Smart Guns: Are They Practical?

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Discussions about smart guns have been underway for some time now and has, in recent years, been actively pursued by a handful of tech companies. In fact, Jonathon Mossberg who is indeed part of the almost 100-year-old O.F. Mossberg and Sons company, started his own smart gun research a few years ago. His company, iGun Technology Corporation, first set its sights on shotguns. Their idea was to use magnetic spectrum token technology which works much like RFID. The 12-gauge shotgun was designed to fire only within a certain range of the token which was, in this case, a ring meant to be worn on the shooter’s trigger hand. In 2013 the National Institute of Justice called the gun “the first personalized firearm to go beyond a prototype to an actual commercializable or production-ready product.” And, of course, Jonathon Mossberg is not the only one involved in the smart gun race.

There are multiple companies working on their own versions of a smart gun. The idea behind smart guns is that the gun must have some kind of safety feature that is somehow keyed to a specific user and will not fire at all for anyone unauthorized. This means the use of RFID or similar proximity tokens, magnetic rings, and other locking mechanisms. It also means these smart guns would require a power source of some sort.

Just this week Obama announced that part of his coming executive orders will cover requiring the Department of Defense, the Justice Department, and the Department of Homeland Security to “conduct or sponsor research into gun safety technology.” He gave those departments three months in which to come up with a game plan to “expedite” the creation and implementation of smart gun technology.

An interesting piece on Tech Crunch by Jon Stokes recently took a look at the ins and outs of smart guns:

“Not only is it impossible to produce a smart gun that gun buyers will actually purchase in large numbers, but even if the technological hurdles could be overcome, the results are sure to drastically disappoint everyone who has been looking to these weapons as some sort of silver bullet that can end gun violence.

In fact, many of the popular smart gun ideas that have been proposed could actually make us all less safe.”

Take a look at http://techcrunch.com/2016/01/05/why-obamas-smart-gun-push-will-misfire/

Disclaimer: We here at TFB strive to give readers content that is politics-free. This specific topic is relevant far beyond political machinations of any kind due to the fact that it involves the function and usability of firearms in general.



katie.ainsworth

Katie is an avid shooter, hunter, military journalist, and Southern girl. Firearms are her passion whether at the range or on a spot-and-stalk after a big buck. She’s a staff writer at The Firearm Blog and writes about guns, hunting, and the military for various publications both online and in print such as Outdoor Life, Handguns, and Shooting Illustrated. Shoot her a message at ainsworth.kat@usa.com


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  • MrEllis

    Now, not too much. In the future, maybe?

    • Bill

      Maybe. If I can carry a fob that unlocks and starts my car when I get near it, who knows? ABS, traction control, stability assist are all examples of operator/machine interface that are generally successful after some teething pains.

      Of course, some of them can be turned off as needed….

      • Daisuke0222

        I had some of the same thoughts. There is plenty of “personalized” technology in use today. The car fob that lets you unlock/start your car can be used by anyone who has the fob, though. If a criminal gets your fob, they get your car.

        For weapons, I think you’d need some kind of 2 factor authentication. I’m thinking of something wearable, similar to a smartwatch or fitbit. You enter a code, scan a fingerprint or something similar to activate the wearable token after which the gun recognizes the token when it is in close proximity (say, a couple of feet). If you disable the token, take it off or power it down, the gun stops working. The gun’s mechanism would need to be able to recognize multiple tokens (so your family/others with tokens could use the same gun). That could be done similar to the way in which a smartphone can be paired to multiple bluetooth devices. If you could make something like this that is durable, reliable, has a long shelf life and can’t be easily jammed/hacked, you might have something. Still wouldn’t be foolproof, but nothing is 100% reliable or fail-safe.

        Even with a best case scenario you’d be introducing additional complexity to the firearm, and thus adding more avenues of failure. Redundancy would be important for systems used in in millitary weapons, similar to the way in which aircraft have redundant avionics. If one system fails, a backup immediately takes over.

        I don’t doubt that this kind of personallzation tech will eventually find its way into firearms, but I don’t see anything practical coming for a few decades yet. Whether such tech can ever be mandated is another issue, and there is the looming issue of the billions of “dumb” guns in circulation now.

  • Gjert Klakeg Mulen

    No. I would like my family and friends to be able to fire my gun for fun, and in a possible life or death situation.

  • Tassiebush

    I guess the fears I can think of are that a smart gun is inevitably going to be less reliable since there is a whole new range of potential problems to stop it working if electronics fail. There’s also the added cost and of course there is resentment that this is an idea that might be pushed onto the owners rather than a choice of the owner. On top of those there are ways that perhaps a gun might be hacked, targeted or disabled by an assailant ranging from regular criminals to rogue authorities.
    The plus sides like only the owner being able to use it and blocking unauthorized use are already covered by existing solutions like safes, trigger locks or carrying it. I guess smart guns might in theory be able to be more quickly brought into use.

    • Cynic

      Plus if he’s close enough to take my gun and shoot me with it he’s probably within range of the rfid tag thing

      • Tassiebush

        Especially if you put up your transponder ringed hand going please don’t shoot me lol.

  • J.J

    Unless your James Bond. Doing a lot of wet work in close quarters. You probably would never need the feature. It’s more like to malfunction and get you hurt or killed than save you or others.

    • AD

      Personally I find the idea of a spy using a weapon that saves any kind of traceable data – such as the user’s fingerprint – to be madness. One of many, many reasons that I hated Skyfall with a passion.

  • M.M.D.C.

    The silliness of all this, IMO, is that the tech (smart guns, microstamping, etc) is so easily defeated by criminals of average intelligence.
    All that’s been accomplished, then, is a gun which is more expensive and less reliable, to say nothing of what mandates of these kinds would do to the industry. No one will be any safer, but a unique industry and culture will have been subjected to the kind of outside meddling which has gave us malaise-era automobiles. No thanks.

    • M.M.D.C.

      Safe and reliable:

      • Turd Ferguson

        Dreamboat. Front- rear- and side-impact smokeless ashtrays, Corinthian leather, and 1080 cfm roots-type smog pump.

      • CountryBoy

        Look at the actor’s face; he KNOWS the company is putting one over on the consumers. Right up the old exhaust pipe.

        • M.M.D.C.

          That’s Lee Iacocca; kind of a big deal at Ford in those days. He helped bring us the Mustang, among other cars.

    • Rick5555

      This picture brought a smile to my face. I had that Ford Granada, which was a silver two door, with a black vinyl (fake) roof. Man, I loved that car. Was built like a tank. I remember running a stop sign over,…yeah I was a young driver. The stop sign was on those tough metal stands. It just bent the stand…a bunch of clinking underneath the car. And no damage, just a small scratch on the front chrome bumper. I remember cranking J.Gieles tunes from my kick ass Jenson Stereo and Jenson tri-axel speakers. Man those were the days,,,Yup, I’m old (52). Thanks for the memory sparked from the pic you posted. I needed something like that today.

      • James

        I had a 76 granada years ago when I was a wild, drunken 19 year old… I can confirm it was nearly indestructible.

  • DW

    Smart people > Smart guns

    please leave the oldest and best point-and-click system the way it is kthx

  • john huscio

    Smart guns are a bad joke that keeps getting told.

  • Tim Pearce

    I think that, in order for these systems to be more marketable, the designer and manufacturer of the Single-User Firearm systems should be held accountable for each and every case where they fail and injury or death results. Meaning, if the user is injured or killed because the gun did not fire when it should have, the user, or their family, is paid [arbitrarily chosen fee of ten million dollars]. If the gun fired when it should not have, and an injury or death resulted, the injured, or their family, is paid the same amount.
    No failure to maintain the system, including changing or charging batteries, exempts the designer or manufacturer.

    • Kivaari

      That makes sense, unlike suing gun makers and dealers for selling products that work as intended, but are misused by criminals. In that case, you wont see Hillary claiming “smart gun” makers need protection when the gun fails. A real twist.

    • Daisuke0222

      No technology is foolproof. If your gun’s firing pin breaks at the range do you go to the manufacturer to get your range fee back? No, you repair it.

      The real question for reliability and durability is how much is enough? 1 failure in a million? 1 in 1000? The market would answer that question, but only after extensive testing in all manner of real-world scenarios. My criteria would be that the MTBF for a gun equipped with personalization technology should be no worse than the same gun without that tech. After that it’s a matter of me keeping up my end of the bargain– regular maintenance, replacing batteries, etc.

  • caleb

    Just what we need, guns that can be remotely deactivated by the govt.

    • thedonn007

      Exactly. Big brother is watching you.

    • JamesRPatrick

      Or anyone with an ebay cellphone jammer.

    • Pontificant

      Yes! I came here to comment on just that! You ARE Correct, Sir!

    • DB

      I’m a firm believer in parts left out cost less and cause no service problems!! I’ll keep my “Dumb” gun and use my own sense! That’s the problem now, the SHEEPLE already blame the guns!!

  • DetroitMan

    The smart gun is a great idea from Hollywood that fails in the real world. Whatever technology is put into them can be defeated by criminals. Or children. After all, if your child can find your gun, they can find the token too.

    Leaving the politics (mostly) out, there probably is a market for the technology. There are people who buy guns and don’t envision having to use them in some kind of SHTF scenario. Some of them may feel safer with smart gun. Lots of cities are run by pro gun control administrations that would happily mandate the technology for their LEOs. The same could happen on the federal level for their agents. Commercial success is not guaranteed, but neither is failure. A major firearms manufacturer would likely be punished by gun rights advocates if they came out with the technology. It’s more likely that a start-up would bring the technology to market. An intelligent way to do it would be to produce a smart trigger pack for a popular modular firearm like the AR -15.

    One way or another we will likely see smart gun technology come to market. Like all gun control measures, it will have negligible impact on “gun violence” in this country.

    • Tiru Maru

      “Lots of cities are run by pro gun control administrations that would happily mandate the technology for their LEOs.” HA! Are you kidding. LEO’s would of course get an exception to this. Like they do with all gun control laws.

      • We get nailed for violating gun control laws like anyone else.

        • Tom

          I think he is referring more to PDs being bale to purchase full auto and SBR/SBS type weapons as opposed to individual officers being allowed such things.

          That being said I can see some politicians thinking its a great idea to give their LEOs smart weapons because for politicians there are no bad ideas only bad sound bites.

      • Detroitman

        Not kidding at all. NYC cops are stuck with the 15 lb. “New York Trigger” on their Glocks. LEOs and their unions have some pull, but they don’t always have enough to curb the stupidity of their political masters. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that some will be stuck with smart guns once the technology is available. Gun grabbers have been talking about using using the purchasing power of the government to support the technology for a long time. I think they will put our money where their mouth is.

        • Bill

          And they were stuck with ball amor for the longest time because the politicians didn’t want them to have horriblemaimingGenevaConventionviolatingdumdumhollowpoints

          • Sgt. Stedenko

            Hague Convention

          • MR

            Jon Stewart called them “Military Only Hollowpoint Bullets” in one interview. So I doubt many gun control advocates would know which convention it is. Since Bill was talking about a gca’s perspective.

    • TexTopCat

      This is not a new idea, S&W and Colt both sold such guns to police back in the 1980’s. The police found they were less safe with “smart guns”. So, why have we not learned from this failed idea?

      • DetroitMan

        All gun control laws have failed their objective. Why haven’t we learned? I don’t know… ask a gun grabber.

  • Edeco

    Non-shooting relative of mine thinks one is more likely to be disarmed and shot with ones own gun than to successfully self-defend with it. It’s bizarre. I think the Kellerman paper and stories of police being shot with their own have merged in his mind :S

    • Tom

      Its curious isn’t it if it were so easy to take a gun off someone then you could just take the gun back from the attacker 🙂

    • BattleshipGrey

      Sounds like the relative is self-defeating and would be useless in any life threatening situation. I’ve counseled people in the past that have considered buying a gun when they’ve received threats to their person.

      One of the factors they have to think about is truly evaluate whether or not they could shoot their attacker. If the answer is no, then I advised not to even bring the gun into play. Because there’s a responsibility to other victims if you allow an attacker to take your gun from you, even if he doesn’t use it on you, he will use it on others, or sell it to others who will.

    • This is from people misunderstanding “you’re more likely to be shot with your own gun” as being “it’ll be taken from you” vs the correct “you’ll commit suicide with it”.

      • Edeco

        Erm, yeah kindof. I mean conflating suicides with failed self defence attempt.

    • Sianmink

      It can only be easily taken if you’re not willing to use it.
      I admit that my gun could be taken and used against me. But they would have to beat me to death with it, because it would be shot empty.

    • raz-0

      Well, next time your family is likely to have a get together with drinking, bring a nerf gun with you. Once everyone is good and buzzed, challenge said person to get it away from you before you pop them with it. Everyone can take turns. Fun for the whole family.

      • Edeco

        Ha, yeah, good idea to get loaded and zap people with a nerf gun. Compelling as it would seem though, I don’t think change his mind. The fact that he couldn’t disarm me quickly enough would fit under the idea that we’re placid townfolk, not the kind who can control a serious violent situation. There’d still be in his mind this hollywood idea that normal people will choke under pressure and outlaws can do stuff we can’t

        To actually pry apart the misconception would be a turd-in-the-punchbowl conversation and ultimately unnecessary. Like others have said here; if someone hasn’t the mindset, no sense trying to force it. Wouldn’t want to fall into being dogmatic myself, I mean, he’s talking out his butt about the statistics, but ultimately if someone chooses to believe they can’t do something, it is what it is.

    • Kivaari

      Those that think that way will never accept that having a gun improves your chances of living. They just will never accept the facts. In the early ’70s around 20-25% of cops were killed with their own handgun. Another 10-15% were beaten to death with bare hands and feet. Another10-15% were killed with environmental weapons, like a piece of wood, a baton, golf club or the cops flashlight. Today around 10% of cops are killed with their own handgun. More survive today thanks to several things. Like improved training, improved body armor, improved holsters and better communications. Every time a cop goes on a call, he or she knows there is at least one gun at the scene. The one they brought. We always had 2 guns on us and 3 more in the patrol car.

  • Roy G Bunting

    Is there any information about how reliable the magnatrigger was? I recall Massad Ayoob recommending them in one of his 1980s books, but I’ve never seen it available anymore.

    Any smartgun will need an action safety interface. The interface will need to lock the action against disassembly. Since smart guns are designed to be used for carried guns (not just stored ones) that means locking a round I’m the chamber. Which makes it inherently unsafe for any person who needs to override the safety (such is in the event if a lost key).

    The concept is fatally flawed, much like encryption backdoors. Guns are dangerous by design, to remove their danger removes their usefulness.

    • Bill

      You answered your own question: “was.” I recall when those came out, and I also recall never seeing one in real life. Some authors have a penchant for pushing certain things that they may also sell through their own “stores.” He was also a proponent of an aftermarket GLOCK safety when one of the main selling points at the time was that the GLOCK was as easy to operate as a revolver, as agencies were beginning to transition from wheelguns to pistols.

  • I was thinking about this this morning, and I think one of the biggest hindrances to development is that the BATFE has basically killed all purely electronic firing systems by claiming they’re too easy to make go full-auto. The problem with smart safeties is that they have to work in an electromechanical context. If your firing action was “pull trigger, contact solenoid, gun software sends charge to electronic primer”, you could integrate a smart safety very easily into that. I mean, you’d still have the usual integration annoyances, but it would nominally be far more reliable as long as you kept your batteries charged.

    Food for thought.

    • Tom

      Also there is not so much encouragement of inventors in the firearms field like there used to be what with all the constructive possession laws.

      As for batteries, assuming its a very small charge then you could use a similar system to the RPG where the trigger pull creates the charge, trigger might not be great but then again the trigger is no longer making any mechanical movements so to speak so the trigger is improved over a traditional one anyway.

      • JamesRPatrick

        Don’t RPG-7s have a traditional hammer and firing pin setup?

        • Tom

          Pulling the trigger produces an electric charge (same principal as flintless cigarette lighters).

  • Mcameron

    Ive worked designing electrical packaging….i would NEVER trust my life to any electronic device…especially something submitted to frequent shock and vibration, and harsh solvents……..its not a matter if IF it will fail….its a matter of WHEN it will fail.

    and creating anything with ANY sort of reliability will be terribly expensive.

    hell, i can barely send a text message reliability……but you expect me to count on a “smart gun” working when i need it to?

    • Bill

      “i would NEVER trust my life to any electronic device…especially something submitted to frequent shock and vibration, and harsh solvents……..”

      Like a modern airplane? 😉

      (Yeah, smart guns are a bad idea, but the “technology sucks” argument is getting weaker every day as the state of the art advances)

      • Mcameron

        a modern airplane uses electronics…..but there are backup plans in place in case those electronics fail…….a plane doesnt rely 100% on those electronics to keep it flying.

        if a “smart guns” electronics fail….the gun is useless, there are no backups in place.

        its the same reason i would never carry a taser as my sole means of protection

        its the same reason i always run BUIS on my rifles with red dots….

        when it comes to my life…..yes, “technology” sucks……especially consumer grade electronics.

        • gregge

          Yes, pretty much all the airliners flying today rely 100% on electronic systems to keep them flying. Control surfaces and engine management are all ‘fly by wire’, powered by electricity and operated by computers. You’ll only find hydraulic or mechanical linkages between pilot controls and what they control on small aircraft or any old airliners still in service in back of beyond countries.

          But like the hydraulic systems of yore, the modern planes have several redundant backups. Hopefully they don’t bring a critical connection for all of them together in one spot where something like an exploding engine can take it all out.

          That’s what happened with the hydraulics on the DC-10 which crashed in Sioux City, Iowa. That plane had three hydraulic systems which could be sectioned off using valves if one or two sprung a leak. Unfortunately they all came together at one common point below the fan of the tail engine. When that airline’s maintenance shop installed a used fan that hadn’t been properly inspected, it came apart in flight and a chunk of it took out that common connection, causing a total loss of fluid from all three systems.

          Even the best and brightest of people in any given tech field will make massive screwups like that. I’d bet that someone who was passably proficient with hydraulics and a bit knowledgeable about jet engines could have looked at the plans for the DC-10 and quickly spotted the potentially dangerous proximity of the nexus of the hydraulic systems to the high-energy spinning thing.

          From personal experience I know that a common response to someone “from the outside” pointing out a bloody obvious flaw in a project is generally not welcomed for their pointing out the flaw. What’s worse is when they refuse to acknowledge and fix the problem.

          Boeing’s 787 battery problem. The prototypes had no problems with the batteries. The production models have had problems. Word gets out that Boeing changed battery manufacturers, based in part on lower costs. (I also read that some other changes were made in the charging system.)

          Obviously the problem is the cheaper batteries aren’t built to the specifications of the prototypes, and any other changes which were made along with the different batteries.

          Solution? Change it back to what proved it would work!

      • Sulaco

        I have the finger print reader on my lap top, state of the art Bio tech reader, works about 30% of the time first time. You risk you’re life on this?

      • JamesRPatrick

        How much money is put into the design and maintenance of a modern airplane? How many people does it take to produce a modern airplane?

        What if the brakes and steering on your car were 100% dependent on electrical power? But I digress.

        Let’s see the POTUS’s security detail use smart guns.

        • Kivaari

          As will be normal police will be exempt. The people should never suffer from a stupid gun law that doesn’t apply to police. If it is hard for citizens to get a carry permit, then cops should get restricted while off-duty. Former Mayor Bloomberg wanted to disarm his officers while off-duty. I’d have gone for that, so cops knew what it feels like to be a common man in NYC. Very few cops I know wanted average citizens disarmed. Most cops know that a private citizen may come to their rescue.

          • MR

            I don’t think cops should be disarmed or sub-armed, I want them to be able to protect citizens. But I do think these politicians’ security forces should be disarmed, with no armed police around to take up the slack.

          • Kivaari

            My point is that if the people are denied a right to carry a gun, then the cops should be disarmed just as the people. I am a retired cop, and I carried 5 guns at work. I carry at least one gun at all times, and often two. Police can own anything they like. I want that same right. If a chief or sheriff says, “My officers are outgunned”, they need to be asked, “Why, are your officers outgunned?”. I carried a machinegun at work. I should be able to carry one now, without the high price and federal tax.

          • DB

            When I was a Police Officer, I had to break leather more OFF DUTY than on! Just because the uniform comes off, doesn’t make you stupid or loose your sense or training!! I took an oath, never mentioning that I would cease to protect and serve off duty! Once a Police Officer, always a Police Officer!

          • Tothe

            And if it’s OK for cops, it’s OK for us mundanes. Shiny badges don’t grant special rights. If cops need to be armed, so do the rest of us.

    • Kivaari

      Like many new electronic devices that wont work new out of the package. Anything battery dependent will fail, when most needed. It’s like depending on a GPS as your compass. I would always pack a real compass.

  • USMC03Vet

    Too bad we don’t have smart pens to stop tyrants from imposing their will via executive orders.

    • M.M.D.C.

      I see what you did there. If such legislation did pass then the pen would indeed be mightier than the proverbial sword.

    • John1943

      Would not need them if we had smart voters.

      • elconquistidor

        or if most people got off their ass and voted.

        • John1943

          If they were smart, they surely would?

  • nova3930

    As soon as smart guns are safe and reliable enough for police and military, then we can talk about them. Until that point….

  • Nicks87

    Just remember, it’s not about keeping people safe, it’s about control.

  • Sianmink

    Are they practical? No.
    Can they be practical? Conditionally yes. For a firearm that is explicitly not for self-defense use, I have no problem with it, provided the technology is improved, affordable and seamless and 99% reliable.
    they should never, ever be mandated.

    • Tim Pearce

      IMO, if they become mandated, the designer and manufacturer of the technology should also be mandated to be liable for any and all costs of failure. From refunding the cost of your range fee because the device seized up, all the way up to a multi-million dollar settlement if your unauthorized kid kills himself/herself.
      Remember that a 1% failure chance means it’ll be happening a million times a year with the number of gun owners we have.

  • Ed

    It wont work in the end. if its mechanical there be a way to kill the computer and operate a weapon mechanically again. Its more wishful thinking by the liberal fascist that make up Obama and his party. Its a gimmick to make guns even more expensive and open the way to ban older guns once a Smart Gun is developed, the will make a law banning older guns. Like they tried in New Jersey.

  • Geoffry K

    My guns need to go BANG when I pull the trigger, not decide if I am the owner and allowed to shoot.

  • adverse

    Let me know how that works out.

  • Hensley Beuron Garlington

    This concept gets applied to LEOs and military first to prevent hostiles from taking and using their own weapons against them or others.

    Then, we will consider it as something more than another possible failure point that can get us killed.

    All I see is something else that will require I power source, sensitive electronics, and easily defeatable given the right tools, knowledge, and time. This won’t keep stolen weapons from being usable. Just make it guns more expensive.

    • MR

      I’d require the Secret Service and anyone else guarding the president, congress, and the supreme court to use these. Let LE and MIL who are serving the citizens have real guns.

  • John

    Definition of a Smart Gun: A gun that stays in its holster until needed.

    Imagine if they all just ran back to the gun store to buy themselves new grips, INCONCEIVABLE!!!

  • Marco Antonio Gonzalez

    All i see is people trying to implement some form of control based in the wrong motivations. A smart gun won´t stop mass killings because the perpetrator will have a gun that he or she can use

  • Brandon Cord Bradshaw

    I do not own, nor have I ever owned a firearm. That being said, if I could guarantee, within a reasonable certainty, that no one else could fire the weapon, I might be willing.

    • Tim Pearce

      That’s only one facet of the issue, however. If your life, or the life of your child, is on the line, a 99% reliable system is not reliable enough. Especially if you had to pay ~$200 more to get something that is *less* reliable. Are you going to feel any better about your child shooting themselves because there was only a 1% chance that it could happen?
      Some people shoot a whole hell of a lot through a single gun. Will that 99% reliability diminish after ten thousand rounds worth of recoil? If it breaks, will it break “on” or “off?” Will SmartGunCo pay shipping, both ways, and all costs to maintain it on a regular basis to make sure it stays as reliable as possible? With 100+ million gun owners in the country, that 1% failure rate means a million failures a year. How many huge settlements or litigation awards can SmartGunCo afford to pay before they disappear?

    • iksnilol

      Won’t do a lot of good if you can’t fire it either.

  • Evil13RT

    They mean to introduce an electronic component to an all mechanical system who’s only purpose is to disable the weapon against the current user’s wishes.
    In an industry where people froth at the mouth over things like grip safeties, I don’t see people being happy with that.

    • Stephen Shallberg

      A smart gun (unless all electronic as mentioned in the RPG comment above, and requiring a wholly new type of ammunition,) must have an electronic component (RFID or biometric and associated software), an electro-mechanical component (a solenoid or relay to engage and disengage the blocking device), a purely mechanical blocking mechanism (safety, trigger, hammer, or firing pin block), and a power source, most likely batteries. A new system, itself consisting of four separate subsystems, is now added to the chain of mechanical events that must take place from trigger pull to firing pin strike in order for the gun to function reliably. As we all know, even today after hundreds of years of refinement and improvement, the perfectly reliable gun does not exist, and adding four new points of possible failure is not smart at all.

  • Martin Grønsdal

    the smartest gun is the unloaded gun?
    I wonder what mechanism causes children to shoot eachother in the US, or to accidentally kill their parents at malls.

    We never,never have any of that in Norway. And we have a lot of guns pr capita.

    • Tim Pearce

      When you take out all the BS, it comes out to be about one child dying accidentally via gunshot per four million people in the country. For perspective, the number of children who die from drowning is twenty-nine times as high. (National Vital Statistics Report, National Center for Health Statistics, 1997)

      The BS I’m referencing is the “13 children a day” statistic. In order to achieve that number, they defined “children” as anyone up to the age of 24, which gets most suicides and gang violence into the numbers and is worded to imply only accidents, but includes intentional acts, as well. So, the idiot who shot up Virginia Tech would be one of those 13 “children.”

      • Martin Grønsdal

        Well, Norway has 0 deaths from children accidentally shooting a gun. I think the statistics are 0 from WWII till today.

        • Stephen Shallberg

          Well, Norway has about 300 million fewer people than the U.S. We have at least 30 times more handguns and 60 times more guns of all types than you do live Norwegians. Maybe that has something to do with it. Also it is well known that you folks are the most responsible people on the planet when it comes to gun safety, obviously.

          • Martin Grønsdal

            well, if you look at the gun density in Norway, it is pretty comparable to that of the US. You are right that there are many fewer assault styled weapons in Norway.

            However, I don’t think it is the AR15 that a 4 year old picks up to play with, and accidentally shoots someone. It will much more likely be a .22 pocket pistol, or grandpa’s shotgun (that he forgot to unload). We have a lot of that here.

            And I seriously haven’t heard of any ND resulting in death, especially not witch a child as the “perpetrator”.

  • branford

    I support “smart” gun research and products since more choice for firearm owners is always better, and these products might fit the particular circumstances and needs of many people. However, I strongly oppose any efforts, such as the law in NJ, that mandates these products to the exclusion of firearms and technology that have been proven safe and effective for centuries.

    Further, I personally would only give serious consideration to “smart guns” when they are deemed sufficiently reliable that they are widely used and proven by both domestic law enforcement and front-line military. It’s one thing to praise the technology for crass political purposes, but it would be quite another if gun control politicians and generals mandated their use by the people who protect them and their families.

    If law enforcement, military and political security need “exemptions” from “smart gun” technology, then so do I and everyone else.

  • Cal.Bar

    I LOVE it. I support ALL smart tech on guns. AND…. I have the perfect testing platform. Mandate them on ALL police service weapons with the NYPD and LAPD for a year. Surely guys wearing body armor, carrying multiple other back up weapons like tasers and like AND who have backup at a moment’s notice can afford to test this technology. After all, if it’s good enough for US, it MUST be good enough for the boys in blue.

  • JamesRPatrick

    The only way I see this technology becoming commercially viable is if it’s marketed as something not used for self-defense.

    One scenario I envision is a range that rents guns and trains new shooters. The RSO would be able to remotely disable guns during a cease-fire. Or the guns would only fire if they were pointed downrange and held within the shooting booth.

  • De Facto

    As practical as a paper raincoat. Or perhaps a soft knife. Or a cell phone permanently tethered to to the wall!

  • And weigh a lot less.

    • Bill

      Radio calls can be a pain in the butt, but if I have to call for help I don’t think the dispatcher could hear me blow my whistle from 40 miles away while I’m up some holler trying to subdue a 400 hilljack with a walnut baton.

      On second thought, those walnut batons were pretty effective, when guys would remember to get them out of the AMC Matador.

  • Mcameron

    how many times did a crank start car fail to turn over?
    how many times has a starters died in a modern car?

    even though our technology is great…..shit still fails.

    all electronics have a life span to them…….no matter how well they are build, they will die eventually……thats a fact of electronics.

    a properly designed mechanical part, will last practically forever.

    i dont care how good the tech gets……..its not reliable enough to bet my life on

    • Bill

      Seriously, “smart guns” have been batted around for decades, and never get any altitude. People are complaining about something that isn’t going to happen.

      If you think mechanical devices never fail, remember that early race cars had a ride along mechanic…and wander through an ICU or cardiac care unit and watch people bet their lives and win on electronics. I have PLENTY of guns malfunction at some point in time, and have even broken a few.

    • Kivaari

      There were lots of people with broken arms when the crank kicked back. Ask old Harley riders about kick-starting their hog.

    • Daisuke0222

      Yet you bet your life on a mechanical gun, with literally dozens of parts that could break, become worn, or malfunction. Nothing is 100% reliable, be it mechanical or electronic.

  • Kivaari

    The whole concept is onerous. I want a gun that works anytime it should. Anything that would limit the use, like a dead battery, dirty or bloody finger print, is undesirable. The only “need” for these smart guns is to make idiot politicians happy.

  • Bill

    While I’ve gone on record as thinking that smart guns aren’t, apparently people are concerned about electronic malfunctions. No one has ever had a malfunction of some sort with a firearm? No one has ever had a part break? I must have gotten ripped off on numerous occasions, because apparently everyone but me got guns that were 100% reliable, 100% of the time, whereas I’ve had to learn immediate actions and all sorts of fun stuff, plus carry a backup, to, you know, back up my main gun, in case it breaks or something.

    • Kivaari

      Being battery dependent is an always fail end game. Yes, if a gun fails for being broken or fed dud ammo, it is just as real. I would trust a quality weapon without electronic features over any that require electronic power to work. We know guns and ammo fail. We buy better guns and better ammunition to limit those events. WE know anything with a battery will fail regardless of the quality.

      • Bill

        Do you change the battery in your smoke detector on schedule? Do you routinely service your guns? Do you change the batteries in your WML on schedule? Do you change the batteries in your electronic sight on schedule? Do you replace the batteries in your EDC light on schedule? Of course batteries fail. That’s why they should be replaced before that happens. If you wait till they fail you waited too long. It isn’t rocket surgery.

        • Kivaari

          No. I change the smoke detector when ever it crosses my mind. Sometimes that’s long after it has died. I have had many electronic devices fail. I’ve had traditional optics fail. It is why I have iron sights for back up. Even the best scope or electronic sight can fail. BUIS are the most needed set of sights on a rifle. With my red dot sight being an EOTech EXPS0-2, that I sent in for a refund 3 weeks ago, I never trusted it. In fact the one I sent back I had never used, since I was undergoing 3 surgeries over the summer. I just couldn’t get out. Even so, that carbine had iron sights. The standard AR front and a Daniel’s Defense A1.5. I trust iron sights, and every rifle I own has them. I typically never bought rifles without iron. A couple sniper rifles, yes, But then I carried a second or third gun, just in case.
          I hated electronic sights that did not have a reticle if the battery was dead. I have a Leupold Mk4 illuminated scope, that woks without batteries if needed. That carbine has BUIS as well.
          I think many of us older people do not trust scopes, as we have seen so many of them fail. Fogging was so common, even in the higher priced scopes. Back when a Leupold VX2 3-9x sold for $79.99 we knew not to trust them. The scopes selling for $30 back then are still selling for around $30, and still fail just like they did then.

        • Kivaari

          I don’t trust batteries. When doing stakeouts, instead of spare magazines for the SMG or carbine, I carried an extra radio and spare batteries for each of them. The first thing to fail in any operation is communication. Taking a radio out of the charger doesn’t mean it will last more than 5 minutes in use. I had that happen too many times. I had a good chance of having a radio fail. I had a good chance that my MP5 and Glock 17 would work if needed. And yes, I’ve seen them fail as well.

  • Kivaari

    My grand father born in 1885 eventually had an electric starter in his Lincoln Touring car. It isn’t that many grand parents ago.

  • Kivaari

    The most significant change in police work is the ability to communicate. Thanks to data recovery they can do a better job. Beyond that, police work is pretty much as it was 100 years ago or 2,000 years ago. Cops are less violent today.

  • Tothe

    Another point of failure for the user, and another false sense of security to be circumvented by hackers.or circumstances.

  • Realist

    If Liberals want to push this technology…have at it. Let the Consumer drive this technology’s success/failure.

    As for me, I’ll keep the gun safety the Good Lord gave me…the booger hook on my left hand…

  • lbeacham

    A Government specified, developed and approved smart gun? A classic oxymoron. The only beneficial “smart” gun would fire and hit any target I approve faster than I can the current “dumb” way.

  • BigFED

    Murphy was an optimist! The “smartest” gun can be lowered to the IQ of the operator!!! Anyone that states something is “foolproof” fails to understand the ingenuity of most fools!!!

  • BigFED

    The “SMARTEST” person recommending “Smart Gun” technology should be required to be a law enforcement officer in the worst sections of DC, Baltimore, Chicago, etc. for 5 years with minimum of at least 5 “serious social discussions”!

  • Rodney Steward

    Think these so called smart guns will work after an EMP attack, or will it be useless as everything else!

  • Mike Lashewitz

    Is it practical to cut off your breasts to avoid breast cancer? Is it practical to castrate yourself to prevent your neighbor from being raped by somebody else? Is it practical to have to wait 20 seconds for your “smart armband” to pair up with your smart weapon while in a firefight?

    Why is it today that all these “smart” products seem so st’oo’pid in emergency situations?
    Perhaps it is because of Criminal government forcing these things on WE THE PEOPLE and we obviously have too much criminal government?

  • Mikial

    How could smart guns ever end gun violence? If only smart guns were available for sale to the public, there would be a booming business if hijacked smart guns, not to mention hackers overcoming the so-called safeguards. this is just more Liberal BS.

  • jcitizen

    Even if this tech worked somehow, it is still a dangerous concept as a requirement for manufacturers. It is bad enough that the 1934 Act, GCA 68, and the 1986 law have continually defined what is “acceptable” for law abiding folks to posses, but it just adds one more definition to what is “acceptable”. Now any man worth his salt, knows this is already a dangerous precedent. We not only need to get rid of this idea as a requirement, but roll back all previous restrictions, or they will just relentlessly define our rights completely away. They did this in the British Commonwealth, even after constant promises that just one more law was needed, until they almost gave their rights going back to the Magna Carta completely away. The gun grabbers will NEVER be happy until they take all firearms away, and in fact they probably just want them for themselves and nobody else. All you have to do is look at the behavior of most of them, and the firearms violations many of their bodyguards commit, and you can obviously see this sham for what it is!

  • Yankee ’42

    2A baby!

  • MySpin1776

    I will keep my “Dumb Guns,” thank you very much!

  • CavScout

    I was like… this reminds me of supposedly-like-minded female writers! The topic choice, how the rebranding words were kept in the general description of the technology, etc. I scroll down and sure enough…

  • Tarpeia

    Can’t they use a unique ring like a key which links to a mechanism that overrides the safety? No need to bother with electronics.