Folding Mass Effect Pistol!

Video game props require a dedicated maker with a repertoire of skills to create. When those props are pulled from the Mass-Effect universe, a little more technological mastery is needed. Bringing those talents to bear,  [Optimistic Geometry] has built a motorized, folding M-3 Predator Pistol!

The gun was modeled in Fusion 360 and 3D printed on an Ultimaker 2 at the  MAKLab Glasgow. [Optimistic Geometry] felt constrained by the laws of our reality, so opted for the smaller firearm thinking it would be an appropriate entry-level challenge. I’m sure you can guess how that went.

There wound up being three main build phases as well as a spring-loaded version to testing purposes. Throughout, [Optimistic Geometry] struggled with getting the parts to latch fully open or closed, as well as working with the small form factor. However, overhauling the motor design — and including some limiters lest it deconstruct itself — a custom latching circuit, and — obviously — a few LEDs for effect, produced a magnificent prop.

More than a year in the making, and — despite all efforts — the pistol is still fickle. Still, it’s awesome enough to make us want one of our own right next to this sidearm replica belonging Team Fortress 2’s Spy.

13 thoughts on “Folding Mass Effect Pistol!

        1. In the game basically all of the guns fold out very fast, with the pistols you basically tap your hand on the back of the slide and they pop open into your hand almost instantly. Their idea is to be very small and sleek to transport and holster.
          Problem is that many of them just refuse to follow the laws of physics completely so you don’t really have anywhere to grip –

      1. The trigger guard serves several purposes; providing a place to index your trigger finger when not ready to fire is rather minor IMO. The main purpose, historically, is to prevent the trigger from getting damaged by snagging on things while carrying the firearm (most firearms would be carried uncocked or half-cocked, and thus not at risk of accidental discharge). Look at some antique flintlocks — big, wide, sturdy trigger guards, with little flimsy triggers inside.

        More recently (from the latter half of the 19th century on), a slight variation on that theme: to prevent accidental discharges from the trigger snagging. The knuckle-bow seems adequate to keep brush from snagging the trigger; a similar design is used in the Steyr AUG rifle, and I haven’t heard any criticism of it on that score. Keep in mind a rifle is more likely to snag than a pistol; a rifle may be slung, or carried with the hands well clear of the trigger areas, but a pistol is either holstered (and/or folded up), thus safe, or in the hand, thus you can’t very well stick it in a bush without noticing.

        Facilitating safe practices by making it slightly easier to keep your finger away from the trigger when not ready to shoot? Definitely one of the purposes of a trigger guard today, and definitely a good thing, but not a real big deal if other considerations (ergonomics with winter gloves, in the AUG’s case, or foldability for this pistol) outweigh it.

        As to how to hold such a pistol, it’s pretty easy — it looks to me like anyone with reasonably-sized fingers could index their trigger finger straight out on the bit with the LEDs, but if not (or if your fingers are unreasonably short) just hold it with your trigger finger straight out in the air, then pivot your finger upwards about a half inch so the tip is resting securely on the frame of the pistol (the red piece in the middle picture), right below that “A” marking. That’s your index point — practice with it for a while, and it will be no less convenient than indexing your trigger on the front of a normal pistol’s trigger guard.

        1. The SIG rifle we use in the army has a trigger guard you can fold away to get better access in the winter when you want to wear gloves to keep your fingers warm. Pretty good idea in my opinion, and the mechanism is stiff enough so you should not fold the guard away accidentially.

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