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NAT’L – TECHNOLOGY – The Rise of the 3D-Printed Gun

The pandemic has disrupted supply lines across the country, and people are taking manufacturing into their own hands—including gun owners. In 2013, a then-25-year-old gun rights activist named Cody Wilson opened a potential Pandora’s box when his open-source gun design collective, Defense Distributed, released plans for the Liberator. The gun, named after a famed World War II-era pistol, could be manufactured almost entirely at home, with a 3D printer. The U.S. Department of State soon intervened, sending a letter demanding that the plans be taken down, and the Liberator files were pulled offline. But there was no putting the lightning back in that particular bottle. More than 100,000 people downloaded the Liberator files during the two days they were live on Defense Distributed’s website. Since then, a cadre of designers has been creating, refining, and distributing their own 3-D printing plans for firearms. Chief among them is Deterrence Dispensed. One of the group’s designers, known only as “Ivan the Troll,” is part of a team responsible for two of the best-known and most advanced examples of 3D-printed firearms available today: the FGC-9 (“Fuck Gun Control-9”), a 9mm semi-automatic firearm that uses zero regulated gun parts, and the Plastikov, the world’s first 3D-printable AKM receiver. (The receiver is the central frame where the gun’s mechanisms are housed; essentially, the part that makes a gun a gun.) The receiver can be used to build out a full AKM, a variant of the AK-47 automatic rifle. Ivan is a co-author of a comprehensive new report, Desktop Firearms: Emergent Small Arms Craft Production Technologies, which runs through the history of these “wiki weapons” and offers a glimpse into this secretive world of gun-toting designers. The “troll” part of his nom de guerre is apt: He recently released a design for a 3D-printable Glock 17 magazine, the Menendez, christened after the U.S. senator from New Jersey who got Ivan banned from Twitter for posting gun design files.  [full article]

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