Above is a slow-motion GIF of a 3-D printed gun firing a bullet, but you can see that the gun blows apart and the bullet arcs up slightly just before falling down — hardly enough to hurt someone. This is evidence that 3-D printed guns don’t work, according to the BBC.
Tony Gallagher, firearms expert at the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS) in Birmingham, UK, has tested these weapons, which can be made using any one of a number of at-home 3-D printers, and he told the BBC that “on each occasion they have failed, and all of them have failed catastrophically[…] These guns are of no use to anyone. They’re too unpredictable, and pose probably the greatest danger to the user.”
Below, BBC reporter Phil Mackey shows a brand new gun and a recently fired one. Before firing, it clearly looks like a gun, but the “after” example is totally busted and useless.
As 3-D printing technology improves, home weapon manufacture may certainly become cause for more legitimate concern. Consider this gun made out of metal, demoed below. While it “cost tens of thousands of dollars, took two days to print, and another three weeks to make it safe enough to use,” you’ll agree that it’s much more effective than the plastic guns discussed above. The concern here is that metallic guns will become easier and more accessible to print or that plastic guns will be redesigned and improved for more stopping power.