3D printed magazines have been successfully used by Kel-Tec for three years, I discovered at the NSSF Shot Show in Las Vegas yesterday. I talked to Tobias Obermeit, Lead Design Engineer at Kel-Tec, one of the most innovative firearms manufacturers in the United States. Mr. Obermeit said that "Without 3D printing, the PMR-30 would not have been developed, especially the magazine." Mr. Obermeit informed me that a prototype magazine would be printed and then be used for 100 to 150 rounds, when they would develop cracks. The magazine would then be discarded and another magazine printed.
Tobias Obermeit holding a PMR-30 and a normal capacity magazine. The magazine holds 30 .22WMR cartridges.
I asked Mr. Obermeit if the printer used to prototype the magazines was a special, industrial grade machine. He said no, it was basically the same machine used by hobbyists today, using the same basic materials.
This is important information for the debate on banning detachable magazines in the United States. If anyone who wishes can print out magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds, then it makes no sense to ban them from the general population.
The PMR-30 is one of Kel-Tec's popular designs, using the .22 WMR round, a rimfire cartridge. The standard PMR-30 magazine holds 30 rounds.
In related events, Congressman Steve Israel has called for strict control over 3-D printers to prevent magazines from being printed.