Armatix “Smart Gun” Manufacturer Files Chapter 11 Restructuring

Controversial “smart gun” manufacturer Armatix has filed the German equivalent of Chapter 11 restructuring. From Fortune:

Armatix pulls out of tech fair, but vows to continue operating

The manufacturer of the only so-called “smart” pistol available on the market today has entered chapter 11-style restructuring proceedings in Germany, the company confirmed to Fortune yesterday.

“This is a corporate restructuring, not an insolvency proceeding,” a spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “Armatix will continue operations and does not anticipate any changes to its majority shareholders.” The spokesman did not return calls seeking to discuss the situation further, nor did the company’s U.S. CEO Belinda Padilla or its chief shareholder Bernd Dietel, who is based in Switzerland.

The timing of the development was unfortunate for the company. Today Armatix was to have been a key presenter at the first of five smart gun technology fairs that a gun safety group had organized to familiarize local law enforcement officials with developments in the area. On Tuesday, however, Armatix informed Rabbi Joel Mosbacher, a co-chair of the group, that it would be unable to attend today’s fair at the New Rochelle (N.Y.) Police Department because the custodian appointed to oversee the company’s finances had refused to authorize travel expenses, according to Mosbacher. The fair will go forward with four other smart gun designers participating, Mosbacher says.

Armatix held the unfortunate position of being one of the first gun manufacturers to publicly offer a “smart gun” which would recognize the wearer of a watch-like device, acting as an anti-theft safety. This has proven a source of controversy, since the US state of New Jersey passed a law holding that three years after the first such firearm was sold in New Jersey, non-personalized handguns would become illegal in that state. This would have not only outlawed literally every other handgun on the market, but would have given Armatix a tremendous head start in the state handgun market.



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at [email protected]


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  • BattleshipGrey

    What…How does this happen? The savior compromise of future gun ownership didn’t catch on?

    What was once lauded as being the first is now lamenting the “prize”.

  • Esh325

    I think the reason why it didn’t come to pass was because paranoia I think gripped the firearms industry. They thought the NJ law would set a precedent. There was even one guy who tried to sell it and had death threats against against him. So no wonder it didn’t succeed.

    • Ethan

      Paranoia implies fear of a threat that does not exist. As such this was just fear – not paranoia. Also this product sucked, and there was no demand for it except the delusions of anti-gun politicians who wanted gun owners to want this.

    • Given that anti-gun groups and politicians were touting it as a precedent may have something to do with the fact that people viewed it as a precedential threat to their rights…

    • Miles

      When the bottom line is *it*, unpopular politics usually loose.
      The market giveth and the market taketh away.

  • Herr Wolf

    Rabbi Joel? whocouldanode?

    • UCSPanther

      The anti-semitism is strong with this one.

      • MR

        I suppose if it’d been a priest, he’d be anti-catholic. (“Father Joel wants to grab yer guns.”) Sheesh.

      • Herr Wolf

        Do a little net research and see that Rabbi Joel is trying to grab yer guns

        • UCSPanther

          Hah! Nazi Germany wasn’t too fond of private gun ownership either.

          You neo-nazis never cease to amaze me with your hypocrisy and conspiracy driven world views.

          • Herr Wolf

            derp

          • UCSPanther

            Check your derp, Fritz.

          • Herr Wolf

            You mad bro?

          • UCSPanther

            Who worships an ideology that was wiped out 70 years ago, Jerry?

          • SP mclaughlin

            Don’t feed the troll.

          • Actually, gun control in Germany has its roots in the Liberal Weimar Republic.

          • Herr Wolf

            Don’t confuse UCSPanther with the facts.

          • UCSPanther

            And the Nazis eagerly used it against both political opponents and those who they wished to massacre…

          • The point just sailed over your head, didn’t it?

        • MR

          You’re not helping

          • Herr Wolf

            facts iz factz

      • 11A

        This is a blog, not a court. Ban his IP

        • iksnilol

          So just saying that a Rabbi is anti-gun is anti-semitism? Meanwhile you can say whatever you want about muslims and then it is a free speech issue.

          Does being of the Jewish faith suddenly make you faultless or incapable of bad things (ie. Supporting anti-gun companies)?

          Anti-semitism is real, but you trivialize it by doung stuff like this. Just like those people whining about “stare rape” are trivializing real rape. Or those people who claim to have PTSD or OCD are trivializing the issues people with those afflictions suffer.

          Note: Not defending Herr Wolf, I know he is a neo-nazi. But this time he actually didn’t say any nazi stuff.

          • Herr Wolf

            Why neo-?

          • iksnilol

            Ugh… no. Though I did want to make a Neo joke.

            Neo as in “new”. Neo-Nazism is those going by the Nazi ideals and trying to revive them after WW2.

          • 11A

            You’re being a complicit apologist.

            You know very well the construct behind his thoughts. You trivialize the intentions behind his carefully chosen words.

            There is no validity for his points, counter-points and trolling in any discourse at all.

            The fact that it’s allowed at all after a positive ID of his ideology actually repulses me.

            But I’ll just stay in my lane.

          • iksnilol

            No. I am not being an apologist. Also, free speech and all.

            “Carefully chosen words”? He just said [occupation X] [person Y] wants to do [Z]. “Mayor Bloomberg wants to ban firearms.” Does that sentence make me an anti-semite? I mean, last time I checked he was Jewish and I did just say something negative about him.

        • Herr Wolf

          Agreed- this UCSPanther is a menace to the web

          • UCSPanther

            Glad to be a menace to totalitarian troglodytes like yourself…

  • Spencerhut

    Good. You keep your electronic gun the .gov can remotely disable. I’ll
    keep my dumb hunk of iron that goes boom when I tell it to.

    • John

      You say that now. But when the ZF-1 comes out with the Replay feature, you’ll be singing a different tune.

      • Ethan

        Hahaha…. that’s hilarious.

    • I’m not american, don’t buy into the NRA speech, think the whole “Government will take away our guns” thing makes no sense. Having said that, I think a weapon that the government can remotely disable is a TERRIBLE idea.

      • Spencerhut

        You are part of the problem. You have been brain washed. Please don’t breed and pass on your brainwashing.

  • Don Ward

    I think we should rename this place The Firearm Bankruptcy Blog. No, I’m not complaining. It’s interesting just how many companies are going through something similar given the popular belief that gunmakers print money. Is this the fourth or fifth company you’ve written about so far Nathaniel?

    • These are strange times for the industry. On one hand, we live in a renaissance where consumers have limitless options, prices are low, margins on everything for sellers are razor thin, and firearm availability is high due to overproduction from political factors that never came to be.
      On the other hand, the era of the massive Cold War arms maker is over, with once burgeoning companies like Colt and HK struggling greatly. Hell, even the mighty Izhmash went bankrupt and had to be restructured (I never saw that one coming).

    • Lots of interesting stuff has been going on with Colt that I haven’t covered because A.) I think my readers are tiring of hearing the latest updates about that sinking ship, and B.) I don’t know anything about the financial world and think I will screw it up.

      Fourth or Fifth? Maybe? Armatix, Colt, H&K (sorta), uh, Microtech’s small arms branch (not really a bankruptcy), Tracking Point, Remington (not bankrupt, but its investors want out)… I blame Daniel Watters, he’s always linking me to this sort of stuff (thanks Daniel!).

    • nadnerbus

      After every bubble there’s a crash. Only the strong and the diversified tend to survive.

    • cow

      My understanding is that profit margins on these things aren’t all that great. Combine that with a very cutthroat market.

      That said, I have no idea how Colt is struggling. They still have the Marine 1911 contract, the AR15 contract, and a sizable chunk of the AR market.

      Izhmash is going belly up because there are so many of them out there, nobody needs to buy a new ak when they can buy old ones and wash the cosmoline off.

  • tazman66gt

    To bad, so sad, bye bye

    • hikerguy

      Touche’

  • Zebra Dun

    Idiotic idea, otherwise it’s a rather sleek pistol.

    • MR

      Looks like the 1980’s idea of “futuristic”. I’d kinda like a gun that looked like that, without the electronics.

      • LCON

        I always thought it looked like the pistol they wired into the rail shooters at old video arcades.

    • SP mclaughlin

      Vektor CP1, you’re good to go.

  • Southpaw89

    Give me 10 minutes with one if these and I could make it fire without having to wear the bracelet. A gun is a mechanical device, the only way you could disable one electrically is with some kind of servo operated safety, a part that could easily be removed or disabled. The only time this could do any good is if an opponent got their hands on it in a scuffle, but if one is stolen there would be plenty of time to “fix” it.

    • allannon

      It could have an electrically-actuated firing pin, like a solenoid. Same effect (won’t fire without the watch), but opposite path (requires the watch to fire, rather than absence of the watch preventing it from firing).

      Something like that would probably be far more problematic to modify, making it an even dumber idea (since criminals would have plenty of time to do so, and they don’t have to worry about becoming criminals anyway).

      • Southpaw89

        A good point, if that were the case then the trigger would likely be a micro switch and the firing pin operated by a magnetic actuator with a chip that would interrupt the circuit if not receiving the proper signal. At least that’s how I think it would work, and if it is then it still would be fairly simple to modify for someone with a basic knowledge of electronics. But that would also bring up the question of how many shots per charge you would get, something that would likely hurt sales significantly, and prevent sales to police departments whom I would have no doubt this would be marketed to.

        • allannon

          They could well make it nontrivial to bypass; say, if the release circuit (including receiver) is epoxied to the firing pin.

          My point is that it may be conceptually simple (“bypass the firing circuit”), but functionally difficult (“How the hell do I get through this mass of JB Weld?”).

          As for shots-per-charge, I’m not sure that’d really be a significant issue; the trigger could be piezo to generate the trigger signal, a small IC would be a trivial power drain (look how long small Eotech and Trijicon sights last on watch batteries…and they’re emitting light), so it’d come down to how much it takes to release the firing pin. If it were designed as a captured pin and reset by recoil, that power requirement might be pretty negligeable. I’m not opposed to electronically-actuated guns (I could see such a system allowing for distinct design benefits, since you no longer need a mechanical linkage between trigger and action), my opposition is to guns that could (theoretically) be rendered inoperable by a properly-designed radio.

          • Sulaco

            The piezo devices I have used in the past have worn out pretty fast.

  • SD3

    Yankee Marshal is crushed.

  • allannon

    I still think any such technology should be deployed to the police and military for a few years before civilians.

    If you can’t convince those groups to adopt it (and you won’t), it’s obviously not sufficiently developed.

    • CanadiantVet

      Bingo.

      Stories of overly brutal cops don’t crop up so much my side of the border, but on the south side? How will cops get away with murder with their service weapons if they are issued smart guns?

      As for the military? I’ve lost watches in the field, both from a failure of the band when snagging on something and from hard damage from it smacking into something or it being hit by something. And I’m not even combat arms. Combat troops? I can’t even imagine how much more likely they’d be to accidentally disable their weapons.

  • good riddance

  • Ethan

    Good Riddance to statist rubbish.

  • Joshua

    It was a stupid, $1,500, .22lr handguns…wtf did they expect to happen?

    • iksnilol

      Not even a match pistol, yet priced like a lower end one.

  • LCON

    give the people what they want at a price they can afford.. and no one wanted a sub caliber so called smart pistol that cost as much a base line AR.

    • Paladin

      Make that twice as much as a basic AR.

  • jeffrey melton

    This idiot gun is the equivalent of Ford’s Edsel or Chevy’s vega.

    • Hey, I have fond memories of the Chevy Vega. Well, the backseat of my high school girlfriend’s Vega… 😉

  • BillyBones

    Haha!

  • guest

    WTF is wrong with NJ? Is that some kind of cesspool of extremely elevated liberalism and hatered of US constitution?

  • hikerguy

    Well…Ain’t that just a crying shame….

  • Sergeant Joe Friday

    Good, I hope they go all the way under.

  • Jpax

    Aw, that’s a shame.. I was just about to melt down all of my intrinsically evil manual weapons and buy a bunch of those.

    Maybe Armatix can streamline their moneychain by combining forces with -other- super-necessary political causes .. such as finding out who stole all the Global Warming for the last 11 years, or backing the unstoppable new US jobs creator which is Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (so good you can’t even know what’s in it!)

  • A.g.

    This kind of company exists only to influence political opinions. They never want to really compete on the firearms market. The goals is to create or enlight a problem, here the firearms control, to conclude to more law régulations. You won’t draw an so ugly and you won’t choose a so light caliber if you plan to sell a pistol for defense. I will never believe the contrary.

    • Ethan

      Yep – kind of like the junk science reports for sale over at the CAP – they don’t really give two craps about the ATF or gun ownership. They were paid to create a product that set the stage for legislation that someone in power wanted passed – that’s it.

  • smartacus

    Every time i see this gun; i think of the Sandman gun in Logan’s Run.
    “oh runner?” 🙂

  • He’s banned—he went to far and we don’t want any racist comments or commenters.

  • Alex Nicolin

    Apparently not smart enough.

  • What people should do is where ever these abominations are shown,

    #1 Ask if they will be disabled in an EMP burst,

    #2) Ask if they have they shown they can NOT be disabled by tools the military uses to nuke all electronic devices in a 4 block area that includes cell phones, cameras, and anything else with a printed circuit.

  • Bill

    Aren’t monopolies illegal in this country? That’s what this would be under federal law…

  • cow

    I’m not against this technology. I think its good idea. Especially for those who want a little extra safety when it comes to their children.
    However, since there are laws on the book forcing everyone to get one is what will do this gun in…that and its a $1500 22 pistol