- Defense Distributed’s Wiki-Weapons project fired the “Liberator,” its .380 handgun that was created completely with a 3D printer.
- The 15 of the 16 parts created using the technology took just 24 hours to print.
- The blueprint for the Liberator has been posted online, free for anyone to download.
- Lawmakers have since renewed calls for bans on 3D printed firearms that could be undetectable by security sensors.
The Wiki-Weapons project by Defense Distributed, which has for months been striving toward its goal of creating a fully functional 3D-printed gun, has succeeded in the first tests of a firearm created using only a 3D printer.
Although much of the project up until now has been showing off plastic printed components for rifles and magazines, the gun tested last week was a .380 handgun, which Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson told TheBlaze in a phone interview Monday was always the goal to develop.
Meet the “Liberator.”
Wilson said that while they were waiting for their federal firearms license request to go through, something which was granted to them in March, they worked on printing the gun parts they legally could in the mean time. For weeks, the parts of the handgun were tested individually but on May 1 it all came together for its first shot.
As a safety precaution, it was test fired remotely at first.
“It was a big question mark. I was quite nervous, excited, giddy,” Wilson said.
After the remote fire was successful, Wilson said he felt comfortable allowing it to be fired by hand.
“I thought ‘oh my, this is going to work,’” he said.
When he fired it himself, he described it as feeling “pretty good.”
“The action felt smooth. It fit together tightly,” he said.
Watch Wilson fire the Liberator in this video:
Fifteen components of the 16-piece firearm were created using the 3D printer plastic. Wilson estimated that it took 24 hours to print all the pieces with the largest component taking 10 hours. The one piece that was not printed was the firing pin, which he said was a matter of getting the correct hardness.
“You need a fine, hard point,” he said of the striking component of the gun.
As Wilson has told TheBlaze in the past, much of the project, in addition to supporting the Second Amendment, is about protecting freedom of speech on the Internet.
“If we truly believe information should be free, that the internet is the last bastion of freedom and knowledge, and that societies that share are superior to societies that censor and withhold, then why not guns?” Defense Distributed stated on its website.
“There is a compelling feeling that you need to have it, to propagate it, to spread it,” Wilson said of the availability of the file.
Within hours of photos of the Liberator being posted by Forbes Friday, Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) renewed his plea for the passage of the Undetectable Firearms Modernization Act.
“Security checkpoints, background checks, and gun regulations will do little good if criminals can print plastic firearms at home and bring those firearms through metal detectors with no one the wiser,” Israel said in a statement. “When I started talking about the issue of plastic firearms months ago, I was told the idea of a plastic gun is science-fiction. Now that this technology appears to be upon us, we need to act now to extend the ban on plastic firearms.”
New York Sen. Charles Schumer jumped on board Sunday calling the creation of undetectable firarms ”stomach-churning.” With this technology, Schumer said he believed people could ”open a gun factory in their garage.”
Wilson said as he understands the current bill — which would make it illegal to manufacture, own, transport, buy or sell any firearm, receiver or magazine that was undetectable by metal detectors or X-ray machines — it would not apply to licensed firearm manufacturers, which would make Defense Distributed exempt. But Wilson said he is worried about its potential passage in how it would impact the average citizen.
“It looks like they stand a fair chance of regulating 3D printing,” Wilson said, noting he is more concerned about provisions included that would ban people from making 3D printed components like rifle receivers and high-capacity magazines.
“It’s not about security,” Wilson said, continuing on in his perspective of the bill. It’s about making it more difficult for people to “quickly make 3D-printed gun parts.”
Forbes noted that Defense Distributed included a six-ounce, non-functional metal piece in the Liberator specifically so the firearm could be detectable.
As for Defense Distributed’s project going forward, Wilson said there is plenty of work to do. For the “Liberator,” Wilson said he thinks it’s a little overbuilt, meaning he is sure there are improvements they can make on the design to allow it to be printed on cheaper 3D printers. He also said he wanted to work on testing different barrel sizes.
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