The real ‘Liberator’


The original “Liberator” was a cheaply made World War II handgun designed for one or two uses, made out of sheet metal stampings and chambered in .45 acp.

It was air dropped to partisans and resistance movements operating behind enemy lines. It had a smooth bore, rudimentary sights and came with cartoon-like instructions and a wooden dowel used to push a spent brass out of the chamber.

The real "Liberator" a World War II vintage handgun dropped behind enemy lines by the OSS, so partisans could use it against Axis troops, and take their real weapon.

The real “Liberator” was a World War II vintage handgun dropped behind enemy lines by the OSS, so partisans could use it against Axis troops, and take their real weapon.

The theory behind the weapon was that a partisan could sneak close to an Axis soldier — too close, perhaps — shoot them with the pistol and take their real weapon.

The Liberator was horribly inaccurate, although for it’s  intended use, it was accurate enough, so much so that it is still considered a success.

Today, they’re a highly sought after WWII collectible.

Most experts consider it one of the poorer handgun designs ever fielded, at least until now.

The new Liberator is made nearly entirely out of plastic, except for a nail used as the firing pin, and can be made in your home with a 3D printer with no regulation or oversight from the government – no background checks – once internet terror Cody Wilson, a 25-year-old law student, puts the plans online.

It is designed to fire a .380 cartridge, although other calibers are planned, and early reports say it flies apart after a handful of firings.

Patterns for the new Liberator are going to be made available on the self-described anarchist’s website.

Lawmakers, especially a few from the northeast, are tripping over themselves to come up with legislation banning the plastic pistol.

From the Forbes article on Wilson:

Since it was founded last August, Wilson’s group has sought to make as many components of a gun as possible into printable blueprints and to host those controversial files online, thwarting gun laws and blurring the lines between the regulation of firearms and information censorship. So far those pieces have included high capacity ammunition magazines for AR-15s and AK-47s, as well as an AR lower receiver, the body of that semi-automatic rifle to which off-the-shelf components like a stock and barrel can be attached.

I can’t think of a single legitimate use for Wilson’s plastic pistol. I know of no serious gun owner who would be willing to risk picking plastic chunks out of their eye sockets because they wanted to fire something they made at home.

The only thing I like about the monstrosity is the amount of time lawmakers will spend criminalizing the design.


liberator, plastic


About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.

1 Comment

  1. Now I’ve never walked into a gun shop as a non-citizen, but seieng as many of them do contain their own indoor ranges, an interested parties would probably just need their passport as a form of photo ID.I’d definitely be prepared to spend at least a few hours there – the first time I went to one to try handguns I had to sit through a safety course and video for about an hour or so before signing some insurance/liability papers. The deal with a lot of the gun shops as others have mentioned – is that they tend to have a significant selection of weapons to “test-fire” or “sample” – you’ll probably pay a small “rental” fee for the weapon, and then purchase a box of ammunition to be expended at the range.I plan on visiting a few stores again once I get back to the US – and possibly making some purchases in the near future.

Leave A Reply