Defense Distributed Prints An AR-15 Receiver That Has Fired More Than 600 Rounds

Defense Distributed, a group run primarily by gunsmith Cody Wilson, has released a video of an AR-15 with a 3D-printed lower receiver firing off over 600 rounds, a unique feat in the realm of 3D-printed parts. The part, called the AR Lower V5, worked nearly perfectly while firing 600 rounds and, as Wilson notes, “the test ended when we ran out of ammunition, but this lower could easily withstand 1,000 rounds.”

The AR-15 is a modular firearm and Wilson and others are attempting to modify – and eventually replicate – using 3D printers. Gunsmiths have been building gun parts for decades and so this is definitely nothing new. However, with the ubiquity of 3D printing and the ease with which manufacturers can design and share models, the process of 3D printing a gun is ramping up quite quickly.

This receiver is available for download right now from DEFCAD, an “island of misfit objects” where gunsmiths are sharing their designs.

Ars Technica interviewed Wilson:

“I believe in evading and disintermediating the state,” he said. “It seemed to be something we could build an organization around. Just like Bitcoin can circumvent financial mechanisms. This means you can make something that is contentious and politically important—not just a multicolored cookie cutter—but something important. It’s more about disintermediating some of these control schemes entirely and there’s increasingly little that you can do about it. That’s no longer a valid answer.”

He added, “The message is in what we’re doing—the message is: download this gun.”

Is this a 3D-printed gun? No. Does it point to a future where you will no longer require a $500,000 military-spec milling machine to build a real gun? Yes, and this is definitely the beginning of a very interesting period in firearms history.