putting the designs in the hands of that country's long-suffering residents. He reports that he's already heard of samples being constructed in China.

Do read the Daily Mail piece for an excellent chuckle.

NEXT: Brian Doherty on Honduras Becoming a Libertarian State

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  1. The deadly, precision made parts

    Just fuck off statists.

    1. To be fair, Joe, a kid *could* choke on some of that stuff.

    2. Like the deadly 0.38-calibre bullet. Excessive wordiness is wordy. And revealing.

      1. To be fair, the Mail is always terribly written.

        1. That sound you hear is Sarcasmic’s heart breaking.

          1. I didn’t think he was linking for the words.

            1. I like the pretty pictures.

    3. Technically, the parts are not deadly. Unless you want to count choking hazard in infants.

  2. This story just makes me feel happy for some reason. If I couldn’t already guess at the authoritarian insanity coming down the pike in response it would make me even happier.

  3. We did not attempt to smuggle the firing pin or bullet for safety and legal reasons, but small metal items could be easily concealed.

    I.e., “we did not attempt to smuggle the parts that might have set off security devices.”

    1. IOW, no security was breached?

  4. This is single shot, right? So how is having a single shot handgun smuggled onto a train more dangerous than having a knife smuggled onto a train?

    If anything the knife is more dangerous, since after you use it once it doesn’t turn into a gun shaped paperweight.

    1. You can replace the barrel and fire it again, right?

      Although I’m sure that some brave proglotard would tackle you in the interim.

      1. ‘Hold on, I know I just shot one of you, but if you could just wait while I replace the barrel before trying to attack me…’

        1. Memo from government:

          Should you be a victim of a shooting, stay dead. If you are a witness to the crime, stay calm, don’t resist, give up your life.

  5. Love this comment:

    Was this piece written at the request of the US government, to help them “prove” Cody Wilson “exported” these files? At any rate, if it doesn’t have a firing pin, it in fact IS NOT capable of firing a live round and, as such, is not a gun.

    Sadly, I’m sure the Mail was capable of statist freakout all on its own.

    1. It’s illegal for most citizens to possess firearms in the UK, so they may have had to omit the firing pin so they wouldn’t be subject to arrest.

      1. But the reason they were able to get through the metal detectors was because there was no firing pin. If you can’t get through the metal detectors with a working firearm, then why does it matter?

        1. IIRC, a nail is was used for the firing pin. Probably a small one that you use for hanging pictures and the like. I’m fairly sure it would be easy to smuggle that along as well and install it seperately.

          The .380 round might be a different story but given the profiles of incompetence we routinely see at security theatre checkpoints I’m not sure it would be that hard.

        2. Dunno how hard it would be to reassemble, but slip the firing pin inside a metal pen body. Nobody thinks twice about a pointed piece of metal in a pen.

  6. “Meaningless fear mongering” Huh? I wonder if you would feel the same way if some lunatic was pointing this at you or one of your family members at point blank range. A little more thought before posting rediculous comments like this might help, but wht else can you expect from anti-gun control proponents!
    – Guitman , Azusa, United States, 13/5/2013 00:02
    Click to rate Rating 4 Report abuse

    Mmmmmm. Yes.

    1. How dare you call me a fear monger! LET ME TELL YOU HOW SCARED YOU SHOULD BE!

    2. Point that at me or my family members. You’ve got one shot, then (at best) the rest of us stomp your guts out your asshole and splash in them like a puddle.

      1. Fuck that. CHL and a real handgun made in the finest Brazilian machine shops. Better not miss with your one shot.

        1. I was assuming Amtrak or airport. You know, just to make it interesting.

    3. They’d never make it to point blank before they got 7 from my REAL gun.

  7. reports how it printed out of the gun and

    I’ve checked and there in there, though

    I’m not trying to be the grammar police or anything, but come on Reason, don’t you guys have a proof reader?

    1. Lucy didn’t.

      1. *single tear, ala Iron Eyes Cody*

        1. Is that the injun chief that I always saw crying at the side of the road when I tossed my mickiedees trash out the window of my parents speeding, gas-guzzling station wagon?

          1. Nah, just the name of the guy’s most famous character role. I think the actor in question is actually Italian.

            1. And the tears were ones of laughter.

  8. Many modern Europeans have a special ability to piss themselves when the subject of firearms comes up

    But most especially the limeys. Most especially.

    1. Don’t underestimate the Aussies, they can piss themselves in fear of anything and everything, right alongside the best of the Limeys.

    2. When I was talking a tour guide in London a couple of months ago he was literally scared of the fact that the guards at Buckingham Palace have guns. Note that we weren’t at the Palace, we were about 2-3 miles away. And he was still terrified about the fact that guards had guns. He asked “what if one of them just snaps because, I don’t know, his wife left him that morning?”

      1. I would have drawn a picture of an AR-15 on the five pound note I gave him for a tip, just to see him wet his pants.

    3. No european pisses himself like a Frog. Hell, the N. Koreans threatened war recently and France surrendered.

  9. I can see the printer in prototype labs in China. But, how do they find the “0.38-calibre bullets”, deadly or otherwise?

  10. I think it’s perfectly obvious that we have to do something. And that something must be placing DHS goons on every street corner, in every school, at every public transportation stop, randomly along our highways, so that they can randomly stop and strip search any citizen, at any time.

    We have to protect the children from this plastic gun menace!

    1. Seems like it would be more efficient if we all just stopped wearing clothes.

      My understanding is that climate change will make this possible anyway, right?

      1. Then arrest at will for public indecency. Win-win!

        1. In the magical libertopia that Doherty assures me we will one day hack out of the Honduran jungle, there will be no public indecency laws.

          All Nicole has to do is wait for Libertopia to open, which should be any day now.

        2. Sex offenderz 4 life!

      2. You really want that Warty is running around necked in public?

        1. wait, I thought he already did.

  11. As an aside, I’n currently reading Rule 34 by Charles Stross. A key plot point is the registered and unregistered personal fabricators. Registered ones are crippled, and can’t make certain things or use certain feedstocks. Unregulated can make anything and use any feedstocks, but are illegal and controlled by criminal syndicates.

    I think Charlie may have nailed the future regulatory environment.

    1. Just wait til you find out what was in the suitcase. Ugh.

      1. I’m sure it’ll be pleasant. I was amused by the collectors item belonging to Ceausescu. That’s too bizarre for Stross to have made up.

  12. So I’m assuming Wilson and bros are doing a youtube and powerpoint presentation on how you – YOU AT HOME – can buy cheap CAD software and design your own weapon of singular distruction? Then just press print.
    Cuz that’s what I’d be doing.
    Fuck export controls.

  13. I have a Zero Halliburton aluminum briefcase which is probably as deadly as that pistol, and I used to carry it through airports in plain view of security all the time.

    When will we see calls for sensible briefcase safety laws?

    1. I’m more concerned about the fists they let me carry through. Did you know this things have unlimited clips? They can just keep punching and punching and punching without having to reload for hours!

  14. This makes me happy, all the pearl clutching. Maybe, they should realize 1700 pounds is a lot of money for one shot. Cheaper just to buy a pack of guitar strings, and use the high E string. More proficient and will not break the bank.

    1. High E is too brittle, it’s the only string I’ve ever broken regularly tuning – I’d go with the G…

  15. But when you consider that most Limeys will suffer cardiac arrest at the mere sight of this pistol, it truly is a dangerous instrument of mass murder.

  16. The pistol, capable of firing a deadly 0.38-calibre bullet, was produced in under 36 hours using a revolutionary ?1,700 machine to ‘print’ its components. And because all the parts are plastic, they did not trigger the metal detectors all Euro-star passengers must pass through

    Bullshit. Oh, it wasn’t loaded and you weren’t carrying any rounds? Or did you 3d print plastic bullets, too?

  17. It is designed for a .380 ACP, for which there is virtually no market for in the UK. However, it is legal to have a rifle chambered in a pistol caliber (9mm, .38 Special, .357 magnum). Any of those shells would blow the little plastic gun to bits. Maybe they could use that old weak underpowered .38 S&W they used in a lot of Webleys, if they have some of that still lying around.

    1. Any of those shells would blow the little plastic gun to bits.

      Maybe it’s a Trojan gun?

    2. .380 is 9mm short. I am not sure but a 9mm would probably fit and shoot (but probably also blow the gun apart).

      As far as the market goes, as I understand it Europe is the primary market for .380 because some countries have or had laws prohibiting citizens from packing military rounds, and .380 was never used for anything military. It was used in that Walther PPK James Bond gun.

  18. In their defense, my UK Twitter contacts that are actually *involved* in the 3D printing industry found the article ridiculous. We all had a good laugh. Here’s some of our conversations (I’m the only US guy here; the others are UK):

  19. There’s little to no supplies of this ammo in China either. Chinese would likely have to redesign the little barrel component to accept 9mm Makarov shells, which are more common but slightly more powerful than the .380 ACP. That might be somewhat dangerous for the user.

  20. The deadliest thing you could do with that pistol is to put it in a sock and beat someone over the head with it.

    1. A bar of soap would be a hell of a lot cheaper.

      1. Rocks are free.

  21. I thought Defense Distributed’s plans included a small, IIRC 5 oz, piece of metal that was supposed to be included so that it wouldn’t run afoul of the Undetectable Fireams Act.

    So it sounds like the Daily Fail left out a bit more than just the bullet and firing pin. Of course, if they had followed the instructions it would have set off the metal detectors, and they wouldn’t be able to clutch their pearls and shit their pants in shear terror.

    1. Yes, the article notes this–that it was designed with a metal piece so that it wouldn’t be undetectable, but they made it without that so it would. “Because it still works without it!!!”

  22. I notice that their writer is also displaying atrocious firearms safety – typical of somebody who doesn’t really know guns; hand them a gun and watch them instantly put their finger on the trigger. Not that this is really surprising, but it reinforces what a publicity stunt by the ignorant this really is.

    1. Yeah, I noticed that too. Every single picture shows him with his finger inside the trigger guard.

    2. Too be fair, it’s not only unloaded, but completely incapable of firing anything even if it were loaded.

      1. You shouldn’t do it to anything that even resembles a gun. It’s a bad habit that you shouldn’t get into.

  23. Wait till Cody releases plans for a completely plastic High Strength KNIFE! It could kill endlessly without reloading. I think I’ll lock the doors and cry myself into a fear induced sleep.

    1. I have two high strength nylon knives – they are really strong and won’t set off any metal detectors. The spike I have is about 8″ long total with a triangle blade that easily goes through drywall without breaking. I think it was like $8 shipped… I’ll take that over a single shot gun.

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