Are 3D Guns a Conceal Carry Option?

Recently U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik in Seattle put a stop to 3D gun blueprints being available online.  The topic of 3D guns has been a hot-button issue.  From the president’s tweets to politicians using ridiculous names for the firearms. While judges, politicians, and citizens fight out the legal status of 3D gun technology, it is clear 3D firearms are not going away.

What is 3D printing?  Miriam-Webster defines 3D printing as the manufacturing of solid objects by disposition of layers of materials (such as plastic) in accordance with specifications that are stored and displayed in electronic form as digital model.  In simple terms, a design is loaded to a 3D printer that layers the chosen material until an actual object is created.  The technology is being used to build houses in China and has also been used to create body parts (ears/noses) in the medical field.  As technology evolves, it is of no surprise that 3D printing is being explored in the firearm industry.

Several options should be considered regarding 3D guns as a conceal carry option.

1. The Cost

Gun owners are no strangers to spending money on firearms.  The cost of the actual firearm, holsters, ammunition, cleaning supplies, holsters, and training add up quickly.  The cost of being a gun owner differs from one owner to another.  According to a recent USA Today article, Vice News states the cost of a printer with the capability of producing a 3D gun range from $5,000 to $600,000.  While some gun owners would spend that much to machine their own firearm, this price-point makes it difficult to imagine the average conceal carry individual lining up to purchase a 3D printer.

2.  Printing

One concern every conceal carry person should consider is the concept of printing.  Printing is when your concealed weapon is showing through your clothes.  The purpose of concealment is to ensure no one knows you are armed.  Having the outline of a firearm bulging from clothing is not optimal for the concealment part of conceal and carry.  A google search for 3D firearms will quickly identify that the current style of most 3D printed firearms look large and cumbersome.  The current designs are not optimal for concealment.  Like cellphone technology, as more advanced technology becomes available 3D guns will be more conducive for concealment.

3.  Reliability

The purpose of conceal and carry is to defend yourself or someone else if a threat arises.  If the weapon must be drawn, it is critical that the firearm functions.  Firearm manufacturers spend millions of dollars on engineering, product testing, manufacturing, and safety.  While most 3D guns seem to function like ordinary firearms; however, if you have to draw your weapon to protect yourself or your family, the gun printed in your shop may not be the best option in its current form.

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