It’s an anarchist’s wet dream: a gun you can make completely at home, for free. Today Cody Wilson, the crypto-anarchist Wired named “one of the most dangerous people in the world,” announced to Forbes that his company Defense Distributed has created the first fully 3D-printed gun and will release the blueprints after testing is completed so that users can download and create their own.
The handgun, which could easily pass for a kid’s toy, is named “the Liberator” and contains 16 pieces of plastic along with a nail which functions as the firing pin. It fires standard handgun rounds, although the gun comes with different barrels if a user wants to use more high-powered rounds.
Defense Distributed also included a six-ounce metal piece in the design so that it can’t pass through a metal detector, a legal requirement for U.S.-manufactured guns, although it doesn’t seem like anyone downloading a DIY gun would want to keep that piece in.
Mr. Wilson and his company have had plenty of difficulty getting to this point from last September, when we first covered his weapon-making attempts. The company has faced wide condemnation, with the 3D printer company Stratasys seizing a printer that Defense Distributed rented last August and 3D Printing file hoster Makerbot removing all gun component files from their site in the wake of some of Mr. Wilson’s first creations. And although the idea of a plastic toy-like gun seems like the perfect tool for someone wishing to commit a gun-related crime, Mr. Wilson has continued with production, even in the face of staunch critics.
“Everyone talks about the 3D printing revolution. Well, what did you think would happen when everyone has the means of production?” Mr. Wilson told Forbes.
The Liberator still requires substantial testing, as most weapons Defense Distributed have tested in the past tend to fall apart or degrade after repeated use. But it appears that Mr. Wilson believes the gun will work soon. “You can print a lethal device,” Mr. Wilson said. “It’s kind of scary, but that’s what we’re aiming to show.”
When it comes to 3D-printed guns, it’s probably best to consider that time-honored advice from A Christmas Story: “You’ll shoot your eye out!”