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

That could be in part due to the editing. I think they were definitely aware of the cameras and coverage, the questionable legality, knowledge that law enforcement would see that footage…

And that there wasn’t a right way to “act” there. If they were happy and laughing and such, we’d criticize them for that. They were somber and introverted, and we are criticizing them for that.

I mean, that doesn’t look like a group I would want to hang out with. But the ones who are less wooden were the ones who were more comfortable being identified as being a homebrew gun maker. So how much of that was reservations about being seen on air with this hobby? Of course, this kind of intense, legally questionable geekery always attracts the socially outcast.

(As for 3D printed weapons… The privileged have always had an easy time getting weaponry, throughout history. The oppressed have always had a hard time getting weaponry. Making weapons more available to the masses is always a double edged sword. But like all of American history, the oppressed will continue to be informally punished for having weapons while the privileged will continue to flaunt their weapons.

I don’t think 3D printed weapons will really change that much. Making a gun is not a high tech skill, there have been instructions for making guns out of common household items since before WWII; and yet, most weapons used in crime in the USA were, at some point in their history, sold legally. If we had a gun registry system that tracked weapons by serial number, the lack of serial numbers might be important; but given our current system it barely seems like an issue.)

Edited to add: I am really having problems today. this should not be in response to @dabeyc, this should be in response to @Richard_Kirk. My apologies. ::slight_smile:


Yes, if we’ll completely ignore this it will just go away.

Yeah. Better gun control shouldn’t focus on just one means of production. All of them.


It’s neat how you can make that assumption by watching one video.

I still have yet to watch the video, but peoples demeanor changes when they are talking to the press or someone adversarial. Guns area a serious topic and require a serious tone. If they were laughing and more boisterous there would be criticism they were not showing the proper respect for the firearm. I really do find those comments funny, because any time someone injects whimsy or jokes, they get labeled as not taking it seriously and being dangerous. Just don’t be too serious about it, evidently.

Or maybe they found the most dour of hobbyist to interview.

I have seen some videos with Nguyenkvvn (Vinh) interviewed and he clearly has passion when showing off his creations and explaining the process to work out the kinks. I wish I could remember now who I saw showing off their iterations of this super interesting .22 pistol that used a circular magazine. Clearly that person had the passion and effervescence you want to see.

The reason it varies on what is considered a receiver, is due to shoddy definitions of what a receiver is - so what that is can change depending on what type of gun it is. But you don’t want to make the barrel the registered part, as barrels are a wear item and get replaced. That would be like making the engine the part that is registered as your car. They are also often swapped out to change the type of bullet fired. This is more common in bolt actions, but AR types do it as well.

I think it is misconception on your part that it is a “bad idea”.

Well, good luck with that. A block of aluminum is an AR lower waiting to be released in the right hands with the right tools.

And people don’t need 3D printers. As I mentioned, the shotgun made from 2 piece of pipe and a nail have been around for at least 100 years. They were actually used by Filipino guerillas against Japanese occupation during WWII.

Or Phil Luty’s designs, made in England of all places, were working semi-auto and full auto designs made primarily of sheet metal, bar stock, and common fasteners, and could be made in one’s garage.

Granted, these aren’t as useful as production made firearms, but it shows that it would be impossible to limit all means of production.

We’ll never know what levels of safety can be achieved by doing nothing to save people’s lives.

Good luck with trying to divert people from these efforts!

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I suppose one would need to tell me what exactly they feel should be done in the interest of safety with regards to 3D printing or other manufacturing and how much of an impact that will have on people wishing to do harm. Maybe I would agree with them if I thought it would actually help.

Watch the video.

The response was to build a time machine and kill the child molester.

As you say, it’s very hard to define exactly what a receiver is across every possible type of firearm, but a barrel is pretty easy to define. While it is possible to make a simple one form a length of pipe, creating one that is even slightly accurate, and able to be reused more than a dozen times takes specialist equipment and materials, more than is required to build a receiver. (And you couldn’t 3d print one, even with laser-sintering).
Once a barrel is worn out, it could be unregistered by handing it in, or demonstrating that it’s been put beyond use.


Are you even going to check if it is in fact a gun or just a chunk of PLA printed to look a little gun like? What about legally purchased airsoft guns that look very similar to a real gun?

I think 3D-printed guns will make muggings easier is a bit of a strawman, it would be far cheaper and easier to fool someone with a legally purchased non-lethal gun or a 3D-printed non-gun, than a home built functional gun.

Totally, I think that is interesting to consider.

Although it’s always funny to me that 3D printing gets all the press and people are so fascinated by it, but machining is still by far the cheapest and easiest way to make your own guns (and will remain so for the foreseeable future). You can go download GCODE files right now for desktop CNC mills that will make you a perfectly legal AR-15 lower receiver (the part that is regulated). Again, you’ll end up with a real gun that works and is untraceable, but it didn’t involve a “3D printer” so mainstream news doesn’t care about it.

The gap between hype and reality on 3D printing is larger than anything I’ve seen in my lifetime. There’s very little right now that 3D printing can do that CNC mills (even hobby grade ones) can’t do 1000x better and faster. That may not always be true, but it’ll be true for the next couple decades at least (IMHO).


How about making time for doing just that, and then reply to comments that refer to said video?
Might save time for everyone.


Fair. Done. Pretty much everything I said stands. I’ll just repeat myself on one point.

Yeah, I understand these comments less after watching it. No one was grim. The bald ex-cop was in instructor mode through most of it, but that was just professional demeanor. There were several smiles by the people attending and participating in the shooting match.

Fuck Cody Wilson. He is a self important prick. He thinks he some how spawned 3D printed guns, or that it wouldn’t be where it is today with out him, and neither thing is true. IMO - he is more interested in money than anything else.

The focus of the piece was rightly on community of builders who are distributing files for free and improving on people’s designs.

I would say that is mostly true. But I don’t know of any government who have set up their laws surrounding the barrel as being the “firearm”. Again, I believe it is because it is a wear item. Many military arms didn’t even serial number barrels.

I suppose your logic is pretty good, but given where we are today, I don’t see how one could change the laws to make that really work. Personally, if I were writing the laws, the receiver would be the part the barrel attaches do. This is the case for many guns like the M1 Garand, the Ruger 10/22, and bolt action rifles. It is not the case for most semiautomatic hand guns, ARs, and many others.

Your immediate response is to deny anything can or should be done with NRA talking points.

Why waste my time. You’re not able to be swayed on this particular issue. Best to speak to people who are. And who think that something should be done.

You may be surprised to know that the NRA isn’t the only gun rights org in town. Many rights advocates think they are a joke and/or a dumpster fire.

Fine. But I’d still like to know how one proposes to restrict manufacturing, especially 3D printing and the sharing of files. If you prefer I don’t reply to it, I can do that.

I prefer that people aren’t permitted to own more than two guns and no extended ammunition options.

You need to be licensed and insured. Pass a test. And if you don’t comply with requirements - you lose your right to own guns. Violation of these conditions means prison time.


Yeah, I hate the NRA so much that I refuse to buy anything that even might conceivably lead to a penny going into their coffers… bunch of malicious, parasitic, corporate-shilling rat bastards masquerading as a sportsperson’s association. I would burn them to the ground and salt the earth if I had the power to do so. I miss going to the range and shooting clays or punching holes in paper, but probably around half of the people there weren’t exactly poster children for responsible gun ownership and I do not miss them.

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You’ll have to forgive me for playing devil’s advocate here for most of this.

Really?!?!? WHERE!?!? (Yes, I know you are being sarcastic- so am I.)

The cheapest AR-style rifle I’ve ever seen was one I assembled myself, and it ran me about $600 back in 2009 all said and done. (lower receiver parts kit, a stripped receiver that was bought through an FFL dealer, and an assembled Upper and barrel.)

If they had one to begin with- I have a single shot bolt action .22lr Winchester in my safe that’s older than I am, and there’s no serial number on it. Those weren’t required until the '68 Gun Control Act, IIRC.

You’d probably be right- the BATFE likes ‘easy’ targets like that. same with silencers that are ‘mis-marketed’ as ‘oil filters’, but just happen to be threaded for a firearm barrel.

Ask the Canadians about how well their firearm registry system worked out. At this point, we’d have to deliberately hoodwink every firearm owner to provide that information ‘for insurance purposes’ and then just borrow the resulting insurance databases from all the insurance companies in order to get even a baseline, but that would be a massive undertaking in and of itself.

I’ll have to fall back on the BAFTE’s definition, because they are the ones that you have to answer to:

Title 27, Code of Federal Regulations, section 478.11 defines a
“firearm receiver” as, “[t]hat part of a firearm which provides housing for the hammer, bolt
or breechblock, and firing mechanism, and which is usually threaded at its forward portion
to receive the barrel.”

However, there’s a proposed rule change from May that would change it to:

a “frame or receiver” is any externally visible housing or holding structure for one or more fire control components. (from this summary)

that takes many, many thousands of rounds and/or a lot of neglect and abuse. And then you’d need a system set up to handle that, which doesn’t exist.

CORRECT. That stripped receiver I mentioned earlier? CNC machined out of a block of aluminum along with a couple hundred in that batch.

However, the second I start making them and selling or giving them to other people? unless I have a serial number on them and I have a piece of paper from the BATFE, I’d be setting myself up for a stay at Club Fed and losing every dime I have and ever would have in fines.

THIS. The NRA is no friend of mine, gets not a dime from me, and never will. It may have started as something useful, but has been so thoroughly corrupted that it is beyond salvage. There are other organizations that I’d rather give money to if I was in a giving mood.

I’ll stop now because this is getting a bit long in tooth.

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Even if I were politically aligned with these dead-eyed, soft-hand-scoffing, freedom =/= safety, bald but not skinhead types, their way of being “polite” about the journalist’s supposed standpoint (and happiness of spreading their deadly products to Europe) would make me oppose them, just out of shear nausea.

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