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Huffpo: Feds Printed Their Own 3D Gun And It Literally Blew Up In Their Faces


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Feds Printed Their Own 3D Gun And It Literally Blew Up In Their Faces


WASHINGTON -- Federal officials have determined that a 3D gun printed from blueprints available online qualifies as a deadly weapon and worry it could evade metal detectors at courthouses, schools and other public places.


The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) produced its own version of the Liberator, a gun made of plastic that can be produced using a 3D printer and blueprints made available online earlier this year.


"We downloaded files, we created firearms from those files, and we tested those firearms," Earl Griffith, chief of ATF's firearms technology branch, said in a briefing with reporters at ATF headquarters in Washington Wednesday.


The design of the Liberator includes a block of metal that technically makes it legal under the Undetectable Firearms Act, which requires that a certain amount of metal be included in a weapon so it is detectable. But the metal plays no role in the weapon's function and could be easily removed.


The ATF's testing showed that the weapon, while not quite as powerful as most guns, could penetrate several inches of soft flesh as well as a human skull. The Liberator can only fire one shot before it must be reloaded, but ATF officials said that's all a determined assassin needs.


"The bottom line is, the penetration results demonstrated that the Liberator is a lethal weapon," Griffith said. "The .380 bullets fired from the Liberator penetrate sufficiently to reach vital organs and perforate the skull."

Testing found that the type of material used in the 3D printing was critical to whether the weapon would function properly. The ATF produced several versions of the weapon, some using plastic produced by the company Visijet and others using acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic material. The Visijet version actually exploded during the test, as seen in the video above.


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It's pretty debatable as to whether or not .380 ACP is sufficient for self defense purposes. The FBI's research in the 80s and 90s would lead you to believe it is not. I tend to agree with them in regards to pistol round discussion, as they have spent a lot of money researching that, especially after their bank shootout in Miami in 1986. Regardless, the technology to reproduce a working firearm from a 3-D printer alone is still not a reality.

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