The first gun made entirely of 3D-printed parts recently debuted, and despite the best efforts of its creators, it looks pretty stupid. When your gun looks like something an 8-year-old built out of LEGO bricks, you're not gonna intimidate anyone (except maybe some other poor bastard 8-year-old whose parents bought him Mega Bloks).
But obviously, aesthetics aren't the point here, right? It doesn't matter that the "Liberator" is stupid-looking, because it's still a deadly weapon available to everyone with a 3D printer, huh? Sure, it looks like a lump of packing filler, but criminals everywhere will soon be brandishing these homemade firearms, running amok in the streets, correct? Well, not exactly.
#6. It's Not Cheap
If the whole point of the Liberator is to make access to guns easier, it's a fairly large oversight that the 3D printer required to print it will set one back $8,000.
Which is why it looks like a coffee machine.
Of course, not all 3D printers are that expensive -- a budget model sells for only $1,300. But remember that with 3D printers, as with many other technologies, higher price equates to a better product. So if you skimp on the printer quality, you'll probably get a flimsier, shittier gun. And gun quality is important, because ...
#5. If You're Lucky, the Thing Falls Apart When You Shoot It
And if you're unlucky, it explodes. Because this gun is 3D-printed, all of its key parts are made out of plastic. It's also the only gun where all the key parts are made out of plastic, because making a gun out of plastic is really goddamn stupid. Guns become hot when you shoot them, and plastic melts when it gets hot. This means that the barrel tends to deform when you shoot it, and the gun misfires at the drop of a hat. Oh, and they can only load the gun with tiny .380 caliber bullets, because if they try it with anything bigger, again, it will just explode.
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"On the upside, bloody spurting hand wounds also deter muggers."
#4. It's Useless as an Intimidation Device
We said that the appearance of the gun isn't important, but clearly that's not true, right? "Intimidation factor" is the only possible way a gun can be used defensively, unless you're Jet Li. So when you get mugged and pull out a gun that looks like this ...
Michael Thad Carter
"Say hello to my scroodlehammer!"
... it pretty much guarantees that you're going to have to fire it, because you will invariably look like more of a dork than you did before you pulled it out. So you'll have to bust a cap in that mugger's ass just to save face, and you'd better not miss, because ...
#3. It's Only Got One Shot
A lot of people have made fun of the Liberator for having such a small caliber (.380), but we're not gonna do that, because we're pretty sure bullets can kill the shit out of you no matter how cute they are.
Look at da widdle death machine!
But the thing is, real-life bullets don't cause instant death like they do in movies, unless you hit your target in a couple very-hard-to-hit spots. So if you hit them wrong, you're just gonna have a really angry dude coming at you, and since it only has one shot, you're gonna have to be sure you aim it carefully. Oh, and in this context, "aiming carefully" means "guiding your bullet with the power of prayer," because ...
#2. Accuracy Is Still a Pipe Dream
If you look at the picture, you'll notice there are no iron sights and, more importantly, an extremely short barrel. Accuracy doesn't seem to have been an important part of the weapon's development, and apparently you have a way better chance of hitting your target with a stream of terror-piss than you do with a shot from the Liberator.
Piss through the barrel. It'll be even more accurate.
#1. The Legal Barriers Are Way Bigger Than They've Been Made Out to Be
Even if you manage to work out the kinks, get it to aim properly, load it up with traditional bullets, and shell out the cash for a printer, it's still illegal to make one of these until you fill out the proper forms with the government first.
And even after the all-plastic gun is made, you still need to insert a big chunk of steel into the handle to make sure metal detectors can see it, otherwise you're breaking the law there, too. In fact, 3D gun organization Defense Distributed actually had their 3D printer confiscated after the people they'd rented it from found out what they were doing, kinda like how your mother hid your sister's Barbie dolls when she found out what you were doing.
No photo has ever better embodied adolescent sexual frustration.
Anyone trying to make their own Liberators will face these same legal hurdles, and unless they manage to fight off the G-Men with their one-shot-only explode-a-pistols, their revolutionary movement probably won't even make it out of the front yard.