3D printed guns are back in the news after Queensland Police reported last week that
they had discovered a 3D printer in a raid on what appeared to be a “large-scale”
weapons production facility as a part of Operation Oscar Quantum.
According to police, the raid uncovered homemade weapons and ammunition in a
workshop manufacturing facility “containing equipment used in the production of
fully automatic machine guns, including a 3D printer, lathes, drill presses and other
The Gold Coast Bulletin reported that Detective Superintendent Jon Wacker, of the Drug and Serious
Crime Group, said the “Uzi”-style guns, thought to be made with the help of a 3D printer, were “fairly
close” to factory quality.
One of the home made weapons was captioned in one media report as being a “3D-printed
submachine gun”. This could certainly raise alarm and hint at a new era of disorganised and
decentralised weapons production, and a burgeoning “reshoring” of weapon manufacturing as an
alternative to importation from overseas.
But the fact is that 3D printing technology is not yet at the stage where it can readily produce
weapons. Although it can be used to help rogue gunsmiths work their shady trade.