Home-Built Guns Get Boost With New Documentary

Earlier this summer, the inaugural Gun Makers Match was held in St. Augustine, Florida, and a reporter from the typically anti-gun news site Vice was on hand to not only cover the event, but participate as well. Now Vice’s documentary is online, and as match organizer and 2A activist Rob Pincus tells Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co, the result is a surprisingly fair piece on the gun-making community.

You can check out the half-hour documentary in the video window above, and despite some misfires like portraying the event as a bunch of middle-aged white dudes instead of highlighting the diversity in both physical appearance and political philosophy among the competitors, I have to say it’s a more balanced piece than I expected from Vice. Of course, I’ve never really understood why Vice is so pro-gun control anyway, especially in light of their view that the War on Drugs has been a miserable failure.

That’s probably a post for another day, however. For his part, Pincus says that there was some discussion among the organizers of the Gun Makers Match about whether or not to allow Vice to take part in the event, but ultimately they decided that even if the coverage ended up with an anti-gun slant, it was important to show that these Second Amendment supporters had nothing to hide.

And while reporter Keegan Hamilton didn’t walk away from the Gun Makers Match a 2A convert, I do think he covered the match fairly.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was slightly proud (and more than a little terrified) of my ghost Glock. I somehow ended up taking third place in the 3D-printed pistol category. Just like me, some of my competitors seemed to spend more time behind a computer screen than at the firing range. I was told some shooting clubs prohibit ghost guns or 3D-printed guns, making it difficult to find a place for target practice. And reliability was clearly an issue, as many people—even the most advanced builders—suffered malfunctions and jams. The guns may look badass, but they don’t yet quite stack up evenly to the real thing.

But as 3D-printing technology improves, making a 100% DIY ghost gun will become easier and easier. Even if there’s a ban on “80 percent” kits, anyone with access to a printer, a few hundred dollars, and some free time will still be able to crank out a semi-auto pistol, one with no paper trail to identify the owner. In the eyes of Pincus and others at the shooting match, this is actually a good thing.

“I know this is counterintuitive for a lot of people, but the more people who have guns, the more normal gun ownership is, the more responsible the community will be and also the more educated the community will be in judging responsibility,” Pincus said. “I don’t think everybody should have a gun. I think everybody who wants to be a responsible gun owner should have that option.”

Of course Hamilton’s report contains the standard quote from a gun control activist (in this case L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer), but he at least noted that California’s ban on unserialized firearms isn’t stopping criminals from illegally acquiring (and perhaps making) firearms. Hamilton himself, however, decided against keeping his 3D-printed pistol, and instead melted down his handgun into its “original form: molten plastic.”

Well, maybe he’ll print another one if he decides to take part in another Gun Makers Match. Pincus says that several more events are scheduled, including the second annual national match in St. Augustine that’s set to take place next March. In fact, Pincus says that Guns For Everyone National and Are We Cool Yet?, who hosted the first Gun Makers Match, are going to hold a mid-Atlantic regional in the not-too-distant future, and while I don’t have a 3D printer of my own (yet), I’ll definitely be making plans to attend.

With the Biden administration targeting home-built and 3D-printed firearms with a proposed ATF rule that’s intended to treat even unfinished frames and receivers as if they’re fully functional firearms, there are a lot of non-gun owning Americans and even some gun owners who may view home-built guns as something that only violent criminals care about. The truth is that there’s a growing community of hobbyists and activists who are working to demonstrate that plenty of responsible gun owners are making or printing their own firearms to use at the range, in the field, and for home defense. That would all come crashing down, of course, if Biden and his gun control buddies get their wish, so it’s gratifying to see groups like GFEN and AWCY stepping up to showcase what the DIY gunmaking community is really about.