Anschutz Sells Out

Earlier this year I blogged about a prototype pistol by the German firm Armatix which required the operator to wear a special wristwatch in order to fire it. I considered it a novel idea but ultimately useless invention that would never be adopted. Built-in gun locks are bad enough, who would want a gun that requires an expensive wireless electronic system just to pull the trigger? I could not have been more wrong.

Armatix’s pistol. Photo © Bryan Jones.

What I did not realize when I wrote the article was that Armatix was heavily lobbying the German government to make electronic and biometric safety devices mandatory. They succeed into making it a legal requirement for people who inherit weapons, but who do not have “sufficient” reasons to own a gun, to lock their guns with a biometric “dildo” that is inserted into the barrel. This requirement is on top the existing German law that requires all guns to be stored in gun safes. Like so many of these “safety” devices, they are quickly bypassed as was demonstrated on German TV …

As bad as the biometric gun lock is, it pales in comparison to Armatix’s latest technology: incorporating the wristwatch concept into hunting and target shooting rifles along with electronic devices to prevent the gun firing at unintended targets.

They originally tried to partner with H&K to introduce this technology but that deal fell through and resulted in legal action taken again H&K. Armatix has now partnered with ANSCHÜTZ.

The ANSCHÜTZ/Armatix Target Control technology prevents a target rifle from firing without the operator wearing a special wristwatch. It also incorporates technology that does not allow the gun to be fired without it pointing at a target.

Target Control System

You may be thinking this is a great idea. Let me present a counter-argument. I belong to a small-bore (ISSF-style) target shooting club where Anschutz rifles are popular. The club is over 100 years old. As far as anybody knows, there has not been a single accidental shooting. There is a much greater chance of injury driving to the club than there is at the club! Not only is this technology is not needed, but it is likely very expensive which will hurt the sport. Beginners often use cheap 50 year old rifles that shoot far more accurately than they can.

Hunting Control System

The Hunting Control system is similar. Not only does it require electronics in the rifle, but it requires every hunter and hunting dog to wear and electronic tag. The rifle somehow detects when it is pointing towards a tag and then locks the rifle.

Again, if you have hunted you may think this is a good idea. It is not! Firstly, it would require every hunter and every hunting rifle to be equipped with the system. This would be very expensive. Secondly, many a hunter has had problems with electronic scopes and other electronic gadgets in the field. There is nothing worse than going on an expensive hunting trip only to find that your expensive illuminated scope does not work in the cold wet conditions! I doubt this system would fare well in the field.

Fellow blogger Ernst, of Backyard Safari, contacted Anschutz and asked why they supported this system. Their reply, translated using Google, follows …

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We refer to your e-mail and request to our project
“Biathlon rifle with integrated Armatix Target Control” system. We
are pleased that you have addressed your question to us directly to find out more
to learn first-hand by ANSCHÜTZ. We are happy to give you
this additional background information.

Verbandsseitig considerations have emerged, such as the
Biathlon target shooting can be made even safer. From different
Sites, for example, the use of safe laser “weapons”
examined and tested. Among other things, we have these new developments
of course, made famous. The developments in modern
Pentathlon (laser gun instead of gun) are known to us.

In parallel, the company is approached Armatix on us. After long
Talks was finally placed an experimental project, the Armatix
Target Control incorporate technology in a biathlon rifle, and the
To test functionality.

During the ISSF World Cup have in sport shooting in 2010 in Munich
we and the company Armatix a biathlon rifle model with these
Technology are presented. In this context, it was a lot of positive
Feedback, especially on the part of various officials association
at national and international level.

We see this technology as a possible step, the Sports Shooting
making for children and young people in the beginner area safer and
Associated with this technology, the eventual possibility of
progressive abolition of the age limit to realize the bottom. The
would mean that children and young people in Germany might
re-shoot from 10 years ago with a small caliber weapon. To the
Achieve would be a nice goal! I think that nowadays
actively different ways should be left to the shrinkage of our
Market may be able to counteract. This development and the increasingly
stronger legal restrictions I am following with concern.

Of course, this objective is a long and difficult path, which is the help
and cooperation required of all: With us as industry and manufacturers,
with associations such as hunters and shooters and above all with
the press and the media.

It’s actually like in any sport, the earlier I was a child with the
respective discipline begins, the better I am in the junior and
Adulthood. This means that we will in the coming years
Champions in sport shooting and biathlon in Europe, World Championships and
Olympics can provide.

Next we have with this system, an argument against parents,
Critics and opponents of weapons, which, due to fears of the dangers
which allegedly with the shooting and the private possession of weapons
are connected to take them.

It is not our goal to equip all weapons with these Armatix system.
It is intended purely as an alternative or option for the beginner in shooting
Children and youth are, and thus a higher degree of
Security work. With the World Cup in Munich on the prototype and shown
the resulting information brochure we were the first
Response to an international audience, connoisseurs, and fallow shooters obtain
and that was very positive.

The information in the brochure designed for the World Cup and the fact
contained and presented hunting area have so far only an idea, as
should serve the basis for discussions. An official brochure
PDF file was published by us have not yet!

In this sense, we thank you too about your opinion.
Your thoughts, whether positive or negative, we also important.
We welcome your requests, concerns, ideas and opinions in order to
future projects and developments to incorporate this.

You know how much the private ownership of weapons here in Germany and
in many other countries of the world market is in for criticism. A lot
national and international manufacturers in the industry and sport
therefore looking for alternatives and technologies that the critics
Provide counter-arguments. And I think we have the Target Control
might such an alternative, to continue with “sharp weapon”
allowed to shoot.

The sports event “Biathlon at Schalke is” the next time
probably be held laser weapons …… These come
not out of the house ANSCHÜTZ.

Kind regards from Ulm

JG Anschutz GmbH & Co. KG

Jochen Anschütz
Managing Director “

(You can read the original email in German at the end of this blog post)

They appear to be hedging their bets. They say they do not want all rifles to use this technology, but that defeats the purpose of the Hunting Control system. Anschutz cite competition safety as a reason for using the Target Control system, but they must surly know that target shooting is a very safe sport.

It really saddens me that Anschutz have sold out. Instead of taking a stand they are looking to exploit public fear to make fistfuls of cash selling rifles equipped with the Armatix system. Shame on you Anschutz. Shame on you.

[ Many thanks to Ernst and Jörg for information used in this blog post. ]


Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • MrTolliver

    I feel like this would be used as an excuse to skimp over gun safety protocols. On paper, its a great idea to “increase” safety, but carrying this would just lead to increased gun costs, etc.

  • James.Denholm

    Why, why, why, would anybody do that. Surely people realise that replacing education on how to not accidentally shoot people with electronic duver-flackies is a bad thing. I’ve never shot a gun in my life, and even I know that.


  • shane

    people who dont know anything about shooting come up with these crazy inventions….

  • Ben

    Imagine a wild boar hunting party – with a wounded boar attacking one of your friends and you can’t take a shot because the boar is already too close to the stupid sensor your friend has to wear…but I can assure you that organized protest in Germany is on its way and maybe Anschuetz might reconsider.

  • MrMaigo

    You need a license to even own a gun in Germany, it’s not a huge step

  • paddy

    The answer is simple, the US marketplace should boycott Anschutz.

  • Carlton Bale

    The only benefit I see is the pistol system preventing it from being used against the owner. Things don’t always go as planned and weapons can get into the possession of the attacker. Other than that, these systems seem to be more of a theoretical benefit than anything else. But as long as they never become mandatory, I have no problem with their existence. Laws are what affect people most, not the technology.

  • Fred Johnson

    With target control technology, people will start muzzle sweeping everything because the gun is “always” safe. Idiots will actually try to “shoot” each other on a day to day basis, too. Imagine the lawsuit Armatix will be in the day the technology fails and someone gets shot.

  • Anton

    Simply money to be made on fear.

  • Anton

    Also, this shows how manufacturers regard proffesional shooters. As morons who can’t think for themselves and therefore need another device to do it.

  • Cayton

    So all I need to be a criminal in Germany is a Wifi Jammer (Or Bluetooth/RF/Whatever)? Good to know.

  • Scott

    Dribble. The market will sort this out; the first time someone misses a shot because of some momentary electronic delay, this will end up in the dustbin.

    I’m actually less concerned about the precedent (which is isn’t, really) – and more about that the failure of an innovation which actually hurt the industry more. Lost credibility, lost customer base…..

  • Ted

    That target control system is going to cause more harm than good, no two ways about it. Take, for instance, an armed intruder in the home. What’s to stop him from obtaining one of these electronic tags? That puts the homeowner at a disadvantage, as he or she probably wouldn’t stop to put on a tag before confronting the intruder with a now useless weapon. Let’s hope that the US government never decides to make a move towards this system.

  • Wolfwood

    As Ben points out, this gets rid of an awful lot of self-defense applications. Guess what brand of wristwatch fashionable German criminals will be wearing this Christmas! Similarly, if there are devices that can jam cell phones, surely there are devices that can be made to jam these guns within a certain radius. The only thing missing is a transponder telling the government exactly when your green light is on and whether it’s been disabled (or, for that matter, whether you have an “unacceptable” number of times you’re found pointing at a transponder).

  • West

    This is a great first step but its only the beginning.

    Next we need BAC tubes installed so drunk people cant shoot their tv’s. After that there needs to be a device that displays a number of ink blotches to determine if the user is a potential crazy person.

    Also, it would be helpful if the gun could generate a holographic image of Oprah Winfrey who could offer non-confrontational conflict resolution advice instead of shooting.

  • Nonlinear

    @MrMaigo: Actually you need a license and a purpose in most if not all of EU to own a gun. Valid shooting license, license for each gun, clean criminal record, gun safe and all.

    This system seems pretty useless to me but as long as it doesn’t cost too much, I don’t mind using it. At least for sport shooting, I pity hunters if they have to use this while hunting.

  • Maxpwr

    This is just another way to ban guns. They will say we need to ban guns that don’t have this technology as unsafe. Most gun owners and hunters won’t want to pay for the new technology…thereby creating a gun ban.

    Additionally, any of this technology will be able to be defeated by technology controlled by the government. Any electronics can be jammed and eventually remotely disabled.

    What a perfect utopia for the gun banners. People will “own” guns, but the government will shut them off in times of an “emergency”.

    It’s already coming with the so-called “Smart Grid”. They will eventually be able to turn off your Air Conditioning and Washing Machine remotely when the government thinks you shouldn’t be using them. I’m an Elec. Engineer working on the very concept right now. (Not that I personally support it).

  • Vak

    Last year, I shot a real gun (read : not an airsoft) for the first time. The guy who owned the range took 5 minutes of his time to teach me how to shoot safely, and 5 minutes later, I could shoot without endangering myself or others. I mean, you just have to know 4 extremely basic rules ! How could anyone think that making a safety device that can be bypassed in about 30 seconds will make people safer than 5 minutes worth of “don’t do this, this, this or this or you could get hurt” ? This is just stupid.

    I think this is just a mix of old fashioned gun grabbing (oh noes people could get hurt unless they spend 5 minutes learning themselves some safety, ban it !) and pure unaldetered greed from anschutz (mandatory safeties + dominating the market = delicious money).

    I mean, they managed to be even worse than effing HK on this one ! That means something.

  • rubbershotgun

    MrMaigo i respectfully disagree.

    from what i know about the german firearm laws you need a to attend a thorough seminar regarding firearms and gun safety before you can acquire your license. which not only makes this Armatix contraption a moot point but also dangerous (see James.Denholm for clarification)

    so in the context of german gun culture this thing is an alarming step backwards from a safety point of view, and mocks the entire need for a license in the first place.

  • John C.

    Most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. That is why Im glad I live in America

  • Anschutz must be particular morons to believe that a terrorist would need to use one of their single shot 22 lr target rifles with 28″ barrels and weighing 12 lbs to cause trouble. But then a company that has made a name for itself catering to the bureaucratic ISSF 50m competition cannot be expected to do anything better. I know that German gun bloggers are already calling for boycotts of Anschutz products. I hope that this boycott becomes worldwide.

    In the meantime, Walther, Feinwerkbau, Bliker and Grunig Elmiger offer rifles for ISSF matches that are at least equally good, if not better than what Anschutz offers. No one who has principles that oppose this kind of ridiculous regulation needs to use an Anschutz product.

  • Alan

    So their argument is that this is better than being replaced with lasers?

  • me

    Ahhhh yes, the power of lobbying. Amazing how a small entity can have such a huge negative impact on a population, all for profit.

  • Ol’ Boo

    I can think of one application where this might be a benefit: law enforcement. Police officers might actually like the idea of a gun that can only be fired by themselves. If you’re losing a retention fight, knowing that you can just give up the gun and run, go for your BUG, and not be shot with the other pistol… that might be kinda nice.

    But, I’m not a cop, so maybe I’m missing something obvious.

    As Cali resident, I’m assuming that sooner or later the anti-gun jihadis will start pushing for this out here. Really not looking forward to that. It’s one fight after another out here.

    And you’re right, shame on Anschutz.

  • Hah! I just ran across the pamphlet one of the Armatix drones handed me at SHOT while going through my literature pile the other day. Just another way to drive up the costs for the law abiding, safe shooter while doing NOTHING to stop criminal usage.

    • Gregory, I missed their booth at SHOT, I hope they are at shot this year. I will make sure every TFB readers who is at SHOT knows what they are all about!

  • Pete

    You guys heard about that high-level member of the German communist party that was caught dealing assault rifles?

  • Yeah, get the government to use it’s monopoly on violence to force your product onto the world.

  • Grey

    Time to drop the Zumbo on Anschutz.

    They made some real nice products, but their time has come. Time to drive them straight down the drain, never to be seen again.

  • Tuulos

    Apparently there are pretty much AD’s (or ND’s) in ISSF sports so maybe they actually have a bigger need for things like this.

    This might be useful for indoor shooting ranges so they would only need smaller bullet traps at the business end of the range and theoretically that would allow the creation of more indoor shooting ranges at better locations inside cities. Most likely not but we can dream.

  • jeff from CA

    Nitpicking here, since when is a laser capable of being a weapon?

    Unless the user is a 747 jumbo jet or a 2-ton truck… maybe then…

  • Derfel Cadarn

    I think the trick is getting all the game animals and bad guys to wear the targeting system.Other than that NO PROBLEM !!

    • Derfel, good point!

  • I bought a basic entry-level rifle for $110 after tax recently. How much would it have cost if this system was mandatory? I figure several hundred more for all of the electronics involved. Oh, and I could only shoot it at ranges (or specific targets; I don’t know all of the details of how this works) that were enabled with this system.

  • Mountainbear

    Well, it’s Germany. Of course they try to “justify” this farce with parents and critics of guns and safety, but when was the last time someone got shot during a biathlon event? I don’t remember any such incident.

    Also I’m pretty sure that the German crime statistics are similar to ours in Austria, and here they show that legal owned guns are the least of our problems, as they make the smallest percentage in the list of “tools” used for physical violence. Illegal guns make up a larger part, but the vast majority of such crimes are committed with blunt objects and… knives.

    Can we add such a system to knives please? Especially in Germany that might be a good idea, given that their crime rates are through the roof and the knife is a well loved “tool” by criminals.

    But hey, we don’t want “American situations” here, right? That’s the usual “argument” that always comes when gun control is discussed in Germany and Austria. And then come the many, many crimes in the US committed with guns and of course nobody cares to separate legal and illegal guns. Cause all guns are evil, thus we must ban all guns and then only the police has guns and we can arrest everyone who has a gun. How we find out who has a gun is something those gun grabbers never tell me. Apparently strip searching every citizen in the streets will make everything safer. I guess that’s why the crime rates in the EU are generally going through the roof, despite strict gun control (a year ago or so I heard that the EU might push for having every single round registered.)

    Oh by the way. The number of legal guns used in crimes here in Austria has decreased in the past 15 or so years. Significantly decreased. While the amount of gun owners has risen just as significantly. Hmmm… Strange.

  • kjjohn

    An interesting demonstration of technology, but no more. I can think of only one good reason for this technology – if the enemy gets your gun, they can’t shoot you with it. Other than that, this is useless, and it seems trying to hunt with it would be a disaster.

    • dan

      Until they club you with your gun and still your watch

  • dt

    Boycott? OK. S&W as part of their deal with the Clinton admin. put those wonderful locks on their guns and to develop technology so that only the user could fire the weapon. Boycott them. Bill Ruger drafted a letter to the US congress that lead to the framework for the asssault weapons and high capacity magazine ban of the 90s. Boycott them. Colt and HK are not known for their fondness of their weapons being used by civilians. Boycott them too. Boycott them all until they are out of business and we can sit back on our smug, principled, gunless, asses and say we sure showed them. If you want to boycott anyhting make it those damn politicians that force this shit on the gun makers.

    • dan

      I could boycott all the companies you listed and still have guns, with the exception of a 10/22 I won I do not own any firearms made by thos companies, good thing they aren’t the only ones in existence.

  • dt

    If you rreally want to know why Anschutz is selling out.,,5822589,00.html

  • Kalaxa

    We hate amatrix, here in Germany. they buy politicians …

  • Traitors amongst us are the most dangerous.

  • dt, you got the lesson of boycott wrong. Smith and Wesson did cut a deal with the Clinton administration, and lost sales as a result. They were later sold to Cerberus, got new management who disowned the deal and have gotten their market back.

  • Could this be Anschutz’s way of trying to stay in the Biathlon and target rifle business, rather than being put of business by electronic companies working on the laser rifles?

  • barry mackenzie

    These weirdo gizmos already fool some people. the london olympics target shooting is using frickin laser guns. im not kidding.

  • Don

    I’m kind of ok with this kind of technology. There are a lot of non-gun people or even people who “don’t like guns” who conflictingly need or want one gun around for protection, and this gives them some level of security that they can live with and rationalize.

    I’d never want one, and I’d not want this to catch on and become a new regulation… a new CA requirement.


  • The only good use of this I can see is as a secondary safety for teaching young kids to target shoot. And as an aid for teaching shooting to even younger children than you currently would.

    The Hunting system is just stupid. I can see accidental hunting shooting jumping with this as some fool will think that since his gun “can’t shoot a person” that any movement in the bush that his gun doesn’t lock up when pointed at must be game. Never thinking that someone’s kids might be playing in the woods or a non hunter taking a hike in the woods.

    As the saying goes, it’s the ‘unloaded’ gun that you will get shot by, now it will also be the ‘safe’ gun as well.

  • Derek

    LOL, I’ve been battling to get 3 Anschutz o-rings from 3 different “agents” of theirs, imagine trying to sort out electronics gone wrong because of static electricity or water damage through an Anschutz “agent” if they cannot even supply o-rings for a popular model airrifle of theirs.

  • armatix/ANSCHÜTZ Hunting Control System

    Obviously there are a lot of questions, but also many many misunderstandings and ignorance in serveral internet forums regarding an electronic safety for the ANSCHÜTZ hunting rifles. Therefore ANSCHÜTZ wanted to point out several points.

    By the way:
    Not one of these writers of those internet forums who very often remain anonymous expressing their opinion, has ever spoken to a responsible person from ANSCHÜTZ. None of them knows the aims and the intention of ANSCHÜTZ from firsthand or has informed himself directly.

    If you search through all these forums you will not find one single author who can say
    1. I have seen it
    2. I have spoken to a responsible person from ANSCHÜTZ
    3. I know their aims and intention

    It is a pity that through a snowball system there are so many wrong entries in different internet forums now because of the ignorance of some individuals.

    Correct is:
    The electronic safety for the ANSCHÜTZ hunting rifles is just an idea!

    ANSCHÜTZ have not yet received a specific inquiry, neither from the arms trade nor the end users.

    You may be assured that ANSCHTÜZ is only producing products which are demanded by the market. All other rumours are just propaganda. There is no officially published pdf-flyer and you will not find one on the ANSCHÜTZ website. The often quoted, printed flyer just served as discussion material during the ISSF World Championships 2010 in Munich. The pdf-flyer had been sent to one German gun magazine only, to serve as basis for discussion only. It was published in the internet without approval from ANSCHÜTZ.

    Ideas, thoughts and discussions should be allowed also in the future!

    In addition we like to remark that we do know what such an electronic control system for hunting should be capable to perform, and above all how enormously high the development costs would be. Even if such a system would be developed, there will never be a 100 % safety. Every hunter will be responsible for his shooting also in the future. No safety will protect from ricochets or other danger. An electronic safety could be an additional protection, such as more and more hunters are wearing signal vests.

    At the same time, we can assure that the market and the demand determine the products of a company. And ANSCHUTZ has an inquiry from the Biathlon federation to have a look in that topic. In Germany and Europe we have complete different gun laws than in the US. Please keep that in mind.

    For me it is important to give you these informations for a better overview.

    Jochen Anschutz

  • Jochen, thank you for your response. BUT …

    You infer my article is wrong and I am ignorant of your intentions.

    You did create a brochure and distribute it.

    You admit to working with Armatix. Armatix is campaigning for stricter gun laws in Germany, in order to increase sales of their useless products.

    You admit that you are working to equip certain guns with the system.

    You claim the response from the audience at the biathlon was positive. Do you know a hunting enthusiast who likes this system?

  • Erik


    Put your words into action. SPONSOR LOBBYING TO REVERSE THE HORRIBLE IDEAS COMING FROM ARMATIX and other gun grabbers! Gun Control can do nothing but spread horrible horrible horrible consequences in this world. I’m heavily involved in smallbore target shooting. Because of your company’s policies and lobbying, I am now lobbying for everyone I know to stick with 60-70 year old Remington Targetmasters. I’ve found that they are just as good, if not better than many of your product too. Good job losing many customers as a direct result of your policies and actions.


  • They are embracing regulatory capture to crowd-out the marketplace and remain the only sellers. It is a total and complete sell-out, a kind of gun-fascism.

  • Heck yeah this is exactly what I nedeed.

  • Thanks for sharing, this is a fantastic blog article.Thanks Again. Much obliged.