You may have noticed my complete lack of posting about Cody Wilson and his printed gun technology. The reason for that is simple: it’s a gimmick. Sure, printed guns can work, but the question is inevitably “how long?” When it comes to the catastrophic failure of the thermoplastics used in the construction of the barrels and firing chambers, it isn’t a matter of “if,” but “when.”
As a practical matter, with current and near-term technologies, plastic guns are a loser.
That said, some of the emerging technologies that make plastic guns feasible are viable for metalwork as well, and machines like the crowd-funded Othermill means that CNC metalworking machines will soon be in the hands of people for a fraction of the cost of the plastic printing machines.
Purely as a practical matter, how long do you think it will be before someone takes an Othermill or similar portable CNC machine, and builds the jigs and writes the code to make finishing an 80% receiver or 80% frame as simple as clicking a button with your mouse?
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the concept, all firearms have one part that is legally the gun according to the BATF. For an AR-15, it is the lower receiver. No other parts that make up the firearm are technically a gun, so they are not individually serial numbered, nor tracked.
An 80% receiver (or 80% frame for most pistols) is not a finished part, however, and is not registered with anyone. You can buy as many as you want, and then finish them yourself into a firearm that has not serial number, which does not have to be registered, and which is 100% legal to own under federal law (I don’t know if that holds true in the individual slave states, so comply with your local laws, etc).
While the plastics are a disruptive technology on a political and psychological perspective, they are nearly irrelevant as a practical matter.
The introduction of high-quality, affordable micro million machines which can cheaply finish 80% parts or completely manufacture them from scratch, however, changes the game entirely. When these technologies become commonplace, the concept of “gun control” becomes a complete absurdity, since the equipment to manufacture firearms will be as affordable and commonplace as a crafter’s Sizzix machine.
As a practical matter, gun control is nearly dead. The idiots pushing for it just don’t understand that technology has killed the concept, and that is something that Cody Wilson has nailed with 100% accuracy.