The New York City Police Department (NYPD) has recently published online for all residents of the Earth a comprehensive, useful, guide to suppliers and designs available for making your own firearm without any background check or registration paperwork being required.
As many know the current US Constitution does not prohibit an individual from making their own weapons or hunting firearms for private personal use. Many have been doing so since before the creation of the United States, Although much legislative and media attention in the past 70 years has been paid to commercially produced forearms After WW2 the flood of commercially available military surplus firearms hitting the US market at very cheap prices meant taking the time and materials to make your own was not economically wise. Consequentially as the decades passed and older persons who had the skills and knowledge began to die off, the skill sets involved, much like home canning and running a sewing machine, began to vanish from the general population.
Meanwhile on the commercial side firearms manufacturers began to simplify their designs to produce guns that could be made at lower cost with fewer steps required in the production process so as to increase profits. Plastics were introduced to the firearms industry in the early 1960s and by 2000 were well established.
As the world economy grew after WW2 lower cost manufacturing crept into tools as well. For instance, in WW2 the US bought thousands of (Model 101.24810) 1/2 Horsepower, 15″ Drill Presses from Sears & Roebuck (then sold as an Atlas product) at an average inflation adjusted price of $1,200 apiece. Today the equivalent Craftsman 1/2 HP 15″ Drill Press retails online (@ 911tooling.com) for only $299.
Places like Lowes, Harbor Freight, Walmart and of course the Internet ensure that many Americans own professional tools and machinery with a much lower economic cost than their ancestors could afford. Complete tool and machine shops effectively exist in many American homes and garages often equipped with everything from sheet metal folders and power drills to low cost mills and lathes.
In the 1late 960s the US Congress passed laws requiring any firearm intended for commercial sale be marked with a serial number and that only makers who paid a license fee (then about half an average American’s salary) could have such a business. and that a paper record be kept of all such transactions, while also establishing groups of Americans who should not be allowed to purchase such items.
In the early 2000s these factors came together when pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act the US Govt released the actual manufacturing blue prints and technical specifications for all small arms the US made in WW2. In a very short time they migrated to the Internet and some bored Americans began to make their own copies. 3D plastic printing also emerged and began to drop in price reaching affordable to consumer price availability by 2019. Many US homes now have 3D plastic (and some metal) printing capability.
In 2014 Colt, until, then the only lawful maker or the US M4 and AR15 riflea, lost their government contract to produce them and in addition to the contract going to another maker, (FN) the blueprints, rights and specifications of the AR15/M16/M4 now passed from Colt to the public domain and the Internet. It is not untrue to describe the Colt Armalite 15, (aka AR15/N16/M4) design as being America’s most popular firearm. Literally millions of Americans received military training with it and had one variation or another of it while in the Armed Services of the country. The number of commercially produced and sold variations of the AR is over 10 million. The number of home built versions is probably much larger.
FN, the current holder of the US Military contract to produce M4 rifles lists them on their website at a retail price 0f $1,929 (with a ‘buy it now’ button alongside the price). Your cost to produce a substantially identical, working specimen in your own home qitn no bothersome paperwork required is usually less than $400 and maybe 3 – 4 hours of your time. The economic incentive is obvious.
<It is not untrue to say most people who made a working firearm for their own personal use have very little interest in surrendering it, and, even if they did so, having already learned how to overcome any stumbling blocks when making the first one, making a second or third one would probably take only half the time.>
The weapon is modular and by swapping out some parts can be made in about a dozen different calibers. Military ammunition over runs of the original caliber are cheap and plentiful.
Meanwhile the US patents held by Glock and also some held by Sig expired and their designs also moved into the public domain. Many Americans see no point in spending up to $1,000 and going through 3 to 10 (locality dependent) pages of paper work, enduring background checks and waiting periods of possibly weeks (in some towns), when for often less than $200 they can make essentially the same product in their home in not more than an hour or two. Best of all in most of the US doing so is completely legal as long as there is no intention to resell a gun you made yourself.
Because it sounds spooky, and implies there is something magically demonic about these pieces of plastic and metal the NYPD and anti gunners like to call these made at home products GHOST guns.
Actually for the most part these privately built firearms are just examples of Americans exercising their Freedoms and Rights under the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
Anyway, regardless of the intent of the NYPD when writing the below guide, it is a very well written comprehensive, useful, guide to sourcing parts for a variety of make it yourself forearms. I can personally attest most (if not all) of the information about parts distributors is accurate and using their supplies in your own ‘make it yourself’ project usually results in a quality end product fully comparable in every way to the more expensive versions you could find at a firearms dealer.
The PDF link to the NYPD booklet is