GFEN Announces the First Shooting Competition for DIY Gun Builders

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awcy Scz0rpion EVO
AWCY Scz0rpion EVO courtesy awcy.arms

There are thousands of shooting competitions held across the country every year for competitors shooting a huge range of calibers — .22 up to .50 — and firearms. Everything from PRS to Cowboy Action to 3-gun, benchrest, IPSC, bowling pins, USPSA and dozens more.

But of all the kinds of matches that are held, none of them allow competitors to shoot home-built firearms like 3D-printed and kit-built guns. That’s about to change.

FGC-9 courtesy DEFCAD

With the cost of 3D printing dropping every day and the explosion in the popularity of DIY guns in general, there’s been increased interest in a competition designed for home builders. Now, the inaugural Gun Makers Match has been announced and will take place at the Ancient City Shooting Range in St. Augustine, Florida on June 19th.

Polymer80 gun build kits pistol

Multi-stage events will be conducted for both kit-built and 3D-printed firearms in pistol, pistol caliber carbine/braced pistol and rifle divisions. There will also be a special two-gun event for both categories and a special side match for 3D-printed firearms that use no pre-existing parts other than barrels and springs.

3d printed guns
3D-printed frame courtesy

The Gun Makers Match is the brainstorm of Guns For Everyone National and the AWCY 3D printing community. Sponsors of the shoot include the Firearms Policy Coalition, Polymer80, Defense Distributed, DEFCAD, Avidity Arms and more.

You can learn more about the GFEN Gun Makers Match and enter the competition at their web site or go to Eventbrite to purchase a ticket.

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    • I’ve been using my Polymer80s at Front Sight since my very first class a few years ago. As long as your build passes the weapons check, they not only allow 80% builds, but encourage them.

      I’ve used two there, actually. Passed one of the cert tests (required to advance to tactical courses) with one of them.

      • Jon, do you seriously believe a “Ghost Gun Registration Law” won’t be passed in the next 3.5 years, with onerous penalties for non-compliance?

        On your home ranch, you won’t have a problem, but what about the rest of the folks who don’t live in places like the Taylor Hacienda?

    • What JWT said. A lot of people seem to be under the impression that home builds or 3D printed firearms are illegal. They’re not.

      With a very few exceptions, building your own guns for your own use is legal. Always has been. You don’t need to serialize them or register them (again, outside of a couple of usual suspect states).

      The only thing that’s illegal is building them and then selling them to someone else. That makes you a gun manufacturer. Also verboten is building an NFA gun like a short barrel rifle without registering it and paying the tax.


      • It was your comment “With a very few exceptions” that was my basic question. I was aware that you could buy everything except the receiver, ‘print’ the receiver and assemble it and have a legal non-serialized firearm for your own use. What proof of build (i.e., ‘birth certificate’) would a person need to have to satisfy the Feds if they questioned you? If you don’t have a 3-D printer could you do this on someone else’s printer or is that illegal.

        This may be getting beyond the scope of this article, but I am curious about what has happened lately regarding some of the so-called ‘kit guns’ that could be purchased and owner-assembled (built).

        • Built 3 yesterday (testing them for the review). No proof is required that you built them. Evidence would have to be presented that you did not build them. Who’s tools are used isn’t the key. Who builds it, and was it built to be sold, is.

        • “Built 3 yesterday (testing them for the review). No proof is required that you built them.”

          That’s *current* Federal law. Do you not read TTAG, or follow the news from Washington, DC?

          “Evidence would have to be presented that you did not build them.”

          When passed, (and it *will* be passed, unless you’ve been power-hitting the opium pipe), the un-marked firearm in your possession is the proof of a felony.

          Good-bye, gun rights. Please point out the error in that logic, besides “It hasn’t happened yet”, because they have strong motivation to do exactly that, and we can’t stop it…

    • There’s nothing illegal about making your own boomstick unless you live someplace where stupid local laws have made it so.

      Just be real careful about doing it as a business or in interstate commerce.

      • My recollection about home builds is the ATF requires your name, city and state, as well as an individual number (if you built 5, they each need to have a distinct number). The ATF has published rules for this. If you show up somewhere with a sterile, unmarked gun, you’re looking for trouble. LOOK UP THE RULES. FOLLOW THEM.

        • “LOOK UP THE RULES.”

          Good advice. You should try it. None of that is required by ATF unless you, at some point in the future, want to transfer it to someone else.

          I have looked up the rules, you see.

    • I don’t think the emergency room is a class. Friends don’t let friends build black iron shotguns.

      • black iron shotguns are fine. No more or less dangerous than any other homebuilt firearm.
        OTOH, the emergency room may not be a class, but it sure teaches some valuable lessons.

  1. Sooooo….is anyone creating plans for a plastic…thing… that’s designed around an available OEM barrel?

    Also asking for a friend.

    • Make sure to use the right kind of filament if you’re printing a firearm. Don’t just some generic PLA or ABS. Spend the $100 and get a roll of genuine Dupont glass filled nylon. Also make sure to control for temperature, which will require some sort of enclosure. Easy enough to built or you can just buy a pre-made one.

      • Poppycock. PLA+ (I prefer eSun, but YMMV) is fine for printing firearms with. I’ve got Anderson and Firebolt AR lowers printed in PLA+ with thousands of rounds on them. The new FMDA DD17.2 (Glock 17 derivative) has been thru extensive testing with PLA/PLA+ and is designed to work with every-day printers and media. Match that PLA+ with a $200 Creality Ender 3 and you’re in business. Just pay attention to bed leveling, make sure your extruder is calibrated and watch your print temps and you can crank out a Glock 17 frame is 20-25 hours.

        • Well PLA CAN be uses in certain builds. But the glass filed nylon is where it’s at for longevity.

      • “Spend the $100 and get a roll of genuine Dupont glass filled nylon.”

        From my reading, there’s carbon-fiber filaments available, as well…

      • Fiber-filled filaments (whether glass or carbon fiber) also require significant upgrades in order to print on most home-gamer machines, plus a filament drying system (Nylon absorbs moisture like crazy, which in turn ruins prints), AND they’re much less forgiving and more difficult to print with. I know, because I’ve been trying to get Nylon printing to work well for a couple of months now (and I didn’t start with an entry-level printer, either).

        Add to that the price of filled Nylon filament, and I’m seriously just about done with it for now. I have one decent print in CF Nylon, and if you add up the cost of the Nylon-specific equipment I’ve bought, and the filament that went into all the failed prints, I could easily have just bought a nice Glock instead. Meanwhile, a couple of the guys I know of printing in PLA+ have ten or more working firearms in that same amount of time and spent probably a third of what I have.

    • Best case scenario- Eye protection will not be needed.

      Worst Case- Plastic shrapnel and missing digits.

      A lot of the 3D printed stuff has come a long way since the single shot liberator pistol (the original 3d print not the WWII antique). I’ve seen some 3D printed pistol frames go through a lot of torture. Safety first kids always wear hearing and eye protection.

    • At some point ALL tech was new. In America these kinds of events are common place and have always been fraught with danger and also hilarity. It’s the best way for great ideas to get widespread support and will only serve to advance the acceptance of homebuilt weapons. However, where firearms events are concerned, there is always the very real presence of danger. That’s what firearms are all about.

  2. Interesting event. Some people are printing some really cool guns, others are just funtional. Recently been seeing 3D printed hi power frames, it’s nice to see something that’s not a Glock(in my opinion).

    • “Recently been seeing 3D printed hi power frames…”

      Good taste never goes out of style.

      “…it’s nice to see something that’s not a Glock…”

      Never underestimate the bad taste of the American public…
      it’s errant perfection.

  3. In USPSA you can compete in Limited, Limited 10, Open, Singlestack and PCC divisions with homemade weapons. Just not Production or Carry Optics. I don’t think I’d want to RO someone shooting a plastic 3d printed pistol though.

    • Agreed, I actually thought about building a 1911 for Single Stack, but on all the kit frames you have to mill the rails and that’s a bit much without borrowing a bridgeport.

      You can shoot Service Rife with a self made gun as well. As long as the lower receiver conforms to the physical outside dimensions of an A2 receiver.

    • “You didn’t build that!”


      You’re a bad, bad man, Mr. Strych.

      Report to your wife for a spanking… 🙂

  4. I’ve made a few gun accessories and small parts on the printers. For things that will hold the bang I use the lost PLA casting method. Two aluminum 10-22 receivers, the 2nd one made using a takedown design and a bronze Ar15 lower so far. Bronze isn’t really practical for this but as soon as I get the upper made will look good buffed out. If asked I’ll say it was a special model Henry was thinking about coming out with.
    I have thought about making a leaded brass receiver for a 10-22. That would be small enough to not affect weigh much.

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