Active Shooter Detection System

A school in Massachusetts tested a gunshot detection system by Shooter Detection Systems. Here is the article.

The system works by installing smoke alarm sized devices in rooms and hallways. It picks up the report of a gunshot and muzzle flash then relays that information to track and help locate the active shooter.  One thing they do not mention is if it can pick up gun shots fired through a suppressor. Or in the case of my KRISS Vector with its long 16″ barrel, there is no muzzle flash. What does the system do then?

Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at


  • SP mclaughlin

    What about 80% ghost gun lowers?!

    • Ethan


      • dan citizen

        it’s the 3000 rounds per second that we need to worry about.

        • SP mclaughlin

          Who you gonna call?

          • Blake

            “Ghost Uppers”?

    • Robert

      What does that have to do at all with the product they are talking about?

      • Cymond

        Fear mongering, of course.

  • Henrik Thomassen

    What will the penalty be for people who “accidentally” tapes a strobelight + an mp3 player with looping gunshots onto it?

    • Jared

      Probably the same as pulling the fire alarm.

  • M

    Rather than wondering about the False Negatives of the system (like using a Suppressor), I wonder about the False Positives. Schools are not quiet places. Will Mass police be inundated with false alarms?

    • JumpIf NotZero

      System goes off five times a day with lockers closing.

      • I wouldn’t be surprised

        • Michael Bergeron

          There was a city, in England I believe that used a system like this and it only ever recorded a single actual gunshot but had thousands of false alarms and missed 3 shootings, so false negatives and positives are frequent with other systems.

      • gunslinger

        or kids smoking in the bathroom?

    • mosinman

      just wait till those textbooks hit tile floors

  • Scott Tuttle

    will the existence of these devices stop a shooter? who knows, they’re not exactly thinking on all cylinders. will they provide a false sense of security? most likely.

    • Markus

      Stop a shooter? How would it? All it can do is send an alert for an armed response, like one could… I don’t know, with a cellphone maybe? I’ve heard stories they’re quite popular with the kids nowadays. And I’m pretty sure people already used those fancy new cellular-phone-thingies to actually call the police every now and then.

      Those things won’t have any measurable impact at all. Apart from not thinking straight as you already said, people going on a shooting rampage pretty much expect to die at some point in the not too distant future, so even if it works, it changes pretty much nothing for them.

      The idea of using this technology in schools instead of a battlefield is just retarded and the company trying to sell those things is downright despicable IMHO.

      • Scott Tuttle

        I meant as a deterrent. you know, like those window stickers from a burglar alarm company,

        • Markus

          But do they actually deter anyone? Keeping in mind that burglars usually don’t want to be detected and certainly don’t want to get shot, whereas mass-murderers on a killing spree don’t give a rats ass about being detected and pretty much expect to get shot or even shoot themselves as soon as they encounter any opposing force.

          Even if it deters 10% of mass shooters in schools – how many lives a year is that? A dozen at best? And at what cost? Spending that amount of money on real education, on teaching kids to live a healthy live and generally not be stupid will save thousands if not millions more. Or improving road safety. Or making their way to and from school a little safer. Or… well, pretty much anything will have more of an impact than that ridiculous, ineffective and completely unnecessary system.

          • Scott Tuttle

            I agree, its a big ‘feel good’ show that wont accomplish anything.

      • noob

        well maybe some bright spark will connect the detector to claymore mines embedded in the walls. if a gunshot is detected… boom! everyone loses.

  • iowaclass

    This is a truly important solution for those situations in which a crazy person with a gun charges in and starts blasting away at teachers and students inside of a school building, and nobody notices or thinks to dial 911.

  • Don Ward

    I’m probably one of the last generation of students (graduated Eatonville High School in 1995) where it was totally OK to leave your hunting rifle in your pickup truck’s gun rack in the school parking lot. And ten years earlier, my high school actually had a gunsmithing class where students got to make black powder rifles.

    • Jared

      I graduated from a super small school in Oregon and some of us and the athletic director would go out and shoot gophers in the football and baseball fields on free periods.

  • JumpIf NotZero

    “Shooter Detection Systems” …. Because recognizing the early signs of mental health issues might be hard. And because having an actual way to deal with an active shooter puts idiot parents on edge despite the reality of the situation. And getting the media with their love of publicizing the shooter’s personal story in order to push their political agenda against guns at the cost of encouraging copy cat shooters to not do that would be hard.

    Let’s install cameras and microphones… That’s easy!!! Let’s entirely focus on what to do after a crime happens, because doing hard things is hard!

  • MP

    If you had a lot of doors in hallways and had them mag-lock automatically… you’d either isolate a shooter or trap a bunch of innocents in that hallway.

    Of course if it also deployed a quick-acting non-damaging aerosol that put everyone to sleep…the shooter would need to bring a gas-mask.

    But then you could have gas-mask recognition cameras in the building…

    • Markus

      And you’d probably have to rebuild the half school to fit such an auto-locking system, considering you’d probably have to use doors, frames and locks that be… uhm, bulletproof I guess? Otherwise, what’s the point when one can just take out the locking mechanism with a shot or two and then open the door.

      That’s going to be one expensive and high maintenance tech system you’d have to keep running year after year after year.

      • Cymond

        All of the schools I attended were primarily built with cinderblock walls and steel door frames. All they needed was reinforced doors & windows.
        Actually, now that I think about it, I never paid any attention to what kind of doors or windows we had. Maybe they were reinforced.

        • Markus

          I’ve never seen a US school first hand, so I might be completely off, but where I live (Western Europe) all schools I’ve ever been to only had regular wooden doors like you’d have in your home or office building. The only reenforcement I can remember being the labs were chemistry courses were held. And even if US schools regularly use metal doors for everything, I think it’s safe to assume it being regular cheap sheet metal and not AR500 steel plated. Otherwise those door would literally weigh a ton each and of course cost accordingly. A rifle or shotgun slug will punch right through everything else.

          There’s a reason breaching shotguns exist: Most doors out there won’t stand a chance. At the very least you’d have to armor-plate each doors locking mechanism and probably swap out every window with laminated, “bulletproof” glass.

          And that’s in case the architecture of the place actually works in your favor… For example, the highschool I attended had pretty much no doors at all in the hallways. Sure, on could automatically lock down each classroom on the first detected shot, but everyone not inside one of those rooms would still be SOL, basically locked into a couple thousand square feet shooting range with no way to escape.
          And if you wait for a couple shoots to be fired so to avoid false positives, well, I guess everyone will be running around in panic by that time so locking down each room and randomly separating people seems a bit counterproductive. Especially if you might lock them in with the damn shooter! Or a second shooter, just waiting for the system to lock everything down. Or a single guy who is evil but not retarded, using a small remote explosive to trigger the system so to be locked in with his victims. That would be… really, really bad.

          tldr: I just don’t see how this would work in anyones favor in a school. As a counter-sniper system on the battlefield, were everyone is already armed and at the ready… sure, if it gives you an edge and point into the direction of the shooter, why not? In civilian spaces? No way this is going to work as intended.

  • mosinman

    how is this better than an armed (and trained) teacher or school guard ?

    • Markus

      Stop it with your logic and rational thinking. Stop it at once and think of the children!

      Won’t somebody please think of the children! Oh, and buy their idiotic system of course…

      • mosinman

        this is clearly the more civilized and rational way to protect the children!

    • noob

      I went to a private school in Australia. We had guards with .38 special pistols in a country where nobody was allowed to carry guns for self defense. The pistols were kept locked up out of sight in the guard’s station. I did a lot of extra curricular after school stuff so I made friends with the guards who had to unlock the rowing shed for me. money buys a better brand of security it seems.

  • MrSatyre

    So, if the shooter shoots only once, and then leaves, or shoots a lot of times and then leaves, and doesn’t shoot again…then what? In the meantime, the police are only minutes away. And yet again, the school authorities and police weren’t there to stop it from happening. Unless a very finite number of things happen exactly as anticipated—which of course they never do—this system is incredibly pointless. Another baffling waste of time and copious amounts of smiles from the blissfully unaware.

    • Cymond

      “And yet again, the school authorities and police weren’t there to stop it from happening.”
      Even if they’re already there, they can’t be everywhere all the time. There will still be threats that slip through the cracks.

  • Blake

    How about a system to detect food poisoning?

    Because more kids are probably harmed by that than by being shot in school…

    Or, to paraphrase:

    • Cymond

      Yeah, but if that book I read in 8th grade was accurate, then ebola is a really scary, crappy way to die. I’d much rather die from a heart attack than bleeding out my eyes.

      It’s not always rational, but some people fear some risks more than others. Some risks are more tolerable to people than others, regardless of the likelihood of actually happening.

      • noguncontrol

        hahaha, then the ATF should be renamed the ATB, alcohol tobacco and burgers,they should leave firearms alone.

        joke, but not the leave firearms alone part.

      • Blake

        Oh, I agree completely that people are ultra-paranoid about nasty scary stuff like ebola, SARS, shark attacks, lightning strikes, etc. & of course the mass media plays on that fear to keep people watching & sell advertising.

        But I’d argue that being severely mentally &/or physically handicapped for life by a gangland shooting or a drunk driver happens far far far more often in the US than any of the scary stuff that the media harps on ad infinitum. I’d rather die a relatively quick death by ebola than become a vegetable & impose a huge burden on my family for the rest of my life.

        • noob

          it’s entirely possible to survive ebola (some strains are only 40% lethal) and come out with profound brain damage.

          • Blake

            Sure, but my point was that in the US it’s a heck of a lot more likely to happen to you as a result of street crime or a drunk driver than ebola or school shootings or shark attacks or terrorist attacks or whatever other statistically insignificant “threat” happens to be in the news cycle on any given day.

  • USMC03Vet

    Dumb as hell over sensationalizing the problem which would effectively result in nothing benifitical even if it was used.

    This is purely to over sensationalize an issue that rarely occurs to progress negative attitudes towards gun ownership.

  • Herp

    I’m gonna get some flak for this, but I think this is a great idea. There may be false positives and some teething as the technology develops, but think how great it could be if used in conjunction with armed security. I used to instal home security systems and the sensors are actually pretty reliable. I also worked security for a large hospital and the fire sensor that went off played an automated recording that told where the fire was over the loudspeaker and displayed the location to us in the security office so we could respond immediately. The fire. Real doors also closed automatically. Pretty cool. Inexpensive way to gain a tactical edge. There’s nothing worse than trying to respond to a scene using someone’s panicked cellphone directions. Dispatchers will be struggling to accurately convey that info over the radio while listening to a distressed caller but for security who are familiar with the floor plan to see gunshots on a display in real time would be amazing.

    • Herp

      Fire break doors. Sorry, using phone.

  • Cymond

    An alarm system without a response system is useless.

    OTOH, I think it’s an interesting concept is used as one part of a strategy. An armed guard is good. An armed guard that knows what room the shooter is hiding in is even better.

    Then again, mass shootings are statistically rare, and a minor safety threat compared to other risks. The money could be spent in other ways that would benefit students more.

  • patrickiv

    Why all the hate? Is it because that rep has a D under her name? If it’s not going in the direction of “assault weapons” ban, there’s not much to complain about. IFF the school has an officer on duty (like my high school always had), then the system would immediately show the officer what general direction the threat is. Y’all are acting like this is the worst thing ever invented.

  • Chase Buchanan

    If a school in Massachusetts has so much money that they can afford something like this, it certainly wouldn’t do any harm, as long as it didn’t generate tons of false positives.

    The thing is, it doesn’t seem like it’d do much of anything. After it detects gunfire, what happens then? What will be different from what people already do when they hear gunfire in a school?

    • Dan

      That is fine if the school has so much money they can afford this, as long as other areas like actually education are not losing out. Jumpifnotzero nailed it. The amount spent on this system could be used for training to recognize possible threats and have them dealt with before they are threats. Obviously not all school shootings will be dome by students so there needs to be a reliable way to keep people out to begin with. I work at a boarding school and we receive upwards of 10 phoned in threats a year. We have systems in place to keep these people out and a system to deal with them if and when they get in. Students are not a concern but family of the students are. And students who are flagged as a risk of violence undergo intense screening and if deemed necessary sent home. We then let Child protective services and their local law enforcement know as well as informing any future school that contacts us for the students transcripts.

  • kyphe

    the above link is to an article on this site which tells of the total failure of such a system in the UK.

  • noguncontrol

    the solution to stopping school shootings is to abolish the public school system, the education system was better before the public school system was invented. abolish the dept of re-education at the same time. it would save taxpayers billions. face it public schools are fish in a barrel for wackos.

  • Fox218

    My department runs active shooter scenarios. The full ten yards, multiple agencies involved, mobilize mass causality trucks, simulate worse case scenario. So false alarms would be a MAJOR concern.

  • HKGuns

    A complete and utter waste of time and tax dollars.

  • gunslinger

    “make something idiot proof, the world will make a better idiot”

    what about air guns?

  • So…….that “No Politics” thing….