Machine guns encompass far more than the Tommy guns that we think of when we hear this phrase, and machine gun plans are available for a few different models.
The founding fathers of machine guns are often listed as men such as Sir Hiram Maxim, Richard J. Gatling, and Isaac N. Lewis, although others have contributed in some capacity throughout the history of the weapon.
There are many plans to give amateur and professional gunsmiths ideas for weapons they may want to create now or in the future, and many ideas for interesting weapons related to genre, movies, books, history, and much more.
Defined according to U.S. law, the term machine gun means “any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, more than one shot automatically, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.
The term shall also include the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, and any combination of parts from which a machinegun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.”
Types of Machine Gun Plans
Sub-machine gun construction is technically illegal in the United States without preapproval from the ATF (Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms). These weapons can cause a lot of property damage and bodily injury (including death), so they must be registered with the federal government.
The builder faces jail time and a hefty monetary fine if caught and convicted, and it can be rather difficult to explain the necessity of a homemade sub-machine gun to a judge and jury.
However, that said, there are many different websites that offer sub-machine gun plans that can easily be constructed at home even with minimal experience. It is a unique experience to take an existing plan for a weapon and modify it to personal tastes or to suit a need, and building this type of weapon expands upon that excitement exponentially.
Gunsmiths around the world look forward to designing their own weapons that are unique, functional, and innovative, and the more the weapon can do (such as a homemade sub-machine gun with additional storage capacity in the stock or handle) the more desirable it becomes.
Air Machine Gun Plans
For an air machine gun, air is used as the propellant for the firing mechanism in the weapon, and these types of machine guns can be a little trickier to build.
Pay very close attention to those areas that deal with airflow in the weapon, because if they are not exactly right the air will not propel the ammo and the weapon will be a flop. This is especially true for the soldering portion of the weapons-building phase, because soldering before the airflow is established can lead to blocks, misdirection, and poor functionality.
Pistol Machine Guns
There are several options available for pistol machine gun plans, including some that require only some tubing, a metal collar, and nuts and bolts for assembly. The only tool needed is the gunsmith’s hands also, making it an ideal project for beginners and intermediates. Electric resistance welded tubing is the most popular style for this type of project, and it can be found in a few different places for the right price.
Using the designs, small 22-caliber, .380, .32, and other similar pistol machine gun plans are downloadable from a variety of websites. This includes a few that are free to download, meaning that more people all over the world have access to this resource.
Laws Related to Machine Gun Building from Home
As mentioned before, the ATF strictly monitors guns that classify as machine guns, primarily due to their destructive reputations, as defined by 18 U.S.C. 922(o)(2), 27 CFR 479.105(e). Unlike many other types of homemade weapons, gunsmiths need a license prior to building this type of homemade gun, and those caught building a machine gun without this permit face seriously undesirable consequences.
In other words, machine guns are essentially illegal for the average civilian except in extreme circumstances determined appropriate by the ATF.
Machine Gun Plans—Method of Operation
A few different methods of operation can be employed using the homemade machine gun, such as gas-operated, blowback, and recoil. Other methods may be devised as new guns are innovated each year, but these three main methods of operation are used around the world for machine guns of most calibers.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica:
- Blowback: the empty cartridge case is hurled backward by the explosion of the cartridge and thereby pushes back the bolt, or breechblock, which in turn compresses a spring and is returned to the firing position upon that spring’s recoil.
- Gas-operated: the energy required to operate the gun is obtained from the pressure of gas tapped off from the barrel after each cartridge explodes.
- Recoil: the bolt is locked to the barrel immediately after a round is fired; both the bolt and barrel recoil, but the barrel is then returned forward by its own spring while the bolt is held to the rear by the locking mechanism until a fresh round has fallen into place in the opened breech.
Machine Gun Plans
From homemade machine gun pistols to .50-caliber weapons that require machining skills and hard labor, there are many machine gun plans available on the Internet, through books, and via military websites and tutorials.
It may be illegal to create many of them without a permit, but reading the plans still proves to be interesting for many gunsmiths and gun enthusiasts around the world.