More than 800 suspected criminals in at least 18 countries have been arrested after unwittingly making use of an FBI-administered encrypted chat application known as ANOM. In the wake of global arrests, the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation (Keskusrikospoliisi; KRP) revealed that a 3D-printed firearms ‘factory’ was uncovered during raids conducted on Monday 7 June 2021, resulting the arrests of more than 100 individuals. The production facility, located in a warehouse in Tampere (southwestern Finland), contained manufacturing equipment, partially completed firearms, and even a firing range for testing the weapons. Two completed FGC-9 MKII 9 × 19 mm self-loading rifles (‘pistol-calibre carbines’), a quantity of components, and six Creality Ender 3 3D printers were seized (see Figure 1.1), suggesting significant manufacturing capability.
The discovery in Finland follows the seizure of four FGC-9 carbines during two separate raids in Australia in late May and early June, following similar investigations into international crime syndicates (see Figure 1.2). The increasing numbers of this model of craft-produced firearm being discovered in the hands of organised criminal groups suggests that the design is becoming increasingly popular. The total number in the possession of criminal elements is likely higher than the number thus far uncovered.
The FGC-9 MKII was released on 16 April 2021 by the online firearms design collective known as Deterrence Dispensed. The initial (‘MKI’) release was the subject of an ARES report—Desktop Firearms: Emergent Small Arms Craft Production Technologies—published in March 2020. Desktop Firearms also discusses the history of 3D-printed firearms and examines the established and emergent technologies underpinning modern designs. The FGC-9 MKII uses no original-purpose firearms components and can be manufactured from components produced using a commercial 3D printer (costing approximately $170 USD or less), combined with commercially available metal components such as steel tubing for the barrel and round bar for the bolt and firing pin. Even the magazine—an exact copy of the Glock pistol magazine design—and the trigger mechanism or (or ‘fire control group’)—based on the one used by the AR15 rifle—can be produced using a 3D printer, and are reasonably durable. The barrel can be rifled in a low-tech manner by the use of electrochemical machining (ECM), simple techniques for which are included in the design instructions for the FGC-9.
3D-printed firearms ‘factory’ in Finland raided