New ARES Research Report: Desktop Firearms + The FGC-9

    The latest ARES report published March 30 examines emergent technologies currently enabling further ease in the production of DIY firearms, including (but not limited to) advances in 3D printing. The 54-page report covers a wide range of production methods and firearm types currently being experimented with in the growing DIY gun sphere.

    Armament Research Services (ARES) is very pleased to announce the release of our latest Research Report, Desktop Firearms: Emergent Small Arms Craft Production Technologies. The report examines the range of emergent technologies which are influencing the craft-production of small arms by individuals, and the effects these are having on the types of weapons that can be produced, and the viability of those outputs.

    Further paraphrasing from the report,

    On 5 May 2013, Defense Distributed—a self-described “…private defense contractor in service of the general public”—released the data for an almost entirely 3D-printed firearm , christened the ‘Liberator’. From that point onwards, 3D printing of firearms and firearm components began to proliferate. Today’s designs, however, have advanced a long way from their progenitor of less than a decade earlier. The barriers to entry have been dramatically lowered, and emergent technologies such as electrochemical machining (ECM) and desktop/micro-CNC have paved the way for the average person to craft-produce, with a little perseverance, capable self-loading hybrid firearms such as the FGC-9. Individuals can increasingly obtain firearms without having to access criminal networks or legally controlled firearms distribution channels, maintaining anonymity and independence.

    The main highlight is the FGC-9, an almost entirely 3D printed 9mm semi-automatic firearm released by the decentralized network of designers Deterrence Dispensed on March 28. Anyone across the world with a 3D printer, no matter the skill level, no matter the legal restrictions in place, should, in theory, be capable of assembling this firearm.

    The FGC-9 represents the pinnacle of DIY garage guns combined with additive manufacturing technology (through the use of a $200 commercial 3D printer). Unlike the vast majority of 3D printable firearms so far released, the FGC-9 has been thoroughly tested in multiple countries using multiple different printers to ensure the files will result in a functional, reliable and safe weapon. The majority of the firearm is assembled together from 3D printed components, including the lower receiver, upper receiver, bolt carrier, ejector and magazine. The release has coincided with the return of Defcad, an online file depository previously forced offline on the order of a federal judge in 2018.

    Highlights from the report are below:

    The full report can be read here.