Meet “The Liberator”: The World’s First Fully 3D-Printed Firearm

3D-printing, like decentralized crypto currencies, have the potential to change the world in which we live in extraordinary ways. Ways that are almost inconceivable at this point given we are so early in the game. More than anything else, these technologies can empower the individual like never before, and I think that is generally a very good thing.

I first covered the impact of 3D-printing on the firearms industry in January in my post 3D-Printing Meets the 2nd Amendment, where I discussed Defense Distributed’s success in printing magazines for semi-automatic weapons.  At the time, their next major goal was to print a fully functioning firearm. They have now done just that.  From Forbes:

Eight months ago, Cody Wilson set out to create the world’s first entirely 3D-printable handgun.

Now he has.

Early next week, Wilson, a 25-year University of Texas law student and founder of the non-profit group Defense Distributed, plans to release the 3D-printable CAD files for a gun he calls “the Liberator,” pictured in its initial form above. He’s agreed to let me document the process of the gun’s creation, so long as I don’t publish details of its mechanics or its testing until it’s been proven to work reliably and the file has been uploaded to Defense Distributed’s online collection of printable gun blueprints at

All sixteen pieces of the Liberator prototype were printed in ABS plastic with a Dimension SST printer from 3D printing company Stratasys, with the exception of a single nail that’s used as a firing pin. The gun is designed to fire standard handgun rounds, using interchangeable barrels for different calibers of ammunition.

Technically, Defense Distributed’s gun has one other non-printed component: the group added a six ounce chunk of steel into the body to make it detectable by metal detectors in order to comply with the Undetectable Firearms Act. In March, the group also obtained a federal firearms license, making it a legal gun manufacturer.

Of course, Defcad’s users may not adhere to so many rules. Once the file is online, anyone will be able to download and print the gun in the privacy of their garage, legally or not, with no serial number, background check, or other regulatory hurdles. “You can print a lethal device,” Wilson told me last summer. “It’s kind of scary, but that’s what we’re aiming to show.”

Oh, and you can now purchase 3D-printers at Staples for $1,299.  

Full article here.

In Liberty,

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  1. And the barrel and bolt, and the lock up? You’re goung to trust your life shooting a totally plastic gun? Using a nail as a firing pin??? !!! Great materials choice and design… NOT. It’s easier and cheaper to make a Sten-gun, and no computer or 3d printer are necessary. For a few dollars. Or perhaps we can build an actual safe firearm using a CNC mini milling machine for the same price, but using the real materials needed?? I’m not impressed with your unquestioning article

    • wow. way to miss the forest for the trees.

    • The point is to look how quickly this has evolved. 3-D printers print in materials that can be liquified and then cooled. It will not be long before they print in metal/steel. If this particular plastic gun is not great, a better one is right around the corner. The point is to consider what this does to guns laws and the gun debate. It makes the entire current conversation obsolete.

  2. Hence the apparent focus on the ammunition supply and on making reloading as difficult as possible.

  3. Greetings Friends

    I understand the tendency towards “defense” and have respect for the perspective. That said, I invite those who are open minded to consider that defense is indistinguishable from offense. Absent recognition of the offensive and aggressive component of the ability to print a plastic lethal weapon, proponents of this new techno development further a blind spot in ways that are Orwellian.

    Humankind has enough in the way of lethal weapons and not enough in the way of nonviolent methods of dispute resolution.

    All good blessings

    • Likewise, I respect and share your desire for peace.

      That said, ‘defense is indistinguishable from offense’? What kind of nonsense is that?

      Who doesn’t recognize that a printed gun could be used for offense?

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