The weapon, called “the Liberator” â€” homage to cheap pistols distributed by the Allies in France during World War II â€” is printed on a Stratasys Dimension SST 3D printer.
It consists of 16 parts, 15 of which are 3D-printed. The last part â€” the firing pin â€” is a simple nail, found in any hardware store.
Instructions for making The Liberator, a plastic handgun that could escape detection by conventional airport security, were today made freely available to download from the internet by anti-government activists in the US.
According to the Forbes reports, the gun was successfully fired for the first time in Austin, Texas, at the weekend.
A video published online shows the gun held in place by a metal stand, with yellow string attached to its trigger. By yanking on the string, the pair were able to pull the trigger from 20ft away, successfully discharging a .380 caliber bullet.
Cody Wilson is the founder of the company behind the project, Defense Distributed. He claims the project is not about violence, but about freedom.
â€śItâ€™s a demonstration that technology will allow access to things that governments would otherwise say that you shouldnâ€™t have access to,â€ť Cody Wilson, the leader of Defense Distributed, told The Daily Telegraph.
â€śThings that there are legitimate demands for will be available,â€ť said Mr Wilson, 25, who is described as a free-market anarchist. â€śThatâ€™s the point we want to make.â€ť
He said that he is not concerned with the potential harm the gun could cause.
Wilson explained: “I recognize the tool might be used to harm other people – that’s what the tool is – it’s a gun. But I don’t think that’s a reason to not do it – or a reason not to put it out there.”
Last August, Wilson, a law student at the University of Texas and a radical libertarian and anarchist, announced the creation of an Austin-based non-profit group called Defense Distributed, with the intention of creating a firearm anyone could fabricate using only a 3D printer.
The digital blueprints for that so-called Wiki Weapon, as Wilson imagined it, could be uploaded to the Web and downloaded by anyone, anywhere in the world, hamstringing attempts at gun control and blurring the line between firearm regulation and information censorship, writes the Forbes.
Though 3D printing is still a fairly nascent technology, its growth is expected to be widespread. Staples expects to offer them in stores next month. Anyone interested in building a gun, then, could go to Defense Distributed’s site and download the CAD file to get started.
â€śWeâ€™ll build the trigger first… Next, weâ€™ll build the hammer subassembly … Next, drop the hammer into the frame…,â€ť reads the accompanying set of instructions, which come in English and Chinese.
â€śFinally slide the grip on the frame and insert the grip pin. Your Liberator is now ready to go!â€ť
Mr. Wilson hopes to make the gun printable by a â€śRepRapâ€ť 3D printer, which consumers can buy for less than $1,000.
The â€śRepRapâ€ť, which was developed by Adrian Bowyer, an engineering academic at the University of Bath, is able to reprint its own components, meaning users can spread 3D printers further afield.
Steve Israel, a senior Democratic congressman for New York, said the technology of â€śscience-fictionâ€ť now â€śappears to be upon usâ€ť and proposed tighter regulations on homemade weapons.
â€śSecurity checkpoints, background checks, and gun regulations will do little good if criminals can print plastic firearms at home and bring those firearms through metal detectors with no one the wiser,â€ť he said in a statement
The Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988 makes it illegal to manufacture in the US any firearm that is not detectable by walk-through metal detectors. To combat this, Wilson inserted a 6oz piece of steel into the body of his gun, making it legal.