Impact of 3-D Printing Tech on Policy & Industry



The increased functionality and accessibility of 3-D printing technology has the potential to transform the manufacturing of firearms, for both licit and illicit purposes. To develop policy and operational strategies requires a clear understanding of this technology and its potential implications.


We reviewed academic, government, private sector, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and news media literature relevant to the emergence of 3-D printing technology. The review identified potential implications for the manufacture of firearms, their components and ammunition, as well as for firearms legislation and policy.


Literature shows that 3-D printing is an emerging, revolutionary technology that is transforming 3-D design and manufacturing. However, current anecdotal evidence suggests that 3-D printed firearms cannot withstand the same level of internal pressures that traditional firearms can withstand, thus making 3-D printed firearms susceptible to catastrophic failure or poor performance.

The Bottom Line

Although there is certainly potential risk with this technology, current research shows that it remains in the imaginary phase when it comes to establishing its impact on the firearm market as a mass production phenomenon.

Project Contact: Chris Ste-Croix


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