Like just about anything that can be bought, assembled, or created today, guns can come in kits complete with gun blueprints.
Reading a gun blueprint does not require a degree in gun design, and building a gun from scratch or from an 80% kit can be quite rewarding.
The process can be a difficult as handcrafting a weapon from scratch, right through to printing a weapon on a homemade 3d printer!
The U.S. government worked hard to have every 3d printable gun blueprint removed from the Internet, but it is proving a nearly impossible task. This is mostly due to the fact that the Internet is such a vast place, with dozens of new websites devoted to guns, gun plans or blueprints, gun parts, gun creation, gun assembly, gun maintenance/care, and so on cropping up every day.
Someone who uses a search engine like Google or Bing can find hundreds of gun blueprints without any gun experience or knowledge. It does take a bit of both to understand what is being read, but simply typing in a string like “gun blueprints” can lead to some really interesting information as a starting point.
Anatomy of a Gun Blueprint
Gun blueprints resemble home blueprints in that there are specific layouts, instructions, dimensions, and so on for the design. The blueprints for guns are detailed and comprehensive, and the more complex the gun the greater the detail of the gun blueprint. For example, here is a listing of just a few of the different parts of a 30-caliber Gatling gun:
- Crank handle
- Crank shaft worm key
- Crank shaft worm
- Worm gear
- Crank latch
- Crank shaft spline
- Crank handle rivet
- Crank latch screw
- Pointing lever
There are literally dozens more items that are involved in the mechanisms for the gun alone, each with a very specific location and importance as part of the whole.
The Firearm Receiver
According to Wikipedia definition, the firearm’s receiver is the part of a firearm that houses the operating parts. The receiver usually contains the bolt carrier group, trigger group, and magazine port.
Without the receiver, the firearm is not considered operational and cannot be fired, so it is this portion that is strictly regulated by the United States government. When a gun owner purchases any type of gun, whether it is one that will be built using gun blueprints or a fully-assembled weapon, if it has the receiver it must be registered and legal.
All of the other parts necessary for following the blueprints can be bought online in most cases.
Gun Blueprint Layout Similarities
Most gun blueprints have similarities to other gun blueprints, although there will always be a few key differences depending on the gun design and model. They are designed to be read from left to right and top to bottom, and will normally be purchased in the language of the assembler for obvious reasons.
The average gun blueprint design has each part labeled in capital letters, with an arrow or dash pointing to the part described. Some have numbers that follow the name, such as a serial number, part number, or number of different times this type of part is used throughout the design.
Pay close attention to these when using a gun blueprint so that no parts are overlooked—even a few missed parts can seriously compromise the weapon’s look, design, functionality, and safety.
Measurements are critical in gun designs, so the blueprint will also feature very precise measurements when appropriate. Reading measurements is a valuable asset for gun enthusiasts who wish to undertake the project without outside interference or assistance, and pay close attention to scaling as well. Understand what each measurement means and how the design should look to scale before beginning the project. Otherwise, the result could be a complete mess and not even closely resemble the intended firearm.
Blueprint Producers for Guns
Although not all gun blueprints are free, there is quite a diverse collection of freely-produced gun blueprint designs available on the internet. Companies such as arizonamodels.com offer UK designs, including some with mounts, and the download is completely free. Weaponeer.net offers a few interesting designs as well, including a few that are classic, antiques, replicas, or movie-themed designs.
Sometimes the gun making company or a machining company/group will offer blueprints for various weapons. MG42 is a good example of this type of company, featuring the MG42 gun schematics and MG20 model gun blueprint on their website. However, keep in mind that these will usually only be snapshot gun blueprints, often missing steps or parts so that people cannot have the freedom to design a dangerous weapon at random and without limitation/licensure.
Can Anyone Build a Gun?
While it is true that just about anyone can order a gun kit (80% complete in some cases) or download gun blueprints, there are usually special tools, some amount of expense, and a few skills necessary for assembly.
For instance, someone wishing to design an AR (gun aficionado term for an assault rifle) should be familiar with a few terms, such as heat treating and riveting. Sometimes used parts are available to help offset cost somewhat, but parts are still pretty expensive for a gun built from scratch.
The average cost of an AR (not including the cost to download the blueprint) still averages $750 or less according to gun blueprint blog websites.
To answer the initial question, no, not everyone has the skills, financing, and tools needed to build a working gun from a blueprint. Those that attempt the process should keep in mind that any gun with a receiver has to be registered, or “legal,” too; otherwise it could be very interesting to stand in court and face a judge.
That person would have a lot of uncomfortable explaining to do to say the least, and could wind up with a record to show for his/her trouble.