3-D Printed 22LR Revolver

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The 3-D printing future for firearms is becoming brighter at an exponential rate. What started just a few years ago with the Liberator from Defense Distributed has morphed into is own collective community, building on collective knowledge and constantly sharing and collaborating.

One of the latest designs featured on PrintedFirearm is the Imura revolver. Holding 8 rounds of 22LR, the handgun is a reaction and tribute to the arrest of a Japanese home firearm maker.

“The Imura revolver started when a university official, named Yoshitomo Imura, was arrested in Kawasaki, Japan after he was found to be in possession of 3D printed firearms. Even though some of these weapons had the ability to be fired with actual metal bullets, Imura claims to have only ever fired blanks with the weapons. The arrest took place after Japanese authorities found a video online with Imura firing one of his 3D printed guns, called a Zig-Zag Revolver.

Since his arrest the FOSSCAD community has continued upon his work and made several key changes to the weapon.  This is the latest version of the revolver now in 22lr.  No word on if this has been test fired yet but this proves that the 3d printed gun is still alive and well and the designs are continuing to evolve.”

I’m personally very excited to see where this and other projects go, especially as metal printers become more sophisticated and less expensive.

Additional photos can be found at the link above!



Nathan S.

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

Nathan can be reached at Nathan.S@TheFirearmBlog.com

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


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  • Riot

    I’ve seen that pattern before – that’s from the webley automatic revolver!

    • Giolli Joker

      Webley-Fosbery. 😉

      • hikerguy

        History repeats…..

    • Iggy

      Somwhere between the Webley-Fosbery and the Mauser Zig-Zag, I’d reckon With a bit of Mateba and Vector thrown in.

  • Giolli Joker

    “especially as metal printers become more sophisticated and less expensive.”
    If with this you’re referring to DMLS or DMLM, keep dreaming.
    They need high energy lasers, they are completely another class compared to the plastic printers.

    • BryanS

      Thats thinking that you wont see printers that use metal powder in a carrier, that could be finished b later steps. Even the ABS printed guns need further processing to ensure they are strong enough.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Only a matter of time before someone prints a piece of plastic shaped like a disposable razor that can fire a couple of 9mm and gets on a plane.
    Just watch.

    • NDS

      Why go through the effort, when you can apparently carry traditional metal firearms and explosives through TSA checkpoints with ease?

      • smartacus

        lol 😉

  • morokko

    Those are undoubtedly great as feats of design and engineering, but I think they are very misunderstood by the public and especially journalists crying about universal proliferation of firearms. Main choke point is ammunition. In USA that may not be a problem, but in most other countries it is, as ammunition and even components such as primers and propellants tend to be licensed as strictly as weapons themselves. Printed guns are at this point designed to fire modern metal cased ammunition, which requires components that are relatively hard to obtain or make. The obvious way to avoid this complication would be non cartridge black powder weapons as propellant can be produced relatively easily with mostly acceptable quality. Also the ignition systems are well known through the centuries of use – basically matchlock, flintlock and percussion. However that reduces viable designs to revolvers, single and multibarreled pistols or longarms, which at this point somewhat defies the purpose, because more robust improvised guns can be manufactured already with amateur handtools from the scrap metal, basing on simplified designs from XIX and earlier. TFB had covered the cases of homemade percussion weapons in Africa, Asia and South America. Those are still useful tools in rural areas, but they wont become part of the “mainstream” in a sense modern repeating arms are. They now have marginal impact on society, personal security, or crime rates, even if you count poaching (snares are more practical). Should there be development in homemade self contained ammunition… Well, that would be a real revolution.

    • iksnilol

      You can simplify things. You can use matchbook powder (powder from match heads). I saw a test where they got 200 m/s with .38 special using matchbook powder.

    • Not_a_Federal_Agent

      Everything has to start somewhere. As these designs become more and more refined, to the point of actually making production of ammunition in a country where it’s hard to get as an unlicensed individual becomes viable… Perhaps we will see big time innovations in producing primers at home. Brass can be turned on a lathe (not that this is particularly efficient but you get the idea), black powder made at home, bullets cast in your garage with the only real “unavailable” component being primers. Perhaps we’ll see 3D printed guns designed for old time black powder loads of 38spl or 45-70 (not that I would stand within 100 feet of a 3d printed 45-70).

      TLDR version- if people who can’t get their hands are able to get their hands on guns, they can start figuring out how to get their hands on ammunition.

      I for one am excited to see a proliferation of personal armament. It might bring with it more crime and negative effects than positives, but the principal of breaking down government monopoly on force is good for eveyone

    • Southpaw89

      People in countries where ammo is heavily restricted have in some cases taken to using .22 nail gun blanks behind a projectile as ammo, with a little work and maybe some steel brake line or similar tube for a barrel and chamber to handle the higher pressures this gun could be used in such a manner.

    • John

      Plastic bullets, plastic bullet casings. When they’re strong enough to handle gunpowder (or gun cotton) things may turn interesting. And frightening.

  • smartacus

    i like it

  • Cal S.

    Note to self: When committing crimes, never film oneself. Avoid much pain and suffering.

    • iksnilol

      Or, as I learned from personal experience, never commit a crime in front of 24 witnessess… That, and don’t use something flashy that can be connected to you (if you are known for having a gold plated Desert Eagle and then use it in a crime it will get traced back to you).

      • Cal S.

        There’s a story in there somewhere that we’d very much like to hear…

        • iksnilol

          It’s a bit personal… but, eh, I will tell a bit.

          Short story:

          Some guys wanted to beat me up in class (we had no teacher that hour). I sorta didn’t want to get beaten up, but I was sorta a weakling/no fighting skills whatsoever (I have improved in both regards). So they push me into a corner, whole class watching (not giving a f***, this sorta fuels my trust issues to this very day), and are about to beat me up. I manage to push one of these guys away and I pull out my trusty swiss army knife (Spartan model if I recall correctly, it had the classic red scales). After I pull out the knife people suddenly calm down, so I look them in the eyes (especially the leader) and deliver a pretty simple ultimatum: “Come closer and I will slit your throat like a rabbits”. They were smarter than I thought, since they backed off. I went home. Last time I cried in my life (mainly because I was painted the villain in spite of getting bullied for more than half my life at the time, and I couldn’t even rely on support from my family).

          I don’t regret any of it… sure, it has caused me mental issues but I believe the bitter truth is better than a sweet lie. Knowing that I can only really rely on myself has sorta brought me some peace of mind. But it also cost me a part of my humanity (I am pretty numb, disconnected if you will). In the end, it was harsh and whatnot but I would do it again.

          EDIT: regarding flashiness, the knife had a red handle. I had two pocket knives, one with a silver handle (which came in a holster/pouch thingy with an additional pocket for a flashlight). When I came back home I was stupid enough to replace the silver knife in the pouch with the SAK. Later on, one of the girls told the principal the knife had a red handle, my family saw the pouch (with the SAK in it) and BOOM! I was done for. If I hadn’t done that, I could have actually gotten away with no punishment whatsoever.

          • Cal S.

            Oh. Wow. Yes, I see that now. Thanks for sharing, always interesting to learn of others’ life experiences.

          • iksnilol

            Likewise.

            Though, gotta wonder, did this now become the “feels – not politics” or the “crime – not guns” blog?

            Besides, I don’t mind sharing (though mostly with strangers).

          • Cal S.

            What? When practically every single comments section is alight with the flamewars of ARs vs. AKs, caliber wars, and everyone vehemently spitting what they just ninja-researched on Wikipedia at each other? When has this ever NOT been the “Feels-Not Politics” blog? 😉

          • iksnilol

            I was thinking “feels” as in talking about personal events and issues (like I did with my little knife story) and how they affect us.

            Though you are correct, preferences in firearms do involve an amount of emotion.

          • Cal S.

            Ah, gotcha. Eh, we’re all real people behind our tags, right? Important to remember that sometimes.

          • iksnilol

            That’s the one. I mean, even if you are a fan of the vastly inferior AR-15, you are still a human and all that.

            Worst thing is, in the end it doesn’t even matter. Rifles are pretty much the same (time reloading while retaining the mag an AK and an AR), cartridges are also pretty similar and whatnot. It’s simply just about finding what’s most comfortable/practical for you. Silly that we start flame wars over stuff like that.

          • Cal S.

            Oh, boy ;). Yes, indeed, variety is the spice of life!

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Please elaborate.

        • iksnilol

          Responded to Cal S.

    • sam

      Yep. Poor Mr. Imura. I mean, yeah, he stepped right in it… allegedly. But it seems he thought he was being legit. And of course I don’t think he was doing anything morally wrong. Far from it.

      • Cal S.

        Of course not. I don’t believe he was doing anything morally wrong either. But, morality aside, I sure as heck wouldn’t have filmed myself doing something that was legally wrong even if morally right. You know? Are some things worth that risk? Certainly. However, there’s that whole risk to return equation we all have to mentally compute first. In this case, wasn’t so much on the return side to the actual filming.

    • Cynic

      He may not have actually committed a crime, in Japan PFC guns are massive, with a huge community of Moddershall and builders making the things. Semi and full auto firing caps that stick to the back of brass cases so the gun operates and looks just like a real gun.

      He could easily have been using PFC caps for his guns but because it could be capable of chamber jag live ammo his design could be a problem like the tanaka revolvers of the 90’s or the asahi x blade sniper rifle.

  • Squirreltakular

    That looks awesome. Very anime/ Judge Dredd/ Robocop. Can’t wait for test fire videos.

  • sam

    Its awesome. The one 22 revolver I’d like to own and it comes from enthusiasts. Kind of a turning point.

  • Southpaw89

    the use of a 22 barrel liner would go a long way towards extending the life of this gun, and maybe a piece of metal tubing for the chamber. This is one 3D gun I may try if I ever get a 3D printer.

    • iksnilol

      You can get a 3d printer for a low price: I have been checking them out, here’s a list of 10 that are priced between 100 and 1000 USD:

      http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/affordable-3d-printer/

      So instead of a new AR you could get yourself a good 3d printer. They are handy.

    • WarFairy

      That’s exactly what it uses. We found some 316 Stainless tubing with an ID of .225 that is being used as chamber and barrel liner. The forward section of the barrel has 3D printed polygonal rifling to stay legal.

      • Southpaw89

        3D printed rifling huh? That’s brilliant, I’d be surprised if it actually imparts much of a spin, but it solves the legal issue nicely.

  • Rogier Velting

    That looks pretty Borderlands o.o

  • Anon. E Maus

    Oh snap that’s cool!
    How much do you think this baby would hold up if you used some steel tubing as inserts for the barrel and chambers? Just to reinforce it a little, I figure you could do some simple rifling in the barrel insert to keep it legal.