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UK Ballistics Scientists: 3D-Printed Guns Are 'of No Use To Anyone' 490 490

New submitter graveyardjohn writes: "The BBC has a short video about why the U.K.'s National Ballistics Intelligence Service thinks 3D-printed guns are 'of no use to anyone.' They show a 3D-printed gun being fired in a test chamber. The barrel explodes and the bullet flops forward a few feet. They say, 'without additional expertise and the right type of ammunition, anyone attempting to fire one would probably maim or even kill themselves.'"
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UK Ballistics Scientists: 3D-Printed Guns Are 'of No Use To Anyone'

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  • by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Friday May 30, 2014 @02:42PM (#47130759) Homepage

    There are several commercially successful makes of polymer AR lowers.
    In AR-land, the serial is on the lower.
    A 3d printed lower gives you the ability to print a non serial numberd AR. Which is legal (US federal. YMMV) because home-made guns don't have to be serialized.

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Friday May 30, 2014 @02:48PM (#47130803) Journal
    At this point it's still cheaper to buy a gun than a 3-D printer
  • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Friday May 30, 2014 @02:49PM (#47130811)
    Why even bother printing guns when you can just buy a legally unregulated upper, a trigger assembly, and an 80% lower reciever blank then just mill the blank and assemble a fully working, untraceable and unserialed AR-15?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30, 2014 @03:02PM (#47130941)

    Look at the exploded gun barrel in the video. They used the wrong setting and didn't set the machine to completely fill the volume with solid plastic. Of course the gun is going to fail if you intentionally weaken it.

  • Clueless BBC Video (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MrSteveSD (801820) on Friday May 30, 2014 @03:14PM (#47131037)
    In slow motion you can see that the bullet barely travels any distance at all. - Quote from the video

    What we in fact see is that the object that "barely travels any distance at all" is the spent shell casing. This is completely fine as the aim is not to magically embed the spent shell casing into the target. That is what the projectile part is for. The projectile is likely to have whizzed off as expected, albeit not with great accuracy.

    As for the general usefulness of plastic firearms, even if they can only fire a few shots, there are clear advantages.
    1. You can obtain a firearm without it being registered to you or exposing yourself to criminal firearms dealers/police sting operations.
    2. They are less detectable.
    3. You can melt and/or burn the murder weapon with ease.

    The tone of the video is a bit odd. It's comes across like a video trying to convince kids not to play with fireworks. It's not as if we all have loads of ammunition laying about here in the UK just waiting for a 3D Printed gun to come along so we can finally have some fun. Making something that can fire a bullet (at least here in the UK) is not the main obstacle to a working firearm. The main obstacle here is obtaining the ammunition.
  • Re:But... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Friday May 30, 2014 @03:26PM (#47131159) Homepage Journal [] []

    When you start comparing crime rates, violent crime rates, gun deaths, or any other socially important data, you really need to pay careful attention to terminology. It matters little that the UK may experience only 1% of our gun deaths, if they also experience 800% of our violent crime rate. After you are mutilated or dead, is it really going to matter to you that you were killed with a gun, or a knife, or a stone, or you were choked to death? Violent crime is violent crime.

    Given the choice, I think I'd rather be shot to death, than bludgeoned to death. The suffering is likely to end much, much sooner.

    BOTTOM LINE: liberals, progressives, and socialists always want to disarm the public. But, disarming the public never makes the public any safer. It only makes it safer for GOVERNMENT TO OPPRESS THE PEOPLE!!

    Ask any number of infamous people, starting with Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, and Mao tse Tung.

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pla (258480) on Friday May 30, 2014 @03:31PM (#47131225) Journal
    And I'm sick of gun people thinking of guns as a great equalizer that anyone can make without substantial engineering expertise. But somehow I suspect neither group is going to respect the results of this research.

    Do you have access to a steel pipe with a reducing coupling, a spring, and a nail? Then yes, you can make something capable of more-or-less safely firing most lower pressure rounds. By "more or less", I mean I wouldn't touch one with a 10 foot firing pin, but it would work just fine 99 times out of 100.

    For the 3d printed guns we hear the most about, keep in mind that they have the goal of a "pure" implementation, using just 3d printed parts. Your local street punks probably don't care about the "purity" of their finished product... So, remove that constraint and add a trivial metal part or two (a chamber and at least the throat of the barrel - just a plain ol' dumb metal tube, in essence - would single-handedly solve the "blows up on firing" problem), and even your local wannabe-thugs could manage to print and assemble a fairly effective DIY gun.
  • Re:But... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30, 2014 @05:36PM (#47132211)

    from :
    Intentional homicide is defined as unlawful death purposefully inflicted on a person by another person
    Intentional homicide count and rate per 100,000 population, by country/territory (2000-2012)
    CAN 1,6 1,81,7 1,7 1,7 1,8 1,7 1,6 1,7 1,6 1,4 1,5 1,6
    UK 1,7 1,8 2,0 1,7 1,6 1,5 1,4 1,4 1,2 1,2 1,2 1,0
    US 5,5 6,6 5,6 5,6 5,5 5,6 5,8 5,6 5,4 5,0 4,7 4,7 4,7

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