How do the latest 3D-printed, mostly-plastic ghost guns fare on the shooting range?

No, not a lot. However, it does seem to me like a failure of Pincus’s imagination to not consider that 3D-printed guns could very well be the path of least resistance for murderous children. There aren’t many of those, but, sadly, I believe there are a few.


I have to side with the government on this one.

Cody Wilson’s intent is anarchy.

I don’t see any problem with stopping him. Gunsmithing is regulated in most of the world.


Ever see the movie “In The Line of Fire”?



Soooo long ago…


I remember that movie, saw it in Estes Park. That was before instruments capable of detecting traces of explosives were widely available.

As for the TSA, no gimmicks are required to slip one past them if their abysmal success rate in undercover testing is to be believed.


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Another great article on ghost guns (tl;dr - it’s not cheap or easy):


I haven’t had a chance to watch the video which should put the quote in context. But I assume it is in response the worry of criminals using 3D printed guns, when in reality it is easier to steal one, buy one on the black market, or straw purchase one that it would be to go through the process of building one. The vast majority are makers enjoying a hobby. But that would explain why he would be focused on the concern of people currently doing most of the gun crime.

The vast majority of children won’t have the means or ability to buy a printer and parts and ammo to make a functional firearm. In this conversation I don’t think it is worth making it a concern.

Teenagers/young adults may have access to the money and equipment, even if things like ammo they can’t buy directly. But then again, some of these young adults have access to stolen/black market weapons too. And many more have access to a couple steel pipes, a cap, and a nail to build a slam fire shot gun. One of the easiest and lethal improvised weapons one can make.

I wish there were more details in that article. In the US many of the builds rely on the availability of other parts besides the receiver/grip. Curious what the plan was in the UK and if such parts are available. Or if this was one of those “talked about it, but didn’t get far with it before being found out” sort of things.

Cody Wilson is a dip shit. 3D printed guns is way bigger than one person and have advanced far past the stuff he was doing 9 or so years ago.

It is legal in the US to build your own firearm for your personal use (not resale) as long as it isn’t restricted by things like the NFA and you are legally allowed to own it.

Honest answer: Because politicians watch movies about undetectable firearms and worried they could be a thing. They passed a law banning undetectable firearms in 1988 after the “plastic Glock” became more popular. While the grip portion is polymer, the rest of the gun is metal, as are the bullets and cases. Most of the people making the laws do not understand fully what they are regulating (not just firearms, this applies to a whole host of things.)

One final note, I have noted that some places are using the term “ghost gun” to mean any gun they can’t trace. Which means regular manufactured guns which have been stolen or sold on the black market after being defaced and having their serial number removed.

But also there is some sort misconception that just because a gun has a serial number they can some how trace it back to someone. First off, criminals usually aren’t leaving murder weapons at the crime scene. If one is and it was their gun and the state had a registration of it, then maybe they can come back can and say “We found your gun at this crime scene.” But that rarely actually happens.


You don’t need a 3d printer to do that. On an AR there is a way to get your sear dis-connector to not engage with a properly twisted coat hanger. Or making a lightning link out of sheet metal. These are not as reliable or robust as a true autosear, but they work. People can use the same concept of the bump stock with a shoestring. You can attain full auto rates with a response trigger which fires with each movement of the trigger (pull, and release).

So, there are legal, illegal but easy to do, and grey area ways to shoot full auto or near it. The prevalence of 3D guns aren’t needed for that.

Fun fact - there was an ad on FB from some company in Asia somewhere selling lightning links and drop in auto sears. I assume it was an ATF honey pot - but then again, it could be some place running a scam, or it could be some industrious type looking to make a few thousands bucks from a few dozen orders. I assume the darkweb has even more stuff like that. :confused:


I don’t think at-home metal printing is ever going to be practical. Aside from the need for big-ass lasers and high tolerance metal powders, those things are finicky as hell. And if you wind up building a piece with a void that hasn’t cleared properly, and the bullet catches on that extra bit of material…

I think it’ll be practical in the same sense of CNC machines and laser cutters. People can absolutely have them for their home workshops but the average person is not likely going to get one, that said i think hobby level metal printing is much much farther out than 10 years.

His dheg RRRooom jiffy past the qrzell junction.

It really doesn’t matter if the ghost guns are any good or not. Are you going to try and figure out if a gun in your face is effective or are you just going to put up your hands?

Watching the video was interesting, there was a large variety of gun designs on show. Predictably, many had failures but there was a number that shot well, repeatedly.

As a person who lives in countries with strong gun laws, I don’t like the idea of people being able to make unregistered weapons, but I appreciate that the US is a world apart in that respect.

And I felt a bit sad that he destroyed his homemade gun at the end. After all the effort, I think I would have kept the 3D printed part only as a memento.

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Weird. I usually can engage with any story about making something, particularly cutting edge making something that you would normally buy for a specialist. The guy making his own integrated circuits was doing something futile and slightly ridiculous, but I could engage with that. But this stuff leaves me cold.

I am not all “ooh, guns, how violent and horrible!”. The recent bit on silencers in John Wick was interesting, and I learned about subsonic ammunition. But not this. I guess the DIY element was diluted because they download a design from the net, sent it to a 3D printer, and added metal bits. And the people doing it seemed to be white, male, overweight in the main, and a bit creepy. Even the guy who owned the 3D printer:he made his daughter a cat toy, and then made himself guns.

Anyone else get this?

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More or less.
Great tough guy cosplay, though.

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I saw a bunch of hobbyists who love their hobby, many of them clearly introverted geeks. About the only thing that bothered me was:

  1. Cody’s involvement (fucking rapist)
  2. None of them laughed much or smiled much

The lack of good humor at sharing their love stands in stark contrast to EVERY other fandom I’ve been involved with. People get effervescent and engaged in passionate love for sharing their joy. They don’t stand around mute and silent and scowling. In this case, though, I chalked some of it up to the cameras and the knowledge they have that their hobby runs right up against some legal gray areas, if not shading into downright illegality in the places they may be plying their trade (depends on state laws).

One thing is for certain: politicians are not putting this genii back in the bottle. Can’t be done. For better or worse, technology advances, and as others have pointed out we’ve come a LONG way in ten years. 3D printing is only going to continue to improve, and I believe at some point it will get past the “must have specialized metal parts made separately” problem. When that happens, it’s over for gun regulation. All you can do is increase penalties for criminal violations involving weapons.


I’ve always wondered why in the US, the important part of the gun that must be registered is the receiver, instead of the barrel, which is the part that’s hardest to make at home.
There’s occasional tabloid panics about 3d printed guns in the UK too, but I’ve yet to see anyone come up with a way to 3d print ammunition (we can’t just buy it from a supermarket over here).


Yes, I think you have got it. It is their grimness that was bugging me. They aren’t making these for fun: they are making these to use. Or at least thinking ahead to their use, a bit like doomsday preppers showing off the firing loopholes in their house ready for when the neighbours come for their canned goods.


why promote this at all? aren’t there enough people out there with enough bad ideas that we do not need to give this a spotlight?