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How to Make a Home Brew AR-15 Semi-Automatic Pistol: Legally!

Written by Gary North on July 31, 2012

It is now possible to build a plastic AR-15 pistol. A man has done it. He did it by using an off-the-shelf 3-D printing machine.

These machines keep getting cheaper. In a few years, every do-it-yourself hobbyist will own one.

Download a program, turn on your machine, and in an hour or two, you will have the parts for whatever you like, including an AR-15.

This is legal, as long as you don’t sell it. You can make a do-it-yourself arsenal. You don’t register anything.

Amidst protests from an AR-15 discussion board that the part would fail and seriously injure him, he successfully fired 200 rounds using the 3D printed lower receiver without any trouble. To test it further, a metal AR-15 upper receiver was attached and a few shots fired with a higher-caliber .223. So far, the part seems to be holding up well and hasn’t shown any major signs of wear.

This certainly isn’t the first 3D printed gun part in existence, but it could be the first that’s been made into a fully working firearm. What’s important to note is that under U.S. law the lower receiver of an AR-15 (or any similar gun for that matter) is the component that is legally considered the “firearm.” It’s the main part that allows the gun to function, and even has the serial number printed on it for identification. Luckily for HaveBlue, making guns yourself isn’t illegal so long as you don’t sell or distribute them.

How does this work? Watch this.

Ain’t technology grand?

The gun control crowd is going to go ballistic!

If you’re going to go something, ballistic is the way to go, I always say.

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18 thoughts on “How to Make a Home Brew AR-15 Semi-Automatic Pistol: Legally!

  1. WillytheGeek says:

    I guess the government will ban plastic next.

  2. You'd better get a lawyer involved who knows the law. If you put a stock and a regular upper on this receiver, it is no longer eligible to be a pistol. If you put a rifle stock on a pistol, BATF may consider it an illegal gun.
    Best get some legal advice before you advertise what you are doing.

    • irongalt says:

      an ar-15 is a carbine, not a pistol – best use your brain – it will serve you better than a lawyer

  3. These are things I don't need to know. I'm a 2nd amendment 10 year CHL guy, have several weapons, and don't need silly
    stuff that does nothing but alarm my adversaries.

    • I couldn't agree more ! Nothing like bringing the heat down on our own heads…common sense people, common sense.

  4. JPaul120 says:

    Although I find the 3D thing absolutely fascinating, I'm not sure I understand the point of owning an automatic unless somebody is planning a major attack on a large group of people. Perhaps you live in an extremely violent neighborhood and are concerned about a dozen gang members attacking your home? If that's a very real fear then it would be smarter to simply move out. The obsession with automatics just doesn't make sense to me. I know I certainly wouldn't want to have to clean a deer that's been turned into Swiss cheese, nor would I want to take a chance of biting a bullet when I'm eating chili. Perhaps it's the David Koresh Syndrome. Does anyone really think that a few automatics are enough to stop a dozen US tanks if they really wanted to take somebody down? But why be so paranoid in the first place? I mean, Koresh was crazy!

    • YouTube to find the guy that defended his home after Katrina. As looting and all kind of other lawlessness was going around him, he sat on his roof with an AR-15. No body bothered him

    • Please educate yourself to the FACTS.
      It is not an "automatic" it is a semi-automatic meaning ONE shot per pull of the trigger.
      Are you assuming because an AR15 LOOKS like an M16 it is fully automatic? I see the deceptive media and the lying politicians have claimed another uninformed mind again. Again, please educate yourself to the facts.
      Because you have 20 rounds in your defensive weapon does not mean you will stop 20 threats in an emergency situation. Even the best shooter will see his accuracy drop as low as 10% depending on conditions in a REAL fight for your life. Hear all those stories of cops firing 72 rounds and hitting the perp only once? Case and point. This isn't hollywood, it's real life and when your life and the life of your family is at stake, you can never have too many rounds in your weapon!
      Also, if nobody NEEDS 15-30 rounds in a weapon then why do the cops NEED them? Is the average cop somehow more worthy of self preservation then yourself?
      I'm 26 years combined Military, Law Enforcement and Security Contractor… I know what I'm talking about.
      As for your comments… "planning a major attack on a large group of people" is just plain ignorant. You must have hoplophobic tendencies.
      "…then it would be smarter to simply move out" Some people don't have that option. again, your ignorance is overwhelming.
      Everything you said beyond that was liberalblabber.
      I just hope you find yourself understanding the truth before you find yourself a victim with no means to defend himself with his last earthly thought being "gee, I wish I had a gun to protect myself"/
      The truth is out there… learn it.

      • JPaul120 says:

        Ahhh, Eric, I actually completely misread the semi-automatic. My mistake. BTW, I am not a liberal, nor am against owing fire arms, but neither do I subscribe to the extreme libertarianism that is so far removed from reality as to think that a government conspiracy is lurking behind every shadow. There are others out there that are far more sane than Koresh was, but they seem to buy into the idea that the government intends some sort of action against common citizens.
        Furthermore, I did not say that automatics should be banned from the police and military, you seem to be as apt to misread as I, myself.

        • Not a problem.
          I misconstrued your comments as the ignorant ramblings of an uninformed liberal… been happening a lot after Aurora.
          I don't believe the police should have anything not available to a law-abiding citizen.
          What would a person need with a machine gun? Well, what would a cop need with one? The FIRST legally purchased and possessed machinegun used in a crime since the National Firearms Act of 1934 was done by a COP… the other (read that, TWO legal machineguns) was by a cop as well.
          If we are a nation OF, BY & FOR THE PEOPLE then why is the government held as some sort of deity with special rights and privileges not afforded to the people? Is THAT what the founding fathers wanted?
          I can reload a pistol or rifle in roughly a second… what would a 10-round limit do to prevent me from going on a killing spree? There would only be several restricted capacity mags scattered among the brass and blood, that's all.
          However, when I'm out here in the sticks and I hear a noise or the dog barks, I take that AR15 with it's 30-round magazine in it knowing that even if it's multiple threats, I have enough ammo in the gun to get back to the house… where the real party can start.
          By the way, interesting fact… before the "assault weapons" ban of 1994 less than 1% of all gun crimes were committed by the so-called "assault weapons" banned (semi-automatic clones of fully automatic military weapons)… during the ban it dipped slightly (mostly because of cost… the ban doubled and even tripled the value of these forearms)… after the ban, it still sits around 1% even with the Holder Justice Dept giving these firearms to Mexican drug gangs.
          So a ban would do as much good as say banning cars with V8 engines and gas tanks bigger than 10 gallons (or even cars that LOOKED like sports cars) to stop speeding and criminal use of cars.
          Doesn't make sense, does it?
          Neither does a ban on guns that LOOK scary.
          BTW, as far as your government NOT intending to do you harm should you oppose any measures it decides to impose on you… I worked 12-years in the military and did a stint with another government agency… don't think for a second the bureaucrats that live in their own little reality won't kill you or your family should it come down to their career/pension or you. Or maybe they can step aside and just let the animals living under you have their turn in the sun (hear Bloomberg last week?)
          I've been there, I've seen it happen… there is a reason the founders put the 2nd in there and it's overdue using it. They are too embedded in a system that breeds the same… it's too late to just vote people out because all you do now is vote for 2-sides of the same coin.
          But what do I know… I've only had my foot in the door for 20-years or so.
          Hope you're armed and willing to protect yourself and your own.
          Just sayin…

          • JPaul120 says:

            You make some valid arguments. Police and various government officials should definitely be under the same laws as civilians. I understand that sometimes there are complicated situations, and perhaps certain tactical units under certain circumstances should be granted special fire power. BUT, they should also be subject to laws of conduct. And when any official, whether in Washington or at the local police precinct breaks the law, they should not automatically receive political asylum.

            As for the notion of taking up arms against the government rather than engaging in political activism and public debate, I think it to be not only unjustifiable but ultimately futile. And even if victory was plausible, it would not lead to a perfectly righteous government, that will only happen when God sets up his kingdom. Grant it, there are plenty of problems with the government, but civil war is not a reasonable option. Remember, it was Brittan who forced the American populace into the righteous cause of the revolution. It was spurred by countless attacks and cold blooded murder, not an isolated event here and there, perpetrated by ignorant officials. Continue to pray and work for more great leaders such as William Wilberforce, keeping in mind that nobody is perfect.

        • Gentelmen..let's not be so nieve..take a look at who's in office at this very moment, you think he got there without the help of our own government? Wake up ! I'm not saying we should be perinoid no, but lets get real and a real concern ought to be the thought of the day on everyone's mind with the election coming up. They want to control us, make no mistake about it and taking away our firearms and restricting ammunition sales either by quantity or by componets is their way to get it done…make NO mistake about it. If this election falls back into their hands….Cadi bar the doors!

    • "Does anyone really think that a few automatics are enough to stop a dozen US tanks if they really wanted to take somebody down? But why be so paranoid in the first place? I mean, Koresh was crazy! "

      At the beginning of the Vietnam conflict the National Liberation Front was armed mostly with hand me down French and old US weapons. They managed to keep the US tied up pretty well. Aside RPGs the Taliban mostly use automatic firearms. Seems to me that they do a reasonable job against the US and NATO in Afghanistan.

      As you probably surmise by now the 3D printed receiver was not an NFA firearm. Hopefully nobody does such a thing and causes themselves some prison time and pain for their families and loved ones.

      Who on Earth is going to order military tanks against ordinary US citizens? I could see a police SWAT team doing it, sure, but the military? What do our nation's leaders gain from such a display? They'd would destroy the confidence of business people and ordinary citizens by such over reaction. Using military as police is bad business – it's hard on the people and hard on the military.

      Vernon Howell was irrational. He might have been using street drugs. He certainly was drunk on power with his role as a "spiritual leader". He indulged himself with the women of his group. There is not a lot of evidence that Mr. Howell or his "Mighty Men" were using automatic weapons during the Branch Davidian siege. The entire misfortune was probably the artifact of some ideologues in Washington whose calculations did not go as planned, in conjunction with Mr. Howell's antics.

    • Koresh was only as crazy as the out of control government wanted to make him crazy so they wouldn't look so bad for shooting them all up.

      You cna't imagine any need for a full aotu weapon… but if you're ever confronted with a large mass of individuals trying to kill or assault YOU, you'd sure wish you had one. Trouble is, plain ol folks like you an me can't own one. Plaese explain to me WHY so many can only conceive of such a weapon being used to assault a bunch of people? NEVER ONCE do I ever read anyone saying they're real handy to have when you are BEING assaulted.

      Most times, though, their fast rate of fire means nothing. I mean, you can't shoot fast enough to miss…….. suix hundred rounds downrange is possible.. but how many disabling HITS will come of that many rounds? Ammunition is heavy to carry about. Far better to get skilled enough you can take out ten men with ten ruonds. It was carefully aimed, discipined fire that turned the tables at Cncords' North Bridge on 19 April 1775… and threw the entire company of British Regulars into chaos, breaking formation and running for their lives. Full auto with hi cap mags is only useful when being assaulted by large numbers of fast moving people. BUT… in that situation, I'd REALLY want to have it. I'd never settle for the AR 15 platform, though…. too puny a round. Nope.. but, give me a BMG 50, or at least the lowly .30/06 or 6.52×51. Now those ruonds have a bit of authority. Or, for really reasing out and touching someone far away, the .338 Lapua reigns supreme. One shot is all it takes with any of these thrree rounds.

      • JPaul120 says:

        I did mention using automatics in self defense in one or two of the posts. It seems to me that if someone was afraid of the government, there ultimately would be no escape anyway. 10 Thousand rounds of ammo spraying out of an automatic would only post pone the inevitable. Leaving hundreds of dead bodies isn't going to help the cause (whatever it might be). As for the fear of a gang of thugs, it would just seem safer to move out of the neighborhood and be done with it. Still, others seem to have the idea of a second revolution or civil war. I find it difficult to imagine that any such actions would be beneficial. The constitution that we have in place is as good as anything that a man made government can offer. The only government that will bring lasting peace is the one ushered in by the Prince of Peace.

  5. I want to comment not so much on the second amendment (I'm for that), but more about my concern for homemade weapons safety wise. One does have to be careful though with homemade weapons though, if it's badly made it can be much more harmful to the user than anything else.

  6. I am pleased to see this development. I do not want Criminals to build "assault weapons". I do want the Government to deal with gun owners as intelligent human beings and not as "carriers of the gun contagion", "pariahs", "reprobates", "quasi criminals", "the armorer of criminals" or Untermenschen fit for gas chambers. Being able to make your own firearm will force the Government to negotiate with gun owners, to respect us and to respect the balance between the People and the State.

    I am being a realist in this development. I hope and trust that our Government takes the same tack. I consider them, in the final analysis, to be rational economic actors.

    Please consult http://www.reprap.org for details on a 3D printer that can be built out of common parts.

    There is no way to "register" 3D printers, any more than you can register Lathes., Milling Machines or Hand Tools (the last being how Pakistani craftsmen build good copies of firearms in the "Tribal Areas").

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