Austin, Texas 3D printing innovator Defense Distributed has been making headlines the past few weeks for doing what seemed impossible at first: manufacturing quality firearms parts using 3D printers and uploading the blueprints for anybody else in the world to download, and it’s driving gun control proponents (excuse me, “gun safety lobbyists”) absolutely crazy.
In January, we reported on Defense Distributed’s groundbreaking printable 30-round AR magazine. Defense Distributed says the schematics for that magazine have already been downloaded over 200,000 times, spreading it far and wide. (Their latest revision of the magazine, the “Cuomo Series,” is available for download here).
The organization’s latest landmark gun part is a sturdy lower receiver capable of lasting more than 650 rounds, as exhibited in the group’s latest awesome video. It has already been downloaded more than 10,000 times.
That’s a big improvement from their first attempt at a lower, which only allowed them to fire only six rounds before it cracked. But this time, they didn’t stop firing on account of a material defect; Defense Distributed says their lower could easily have withstood 1,000 rounds, if they had the ammo to spare.
Ars Technica, in a detailed piece, described how the latest lower receiver improvements came about: “Last year, [the] group famously demonstrated that it could use a 3D-printed “lower” for an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle—but the gun failed after six rounds. Now, after some re-tooling, Defense Distributed has shown that it has fixed the design flaws and a gun using its lower can seemingly fire for quite a while. (The AR-15 is the civilian version of the military M16 rifle.)”
Our January report highlighted Defense Distributed’s gamechanger, a downloadable 30-round assault rifle magazine and how the open-source innovation would make it extremely difficult for legislators to regulate them.
In a sitdown interview that was picked up by Guns.com, Alex Jones got a chance to talk with Defense Distributed frontman Cody Wilson about the success of his group’s downloadable 30-round AR magazine. “It is a symbol,” Wilson said. “They can try to go back to 94, and ban these things. But there’s new methods of manufacturing and the Internet will preserve that file forever.”
Guns.com’s David Higginbotham immediately saw the immense importance of the open-source magazine and what it meant to preserving the demonized firearm, noting, “The 3D printing that seemed like an expensive novelty (or at best a proof-of-concept) may now be an integral means of preserving the AR-15.”
Higginbotham goes on to say, “This is the start of something huge. Forgive my sense of hyperbole. I don’t think I can exaggerate this enough. The AR platform, at age 50, is going the way of the AK 47. What once was a rifle built and regulated by the postwar industrial machine, will now be built, modified, and kept alive by individuals. And there’s little the legislators can do about.”