The Plastic Gun Controversy

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

You’ve probably already heard about the latest controversy raised by the gun control crowd. They are now concerned about criminals making plastic guns and using them to take over the world. This isn’t the first time this issue has come up, but due to a settlement between the State Department and Defense Distributed, it is once again on the front burner and the anti-gun crowd is going crazy.

To start with, it’s important to note that people who are anti-gun are also people who are afraid of guns. I realize that may seem a bit simplistic, but I know a few anti-gunners. I even have some in my family. Without exception, every one of them is afraid of guns; afraid of the noise they make; and afraid of what a criminal can do with them. None of these people have ever shot a gun in their lives and have never considered the defensive use of guns as a reality.

I actually had an interesting conversation with my mother (a strong anti-gunner) about this a few years ago. Her response to me explaining that I carry a gun everyday as s social responsibility, to help protect society in general, was pure astonishment. She said something to the effect of, “I’d never heard it explained that way before.” But once she had, she understood the logic of it.

Those who are pushing the fear of plastic guns are people who have never had that conversation. They don’t understand guns; the physics behind them or their use in defending home and family. All they see is something that might be a danger to them, simply because they don’t know how to counter it.

But are plastic guns really a risk to society in general? I have to say no. There are a few different issues here, as well as a few different guns that we can be talking about. So let me see if I can clear the air a bit and give you some ammunition you can use to deal with your own anti-gun relatives, neighbors and co-workers.

The Liberator

The gun that keeps being depicted as part of this hysteria is called the Liberator, in honor of the pistol manufactured by the US for use of resistance fighters in Europe during World War II. The designer of the 3D printable Liberator, Defense Distributed, created it as a political statement, showing how ridiculous the idea of gun control is in a modern world where additive manufacturing is becoming commonplace.

While the Liberator is a fully-functional pistol, it is only a single-shot pistol, firing the .380 ACP round, probably the smallest pistol cartridge that is effective for self-defense purposes. This is important, as the small powder charge generates less pressure and less heat than other cartridges. A non-fiber filled plastic barrel, like the liberator has, can only handle so much pressure before it expands and breaks.

As a weapon for criminals, the liberator would be a very poor choice, only to be used by the most foolish of crooks. Between its low velocity and small size, the .380 ACP is not a very effective antipersonnel round, although it will work as one. But the criminal in question would only get one shot. After that, they’d be disarmed. Considering that this very short-barreled gun doesn’t even have sights, it’s not going to be very accurate. About all it will do is get them a trip to the slam on a charge of attempted murder.

The AR-15

But the bigger freak out that’s going on isn’t about the Liberator, but the AR-15. If you pay any attention to the media hysteria, it would seem that you can print a complete fully automatic AR-15 (there’s no such thing) off of any 3D printer and take off on a crime spree. This amazing gun will out-perform anything the police or military has to offer.

Of course, the AR-15 is the anti-gunners’ favorite villain, which is constantly being reported to be able to do things it can’t do. But hey, who cares about accuracy when you’re trying to push politics, right?

What is possible is to print an AR-15 lower receiver, an AR-15 pistol grip and AR-15 magazines. It also might be possible to print some other plastic parts, such as pieces for the stock or foregrips. But that’s it. It would be impossible to print an entire AR-15 in plastic, even if you had the best 3D printer in the world. The parts wouldn’t work.

But the scare they’re pushing is that these are untraceable guns. That’s true; any homemade gun is untraceable and the law, as it stands right now, allows for the making of homemade guns. They just can’t be made with the intention of selling them, without a firearms manufacturing license and following all the ATF’s regulations.

Ghost guns (homemade guns without serial numbers) have been around for years. You can buy an 80% lower for an AR-15, in either aluminum or polymer, and finish it out yourself, making a complete AR-15. Doing so will cost you more than a comparable factory-built AR-15, but you can do it. I have.

But even though you can 3D print an AR-15 lower receiver, I wouldn’t recommend it. I’ve made a polymer 80% lower receiver, and while it works, it is much more fragile than the aluminum ones. All it would take is dropping the gun one time, and it would probably break. A 3D printed one would be even weaker than that.

Other Printed Guns

There are other 3D printed gun frames available and more being designed all the time. This is a trend that isn’t about to turn around. But it’s not a trend that is seriously going to affect the crime rate. Criminals are lazy, that’s why they are criminals. Making your own guns is much harder than buying them illegally on the street. So, chances are, they aren’t going to do it. Again, I’ve done it, so I know how hard it is.

Ultimately, this is nothing more than a bunch of hype by the anti-gun crowd. As they do with any other little factoid they can grab hold of, they’re trying to use it to chip away at our Second Amendment rights. Even if they do succeed in outlawing these guns, they won’t get rid of them. There are too many people who currently have the plans. All they will do is keep law-abiding citizens who want to build one from doing so.

So, if you happen to have a 3D printer and have the chance, why not download the Liberator and build one, just to annoy people who want to take away your rights. But I’m not really sure I’d shoot it. I personally don’t trust it. I’ll stick to my real guns. And like always, I’ll keep my powder dry and my survival gear close at hand.

Chris and Dr. Rich

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