The plastic gun made using a 3D printer that we featured on the site last week is causing quite a stir. Called the Liberator, it is seen as the alternative to conventional firearms and weapons people keep in the house. Aside from the debate around whether the freely available device patents will fall into the wrong hands, there is another major point of controversy. Does the Liberator actually work? According to Lewis Page of TheRegister-the answer to that question is a simple no. It just doesn’t have the features required to put it in the same category as a gun that can be used for protection.

For one, the plastic used to make the barrel of the gun is extremely shoddy. One of the drawbacks of using a 3D printer is the seemingly endless lamination you see on the pipe. That causes the plastic to lose its durability. On the other hand, an actual gun needs to have a solid pipe, preferably made of metal.

Liberator: The Gun Which May Harm You More than Your Target

Even the mechanism through which the cartridge is expelled is substandard. Since the material used is not of the best quality, there are major issues with propelling and momentum. The gas leaks out instead of becoming part of the bullet while the bullet itself is not able to generate much speed. When it does emerge from the barrel, it is at a lethargic pace and without any spin whatsoever. The only way it will work for sure is if you are holding it right against the body of your target. More worryingly, with repeated use and deterioration of the plastic barrel-there’s the possibility that the gun might just explode in your hands.

Page insists the Liberator proves a gun made using a 3D printer cannot work. Regardless of what the government says about owning weapons, the Liberator isn’t likely to provide much protection in any case.

[Image via extremetech]