If I was a salt miner, I could have made a fortune in 2013 and 2018 with all the hate and tears wasted on the Defense Distributed Liberator pistol. This silly little gun kicked off the idea of 3D printed guns. It’s been quite controversial with numerous attempts by the United States Government to block the distribution of plans, but you can’t stop the signal. 3D Printed guns have only evolved and gotten better with time. More than that, 3D printing is being used to make accessories as well.
The Evolution of 3D Printed Guns
If someone had designed and tried to market the Liberator, we would have laughed at them. It was huge, blocky, not very ergonomic, and a silly little 380 ACP pistol. We’ve come a bit further than that. This includes repeating revolver style weapons with multiple barrels. The American Pepperbox term most certainly applies to these devices.
Probably the most useful and revolutionary gun printed would be the AR 15 lower receivers coming out of the woodwork. These have lasted for hundreds and up into the thousands of rounds. These 3D printed lowers make it easy to build an AR 15, legally, without Federal Government overreach. They function a lot like 80 percent lowers legally. Once they are guns, you can’t go about selling them, but for personal use, knock yourself out.
There is also Ruger 10/22 receivers and Generation 3 Glock frames that allow you to build a variety of weapons. Building the frame and receiver for existing platforms is simpler, more reliable, and safer than starting from the ground up and designing your own gun.
As far as 3D printed guns go, the current crop of receivers and frames seem to be the most practical idea. However, this isn’t stopping people from making all manner of single shot and repeating 3D printed guns.
If you want to find some of your own 3D printed gun plans, check these guys out here.
A Google Drive with tons of plans.
A 3D Printed AR 15 lower
A 3D Printed 10/22 receiver
Printing firearm accessories is what’s cool to me from a practical, everyday perspective. 3D printed guns are revolutionary, but accessories and items are just fun and cool. 3D printing enthusiasts have taken to a website called Thingverse and started releasing numerous 3D printed accessories.
These are often straightforward pieces of furniture or accessories that range from useful to being best described as neat. This includes useful items like Arm Braces for pistols and minimalist stocks for AR rifles. There are rear grips, and vertical grips, and much more for the AR series.
For Glocks, there are grip plugs, stands, base plates, sight presses, Armorer’s blocks, and a lot more. Neat stuff includes magazine racks designed to fit on your safe door, and other handy little tools and accessories.
Printing these items is likely easier for beginners, and they can be quite fun. It can help you get the experience you need to tackle a gun build. These little accessories can even make fun gifts, or save you some money here and there.
The Future of 3D Printed Guns
It’s exciting to see where 3D printed guns will go, and I’m quite excited that people are thinking beyond guns and going into accessories and upgrades. 3D printing is still young, but as the price to purchase and use a printer drops, we’ll see more and more creative minds get behind 3D printing guns and accessories. This is only the beginning for hobbyists, free speech advocates, and 2nd amendment advocates. Gun control is quite close to being dead, and 3D printing is killing it.