Back in May, media outlets and politicians around the world expressed concerns over the posted designs for a gun that could be created using an in-home 3D printer. Cody Wilson, the founder of Defense Distributed, showed how an $8,000 3D printer and about $35 in parts could create the ‘Liberator’ handgun out of plastic, and before he was forced by the US Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance to remove the instructions, it was downloaded more than 100,000 times.
Now, after questions were raised by Germany’s Die Linke (The Left Party) in parliament, the country’s Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) and Federal Police (BPOL) announced plans to test 3D-printed firearms for both their potential threat and possible uses by police.
Because most of the gun would be created out of plastic, German police want to know how easy it may be to sneak the homemade firearm past security checkpoints that are designed to pick up on traces of metal. Also, if police are able to easily create the guns and have them operate without error, they may look into using the guns in certain cases on the force.
However recent tests conducted by authorities in New South Wales, Australia showed the ineffectiveness of the ‘Liberator’ gun. In their tests the gun had the habit of exploding upon firing, causing police commissioner Andrew Scipione to make the statement that “being on either end of this weapon can be lethal.”
Despite the explosive results, German police realize that this is only the beginning of 3D-printed guns, and as the technology improves, so will the accuracy and stability of the weapons.