LONDON (TheBlaze/AP) -- British police said they seized components of a gun made from plastic on a 3-D printer and would test to see whether it was a viable weapon. But after photos were released, technology experts said the parts appeared to be for the printer itself.
The Greater Manchester Police force said Friday officers found a plastic magazine and trigger, along with a 3-D printer, in a raid against suspected gang members.
Undated handout photo made available by Greater Manchester Police in northern England Friday Oct. 25, 2013 of a plastic gun trigger made with a 3-D printer which was found by officers during a raid on suspected gang members in the Bagley area of Manchester. (AP/Greater Manchester Police)
Police said that if the gun were viable when tested it would be the first such seizure in Britain.
But some observers pointed out that the images released by police resembled printer parts, which led the force to tone down its language. It said detectives were attempting to "establish exactly what these parts can be used for and whether they pose any threat."
"We need to be absolutely clear that at that this stage, we cannot categorically say we have recovered the component parts for a 3-D gun," Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood said.
Police said Friday that if the gun were viable it would be the first such seizure in Britain. (AP/Greater Manchester Police)
Earlier this year a Texas company said it had successfully test-fired a handgun called "The Liberator" created with a 3-D printer, and posted blueprints for the weapon online. Such printers can be paired with a home computer to manufacture objects using layers of high-density plastic.
Authorities worry the technology could allow anyone to manufacture guns which would pass unnoticed through metal detectors. It actually already has, making it through "airport-style" security in pieces and then put together on a train in the U.K. earlier this year as an experiment.
This 3-D printer is suspected of making the gun parts. (AP/Greater Manchester Police)
Shortly after The Liberator's debut, the site hosting the 3-D-printed gun designs went "dark." A division of the State Department's Bureau of Political Military Affairs said Defense Distributed, the licensed firearm manufacturer, might have released International Traffic in Arms Regulations-controlled information without authorization.
"These could be the next generation of firearms and a lot more work needs to be done to understand the technology and the scale of the problem," said Detective Inspector Chris Mossop of the force's organized crime unit.
Police said one man was being questioned on suspicion of making gunpowder.
If you missed seeing The Liberator -- Defense Distributed's creation -- in action earlier this year, take a look at this video:
This story has been updated to include more information.