Gun-Ban Work Around: 3D Printing High Capacity Magazines

One of the most popular targets for gun-banners in this post Sandy Hook environment is the talk of banning high capacity ammunition magazines. But a group of gun enthusiasts have devised a way of getting around such bans by using three dimensional printing devices right in their own homes to create plastic versions of the magazines.

During the weekend of January 11, a group calling itself Defense Distributed “printed” a 30-round magazine out of plastic and successfully fired at least 86 rounds through it.

Last year this same group used a 3D printing device to fashion the lower receiver of an AR-15 rifle to which they attached parts of a real rifle to form a complete and working piece. The homemade gun part actually fired several rounds before falling apart from the shock of the explosions of the bullets.

Defense Distributed put out a rather triumphant video announcing its success at printing a 30-round magazine.

3D printing technology is not quite up to the task of creating an entire gun. Many parts of a firearm are made of high strength metals and 3D printing devices cannot produce parts of that sort as of yet. Further, even the parts that Defense Distributed have printed experience high failure rates. But as technology progresses, solutions to these limitations seem likely.

Through its website (, Defense Distributed plans to continue to offer blueprints and electronic files for 3D printers to print gun parts but have held off on exploring any effort to print an entire gun until they get licensed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) as a legal gun manufacturing business.

The success of Defense Distributed has made it a target for the attention of anti-gun activists and lawmakers alike but so far no legal sanctions have been leveled against the group nor have any laws limiting their actions been proposed.

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  • retired.military

    A magazine is simply a shaped piece of metal with a spring attached to a piece of metal which will push the bullets up when pressure is released (that being accomiplished by another bullet being pushed into a chanmber.

    It is literally made up of 4 pieces. THe magazine shell. THe spring, the piece of metal the bullet rests on and the bottom of the magazine itself which the spring rests on.

    They are not hard to make nor terribly expensive. A decent metal worker with the right equipment could probably make them in a basement.

    Even if they banned everything but revolvers a person could simply carry 10 revolvers whereever they are going to kill folks and swap guns faster than changing a magazine. Bulky yes but just as efficient. Of course than liberals will want to ban people from having more than one revolver and ask how many revolvers do you need to kill a deer.

    • Rather like that scene in “The Matrix” where their overcoats concealed about 20 pistols each…

      Man, they must have clanked when they walked…

  • jim_m

    Perhaps they could ship a few of these printers to the NYPD since the state forgot to exempt law enforcement from their new high cap mag ban.

  • The problem is with the materials. I’ve seen outputs from early 3-D printers that looked about as fragile as spun sugar… and were. But for some of the advanced modeling they were doing, they were the best option.

    Give it another 5 years or so, and they’ll come up with (my guess, that is) some sort of ceramic dust in a polymer-based liquid, that when heated after printing sinters together into a durable solid.

    At which point, they’ll try to outlaw 3D printers altogether as being too hazardous to the public health…

    • Olsoljer

      Of course. All those polymer based fumes could get you high – look for that law to be enforced by DEA.

      • Or cause cancer in California!

        (To be fair, pretty much everything in California seems to cause cancer, may cause cancer, has been implicated in possibly causing cancer, or in certain cases may cause cancer….)

        • Olsoljer

          After much research and observation, I have come to the conclusion that California causes cancer.

  • Olsoljer

    Aaaah! American ingenuity, one of the reasons the British got their ass kicked so soundly. Watch for new executive orders banning the use of computers.

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