In the wake of the release of Defense Distributed’s “Liberator” firearm many news organizations around the world have responded in a typical manner, namely by claiming that it sucks and that it doesn’t work, so therefore it should be ignored. “Continue about your lives, gun control is still effective.” Let’s take El Reg for an illustrative example . . .
Seriously. That’s all a Liberator is: a particularly crappy pipe, because it is made of lots of laminated layers in a 3D printer. Attached to the back of the pipe is a needlessly bulky and complicated mechanism allowing you to bang a lump of plastic with a nail in it against the end of the pipe.
When the nail hits the cap in the cartridge base in a Liberator, the expanding gas likewise pushes the lead bullet off the end of the cartridge and down the “barrel” pipe. Much of the gas leaks past due to the loose fit and soft material of the “barrel”. The lump of plastic with the nail (probably) stops the cartridge case spitting out of the back, which is pretty easy as the bullet pops out of the extremely short, basically smooth* “barrel” almost immediately with very little push from the gas required. Most of the cartridge’s hot gas spills out of the muzzle without getting a chance to do any work on the bullet, which is the main reason the cruddy “barrel” doesn’t (always) come to bits on the first shot and the cartridge case (probably) doesn’t just spit backward into the user’s face.
Their argument is that since the very first version of such a firearm is the modern equivalent of a Saturday Night Special, it should be completely ignored and PROVES that 3D printing CANNOT POSSIBLY be used to print guns. Forgetting that whole open source movement thing, where crowd-sourcing of operating systems and other software components have led to amazingly fast and stable platforms which work fantastically well. It’s like proclaiming Linux a dead and useless OS because the very first kernel was barely able to function as a calculator, not seeing beyond the object to the possibility of what lies beyond.
And that’s the main issue with the mainstream media. They see the “Liberator” as a finished product, and the only possible iteration of what can be made. Instead it is merely a proof of concept, a blueprint for what could be done in the future as more people work on the problem of printable firearms and contribute their own ideas.
The cat is out of the bag in terms of firearms production. And the “establishment” wants to cover their eyes and ignore what’s going on, because that makes them feel safer.