In April 2020, the Toronto Police Service seized what appears to be a Glock-type self-loading pistol. To the non-specialist, this may appear to be a modified factory-made Glock handgun, but it is in fact a craft-produced firearm constructed using a 3D-printed frame. It is most likely to be what is known as a ‘parts kit conversion’ or ‘parts kit completion’ (PKC) build, in which the slide, barrel, and trigger components are of commercial origin, whilst the frame is produced using a 3D printer. PKC designs are generally favoured where commercial parts can be readily acquired, but complete firearms—or key components, such as the frame or receiver—are legally controlled.
The frame used in this particular PKC build appears to be a ‘BTB G26’ model. This is a 3D-printable frame that accepts a Glock 26 slide and barrel, but uses a Glock 19 locking block and incorporates craft-produced internal rails modelled after those of the Glock 19. The two screws visible at the top-left of the image hold in place the rails (most likely crafted from aluminium) which guide the slide as it reciprocates. The slide and other visible components, such as the trigger, are not factory-original Glock components either. Instead, these are produced by aftermarket parts manufacturers, often at a lower price than genuine Glock components. Some of these components are specifically marketed for use with 80% lowers, used in PKC builds that do not involve 3D printing.
The layer lines that are usually visible on 3D-printed Glock frames are hard to spot on this example, but a trained eye will notice these around the takedown lever. Taken together with the tell-tale steps on the underside of the frame, these indicate that the frame was printed with its top down to the printbed. The frame appears to be hand-stippled.
The production of 3D-printed pistol frames, and the nature of PKC builds more generally, is discussed in ARES’ latest report, Desktop Firearms: Emergent Small Arms Craft Production Technologies.
Remember, all arms and munitions are dangerous. Treat all firearms as if they are loaded, and all munitions as if they are live, until you have personally confirmed otherwise. If you do not have specialist knowledge, never assume that arms or munitions are safe to handle until they have been inspected by a subject matter specialist. You should not approach, handle, move, operate, or modify arms and munitions unless explicitly trained to do so. If you encounter any unexploded ordnance (UXO) or explosive remnants of war (ERW), always remember the ‘ARMS’ acronym:
AVOID the area
RECORD all relevant information
MARK the area from a safe distance to warn others
SEEK assistance from the relevant authorities
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