3D Printing & Self-Defense Training Gear

Gun owners have a weird crossover with a number of other hobbies. These include the predictable, like archery, but also, for some reason, including planes, anime, and 3D printing. Obviously, the world of 3D printing is pretty friendly to firearms, with the movement of 3D-printed firearms gaining plenty of steam. I’ve been functionally curious about 3D printing, so with some Amazon gift cards I got for Christmas, I purchased a basic 3D printer from Creality and have been learning the ropes. 

3D Printing & Self-Defense Gear

I’m still an amateur with a lot to learn, and while I plan to one day try to print and build a Glock clone, I’m waiting til I learn a bit more about printing. A 3d printed frame is a lot easier than an 80% lower. Learning about printing means printing things, and since I can only print so many Warhammer 40K figurines, I’ve looked into gun-adjacent gear I can 3D print. This led me to a few interesting and easy-to-print items related to firearms training. Well, that and tactical bean holders. Here are my favorite 3D-printed pieces of training gear. 

Target Stand (By Bucky11) 

Over at Printables, I found a target stand that makes building a target super cheap. Outside of the stand, you’ll need a furring strip, a cardboard target backer, and two tent stakes. The total construction of the entire thing costs less than $10. The target stand at the core of this design is very simple but super effective. It’s what really convinced me that 3D printing and firearms training gear can work out well together. 

It’s a pyramid-like design with a slot for a furring strip to drop in the middle. It holds the strip upright, and a set of tent stakes keeps it set into the dirt regardless of the external conditions. It’s perfect for holding cardboard IPSC/USPSA targets or just cardboard backers to support your B8, your A zone, 3×5 cards, or whatever. The target stand takes several hours to print with a basic printer but came out pretty well till the very end, where my printer slipped a layer. It happens, but it was an easy fix with a file. 

MantisX Rails 

So you’ve got a MantisX, but your weapon doesn’t have a Picatinny rail. Maybe it’s a Beretta 92 or a revolver. You can probably buy a rail and stick it to a magazine, but you could also print an entirely new magazine baseplate or slip-on adapter. There are tons of different MantisX rail adapters for tons of different guns. These baseplates are designed by a multitude of creators. 

A quick glance shows models for SIG, Glock, 1911s, Berettas, and many more. I’ve even seen a few for revolvers, which is a nice touch. These are quick and easy to produce and allow you to use your MantisX series device on various handguns. They’re great if your gun doesn’t have a rail or that rail might be occupied. Either way, these give you a cheap way to get your MantisX training in. Unlike a lot of 3D printing, these are quick and easy to print. 

Slide Stop Disabling Dry Fire Dummy Round (By Michael_227585)  

If you want to work your dry fire reloads without having to deal with the slide locking open, then the Slide Stop Disabling Dummy Round is for you. This simple little device is super neat and very handy. This device pushes the magazine follower downward just enough to prevent it from engaging with the slide lock and locking the slide open. 

When you place one in your magazine, you can work your reload on the fly and dry. These are super handy for dry fire training, and you can work reloads, malfunctions, and more. If you don’t want the slide to lock to the rear, this five-minute 3D-printed wonder is for you. 

Training Weapons 

There is an entire culture of ‘blue’ weapons across the world of 3D printing. We all know the value of blue guns and how a nongun can be a very handy piece of training gear. They can be somewhat expensive, and if you want a simple option for training, 3D printing makes it easy to get a cheap one. I printed a training knife just because. 

(Although the print went a little awry, again, I’m still new to 3D printing and learning.) 

I’m planning to print a P32 replica so I can practice drawing from my pocket indoors without needing to unload my P32 and without having any safety concerns. These can be longer prints, especially if you want a durable model with complete infill. 

The 9mm JamCap V3 (By Raft3r) 

Our final addition to the 3D printing firearm training hall of fame is the 9mm JamCap V3. This is designed to sit inside your magazine and can be randomly placed amongst a field of live ammo. When it comes to its term feed, it creates a complicated malfunction, similar to a double feed. While it looks like a cartridge, the ‘projectile’ stand-in is a big ball that can’t load successfully. 

These are fairly disposable and will likely get beat up pretty quickly. Print with 100% infill to make them as tough as can be. Still, they are only plastic and will likely break after a few uses. Luckily, they cost literal cents to make. (The JamCap V3 does not work in Glock mags, sadly.) 

3D Printing & Training 

While a ton of people focus on building guns with their 3D printers, the ability to print numerous firearm accessories seems to be almost limitless. These provide a cheap and easy way to train in new and different ways on demand. A creative instructor could use 3D printing to produce on-demand firearms training gear, and a stickler for saving money can do the same. I think 3D printers will continue to be a growing part of firearms culture, training, and even our rights. 

Travis Pike
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.