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back to article Upgraded 3D printed rifle shoots 14 times before breaking

Get ready for another wave of debate on weaponised 3D printers, because the Canadian behind a one-shot-and-it's-dead 3D printed rifle has come back with a weapon that doesn't break when used. The Canadian in question is known only as Matthew and posts videos of his creation on a YouTube channel previously dedicated to the …

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Do ya feel lucky?

"I know what you're thinking, punk. You're thinking "did he fire six shots or only five fourteen shots or only thirteen?" Now to tell you the truth I forgot myself in all this excitement. But being this is an unreliable piece of plastic prototype junk that cost a few dollars to make you've gotta ask yourself a question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya, punk?"

That spinning sound is Dirty Harry¹ at the prospect of having his "my that's a big one" .44 Magnum replaced by something that you'd expect to get in a box of cereal.

[1] Yes, I know Clint's not dead, but I doubt the character would have a very long life expectancy, given how he conducted himself

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Anonymous Coward

Unlikely to be used in a mass killing so probably won't have much of an appeal to Americans.

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My dear chap - it's perfectly adequate for a mass shooting. Carrying three of them, one can potentially kill 42 people and maybe even set a new record (as the NRA hope, so they can lobby for cars to be fitted with aircraft cannon as standard).

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Anonymous Coward

Register, never say never:

" 'Liberator': Proof that you CAN'T make a working gun in a 3D printer"

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/05/10/oh_no_its_the_plastic_3d_gun/

And why the scepticism?

"We're also a little suspicious about the lack of any smoke. Some might say glare in the background of the shot explains that, but why not arrange a better background to make the demonstration more effective and remove any doubt?"

Possibly more to do with the above earlier thoroughly debunked article rather than any real suspicions, after all, the original handgun has been proven to work:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2013/05/20/25-gun-created-with-cheap-3d-printer-fires-nine-shots-video/

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Re: Do ya feel lucky?

"unreliable piece of plastic prototype junk that cost a few dollars to make "

I seem to remember that the printers used to create these alleged weapons take rather costly cartridges, making it much more economical to purchase a real weapon from the underground economy. Quite possibly also quicker.

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Re: Do ya feel lucky?

If someone pulled a plastic gun on me, well I damn well would likely give a soliloquy to a chair instead of addressing them directly, and then proceed, post-haste - naturally - to beat them with said chair all the whilst screaming "He should have armed himself".

Wait, that's not right, now you have me mixing and matching Eastwood lines.

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Meh

Someone who has *no* failed to maintain his weapon.

But the off screen loading of the barrel is suspect, as are the little cylinders on the bench. Is he using a barrel liner?

Actually the obvious way to hoax this would be to use under powered re-loads (barely a cap gun) and dub the sound track, ideally with the one full power round you fired before it exploded.

Highly suspicious of this and a long way from a viable weapon.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Someone who has *no* failed to maintain his weapon.

The 'little cylinders' are not barrel liners, they are the brass that holds the powder and the bullet head. This is the part that is ejected from the gun after the round has been fired.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Re: Someone who has *no* failed to maintain his weapon.

I'm thinking he's shooting very underpowered reloads in a small calibre to get that many shots out of it. Almost definitely a pistol calibre - maybe .32?

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Meh

Re: Someone who has *no* failed to maintain his weapon.

"The 'little cylinders' are not barrel liners, they are the brass that holds the powder and the bullet head. This is the part that is ejected from the gun after the round has been fired."

The technical term for which is a "cartridge" Mr AC.

I mean the dark metal cylinders sitting on that plastic rack in the shot, not the things he seems to be pushing out the barrel after each firing.

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Re: Someone who has *no* failed to maintain his weapon.

If you look closely you will see that the 'plastic rack' is actually a bench vice. The dark metal cylinders are the guides used to keep the vice jaws aligned and the screw used for tightening or loosening.

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@Miniphis Re: Someone who has *no* failed to maintain his weapon.

Ha! You're obviously a real engineer.

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Re: Someone who has *no* failed to maintain his weapon.

calibre is .22LR. Article mentions the ammunition and almost anyone who has fired a reasonable quantity of that calibre will instantly recognize the characteristic sound.

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Re: Someone who has *no* failed to maintain his weapon.

Actually he's firing a .22 Long Rifle rimfire round. It has a subsonic muzzle velocity with very little recoil and very little pressure. This type of round basically has a max range of around 130 metres, and is generally used for targets, and hunting rats and squirrels. It's basically an air gun plus round which obviously would help to keep the gun intact. Another reason for choosing this type of round is that the spring firing mechanism would probably lack the force required to detonate a centre fire round. A rimfire round uses a primer around the rim of the rear casing which in turn detonates the main charge.

If he'd have used a Remington .223 or the NATO equivalent the 5.56, which I shoot quite regularly, and are considered relatively light rounds, then he'd have blown the gun apart on the first shot.

This whole printed plastic gun malarkey is basically nothing more than a gimmick. Nobody will ever be able to print a fully functional gun entirely from plastic. Too many problems exist in terms of the gun coping with the pressure and force generated, and accuracy because even if you print lands into the barrel they won't be there after the first shot.

The big fear is that you could print the lower receiver and then use parts that freely available to make a serious gun which is to all intents and purposes untraceable as it's the lower receiver that has the serial number for the gun. But even then those printed so far have failed after 5 or 6 hundred rounds - ok admittedly they lasted long enough to do some serious damage.

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Holmes

Re: Someone who has *no* failed to maintain his weapon.

> If he'd have used a Remington .223 or the NATO equivalent the 5.56

Yah no.

Next up: Lapua Magnum.

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JDX
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Nobody will ever be able to print a fully functional gun entirely from plastic

Ever is a long time. Machined gun barrels were once upon a time a distant dream...

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Stop

We stand to have access restricted to 3D by spooked bureaucrats.

In the previous article about 3D printers a few days ago in El Reg ('Buy a household 3D printer, it'll pay for itself in MONTHS!') posters raised concerns about:

1. Government regulation because of its ability (or future ability) to manufacture of dangerous things from guns to the assembly of chemicals (explosives), to illegal drugs to the modifying of genetic matter, and;

2. IP, copyright and patents issues. Like copying software, making things in 3D printers based on or copied from the the designs of others will become a nightmare.

Outside, 'toy' versions the machines could even be banned.

As we've seen here, even 3D plastic versions of guns can be dangerous. I've watched 3D metal parts being made and it's clear that a gun made on a metal version of a 3D printer would be a lot more reliable than this plastic one. Even now, any skilled machinist with access to a CNC lathe/milling machine--i.e. an automated machining centre--which are now becoming commonplace--can turn out nasties such as cloned AK47s.

This is very unfortunate as we stand to have access to this exciting technology restricted by spooked/frightened bureaucrats long before the technology is mature and can do anything truly useful.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: We stand to have access restricted to 3D by spooked bureaucrats.

> and it's clear that a gun made on a metal version of a 3D printer would be a lot more reliable than this plastic one

Most of the metal ones I have seen are based on powder sintering, which will disintegrate very quickly if you put any type of force through it.

> This is very unfortunate as we stand to have access to this exciting technology restricted

If you want to build a "gun" you can assemble a composite crossbow from pretty ordinary materials in any DIY store that will quite happily put a bolt most of the way through a brick, certainly enough damage to be lethal to a human.

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Re: We stand to have access restricted to 3D by spooked bureaucrats.

> from guns to the assembly of chemicals (explosives), to illegal drugs to the modifying of genetic matter

"assembly" of explosives? 3-D printing of illegal drugs? 3-D printer-mediated modification of "genetic matter" (whatever you think that may mean)? Really? I'd think that cristal meth and DNA helixes are a tad out of specs for these printers...

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Re: We stand to have access restricted to 3D by spooked bureaucrats.

When it comes right down to it, for considerably less effort than this guy has put into making his printed plastic gun it is perfectly possible to build an equally viable weapon from B&Q stuff - get some reasoneable thickness metal pipe for the barrel, wrap it in more pipe of a slighly larger size (repeat as required for strength), the rest is just woodwork and simple mechanics.

There's nothing particularly hard, challenging or secret about gun design or manufacture.

For the price of a 3D printer you can buy a second hand lathe off eBay and make a proper gun......

Getting hold of the ammunition is the harder part (especially any kind of good propellant in reasoneable quantity).

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Facepalm

Re: We stand to have access restricted to 3D by spooked bureaucrats.

Sintered materials can be very strong. They've been used in bearings for eons!

Moreover, I can assure you the metal sintered printed products that I have sitting around me--that I'm looking at now--are many times stronger than their plastic counterparts--no matter what plastic substrate is used.

...And don't forget this technology is in its infancy.

I suggest you do a course in material science.

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@ ElReg!comments!Pierre - Re: We stand to have access restricted to 3D by spooked bureaucrats.

Shame you're so ignorant of the research that's going on in this arena. 3D printing is much more than just printing plastic curiosities.

Perhaps you should spend a few minutes doing some research, here's a few starters:

http://www.ibtimes.com/3d-printing-risks-not-just-plastic-guns-military-parts-drugs-chemical-weapons-1275591

http://theweek.com/article/index/246091/can-you-3d-print-drugs

"Really? I'd think that cristal meth and DNA helixes are a tad out of specs for these printers..."

Sorry, but you're very wrong about this, this technology is a damn side closer than you think. Again, I suggest you check the current state of research on this. (Check the YouTube video in the second link for instance.)

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Re: @ ElReg!comments!Pierre - We stand to have access restricted to 3D by spooked bureaucrats.

> Perhaps you should spend a few minutes doing some research, here's a few starters:

Loads of sensationalist bullshit written by journos with less-than-average understanding of the processes at play. You just can't 3D-print a chemical reaction, that's not how it works. There are "lab-on-a-chip" nanoconstruction tha DO work on that scale but a) they have nothing to do with 3D printing, b) they tend to be more costly than buying the drug from an industrial producers -MUCH more costly and c) the yield is several orders of magnitude lower than what would be needed for a human being.

As for "bioprinting", the same applies. You can 3D-print a mold but that's about it, it's not anything novel, you can do exctly the same as with a hand-made plaster cast, no more no less. There is also that thing where you cand permeabilize cells using a modified inkjet printer, but it's not 3D printing, nor is it actually printing, you just use the pressure and temperature shock created by the inkjet mechanism to transiently compromise the cell membrane integrity.

There may be a few overexcited, if not very competent, bloggers writing about things they don't understand but think could be cool. Don't be fooled.

> I suggest you check the current state of research on this

He. That's my job... here, have a link, something cool that actually exists and that some call "bioprinting":

http://www.jove.com/video/3681/creating-transient-cell-membrane-pores-using-a-standard-inkjet-printer

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Boffin

Re: @ ElReg!comments!Pierre - We stand to have access restricted to 3D by spooked bureaucrats.

Speaking as a chemist, Cronin may have been pushing his ideas a bit far. Essentially what that paper is about is building tiny reactors with reagents inside, i.e. "lab on a chip" technology. Now that's pretty cool, but it's no where near (or even moving vaguely towards) playing around with DNA or actually printing a drug.

As for "tailoring drugs to your DNA", we have enough trouble tailoring drugs to particular proteins.

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If you want to build a gun

See zip gun. I expect I could make something just as (not) effective from the junk I have on hand using basic hand tools in a lot less time then it takes to print that plastic "gun". It would not look much like a gun I expect so it would not be as good for scarring fools.

"3D printed rifle"

It's not a rifle as there is no way there is any "rifling" in that thing. More like a musket (even needs a tamping rod).

This attempt to make 3D printed guns out to be a big thing seems to be one part Shit Disturber and one part forget about AR15s, crap plastic one shot guns (way more useless then the zip guns that have been around for years) are what you need to ban.

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Re: If you want to build a gun

@Tom 35 - It's not actually a tamping rod; more of a barrel clearing device.

If you want to break the law by owning an unlicensed weapon, you might as well buy one from a reliable criminal armourer, someone who has a reputation to uphold and might even give a limited period guarentee.

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Coat

Re: @ ElReg!comments!Pierre - We stand to have access restricted to 3D by spooked bureaucrats.

There is no point arguing with closed minds, ignoramuses or bad losers.

http://www.nature.com/nchem/journal/v4/n5/full/nchem.1313.html ...

...etc., etc., etc.

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Re: We stand to have access restricted to 3D by spooked bureaucrats.

But consider this:

A single man is able to produce a firearm from a man-portable machine (so unlike CNC it can be built out of the view of cameras, say inside a vehicle or in the woods) that can fit in a pocket and, at least by itself, can pass a metal detector.

The only problem right now is the ammunition, but what if he uses a hard-plastic slug contained in a carbon fiber casing? Completely nonmetallic. Now NO ONE is safe.

About the only other thing I can think of that can work at distance, fit in a pocket, AND get past a metal detector is a ceramic dirk or shuriken, but knife throwing is an art compared to shooting a gun.

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Stop

Re: There is no point arguing with closed minds, ignoramuses or bad losers.

1. I'm already on the record about debunking the extent of the 3D claims:

http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2013/08/02/household_3d_printer_could_pay_for_itself_in_just_four_months/#c_1911582

2. I did say it would take 50+ years to mature into being practical proposition (as most technologies do--want more examples?)

3. 50 years aren't long. The issues I'm talking about will be centre-stage well before then as this technology is screaming ahead ==> read 3D printing as an inseparable subset of nano technology (i.e.: all that nanotechnology entails).

4. Before you lost sight of what I was about, I was referring to bureaucrats being spooked--not me! The fact is bureaucrats are already spooked. You don't have to be Einstein to figure out bureaucrats will be spooked when you mention illegal weapons, terrorists, illegal drugs, copyright and patent violation in one sentence--or one paragraph for that matter. And thus it's clear to me that it won't be long before draconian regs appear.

5. I never mentioned DNA, you did. But seeing you have:

http://scitechdaily.com/3d-printing-using-dna-could-make-drugs/

...And whilst reading this remember my skepticism and what I said about 50+ years.

6. I did add ...etc., etc., etc. There are any number of similar references in the scientific press if you are prepared search (as it seems the bureaucrats are so doing and succeeding). You could begin with that rag New Scientist which had an article on the subject a short while ago. There are any number of other articles in more learned rags, Nature and Science for instance (I don't have my copies to hand for the refs as they're at work but I'm sure you'll find them online if you look).

7. Back to basics - the concern I'm expressing is that the rampant sensationalism 3D-p is causing (such as this video) will thwart the technology--or more precisely that over regulation in response to emotional gut reaction will lock it up in environments where it can be controlled--i.e.: in proprietary labs of large companies away from the hoi polloi.

8. Keep at it. Clearly you're on course for Gold.

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Pint

Re: There is no point arguing with closed minds, ignoramuses or bad losers.

You know what, I give up. You can keep your "tech" blog fantasies, we scientists will keep to science. Inntarwub sci-fi blabber and real science don't mix particularly well. If you want to think that #d printing will be banned by the guvmint because it allows for illegal drug production and "genetic matter" modification (your words, whatever it is supposed to mean if lalaland), then fine with me. It's not particularly worst than any other fairytale.

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WTF?

Re: We stand to have access restricted to 3D by spooked bureaucrats.

Er, what?

No-one's safe at the moment. Plus, the implication of it all being plastic is that it can't be found by metal detectors. I don't have a couple of guards and an arch at my front door, so whatever it was made of, I'd not be 'safe'. No, you are talking about the mega rich and powerful.

Perhaps they'll be safer if they start being a bit more human and a bit less mega-wealthy.

Besides which, you don't need a 3D printed gun or anything else so useless. For the price of that printer you could assemble a remote controlled drone, and simply fly it into your target's head. No explosives, no prints, no ballistics, no warning, no need to be anywhere closeby, and you can get reasonable doubt by claiming it was all a terrible accident...

Or just run them over with a car, because they kill a lot more people than guns or anything else!

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Re: We stand to have access restricted to 3D by spooked bureaucrats.

Except the REALLY important people know to use radio jamming to block remote assassinations and concrete barriers to block car attacks. The only way to be sure is to get up close, which means getting someone past the cordon.

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Re: @ ElReg!comments!Pierre - We stand to have access restricted to 3D by spooked bureaucrats.

"Shame you're so ignorant of the research that's going on in this arena. 3D printing is much more than just printing plastic curiosities."

Shame you're so sanctimonious that you don't stop to think about and fully understand what you are reading.

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Re: @ ElReg!comments!Pierre - We stand to have access restricted to 3D by spooked bureaucrats.

Handy, but hardly earth shattering idea. So you have a print head with one or more chambers for reagents and optionally a microscope head for observation. Yes quite useful for research, but far cry from automatic drug factory or "printing DNA".

Disclaimer: No, I didn't not go through the paywall for the whole article so my view is limited on the available preview.

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whats the point?

I don't get why the author is so rejecting claims of "good" 3D printed guns.

It may be a hoax or it might not, it is irrelevant at this point.

What matters is that the cat is out of the bag, if they can't make it work this week they will find a way to make it work next week.

Instead of wasting energy in rejecting claims made by the creator of the printed gun it would be much wiser to find a way of handling what is going to be a reality, eventually.

Find the root of the problem and cure that instead of trying to cure the symptoms.

Restricting guns in a gun-happy country which allows guns to begin with is what i would call 'the root'

Try and remove people's desires of owning a gun and you might have a good start.

As long as you can't manage that having printed guns or no will not make any difference in the long run

Good luck with that.

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Re: whats the point?

> Find the root of the problem and cure that instead of trying to cure the symptoms.

The root of the problem is that there are too many afraid americans who think that having a gun will make them safer AND too many saddo's who think that having a gun is a suitable substitute for "character", or could somehow make them into a "man".

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Re: whats the point?

"What matters is that the cat is out of the bag, if they can't make it work this week they will find a way to make it work next week."

My money is on someone eventually trying to make a horrifically dangerous shoulder mounted recoilless rifle style model.

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Re: whats the point?

"Restricting guns in a gun-happy country which allows guns to begin with is what i would call 'the root'"

I would suggest the root is to educate both sides. The 'gangsta' morons who want it for intimidation and the 'he got a gun e must be bad duhhhh'. In the UK I deal a lot with the second group who automatically think gun = shoot people. How do you teach those with an absence of thought? I used to fire live ammo and now just air gun yet on mentioning I have guns people assume they are for shooting people.

The other side feed on that irrational fear by wanting a gun because their rapper idol uses one to score hoes and dope. The same sort of muppets use anything as a weapon. When the 'anything' is used there is a murder reported. When they use a gun ITS A GUN, THEY USED A GUN, SHOT EM!!!

Reality is somewhere in the middle. it is a tool and it is necessary in some places. However it is also a sport and an easy one for city goers or rural. There is no doubt it is too restricted in this country. Athletes cant even practice in this country because of our thoughtless laws. Responsible gun ownership is the way forward. Various other countries manage fine.

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FAIL

Re: whats the point?

No, the root cause, if you care to look hard enough, isn't the gun(s) it is the people who want to kill. And they will use everything and anything to do that. Guns are just one of the better tools, right up there with medical degrees and whatever Fred West used...

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Anonymous Coward

See here...

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120907/

One step closer.

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Ammunition

Not foolproof, but one way to keep control over 3D-printed guns is to move the gun control onto the ammunition, ensuring that all buyers have the same level of approval required for the guns in that state/country (this is probably already the case in some countries).

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Devil

Re: Ammunition

Personally i think we should follow Chris Rock advice on this Gun's should be cheap but bullet's should be hugely expensive "I believe you have my property?"

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Thumb Up

Re: Ammunition

"Because if a bullet cost five thousand dollars, we wouldn't have any innocent bystanders"

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Anonymous Coward

@ Mtech

It's a shame you wasted time and effort stating your position, as no-one is going to give any value to an opinion about guns held by someone who fails to spell the word "guns".

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Holmes

What iz it that makes you afraid of Ökonomie, sire? Please, the couch is there.

"Because if a bullet cost five thousand dollars, entrepreneurs would enter the market in droves and the price would drop to a few bucks."

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Facepalm

Re: Ammunition

I'd suggest you lookup "ammo reloading" on Google and see that option is even less controllable than 3D guns. Many people don't do it because the cost savings aren't that much comparatively, but increase the cost and they will. It's been done for decades by people so it's well understood, and doesn't take specialized electronic equipment like a 3D printer.

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Why go to all this trouble...

... when you can just pop-down to Wall-Mart and pick up as more firearms and ammunition than you could possible know what to do with...?

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Re: Why go to all this trouble...

Wallmart's UK division, Asda, certainly doesn't sell firearms or ammunition. In coutries like this where getting hold of firearms is a lot more difficult, people may well be interested in something like this.

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