A university student in the UK has been convicted of firearms offences after being found in possession of two 3D printed guns. Tendai Muswere, 26, a student at London South Bank University and Zimbabwean national admitted printing a Washbear PM522 revolver and a Hexen .22 pepper-box using a 3D printer at his flat in Pimlico, south London in October 2017. According to him he printed the guns for the purpose of being used in a dystopian film project related to a film, cinema and video studies course he had attended.
During a search of Muswere’s home in October 2017, police officers found components for one of the pistols along with several cannabis plants he was growing. When questioned he told officers that he printed the gun for a university film project and that he didn’t know the parts were capable of firing. No ammunition was reportedly found. Internet search history, however, showed that he had viewed instructional videos relating to lining the plastic chambers with lengths of steel tube to make it suitable for firing live ammunition. Police conducted a second raid in February 2018, and found more firearm components.
The Washbear PM522 was created by Mechanical Engineering student James R. Patrick in 2015, and was dubbed ‘The World’s First 3D Printed Revolver’. It is capable of firing eight shots of .22lr between reloading and was designed to be entirely printed from PLA plastic with the exception of an internal elastic band, a nail for a firing pin and optional chamber sleeves made from thin steel tube to increase longevity. With the release of files for this design a viable eight shot firearm became available to anyone with access to a 3D Printer. Fast forward to 2019, popular models such as the Creality Ender 3 are now being sold as cheap as $200 lowering the bar to entry even further.
A firing video of the Washbear can be seen below:
Released in 2013, the Reprringer V3 Hexen is a multishot pepperbox design which fires .22 CB (6mm Flobert) cartridges from a cluster of five manually indexed barrels. The lower powered CB .22s are unrestricted in some countries in Europe such as the Czech Republic and can be purchased over the counter. 6mm crimp blanks used to start races can also be substituted with the addition of an airgun pellet or ball bearing glued on top to create a similar low powered cartridge.
Firing video of the V3 Hexen:
Muswere has been granted unconditional bail until his sentencing in August and owing to the UK’s severe stance on unlicensed bearing of arms he faces a five year statutory minimum sentence in place for possession of a prohibited firearm. With arguably more effective lethal items residing in every kitchen draw in Britain, it think ‘Cruel and unusual’ is fit to describe ruining someone’s life over a few harmless chunks of plastic lacking any sort of ammunition.