Intelligun – Fingerprint security

From the Intelligun website:

Intelligun® is a fingerprint locking system which completely locks your gun, unlocking it immediately only for you and for your authorized users.

  • No change to your gun’s basic shape, weight, look or feel.
  • No actions needed to unlock — just hold your gun normally.
  • Relocks right when you let go of your gun.
  • Manual keyed override, allowing you to disable the Intelligun layer of safety with a key.
  • Available for order now on a model 1911 handgun.
  • Retrofit kit and additional handgun models coming soon!

Chris Cheng is History Channel’s Top Shot Season 4 champion. A self-taught amateur turned pro through his Top Shot win, Cheng very much still considers himself an amateur who parachuted into this new career. He is a professional marksman for Bass Pro Shops who shares his thoughts and experiences from the perspective of a newbie to the shooting community. 


Chris Cheng

Chris Cheng is History Channel’s Top Shot Season 4 champion and author of “Shoot to Win,” a book for beginning shooters. A self-taught amateur turned pro through his Top Shot win, Cheng very much still considers himself an amateur who parachuted into this new career.

He is a professional marksman for Bass Pro Shops who shares his thoughts and experiences from the perspective of a newbie to the shooting community. He resides in San Francisco, CA and works in Silicon Valley.


  • Jonathan

    Good in theory, but what is this going to add to the price of a gun?

    • nadax2

      rumor has it the retrofit kit has an MSRP of $399. I saw the booth at SHOT.

      Sales guy also said they’re coming out with a 1911 with Intelligun preinstalled for $799 MSRP.

  • flyingburgers

    Unlock failure rate? The FIPS-certified government approved one touch fingerprint reader on my laptop has a success rate of maybe 75%, and that’s when I’m sitting down at a desk trying to log in.

    • Komrad

      I’m lucky if I get 75% on my laptop’s fingerprint reader. 2-3 tries is the norm for me, more if my fingers are pruny, sweaty, calloused.

    • Cymond

      It relocks if put down – how quickly? Will it relock if the shooter’s grip shifts a little? What about during recoil? Coupled with a poor success rate, it could create a really unreliable system.

  • Steve (TFB Editor)

    What is your only gun has a software bug …….. no thanks.

    • Joe

      Haha. Ctrl+Alt+Del.

      Seriously, though, I read there’s a manual override with a key to unlock it.

      I guess this thing isn’t for most readers of this blog, but I can imagine a big need for all the n00bs running out and buying up guns forthe first time. Or for those who may want to buy a gun but are too chicken or uneducated.

      • Esh325

        Doesn’t having a key some what defeat the whole point of it which is not allowing unauthorized users from using it? Somebody takes your gun then kills you by other means, then takes the key in your pocket. What are you suppose to do? Swallow the key like in some bugs bunny cartoon, lol.

        • Criticalthinkingiscritical

          What am I supposed to do if someone kills me? I’m missing your logic there.

          Every bio-metric device has to have some form of reset/over-ride to actually be a viable device. Otherwise if you screw up setting it up the first time it would become permanently unusable.

          The point is to make it harder for unauthorized people to use it; such as kids or criminals. No lock, safe, password, etc. is foolproof to someone knowledgeable and truly determined.

          • MOG

            There is no proof against fools.

        • Cymond

          I think any criminal with half a brain could defeat this by just removing the grips from the gun.

      • Criticalthinkingiscritical

        I could see it being useful for people with juvenile delinquents, children with autism or similar problems, or family members with psychological problems, etc. who still want to be able to carry a gun and keep it close at hand while at home. It’s unfortunate but not all children can be educated and not all family members trusted.

        Like everything else it’s a pro/con balance equation. .380 is not the ideal round, but it’s better than nothing. Off body concealed carry is not ideal, but it’s better than nothing. If your personal situation requires you to choose between a product like this or having to lock your gun up every night leaving you defenseless it might be the right choice for you.

        Having said all that, I wouldn’t trust it with my life. If forced to use something like this I’d rather go with a proximity RFID sensor setup such as a ring or bracelet as RFID is more dependable and far less complicated.

  • bloop

    Nice teacup grip lulz

  • Alexander

    Another solution looking [s]for[/s] to cause a problem

  • NickB

    Cute teacup grip on the 1911 in the video

  • nobody

    This article should be taken down and the company ignored, all this is going to do is make handguns without this illegal to own in New Jersey.

    • Criticalthinkingiscritical

      Though I share your fear that products like this could be leveraged by the anti-gun movement I think they should post it. This is a blog dedicated to “all things firearms related” which also avoids politics. Not posting it would violate their core mission statement. Besides, I’ll wager anti-gunner politicians don’t read this blog; if they did they would actually be educated about firearms which is something they avoid.

      One of the things I like about TFB is their willingness to post truly “all things firearms related” even if it’s clear the authors themselves feel it’s a dumb product. Unlike Fox and CNN they don’t attempt to manipulate via purposeful omission.


    • Zach

      Nah, Shoot ‘Em Up!

  • Guest

    Do not want.

  • Flyingburritos

    If it works completely as advertised i have a suggestion: make the grip panels into capacitors and discharge them when someone unauthorised takes a hold of it.

    • nadax2

      Yes! I saw at the Shot Show an iPhone case that doubles as a Taser. Why not with the Intelligun too? If nothing else, it would teach firearm safety really quickly…

  • Matt

    It allows you to get a nice high grip there too

  • J


  • bob

    Why is this even on TFB?????????

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      Its not an endorsement.

      • bob

        Steve: Seems to be some confusion as I did not write this comment. Tho I am a shooter and 2A supporter I think this is the 1st time I’ve heard of TFB. I am bob.bob2@gmail and it seems as tho my address has been hijacked . No big deal, just odd, FYI.

        • Steve (TFB Editor)

          Don’t know what happened there.

    • Bob just because we pass the information along doesn’t mean we think it’s a great idea or a bad idea. This is take it for what it’s worth and decide for yourself. Many guns and accessories we like; some not so much but that doesn’t mean others feel the same way.

  • Jared

    NFC/RFID would be a better way to do this. Just have a small chip injected into your palm and let’s say when its within two inches the firearm is unlocked. Fingerprint is bullsh*t. What if its cold an you’d prefer to shoot in gloves? Or if your hand is dirty? Or the gun is dirty? However if its reliable enough with clean hands it might work on competition guns.

    • Seamus Dubh

      Also how perfectly does you finger have to be on the sensor? Does it read partial prints?
      How quick is “Instantly”? What If one of the “registered users” is the one going on a rampage, how does it stop that?

  • Black_Viper

    Not calling anyone for prices or doing the whole email thing. Give me a price, not a game to play. As a IT Nerd (woot cheng!) I’m interested in this, I’d never trust my life to it though.

  • Field Strips the weapon… swaps parts…now reassembles and fires it.

  • CUrob

    “Freeze dirt bag!!…ah crap…. HONEY, I TOLD YOU TO CHANGE THE BATTERIES IN THE GUN LAST WEEK!!!” “What do you mean we are out of AA’s!!!@@#@!@%^#

  • fingerprint readers are notoriously bad if the conditions aren’t perfect….for example, if you are sweating, they have a much higher failure rate and may take several tries to read your fingerprint successfully.

    but that’s really an unrelated note, i mean, who would have time for sweaty hands when they are trying to grip their gun just right to unlock their gun and stop their would-be intruder/robber/rapist? /sarcasm

  • What happens when the battery dies?

  • Canadian_Gun_Owner

    Also: how does it actually lock your gun? it’s make out that swap out your grip and you have this whole ‘new’ lock feature.

    • nadax2

      You swap out your grips and mainspring housing. Locking system is in the mainspring housing, freezing up the grip safety.

  • allannon

    Pass. I work with computers, which is enough that I wouldn’t trust my life to a nonredundant system. We have products with fingerprint readers, which don’t handle odd angles or incomplete prints, not sweaty fingers.

    And it assume you have the same grip as the manufacturer; I dunno about the rest of you guys, but my thumb is way higher than that. If it’s fit to me, what about someone with a grip like the hand model? Sorry, but “normal” isn’t “universal”. (Nor is a teacup grip at all, but I’ll give ’em a pass for having to be able to show off the unit.)

  • BJTSammich

    All valid concerns that should not be ignored. But lets not completely trash the concept here folks. This could get the gun grabbers off our backs, or at least provide a nice buffer to stop them from screwing with us. If the concept is perfected.

    • David Johnson

      The gun grabbers already want to make this or the equivalent mandadory

    • Get the gun grabbers off our backs? They don’t want safety devices, they want to ban all arms.

      Have you ever listened to the words coming out of their mouths?

      • BJTSammich

        I have, but what i’m saying is that it buffers our position and gives them one less argument to use against us. At some point they will appear more irrational then they already are and severely cut underlying support for themselves.

        • sharpie.david

          Yeah sure it gives one less argument, but if I go down, what will my wife (Not married yet…) needs to pick it up and use it?

          It will get her killed.

  • TangledThorns

    Sounds great in theory. It’d be great to keep a gun from being turned on yourself or stolen Judge Dredd style.

  • nature223

    and when the batteries die… you also die?
    bad juju… just lock em up, have a key

  • milo

    im going to gander that those people watch too many sci-fi movies as a kid.

  • Sons of the Patriots anyone?

  • I may be alone on this, but I’m actually curious to see how this idea could be developed further and other potential technologies that could stem from this.

  • Oh look, something I can pop off with a screw driver. No thanks. Ever.

    Let see it pass the same trial tests as the 1911….

    • nadax2

      The locking system is in the mainspring housing. Removing your mainspring housing turns your .45 into a really expensive club.

  • freshmeat.popsicle

    Maybe if the commercial was more informative rather than, “Hey look at this!” How about a real time accepted user? How showing how precise you have to put your finger on the pad?

    No thank you, too many possible issues are already coming to mind…
    Can you shoot it in the rain? Can you shoot it on a train?
    I do not like your gun idea… I wouldn’t use it to rob Ikea?

  • MCC

    The only thing is, what if my wife wants to use my handgun, or my borther?

  • GSL45

    The target market for this technology isn’t necessarily people like us – it’s for people on the fence about firearms ownership, or for one reason or another (such as living with kids or an irrational spouse) a completely unlocked firearm isn’t an option. Products like these provide options for gun neophytes, and any technology that can enable more ownership is a good thing. They may eventually come to feel more comfortable, but in the meantime they have this – it’s like training wheels for guns.

    I get the electronics concern, but under storage, these guys told me the battery lasts about nine months. If you use it more often, sure, it needs recharging, but how’s that any different from an Eotech or a Surefire flashlight?

  • TheDaywalkersDad

    I have several questions. How does this device hold up to abuse? Is it effected by solvents, recoil, moisture, oil, perspiration, etc? How long is battery life? Does the gun have to read your finger every time you shift your grip? How hard would it be to simply remove the grip panels and disable it?
    I have no interest in ever getting this crap on my guns.
    There’s several videos on YouTube about hacking inexpensive gun safes. I realize that they’re not meant to be Ft Knox but a child can do it. I suspect that there will be videos and tutorials all over the internet of how to defeat this lock within a few years of it hitting the market. This is especially true with technology evolving at such a fast rate.
    But back to the lock. I can see the government making it illegal to remove such a device if it’s sold on the firearm. Let’s pretend that’s the case. Will you be able to replace or repair this computerized part in 5, 10, or 20 years? I have 30 year old shotguns so it’s not inconceivable that my grandkids might get my firearms. Will they be able to keep them running? Good luck finding antique computer parts.
    I hope that this product never catches on. The only interest that I have in this product is wondering how badly it will screw up the firearms market in the future.

  • fakefrank0002

    Its cold where I live, I wear gloves in winter.

    There is no system that will ever be perfect for this purpose. With the current technology all systems to make a gun only single user fire capable has big compromises. Until we can get the Judge Dredd instant dna check thing small enough to fit in a grip (witch most probably will be never), get some laser scanner or a microchip implant that wont give you cancer, it will never be adopted.

    The last form of this that got some traction used RFID tags, made in the UK. Even got funding and big media coverage, only drawback is, implanted RFID tags has been showed to cause cancer and with the right jamming signal you can block the gun from picking up your chip. So big brother or any criminal with the right blaster can have a field day.

    Not holding my breath on this one making it big, it’s a cool toy though.

    • I’d just as soon find something resembling a class ring, carve a little divot into the band, and glue a sealed-in-glass tag into it. No cancer, no surgery for maintenance, and you can give the ring to your spouse when they’re shooting your gun at the range.

      As for jamming, I’d much rather the system use 1wire signaling – no radio signals to intercept or jam, that way. Also, if your body can conduct 1wire signals, you could wear the key on a necklace, and either of your hands would unlock the gun.

      Also, with the proliferation of smartphone-compatible mittens, the silver conductive portion of the finger could make electrical contact with the trigger, allowing the signal to be bridged through gloves, too.

  • The device seems only working for certain side of hand…what if my strong hand is shot/phoning police and have to use weak hand?

    Will the device hold up if I have to use my pistol as club?
    (happened recently on a CA homeowner)

    Will I have to use same grip indicated by manufacturer? I shoot IPSC high thumb forward, but the video shows tea-cup stance.

    If police and military think this is a good idea, I might consider.

  • I always shoot with gloves.

  • Richard

    When cops starting being equipped with such devices, then I will consider that it is reliable enough. Until then it is just another scam to deny us with effective self-protection.

  • Rusko

    all of the ideas of preventing someone from shooting your gun aside, if someone steals it, they can just remove the whole system.

  • gunslinger

    um… no thanks. seeing what computers can do. toyota anyone? i wouldn’t trust to an unproven design. let the cops, feds and military have it first. once it’s reliable in wartime scenarios then i may consider it for civilian distribution.

    no that’s not to say this should be scrapped together. i’m all for advancements. but i don’t think this is ready for mass deployment just yet.

    • JCFalkenberg

      You should probably choose an example that reinforces your point, instead of undermining it, in the Toyota cases it was not the electronics that failed, in every case it was the mechanical systems that failed.

      “The jury is back, the verdict is in: There is no electronic-based cause
      for unintended high-speed acceleration in Toyotas, period,” – Transportation Department Secretary Ray LaHoodd

      (I’m not saying that fingerprint based ID as a weapon safety is a good idea, or that it is ready for prime time, only that the Toyota example is bad)

  • Ric Hubbard

    Show me one that has a 0% fail rate and I might develope some interest.

  • Esh325

    People are some what apprehensive of such technology, and rightfully so. The company should release some testing data on it to be prove it can be trusted with your life.

  • The jazbos who put this ad up should remove it. New Jersey has a law on the books that states that if handguns can be made to operate in this “safe” fashion, all future handguns sold in the state must operate in the same fashion. And chances are the old ones will be declared illegal. Sometimes folks in the gun industry are our own worst enemies. (And YES, I live in N.J.!)

  • bevan everett

    There goes shooting with gloves on. “Hold still bad guy while I take my gloves off”. Does the product have the same failure rate as my biometric gun safe? Its the reason I have one with a key and another with a punch pad.

    • Esh325

      I didn’t even think of that, good point. I suppose if you’re carrying the gun on you, like CCW and you had to draw it, you should know before hand that you should not wear gloves.

  • I used to work at a big government military contractor. We had secure memory sticks with finger print readers that cost a ton of money. The users got them to work maybe half of the time. Nobody really used them even for classified stuff, because if you put your data on one and it locked you out because it couldn’t read your fingerprint, any data on there got erased when we (IT) reset the reader. It was easier for them to just have non-locked sticks that never left the classified areas.

    (And also, they had to shut everything down in the classified areas when anyone from IT came in, since we didn’t have clearance. So we’d interrupt everyone in that area the entire time we were fixing one of these sticks.)

    I’d never trust my firearm to read my fingerprint correctly and unlock when I really needed it to.

  • Lance

    Looks like same “SMART GUN” crap that failed 13 years ago.

  • JMD

    And if it malfunctions and won’t unlock?

    Or if the gun needs to be fired left-handed?

    Or if grime obscures the finger print reader?

    Or if finger position isn’t just right?

    This is a horrible idea for so many reasons, and will only appeal to the people in government who want to force this kind of technology on us along with registration, and etc.,

  • Hunter57dor

    let me give you some background on me: i have been a network security engineer for the past 6 years, and have been studying the art of computer technology since i was a young boy.

    so when i say i think this is a terrible idea, someone should probably take my advice. i can’t tell you how many times i have seen “foolproof” computer systems of any kind fail.

    no. nononononononononono. lets keep the fragile tech away from the thing that might save my life someday.

  • Evan

    Didn’t Colt almost bankrupt themselves spending millions on junk like this? Also, that’s a nice teacup grip in their promotion.

  • Omegajb

    Not sure I would risk my life on a biometric scanner like that. I’ve never been impressed with scanners like that on a computer where you can take your time.

  • Frosty_The_White_Man

    I’d buy their company Mitt Romney it into oblivion. Otherwise Smith & Wesson might install it on new M&Ps. Your lawyer locks broke my heart!

  • Jeremiah Thompson

    “No actions needed to unlock — just hold your gun normally.”

    right, because the dirtbag you’re struggling with will always back down long enough for you to get a proper grip on your weapon.

  • Aharon

    I don’t like it. Two years ago, I broke and dislocated my left shoulder and could not load or rack the slide of a semi-auto handgun. What if the owner/user gets shot in his shooting hand, arm, or shoulder and is unable to grasp the gun with that hand? What happens if the environment is cold and a person needs to wear gloves? It is not for me.

  • Gary

    Bad, Bad, Bad Idea. Will get people killed. Maybe in 50 years or so. After we go to Mars.

  • James B.

    What if your preferred grip doesn’t put your thumb over the sensor?
    What if you are wearing gloves?
    What if you are simply not an experienced shooter, and your grip varies?