Evidence has surfaced of fighters of the People’s Defense Force in Myanmar producing 3D printed firearms to fight the junta in the country. (Source) The group has released several photos of their 3D-printed firearms that are made locally or by the group themselves. Also, government forces in Myanmar have captured 3D-printed firearms, like the one above.
Key Judgement 1:
It is clear that elements of resistance related to the PDF in Myanmar are producing a FGC-9 type 3D printed firearm to fight the junta at a reasonable quantity.
- The feasibility of making firearms from a 3D printer has been accelerated by the combination of open-source rifle schematic sharing sites (source) and the relative low cost of personal 3D printers. (Source)
- A photo surfaced on r/fosscad, a popular 3D-printed firearm community, depicting someone believed to be a PDF fighter in Myanmar with a FGC-9 carbine (below). The user added a photo with three FGC-9 carbine. Additionally, they claimed to be the producer of the 3D printed weapons in Myanmar. (Source)
- The user also commented on the fact that they are formulating Glock handgun schematics, and that the learned most of the schematics from users on the site sharing their own improvements to different rifles. (source) This development in the conflict in Myanmar shows that the resistance to the government is able and willing to produce their own firearms to fight against the regime.
Key Judgment 2:
The producers and users of these firearms are likely improving the firearms to adequately match a guerilla warfare environment.
- A PDF fighter with a suppressor on their weapon and another is equipped with a telescopic sight below.
- As the production of these firearms continue, the producers will tailor them to the needs of the fighters and the conditions they are fighting in.
- The addition of a suppressor and scope indicate that the People’s Defense Forces have funding to purchase this equipment. It is more likely they have ability and means to create the equipment themselves, most likely via sites like r/fosscad.
Key Judgement 3:
It is highly likely the proliferation of 3D-printed firearms in areas of civil unrest across the globe will become more prevalent in coming years.
- The inception of at home 3D printers have allowed anyone with electricity to produce their own firearms and accessories. (Source) These types of DIY-firearms are all over the world already. (Source)
- In countries with harsh regimes, social unrest or where buying a firearm is not an option, creating one is an easy choice. Also, the make of these weapons are not just small carbines and handguns, but also large rifles. (Source) Cost-effectiveness and adaptability are important factors to underground resistance groups.
- Combined with prevalence across the globe, ease of production, and low overhead, 3D printed firearms are on track to become the go-to weapon of resistance groups.