The Ghost Gunner is just a machine. It occupies about half the volume of a 10-gallon fish tank and runs off of standard wall power. The thing is so easy to operate that any American who can read can use it to legally finish firearm receivers at home. The Ghost Gunner is a gun-grabber’s worst nightmare. It is also the greatest hedge against tyranny ever conceived by mankind.

Fighting Back

There are literally unprecedented forces at work in our great republic. Socialists serve proudly in Congress and are making respectable bids for the presidency. An entire generation of perpetually offended young Americans has lost the capacity to differentiate between freedom of speech and freedom from speech. Leftists frequently justify violence against those with whom they disagree and see the Bill of Rights as an antiquated impediment to social evolution.

People are bad. Anyone who claims otherwise has clearly never met one. Given enough time, all government devolves into dictatorship. Trading freedom for security is an essential catalyst.

That will never happen in America. What makes us immune is not the rarefied blood that courses through our veins, the majestic vistas of our great land or even the countless priceless lives given to secure our freedom. The reason there will never be a king, despot or dictator grasping the reins of power in Washington, D.C., is the Ghost Gunner machine and the holy idea it represents.

Ghost Gunner Corporate Ethos

The parent company of the Ghost Gunner, Defense Distributed, is a non-profit activism group devoted to the righteous goal of freedom for all Americans. Visiting with them at SHOT Show was like hanging out with the French Resistance during World War II. These guys serve on the front lines of American liberty.

Their singular crusade is the free and unfettered exchange of information. Their holy writ is a curious melding of both the First and Second Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The implications for our society are staggering.

Their Liberator is a single-shot polymer pistol that can be constructed using a standard hobby-grade 3D printer. They don’t sell the gun. They just offer the digital CAD files required to make one at home. The end result is not something you’d want to go to war with, but it will indeed shoot. Anti-freedom activists despise the very thought of it.

The ongoing legal fight over their ability to distribute these digital files over the Internet led them into a court battle with the U.S. State Department, which eventually settled in their favor. Now it is time to go to war with sundry freedom-averse state governments.

New Jersey passed a law specifically banning the company from communicating with its citizens. At SHOT Show, they had to verify that visitors to their booth were not Jersey residents before they could even talk about the Ghost Gunner, lest they run afoul of the law. Pretty surreal.

The folks behind the Ghost Gunner use the proceeds from the sale of their machines to fund their ongoing legal fight to distribute digital CAD files over the Internet. Every machine they sell helps defray their legal expenses. Buying one gets you an immensely capable home milling machine and helps support the world’s purest form of liberty.

The Machine

The Information Age has brought with it transformational changes to our society. The capacity to manufacture complex mechanisms economically with relatively inexpensive hardware is one of them. In no other device is this concept more profoundly manifest than in the Ghost Gunner.

The Ghost Gunner is a tabletop CNC milling machine purpose-designed to complete aluminum 80-percent firearm frames at home. So long as the resulting guns are intended for use by the builder and not for resale, as regards federal law at least, they do not require markings or registration of any sort. The Ghost Gunner will currently finish AR-15, AR-10, 1911 and Glock-style frames, with more in the works. It will also engrave whatever you want on the side.

How Does Ghost Gunner Work?

Each of the four builds requires a dedicated jig that can either be bought from the Ghost Gunner website or crafted on a 3D printer at home. It takes most of an afternoon to build an AR-15 receiver. The jigs are reusable.

The Ghost Gunner syncs with your computer, and the software walks you through each step. The prose is easy to follow, and the process is fairly stupid-proof. Once the trigger pocket is milled, you’ll take everything down and reorient the receiver so the machine can drill the trigger and hammer holes. To me, it was mesmerizing watching the little machine move a quarter-inch end mill in two axes to create the perfectly round selector hole.

The machine is a wee bit noisy, but it’s an oddly pleasant sound. The Ghost Gunner sounds more like a Star Wars droid than an industrial machine. I cut my first receiver in my office. Put the machine on top of something to catch the chips, and it really doesn’t make a terrible mess.

The niftiest electronic sensor automatically calibrates the device to the receiver blank. The end result is a legal, non-serialized lower that accepts any standard AR parts. The receivers I crafted are the equals of anything I might have purchased at a gun shop.

You can no longer buy the Ghost Gunner on Amazon (they were recently booted!), so go to Defense Distributed’s website. This amazingly versatile machine pretty much runs itself. While it’s cutting, go and smoke a fat cigar.

Real Liberty

AR-15 parts are dirt cheap these days, and any three-thumbed ape can assemble an AR-15 on the dinner table in an evening. That’s what Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi so despise about this device. However, it’s really not about the cost.

This machine well set you back about $2,000. You will never build your own guns more cheaply than the factory versions. The real benefit is that you can build your own guns without asking anybody’s permission. Having a Ghost Gunner and the appropriate components stashed away means that you are never more than an afternoon away from having a proper defensive firearm. As far as survival-prepping gear goes, the Ghost Gunner is endlessly versatile.

States can pass laws that attack our freedoms, but technology provides the ultimate failsafe. The Ghost Gunner turns every American into his or her own little gun factory. The foes of liberty will never prevail against something like this.

And let me just say that criminals are not going to drop $2,000 on a machine to make AR-15 receivers in their basements. They also aren’t going to build plastic single-shot pistols on 3D printers. There are already more than 350 million guns in America. Criminals will just steal what they want. Make no mistake, this fight is not about gun proliferation. This fight is about freedom.

Personal Ghost Gunner Build

For this article, I used a Ghost Gunner to finish an 80-percent AR-15 lower receiver from R&B Tactical Tooling in Southern California. The finished pistol wears a 10-inch barrel, a quad-rail forend, an SB Tactical SBA3 stabilizing brace and a Silent Legion sound suppressor. In other words, it’s an awesome little thing.

Once the receiver is finished, the rest of the build is just monkey work. The forward pivot pin and bolt catch always take a little body English, but anybody with even a modicum of manual dexterity can pull it off. If you get stumped, there’s always YouTube (until gun folks get banned from there, too).

The resulting pistol is great fun for plinking at the range while remaining arguably the most efficient home-defense tool ever created. More than all of that, however, having one of these guns stashed in your closet is reliable deterrence against an American version of Pol Pot, Hitler, Gaddafi, Hussein or Stalin. One of these guns is not a big deal. Many thousands are quite literally unstoppable. It’s the ultimate life insurance policy.

For More Information:

This article is from the June/July 2019 issue of Ballistic Magazine. Grab physical and digital copies at

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