Since the U.S. State Department ordered Defense Distributed in May to remove the blueprints for the Liberator, the world’s first 3D-printed handgun, from its website, the 3D-printed gun movement has been quietly removed from headlines. But that doesn’t mean that the movement is dead.
Just the opposite: Designers have moved beyond handguns to produce rifles with 3D printers. The world’s first 3D-printed rifle, named “The Grizzly” after Canadian-built tanks that were used in World War II, was fired in June, but the first shot fractured the barrel receiver.
The creator, a Canadian man who goes simply by “Matthew,” refined his design and posted a video Friday on YouTube of the Grizzly 2.0 successfully firing 3 rounds of Winchester bullets. The video description says the Grizzly 2.0 fired 14 rounds before it cracked. The new rifle was also safe enough for Matthew to fire it by hand rather than by the string system used in the first test.
Like the Liberator and other 3D printed weapons, Grizzly 2.0 is made almost entirely of plastics and can be snuck past metal detectors. The only piece of metal is a roofing nail used as a firing pin, which can be easily removed.
The CAD files needed to print a gun can be downloaded for free from websites like DEFCAD, allowing anyone with access to a 3D printer to produce one. According to The Verge, Matthew’s primary job is making construction tools and he used his office’s 3D printer to produce the Grizzly 2.0.
Grizzly 2.0 certainly isn’t very threatening in its current state. It requires reloading after every shot, and spent bullets cases are difficult to remove. But it’s clear that the technology is advancing rapidly and that it’s only a matter of time before 3D printing can produce lethal rifles.
Originally from Northern California, Ryan W. Neal came to New York to earn his master's in journalism from Columbia University. He joined IB Times April 2013, and is a writer...