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11 Oct, 2019 20:54

German synagogue shooter used an improvised gun. Is this a sign of things to come?

German synagogue shooter used an improvised gun. Is this a sign of things to come?

A craft submachine gun used by a far-right shooter in Halle, Germany, jammed several times, probably saving more lives, but it’s no reason to breathe easy – the know-how and gear for improvised weapons are just around the corner.

The suspect, described in German media as a neo-Nazi ‘loner’ Stephan B, was thrust into the limelight not only because of his anti-Semitic manifesto, but also because of the weapons he used. His attack drew comparisons to the deadly Christchurch shooting rampage, in which 28-year-old white supremacist Brenton Tarrant slaughtered 51 people at a local mosque.

But the German’s gun lacked the reliability and firepower of Tarrant’s military-grade rifles, with the former frustrated by his weapon’s repeated jams and failures.


In fact, technology to produce the craft gun is widely available to almost anyone who has basic plumbing skills, Maksim Popenker, a renowned Russian arms expert, told RT.

These firearms were designed in the UK several decades ago, and in order to make them, you need standard engineering tools and metal parts available at any hardware store.

Popenker denied speculations that the gun in question could have been 3D-printed partially or in full. “Most of the improvised weapons have been made without 3D printing,” he said, explaining that such technology widely relies on plastic parts that are unable to endure the shocks and heat.

Some Western media found the German shooter’s weapon was identical to a so-called Philip Luty submachine gun, named after a British man convicted for terrorism and illicit weapons possession. He believed that UK gun control laws were “fascist”, and created detailed instructions on how to make firearms from commercially available parts.

Popenker, who has authored several books on Russian and Western small arms, says that unlike 3D-printed weapons – which widely use plastic elements – improvised guns made of metal “have been around for quite a long time,” and the necessary know-how can be found online and on paper.

Indeed, a quick search through popular book-sharing websites reveal dozens of free-shipping manuals describing how to make “improvised weapons out of everyday objects for self-defense” or “do-it-yourself basic homemade survival weapons.”

Also on rt.com Halle’s ‘Nazi killer’: How blind hatred fueled a deadly shooting spree in Germany

What’s more, there’s virtually nothing that could stop the spread of such information online, says Otfried Nassauer, founder of Berlin Information Center for Transatlantic Security (BITS).

“The censorship is ineffective because, once published, [such] information becomes available,” he said, mentioning that even US field manuals available on the BITS website are dual-use – they could be useful for researchers, but also for those “planning to do a terror attack.”

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