Yesterday I mentioned that Defense Distributed had announced the first handgun developed almost exclusive (the one exception is the nail that is used as a firing pin) on a 3D printer. Many people questioned if it would work or if it would explode into a million tiny plastic pieces, especially since the barrel was made of plastic. As it turns out the handgun worked pretty well:
On May 1st, Wilson assembled the 3D-printed pieces of his Liberator for the first time, and agreed to let a Forbes photographer take pictures of the unproven device. A day later, that gun was tested on a remote private shooting range an hour’s drive from Austin, Texas, whose exact location Wilson asked me not to reveal.
The verdict: it worked. The Liberator fired a standard .380 handgun round without visible damage, though it also misfired on another occasion when the firing pin failed to hit the primer cap in the loaded cartridge due a misalignment in the hammer body, resulting in an anti-climactic thunk.
Here’s a video of the test firing:
It’s obvious by looking at the gun and hearing about the failure to fire that the firearm is a prototype but, considering how quickly Mr. Wilson has been advancing the art of manufacturing firearms on 3D printers, this design will likely evolve very quickly. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a reliable, albeit ugly, design capable of firing multiple rounds by the end of the year.