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In the film Die Hard 2 one of the bad guys has a porcelain gun (clip):

That punk pulled a Glock 7 on me. You know what that is? It's a porcelain gun made in Germany. Doesn't show up on your airport X-ray machines, and it cost more than you make in a month.

From the Wikipedia entry for Glock it looks like there's no such thing as a Glock 7 and that Glock pistols contain substantial amounts of metal.

Is it possible to make a gun from porcelain?

Does any gun manufacturer make a porcelain gun?

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This is one of those borderline cases: Do you think the Die Hard makers expected people to believe these claims were true outside of the Die Hard universe? I'd suggest not, making this not notable. Do you have any examples of people believing it to be true? –  Oddthinking Feb 8 '12 at 14:21
    
A Tom Clancy novel used the same idea, a pistol made of Ivory that could only be fired once but could get through security. –  Sonny Ordell Feb 8 '12 at 15:44
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I think the Die Hard makers intended the film to be realistic, unlike say a James Bond film (Roger Moore era). –  Tom77 Feb 8 '12 at 16:27
    
Allegedly Kyocera makes a ceramic handgun, but with metal added so that the gun can be picked up by metal detectors. I guess that one would have to contact Kyocera to verify. –  user6510 Mar 25 '12 at 16:03
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On notability, here is a gun blog concerned that non-metallic materials could be used to make a gun. They mention another movie in which a non-metallic gun is used for assassination. They were initially skeptical, but "Turns out, it’s entirely possible to use ceramics to build a gun that is invisible to X-Ray scanners." thetruthaboutguns.com/2010/04/brad-kozak/… –  Paul Apr 1 '12 at 4:48

4 Answers 4

up vote 16 down vote accepted

There are quite a lot of errors in just one sentence:

First of all, "Glock 7" doesn't exist, Glock never had a model with that number. First Glock pistol was Glock 17 ("The Gun Digest Book of the Glock" By Patrick Sweeney, chapter 9). Glock is Austrian, not German company.

The purpose of non-metallic gun would be to not be detected via metal detectors, rather than X-ray machines, which can detect any dense object, regardless if it's metallic or not. ( "FBI Guide to concealable weapons" features quite a few examples of non-metallic knifes undetectable by magnetometer, clearly visible on X-ray).

Movie gun is most likely inspired by Glock 17, which was one of the first guns to have polymer (i.e. plastic) body. However, barrel, chamber, spring and all the rest of firing mechanism is metal. And of course standard pistol ammo is metallic (both bullet and jacket).

Porcelain gun is just ridiculous. I'd assume someone wanted to say ceramic. Porcelain is a ceramic made of kaolin clay, however there are quite a lot other ceramics, which would be apt for making weapons parts. Especially when combined with other materials creating ceramic composites.

There are companies specializing in customizing weapons, which offer carbon-fiber/ceramic barrels (example), but even these internally have steel lining. However, currently there is not a single company, which would have non-metal firing mechanism on the market.

There are rumors of secret research to develop all-ceramic gun, however there isn't even a shred of hard evidence that it was actually done.

As for hypothetical possibility, making fully functional ceramic gun most likely wouldn't be economically feasible. Perhaps given enough resources I imagine that very crude improvised gun such as "pen gun", could be made w/o metal. However "pen gun" isn't what one would call fully functional firearm. See Discovery's "Son of Guns" "Alligator Kill Stick" episode to see how such a "pen gun" works. However, they of course use metal.

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There used to be lots of advanced materials research to use more ceramics in engines (relevance to guns is that fuel explodes and the same issues of mechanical robustness to sudden tensile shock will limit use of brittle materials). I don't think it ever progressed beyond adding ceramic fibres to metal moulds to strengthen weak meals like hot aluminium. But the results of that research would be relevant to the possibility of ceramic guns. –  matt_black Feb 8 '12 at 15:55
    
""Glock 7" doesn't exist ... Movie gun is most likely inspired by Glock 17" - this could be an example of the AKA 47 trope. –  Andrew Grimm Mar 25 '12 at 9:40
    
@Andrew: in that case they wouldn't have used name "Glock" brand name –  vartec Mar 25 '12 at 17:26
    
in fact the purpose of non-metalic guns as produced by Glock is to be lightweight yet sturdy and to withstand harsh treatment that would destroy (through e.g. corrosion) a metal gun. –  jwenting Sep 10 '13 at 14:24
    
The link to jenseprecision.com/abs-barrels.html is 404. –  ChrisW Sep 10 '13 at 15:03

According to The Straight Dope, nobody makes a gun for sale that doesn't have a high percentage of metal in it. Also according to that article, the CIA may or may not have its own ceramic or plastic handguns, but who knows.

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Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. –  Borror0 Feb 9 '12 at 6:20

While they are not ceramic, there is concern that plastic guns made from 3D printers will not be detectable by metal detectors without deliberate insertion of metal for that purpose.

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Perhaps the metal pin could be replaced with a ceramic one. –  Cees Timmerman Dec 2 '13 at 16:46

There's an Undetectable Firearms Act which would make such a gun illegal in the USA.

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The villains in the movie are in possession of various illegal arms, such as SAM missiles, AT missiles, fully automatic assault rifles etc. –  vartec Sep 10 '13 at 14:52
    
@vartec Not too surprising, in a movie. All I meant was that the existence of the Act shows that such things couldn't be legally manufactured, nor imported; so, large/legal companies (who alone might have the skill to do it) wouldn't. –  ChrisW Sep 10 '13 at 14:58
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Ok, but that's USA, and the gun is not manufactured in USA. I wouldn't base judging if something is possible on fact if it's legal or not. Especially just on fact if it's legal for civilian use. –  vartec Sep 10 '13 at 15:10

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