The US Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center recently announce the production of an all metal 3D printed grenade launcher and ammo. Meanwhile in congress, Senator Bill Nelson announced that he has filed legislation with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for a new law aimed to tighten current restrictions on 3D printed guns.
3D Printed Grenade Launcher
The US Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center recently announced that they had 3d printed an all-metal grenade launcher.
RAMBO (Rapid Additively Manufactured Ballistics Ordnance) was made using direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) 3D printing technology along with other 3D printing methods.
Combined with a handful of off the shelf springs and fasteners, It took only 70 hours to 3D print, 5 hours to machine, and apply a type III anodized coating. Even though the metal power required for this type of print cost $100 a pound, the cost savings in labor and production are significant. The Army also tested a M781 40 mm training round.
The Army also successfully test fired the training rounds 15 times with no wear to the barrel of the launcher.
3D printing arms for soldiers can represent a massive cost savings, and can also lead to a new field of customizable weapons for special force soldiers in the future. 3D printing the ammo can also lead to more specialized rounds, or even possibly produce ammo on a base, which can shorten supply chains and lead to further transportation savings.
Tighten the requirements for the production of 3D printed guns
Meanwhile in Washington D.C., the US government is trying to push 3D gun legislation further then ever before.
Senator Bill Nelson announced this past Monday that he has filed legislation with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to tighten the requirements for the production of 3D printed guns.
The bill is written to modernize the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988. It clears up some language in the original Undetectable firearms Act, but it also closes what many see as a critical loophole in the law.
In the original law, any 3D printed gun is required to have a 3.7 ounce chunk of steel in to be detectable by security metal detectors. The current law does not state that the metal in the gun has to serve as a critical part of the gun.
I’ll admit that this requires the honor system for the 3D printer to comply with the law. It would not surprise me at all if someone is actually caught with a 3D printed gun that does not meet these requirements.
Under the new proposed amendment, any 3D printed gun will have to have a major component (barrel, slide, cylinder, frame or grip) made of detectable metal.
This defeats the whole purpose of 3D printing a firearm. 3D printed guns are designed to work without metal parts that have to be machined or registered.
The goal may have been to deter criminals from making an all plastic gun, but this change shows a lack of knowledge by Senators Nelson & Schumer. It is possible to make homemade guns with a drill press, so adding a homemade metal piece to a gun is not technical deterrent.
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