Bulletproof: 3D printed guns are real and they’re a huge problem

Bulletproof -- "Episode 4" -- Image Number: BLP204_0009.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Ashley Walters as Ronnie Pike and Noel Clarke as Aaron Bishop -- Photo: © Sky UK Limited
Bulletproof -- "Episode 4" -- Image Number: BLP204_0009.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Ashley Walters as Ronnie Pike and Noel Clarke as Aaron Bishop -- Photo: © Sky UK Limited /

Bulletproof Season 2, Episode 4 kept it real with 3D printed guns

Bulletproof does have some excellent comedic moments, but it also focuses on many of the real issues police forces around the world face today. “Ghost guns” have always been a problem, but this week’s episode brought up the issue of 3D printed guns.

“Ghost guns” are those that are made at home. They don’t have a serial number, so it’s impossible for the police to trace them. 3D printed guns are even worse.

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They’re plastic guns. It’s possible to get them through metal detectors without an issue, which is how Mikey was able to send someone into a prison to kill an inmate who was in solitary confinement. The remnants of plastic around the bullet hole told Pike what had happened.

These are major headaches for police forces around the world. Not only are they untraceable since they don’t have serial numbers, they are also impossible to catch if metal detectors aren’t set off for other reasons.

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Technology growth continues to be a problem

Bulletproof Season 2, Episode 4 only lightly touched on the problem. There wasn’t much to actually focus on. All the team needed to know was how someone managed to kill a prisoner in solitary confinement. Once they had that, they could work on the next step of their case. Their focus right now has to be on the Markides family.

That’s what makes some of this so scary. Even if the police could track a few things, 3D printed guns are just a small part of a bigger problem in many cases. They’re a means to an end for the criminals, usually in investigations on other cases. The police forces don’t have the manpower to cover all bases.

Right now, 3D printed guns aren’t all that accurate. They need to be used from short ranges, which does help to limit the issue right now. But how long until they become a much bigger problem?

A few years ago, we didn’t even expect 3D printed guns to even be an issue. Who would have thought the plastic guns could do something that people have needed metal for in the past? And what about the bullets?

The bullets are also made of plastic so they get through detectors. They cause the damage from short range, but eventually, technology will grow to the point where they can do more. Police forces need the ability to prevent the guns from being printed in the first place, but how do they manage that? Do they remove 3D printers? That would prevent so much good that comes from them at the same time.

It’s not an easy situation to deal with. Bulletproof has scratched the surface, but there’s a bigger problem deep down that police forces will need to manage in the near future. I wouldn’t be surprised if this show or other TV crime dramas started looking at using 3D printed guns in storylines in the future.

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Bulletproof Season 2 airs on Wednesdays at 9/8c on The CW.