BREAKING: New Federal Guidelines on “Smart” Handguns Published

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The National Institute of Justice, the research arm of the US Department of Justice, has released guidelines on the development of new “smart” handguns for law enforcement. The guidelines are intended to help firearms manufacturers produce firearms with integrated electronic safety features that still meet the standards that have been refined through the modern, highly effective all-mechanical handgun. You can find the guidelines at the link here.

Historically in the firearms industry, and among consumers in particular, there has been a tremendous amount of concern regarding “smart” guns. Most consumers do not like the idea of an electronic element to their firearms that could potentially allow a remote agent to disable the gun, or that could malfunction and disable the firearm at the worst possible time. These concerns are valid, however, there is another side to this coin. Reliable, durable, environmentally hardened “smart” gun technology, besides its obvious benefits if a gun falls into the wrong hands, could also pave the way for further applications of electronics in small arms. This could lead to a whole host of improvements, such as Aliens-style round counters (including a “gun odometer” function), electronic fire control groups (reducing lock time, simplifying and shrinking a gun’s mechanism, and allowing repositionable firing groups), and powered rails.

For law enforcement, the promise of a gun that is keyed to a user or department carries a lot of attraction, too. Unlike civilian concealed carriers, cops put themselves in harm’s way routinely, and carry their firearms in an open holster. Retention devices help reduce the risk of snatching somewhat, but an electronic prevention method would be, in theory, safer still.



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 can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • 22winmag

    I used to drive e limo years ago and I chauffered a guy who was a high level engineering contractor working on a similar sham program (I think it was “bullet safe” as in stamping/marking each fired round). Anyway he was quite intoxicated after getting off a plane and he proceeded to tell me in detail what a massive sham these smart bullet/smart gun programs were. I will never forget it!

  • Limonata

    Anything electronic will have a battery. One things to surely fail at the wrong time will be the battery. I do not know anything that is electronic that does not at some point fail.
    Those wonder boxes we call smart phones — according to Square Trade, depending on the phone, there is between 3% to 17% non-accidental failures. The iPhone 3GS according to them had as high as 21.7% failures.
    According to the Automotive Electronics Counsel, automotive electronics have much as 3% failure.
    Are the Police or you willing to take a 97% chance that something will not go wrong or your battery will not suddenly stop working at the wrong time? If it fails, and someone dies, who fault is it? Or, ironically, will the Democrats protect these companies under the same laws they are suing Bushmaster over?

    • George

      The spec says to default to allowed to fire if the battery fails or it’s jammed.

      • rrangel

        That would defeat the whole purpose of “smart guns.” Because then such contraptions, could be easily defeated, by Democrat constituents.

        • George

          Nevertheless, that’s the spec. And for the LE users the right answer, which is a good thing.

        • UninfringedTech

          Your extra commas make your comments read rather Shatner-esque.

        • Marcus D.

          Well, if the purpose of smart guns, under these proposals, is to keep the kids from shooting themselves or others, then an idiot light as to battery status would avoid failure mode issues.

      • Bill

        You actually READ the report before commenting? 😉

        • George

          I at one point had to read ~1 million pages of NASA specifications for Space Station Visiting Vehicles. This was only 28 pages.

          If I have to read any more about the station internal lighting again someone may go in an airlock…

      • gabriel brack

        So you just put a tiny drill bit in just the right spot and it works anyway?

    • Bill

      Like my flashlight, TASER, and radio? yeah, they can and do fail, but we have workarounds and they are far more reliable than they were, and are progressing.

  • George

    The electronic safety is the least of the problems. The overspecification of everything *else* was ridiculous.

    Design by committee fail.

  • rrangel

    Only the most loyal political appointees, in government, would ever mandate it for their agencies. If ever. We know where the gun prohibitionists are headed with “smart guns.” This is a form of control, by what is arguably the worst administration, this nation has ever seen. Why Hillary, needs to be sent packing, by the American voters this November.

    • allannon

      Unfortunately her primary opponent is Trump, who seems to have a talent for alienating…everyone. Especially with a hostile media, though unfortunately I can’t blame the media for all of it.

      My fear is that Johnson (who seems to be gaining popularity with centrists, but especially conservative voters) will draw more conservative votes than liberal, and help ensure a win for Clinton the Second.

      • Trump has also proven that he’ll set the whole Bill Of Rights on fire and kick it out a window if it’s politically expedient; he was, to coin a phrase, in favor of a so-called “assault weapon” ban before he was against it.

  • Martin Grønsdal

    How often does a cop lose his gun?

    • Don Ward

      The former Police Chief for Seattle (and a noted anti-gunner) had his personal sidearm stolen.

      So…

    • datimes

      Check with the court officers in St. Joe MI last week.

  • aka_mythos

    I don’t believe the technology should ever be mandatory, but it is reasonable to believe it will eventually achieve a level of reliability that makes it accessible and potentially trustworthy.

    People don’t want to admit the feasibility of such technology for fear of legitimizing the political assertions of gun control advocates, but Tracking Point has a reliable example of an electronic gun safety that is simply marketed differently from “smart guns,” albeit an expensive one. It has a means of electronically disconnecting the firing of the firearm from the pull of the trigger, dependent on an electronic input. That electronic input is currently based on redundant sensors in its computerized scope, but could just as easily be based around a visual system tied to a camera that has to recognize the user… or some other biometric reading from some other type of sensor. It works, it works well, its just bulky and pricey, but its only a matter of time.

    The concern about batteries and their failure compromising the operational integrity of the firearm is at this point the most legitimate one as far as the technical challenges go.

    • SignalFromTheRim

      A reasoned, well articulated position, I applaud you!

    • Big Burd

      all politics aside. here is the non-political version of why Electronic safety devices are a bad idea with firearms in general.

      1. Copper and many other type of metal dissolving solvents are used in many firearms to clean barrels
      Q. why is this bad?
      A. Copper is the main material in most electrical components due to its ability to conduct electricity very efficiently.

      2. Guns are exposed to environments that your typical cellphone isn’t or a laptop with a bio-metric
      Q. Why is this bad?

      A. Gun parts move, its a fact of the mechanisms needed to fire and recoil, you’re not going to be able to “environment-proof” a trigger mechanism from moisture (such as a rainy day) this leads to servo motors that can seize up locking a firearm into the safe position or vice versa leading to a negligent discharge due to the firearm not being rendered safe.

      3. bio-metric readers are prohibitively expensive when they’re accurate and even then cheap ones are hardly accurate and require multiple tries to get access.

      Q. Why is this bad?
      A. The whole idea was to prevent un-registered users from being able to access the gun except the ones are registered are prevented from using it when needed
      B. They can also be hacked either via simple methods such as using previous finger print oils on the scanner and a piece of scotch tape to acquire access

      4. Electronic devices require a power source.
      Q. Why is this bad?
      A. Because most people (aka 99.99%) of people don’t think a person is being a responsible gun owner if they leave their gun out next to a wall socket to keep a charge for all that fancy tech..

      B. A Electronic device that has a dead power source (aka low-no charged batteries or even broken batteries) leads to a dead gun when needed.

      5. Electrical devices are vulnerable to extreme temperatures
      Q. Why is this bad?
      A. electrical junctions become brittle in cold weather and in some cases in hot temperatures (xbox-360 red ring) the solider melts and no longer securely makes contact add this with the recoil of a gun and you have electrical circuits that are broken and non-functioning.

      • aka_mythos

        My background is predominantly in the design and manufacturing of fuzes for rockets, missiles, and mortar. These are the electro-mechanical safeties that are on board the munition. I can assure you that electronics can survive much worse than what you’re describing. I am simply saying the technology necessary to making a reliable smart gun is not insurmountable.

        1. The electronics of a firearm do not have to be exposed. I personally have worked on a number of programs with truly hermetically sealed electronics designed to survive 30 years temperature/humidity cycling without degradation or performance loss. In some instances the electronics are nearly completely embedded in an over-molded block of polymer.

        2. The technology to economically provide truly self contained electronics exist. They can survive solvent baths, saltwater spray, temperature shock, temperature and humidity cycling. If it can be done economically in one military proven field, it is only matter of research and development to apply the same technology to firearms.

        3. Bio-metrics need work, I can’t deny that. It is a very big area of research. I think the simplest most cost effective system that works well isn’t fingerprint or RFID, its a visual system based one. A digital camera is simply used to identify a person by comparing to a set of pre-existing pictures. The amount of power and computing capability the system requires is directly proportional to the number of pictures its comparing. If there are only a handful of authorized users the whole thing could run off of an economical micro-controller.

        4. One of the main objectives of the electronic locking system of smart guns is to restrict unauthorized use. IF the technology works well enough to sell and trust as a safety feature, it should be a moot point if its left out. Otherwise what would make sense is to incorporate the battery as a component removable as easy as a magazine that can be carried and charged separately and then including two with the firearms so it can always be operable while one of its batteries is recharging.

        5. The temperature limitations are something you designed the electronics to; the operating temperature of a handgun in the hottest desert on earth is cooler than the temperatures many of the electronics I’ve integrated are designed to operate in for an indefinite amount of time.

        6. If recoil of anything more than .22lr broke their system, their engineers suck. A .22lr produces less than 1 ft-lb of recoil. The electronics systems I’ve worked on have to endure far more and are relatively cheap. Armatix’s design is obviously flawed and likely designed by people with zero firearm design experience and shouldn’t be used as a basis for disproving technological viability. As I point out Tracking Point has produced large caliber and intermediate caliber rifles that have integrated electronics that operate in such a way as to disconnect the firing from the trigger pull; they function identically to the concept of a smart gun in all but the required nature of the input. They use a visual system based optic to provide that input and just requires being stripped down to be re-purposed. As for cost, it is unavoidable that technology costs money, but electronics heavily benefit from economy of scale. Both Armatix and Tracking Point are producing relatively low volumes and thus carry disproportionate amounts of development costs.

        There is difference between a good gun and a poor gun; and that holds true for smart guns, there will likely be good smart guns and poor smart guns… but just being a gun with programmable electronic safety doesn’t automatically qualify it as good or poor.

        • mrsatyre

          I remember reading about the very first proximity fuses for artillery shells. Still blows my tiny little mind that anything can withstand that sort of incredible shock and G-force from being fired by a big gun and still work as planned. And those were design back in the 1930’sor something like that? Amazing.

        • Stephen Shallberg

          Extremely interesting information. After reading your comment I’m going to have to agree that the electronic/electro-mechanical aspects of building a smart gun are certainly achievable.

          I think that “hacking” of the authentication process is going to be the biggest obstacle to a reliable smart gun. I work in cybersecurity and user authentication is an ongoing challenge. The DoD uses two-factor authentication smart cards for routine access; another two-factor smart card is required for elevated access. The two factors are the possession of the smart card, along with its encrypted digital certificate (supported by a huge infrastructure), and a pin number which must be manually entered. This is just for basic access to the network. The authentication process is routinely compromised through a variety of methods however.

          For a smart gun to reliably authenticate to, and fire for, only its authorized user – something that must occur almost instantaneously – is a nearly insurmountable problem in my opinion.

          • aka_mythos

            Hack-ability is always going to be a challenge, in that regard it just has to be good enough that unauthorized access requires too much time to be practical in an active combat situation. If it takes hours its enough to protect the proper owner from unauthorized use.

            One reason I like the idea of a visual system based authentication is that it can conceivably check a significant number of different facial features, where the combination of relationships between different facial features establishes a greater degree of reliability that can be dialed in for the desired level of statistical certainty and available power.

            I also like it because the ergonomics of aiming a handgun places the firearm in the perfect position to get a consistent picture of the gun’s user for verification.

          • Jwedel1231

            I do think that electronic in firearms can definitely be used to our advantage (awesome triggers on everything), I’m willing to forgo them to retain the security they currently have. You keep saying that they will never be hack-proof and that given enough time, every electronic can be hacked, the key being to make it so hard that a person cannot hack it while engaged in combat with the authorized user.

            My question is this: isn’t that already the predominant protocol with ‘dumb’ mechanical-only guns we have now? Isn’t the point of a safe to keep unskilled people with a minimum of time from gaining access? Isn’t a retention device on a holster there to keep people from grabbing your gun suddenly? What would we really gain in the ways of preventing unauthorized access, if to do so we need to keep employing the exact same measures as we do now?

          • aka_mythos

            It’s about raising the threshold for gaining access for everyone other than the guns owner, those things you mentioned do that but to a lesser degree.

    • allannon

      I don’t mind the idea of an electronic fire-control group, since it could improve reliability (and perhaps general performance, in the case of e.g. bullpups).

      What I don’t want is either a ban on non-electronic designs, nor electronics that could be used to remotely disable a firearm.

      Even without concerns of a ban on non-disableable designs or government misuse, as a computer tech I simply don’t believe that it’s possible it wouldn’t be suborned by criminals. In computer circles “script kiddies” are fairly common, individuals without the expertise to create exploits on their own but who acquire (either free or for money) exploits from more capable third parties; I see the same behavior with “firearm jammers”, where parties with higher degrees of technical expertise (Mexican cartels setting up private cell networks as an example) sell prepackaged devices.

      • aka_mythos

        I agree. The technology should never be mandatory. I liken it to general shift from revolver to semi-automatic handguns over the last century. Both have continued to exist despite each having certain clear advantages over the other. When they get to the point that they work reliably these types of electronic integrated handguns will present other beneficial opportunities to the gun owner.

        The technology will never be able to guarantee a determined criminal won’t gain operational access, but it can raise the threshold to a point that it takes an amount of time and skills that keeps the proper owner safe in that moment the lose possession.

        • Jwedel1231

          *probably safe

          • aka_mythos

            If it works, whatever probability of “safe” is above and beyond a conventional firearm. And obviously only so far as that individual weapon is concerned.

    • Counterpoint: The failure rate of literally every cell phone, tablet, and laptop with a fingerprint scanner. Anyone who has one, knows.

      Additional counterpoint: The digital killswitch Apple builds into every iPhone and iPad that allows federal, state, county, and municipal law enforcement authorities to enable/disable cell service, internet connection, bluetooth, and audio/video recording.

      …Not just “No”, but “Hell no”.

      • aka_mythos

        I understand your apprehension. I don’t think fingerprint scanners should be used and I don’t think they should have a remote kill switch or be susceptible to remote access. I think there are ways to achieve this that don’t make it vulnerable.

        A digital kill switch in the long run will be the a battleground topic.

        As I said the technology should work and smart guns should exist, but it shouldn’t be a required or mandatory technology.

        • I honestly don’t think remote killswitches will ever really amount to much of a “battleground topic”, because manufacturers will either deny that they include them or just refuse to acknowledge the topic, the same way Apple has mostly ignored angry rhetoric about the authoritarian backdoors they include in iProducts. Proponents will accept that at face value– completely unexamined and ignoring all questions– because it supports their narrative and reinforces their preconceived notions, while anyone who knows such things are not only possible but inevitable won’t ever be convinced otherwise regardless of what manufacturers or legislators say. That battleground won’t see much fighting because both sides will refuse to even acknowledge that there’s anything to fight over.

    • raz-0

      I don’t believe it will every be functional as intended. All it will do, at most, is criminalize people. That’s because it can only really take two forms.

      1) an electronic disconnect/connect/blocking of a mechanical mechanism. Much like a mag safety, or any other mechanical safety, this will be able to be easily bypassed by altering the mechanism or whatever provides the electrical signal. So the only thing a smart gun will do is provide for laws saying to not alter smart guns.

      2) electronic ignition that’s prevented from occurring without the correct inputs. In this case, simply remove the firing circuitry entirely and provide for different inputs. This will just make it incredibly simple to make machine guns out of semi-automatic firearms. All this will do is provide for making laws about not altering smart guns AND for arms to be banned from the market as being too readily convertible to machine guns.

      so… You can likely build something reliable, but at this moment, probably not something that would have battery life that is amenable to civilian use, and likely not in a reasonable form factor for handguns, which are the means of the vast majority of firearms involved crimes.

      • aka_mythos

        1. This goes to what I was saying about hack-ability. It’s electronic, it can and will be hacked and bypassed just as any safe or gun lock can be hacked and bypassed if given enough time. That’s why it has to be clearly understood to be something that can only be relied on for immediate circumstances, where a determined criminal doesn’t have the time or tools to alter the weapon.

        2. I think as far as electronic ignition or electronic firing mechanisms go, triggers can have electronic reset switches and utilize a capacitor to ensure the one shot per trigger pull restriction. As far as making these systems difficult to access and modify… In my field we will embed electronics into over-molded blocks of polymer doing so would require a person to have a machine shop and schematics to know how to carefully machine away the polymer. This raises the threshold of necessary knowledge, skills, and tools to something similar to what’s required to modify any given conventional firearm.

  • DanGoodShot

    No

  • Don Ward

    An electronic “smart” gun could have interesting offshoots for fully automatic fire, legal and otherwise.

    • PK

      Electronic FCGs don’t tend to be legal in semi-autos (in the USA, specifically) for exactly this reasoning. “Ease of conversion” or some such.

  • CommonSense23

    The major issues with smart guns for police work is biometrics are not even close to being ready. And how is a biometric gun is going to work for a someone wearing winter clothing.
    Any gun that unlocks based off a RFID is going to have the major issue of needing to be able to defeat a jammer. Which any power source that runs off a battery that can comfortable fit on the wrist or hand is easily going to be jammed by a man packable jammer from well outside the effective range of a handgun.

    • Road

      I’ve considered the pros and cons of electronics being introduced into firearms, but I had never considered jammers before. You better believe if criminals knew they could jam a cop’s gun with a portable electronic device, it would only be matter of time before some criminal hacker was making them in his basement and selling them to thugs.

    • Oh, the things you could do with a magnatron and a waveguide that would make the FCC sweat bricks.

  • T

    This article gets a severe “dislike” from me.

    Amongst other issues, just how is adding electronics that can disable the gun in any way necessary for powered rails or round counters? The claim that these are possible upsides to “smart” guns makes absolutely no sense since they are in no way related.

    • Cymond

      They both rely on the ability to design small, durable electronics that can withstand the shock of numerous gunshots.

      • The first thing I think of any time mandatory electronics on firearms are talked about is how many $10 red dot sights there are on the market, and what sort of wuality control and craptsmanship they have. I’m sure the fine fellows across the sea who make Leapers/UTG sights and mounts from soda can aluminum will send us only their finest products.

        • Cymond

          Yeah, and on the other hand, there’s Aimpoint’s reputation for durability to hell and back.

          I imagine that HiPoint-grade guns would probably use UTG-grade electronics, while top end guns use top end electronics.

  • Maxpwr

    This technology will be used as justification to ban all old guns. Stay the hell away from it if you don’t want something the government will use to eventually track and disable these firearms. Government will eventually corrupt this system no mater what their original intent was. Cops will never use something that can be remotely disabled or jammed and there will always be that possibility with something containing electronics.

    Every one will eventually have an electronic signature like an RFID or cellular/wifi. Walk into a mall with a “no guns sign” an set off the alarm.

    • Road

      Exactly. This is introduced under the guise of “safety,” but will be used as a means of control. Period. No good will come from this.

    • Budogunner

      The first rule of computing and electronics is that they fail. You can add round counters and non-essential widgets but understand that computerizing anything crucial, such as safeties and fire control, would make a firearm fundamentally LESS SAFE. Full stop.

      • Mechanical systems also fail.

        • Drew Coleman

          I’d trust a mechanical safety over a circuit board any day.

          • Jwedel1231

            I agree with Drew 100%

          • Aramaki

            Fighter pilots said the same things when they started introducing “fly-by-wire” systems, replacing the old pneumatic flight controls but they work well enough for pilots actually facing real nuclear/EMP threats. Hell, we’re at a point in time where spacecraft are starting to have electronic controls, and they get bombarded by high energy RF interference constantly (because there is no magnetic field to protect them like here on the surface).

            If you have ruggedized components that are RF shielded, this should give reliability on par with, and possibly even superior to that of mechanical components.

            I’m not saying it should be made mandatory, but in time, electronic firearms are gonna happen: everything is computerized these days.

          • tts

            There are circuitry components from the 80’s and 90’s that have been functioning every day since they were new and still work now. I use them all the time at work (autoclaves) and you probably have too whether you know it or not (most elevators these days are controlled by VERY old PC’s that are never turned off).

            The problem with circuits isn’t reliability its that if something breaks with it you’re only option is replacement most times and its not something that is easy or even possible to replace yourself.

        • Budogunner

          I’ll put my faith in millenia old simple machines, like a lever, over a Chinese made microprocessor stuffed some place WAY outside its comfort zone any day.

          • Cal.Bar

            Modern fighter jets cost 50+ MILLION dollars. Guns do not. How much money do you think the MFG will put into EMP fortification on a handgun that retails for $500.00?

          • Budogunner

            Solid point. Also, the F-22 has seven separate avionics computers so it can compare results and go with the majority… just in case a computer fails. Firearms would need at least F-16 level redundancy, which has 3 separate avionics computers.

  • datimes

    The liberal utopians and their wet dreams. What they really want is the Star Trek phaser. And yes it will be prohibited for civilians to possess.

    • It’s worth pointing out that from Next Gen onward, on Federation vessels the Ship’s Computer could instantly deactivate any phaser onboard. It would actually be in the interests of the leaders of such a screwtopia to let the plebeians and helots have their spaceguns, along with the illusion that they were free to use them; that would make it much easier to put down any uprisings or prevent any individual from resisting arrest, and in the mean time the hoi polloi could carry on killing each other without a moment’s concern from the elites.

      • Bob

        When did they ever use the computer to turn phasers off? I have seen most of every Star Trek series, and although they have technobabbled phasers into not working sometimes, I can’t recall them ever pressing a button and stopping a phaser…

        • In A Matter Of Time, when Max Headroom traveled forward in time in a stolen time pod to steal future technology; as soon as the door to the pod was opened, the computer detected and deactivated all the stuff he’d stolen, including a Type II phaser.

  • Big Daddy

    How about smarter police, smarter gun owners, smarter drivers and most of all smarter politicians. Invest in people as well as technology.

  • Ranger Rick

    To really make this a reality the federal government should be the leader in these efforts starting with the: FBI, DEA, HSI, BOP, ATF, USSS, USMS, Park Police, USFWS, USPS, Dept of the Interior DOE, US Capital Police, any and all OIG’s. These firearms should be mandatory issue and the only firearms authorized. Then and only then will this idea have merit. But folks speaking from experience this would never happen, the alphabet agencies would fight this all the way.

    • Paula

      Well I sure hope that you are right I don’t think a police officer can defend and protect against criminals who WILL have a ” real gun with real power ” with a gun that depends on a battery to function really is a criminal going to wait for a officer to get his weapon in jammed or charge the battery before he continues with an assault ? No I don’t think so this is a stupid stupid liberal gun control push to the left I don’t buy it or agree with it and I will never support it and defiantly will never vote for it NOT NO !!BUT H.LL NO this is progressives pushing way to far left they will progress us straight into disarmament and one more thing HRC &OBAMA ARE REALLY GIVEING US AMERICANS SO MUCH TO LAUGH AT THESE DAYS

      • gabriel brack

        Except it’s not a laughing matter. They either don’t believe it and are just pushing it as a step closer to full gun confiscation, or they actually do believe it. Not sure which is scarier.

  • Old Gringo

    After about 40 years of carrying handguns for local military, state and federal agencies and watching this idea for about 20 years, it is truly a dumb idea. I get it that it is a political attempt to register, control and ban guns, i get that. But from a cops standpoint it is just dumb. Every cop I know carries 2 guns at a time, a duty gun, and a small 38 or 380 stashed in a front or rear pocket. The reason is obvious…if you lose one, or if it does not go off or if you are rolling on the ground fighting 2 suspects, the second gun becomes life or death. Then every car needs a shotgun, rifle or both. Then, there is the magnetic of radio signal…I can drive thru a neighborhood with my garage door opener and open a door every now and again…….and then there are times when radio signals set off cell phones and signals drop…..no amount of technology can prevent this….really stupid idea for cops….but really a good idea for the secret service…let them try it first….

    • Paula

      You could not have said any better I to can’t help but liberals just trying to push another gun control proposal that they think Americans will feel is reasonable they never stop at a tiny gun control proposal liberals are much like adolescents “give them an inch and they take a mile”America really has to be careful of liberal gun control of any kind they do not respect our 2nd amendment rights they don’t want America to believe in the constitution at all .our founding fathers who are geniuses wrote the constitution for a reason and to just give it up to the idiots running our country ends in disarmament

  • john huscio

    I’m not sure cops would be in love with this idea…our local chief said smart guns were “for idiots” because they put officers lives at risk because they take time to recognize a handprint, Time they probably won’t have in a gunfight.

    • Paula

      This is way to new and way to early for a battery operated fire arm for a officer they have to have dependability and have to be certain the weapon they have to defend and protect the community against any kind of attack or Offense of any sort and from whom ever is reliable this is a sure catastrophe waiting to happen and usually our men and women in blue are the ones who have to pay the price first k do not agree with this liberal gun control proposal to far left I do however think it could simply be just another option for gun owners can’t find any logic in a firearm for police officers not reliable enough toys ran off batteries fail and go wacko all the time I myself would never be interested in a “smart gun ” in fact I lean more towards just plain stupid

  • Stephen Shallberg

    “4.18.13 The security device should be easy for an operator to quickly reset or disengage
    if there is a malfunction.”
    If the “operator” can easily disengage the security device, then why would his adversary not be able to do the same if the gun were taken?
    Or is the “reset or disengage” button only operable during a malfunction?
    What if the malfunction detector malfunctions?

    Lots of holes in these proposals.

  • kzrkp

    breaking, running political meme completely unrealistic and divorced from all observable reality.

  • IndyToddrick

    I suspect caseless ammo will precede the commercial success of any electronic gadgetry in a handgun. Most likely caseless ammo will use an electric primer, and therefore already provide a power source.l that can easily be tapped into for other stuff. Also, there will be more space for internal gadgetry in the frame if the cartridges are smaller.

    • Blackhawk

      I don’t see caseless rounds coming to market too soon. Unfortunately, a few rounds were tried in the 70s-80s and failed because the technology wasn’t there yet. Now the plastics and chemistry for the propellants are here, but nobody wants to try it again since the idea failed before.

  • Bill

    They can all shove it. The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, shame on the firearms blog for praising this.

  • allannon

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it now: deploy it with the police for several years.

    I’ll bet anti-gun cops like the nuts in NYC and Seattle would scream over the obvious problems that presents their officers.

  • lbeacham

    If private enterprise see’s or wants to create a market for ‘smart” or personalized guns, go for it. Maybe improvements and additional can be found. Government, get out of the way and leave the 2nd amendment alone. In fact, start doing less of everything currently underway until we say stop.

    • Paula

      Well said make all the “smart guns “you want if I am interested in getting one them I will it should only be just another option for gun owners and not a gun control effort it does not make any one safer it at most might be an attractive new man toy to display on a shelf it is to much like a form of control by liberals creating a false sense of public safety I don’t believe in it I think it is just plain stupid

  • Silver Bullet

    Simple answer to a lot of the problems we have recently experienced. Each member of LE caries two pistols. One with rubber bullets another with standard rounds. The primary objection has been :”Two much extra weight to carry around.”

    Let me remind you that a GI carries almost ninety pounds, in heat, cold, and Im talking 24/7. and the GI has no airconditioned auto to jump into to cool off. Somebody would have to come up with a much better excuse than this to keep this idea from being implemented.

    • Raoul O’Shaugnessy

      Cops already have issues with carrying a Taser AND a handgun, and mixing the two of them up in a high-stress situation. More than one person has been shot by a cop who thought he had grabbed his Taser when he’d actually grabbed his pistol. Your suggestion wouldn’t fare any better.

    • I’m afraid Lawgiver technology isn’t yet up to the standards of 2000AD.

  • Gregory

    As a LEO, there is no way in hell I will make my life dependent on electronics. Electronics are not and will never be 100% reliable. Biometric devices have a high failure rate, trust me, I have had first hand experience with their failures. So, a stupid government is pushing a smart gun, oh yea, that’s going to work.

    • Donnie Buchanan

      I was wondering what would happen if a right handed shooter had to use his left hand to shoot. IMO, it would result in the death of a LEO. You people are in enough danger as it is. I would junk the electronics totally.

      • Donnie Buchanan

        I would add that as long as computers have been around, they still freeze and are suceptable to virus and can be shut down remotely. So what is to stop a gun from the same??

      • Well obviously, the answer is that every department will be required to purchase two $500 RFID watches or rings for each officer– one for each hand– as well as a backup in case those are disabled by moisture or random interference or planned obsolescence or whatever.

        …Why, yes, a majority of congressmen on the House Select Law Enforcement Regulation Committee own stock in the sole approved manufacturer of LEO Smart Gun Activator technology– why do you ask?

  • Mattblum

    There will be a day when “smart” guns are viable. That day it not now. The durability and reliability just don’t exist in modern electronics. As long as we are using devices that propel projectiles by controlled explosions, this is not likely to change. Maybe when hand held lasers are an option. Never likely to work with firearms. As has been pointed out, this is just a way for anti-gun folks to try and game the discussion. No grounding in present reality at all.

  • Steven Kaspar

    Just another stupid idea buy paper pushing liberal scumbags FTG!

  • crackedlenses

    Technical issues aside, most who oppose “smart” technology for guns do so because of the threat of outside control it places on their firearms. This perception will probably never go away completely, even when smart guns become viable.

    Considering certain attitudes and positions held by our lawmakers I cannot say these fears are unfounded.

  • Blackhawk

    I think the technology will progress to the point that soon (within the next 10-20 years) “smart guns” are considered almost as reliable as classic firearms. Ten years ago, nobody would have considered micro red dot optics on firearms to be completely reliable, but now a lot of people (including several big name instructors) run RMRs on their handguns.

    Support the idea or not (and I’m not for making it mandatory), the technology will get there. Just like pistol optics, “plastic guns,” and just about every other major innovation in firearms technology. Anyone remember when those “auto loading pistols” were considered unreliable?

    • AD

      That sounds fair, though it’s worth remembering that very few people will put an electronic sight on a gun that’s used in life-or-death situations, or even in competition, without having back-up iron sights that are co-witnessed or, at worst, quick to deploy or transition to.

      In other words people still don’t trust the reliability of electronic sights as much as they trust the reliability of old-fashioned iron sights. Which is completely understandable considering it’s not uncommon to hear stories of electronic sights failing or suffering from point of impact shifts, being hard to use in the wrong lighting, etc.

      • Blackhawk

        That’s the thing though, it’s getting there. Yes, many people are still using backup sights, but I’ve seen some people transitioning away from them. While it was previously “I expect this sight to fail, so I’m ready with backup sights,” now some are going to the thought that “I am confident this will work, and maybe I don’t need the extra weight, size, etc. of iron sights.”

        I know we aren’t there yet, but in a few years I wouldn’t be surprised to see red dots as the standard for self defense guns. They’re already standard in some form or another for the armed forces.

    • Bill

      Very well said. If we can get a satellite to Jupiter within a second of planning to, eventually we can conquer this comparatively minor technological problem, even if people don’t want to believe it.

      It was slightly before my time, but some people swore putting seatbelts in cars would result in crash victims being sliced in half.

    • David Sharpe

      The problem is that optics aren’t mandatory, but several states have legislation that says when smart gun tech becomes available, only smart guns will be allowed.

      • Blackhawk

        Yeah, that’s another problem with them. Unfortunately those laws don’t consider how horribly unreliable first generation products can be. Even the new iOS has a few problems every year when the next version is released. I’d hate to see the problems with first generation “smart guns.”

  • Matt

    Yeah, no. Leave the Sci-fi junk in the realms of Halo, et-cetera. Guns are Tools. Tools need to be simple.

    • ostiariusalpha

      So, you don’t use power tools, eh?

      • Given how many cheapo grande power tools have been trashed over the years by people who couldn’t afford quality, that’s maybe not the best analogy.

        • ostiariusalpha

          Same could be said of firearms. Seems like a pretty apt analogy.

  • I trust advocates for “smart” guns like I trust advocates for new taxes; it doesn’t matter what the theory or original intent is, there is an absolute, rock solid, unimpeachable guarantee that in actual practice it will inevitably be misused by over-reaching federal and state governments as a tool of disenfranchisement and oppression.

  • James L. Rainey

    Wow, a cool toy you can give to the kids if an EMP ever happens. There is a reason I do not drive cars or trucks made after 1984 other then replacing little servos and motors for people who dont know how to use a window crank.

  • Timothy Sullivan

    Now didn’t they have just such a firearm in Judge Dredd? It was called the “lawmaster or lawgiver (can’t remember exact term) and only a street judge could use it with impunity. Anyone else trying to use it got blown up. The ultimate smart gun.

  • Oregon213

    “Unlike civilian concealed carriers, cops put themselves in harm’s way routinely, and carry their firearms in an open holster.”

    I want to say this is 100% false, but maybe “open holster” means something different to me than it does to you.

    I’ve been an LEO for years, I haven’t seen an officer carry unconcealed with an open holster… ever. Now, I haven’t seen every cop on the street, but seriously, no one is walking around with cowboy holsters anymore. Nearly every agency around me requires level III retention for duty holsters, and the few that don’t still require level II. Even the serious old timers who were grandfathered in before some of these policies still were carrying with a thumb-break holster.

    My agency is obsessed with gun takeaways enough we have to have level II retention on our off duty holsters, if we carry under our badge alone (no CHL).

    I’d be impressed (and scared) if there were any law enforcement agencies that allowed line officers to carry duty weapons in a holster that lacked retention.

    Also…. a good retention device trumps any electronic, any day.

    • David Sharpe

      I assume Open Holster meant openly visible. As in open to gun grabs.

  • phauxtoe

    well the First step is for Secret Service and all Government Security to be the Test bed for these Arms!

  • adverse4

    I like my pump shotgun simple. My pistol, simple. I am the fail safe. Pretty simple myself.

  • Watch the language

  • HARDSHELL

    Hope some good result come from this

  • Ambassador Vader

    Hear a noise downstairs
    Grab your smart gun out of your night side table
    activate finger scanner
    didn’t work
    do it again
    error “wet fingerprints”
    forget alternative password
    enter security question followed by social security number
    Log into Facebook, since they sponsored the technology
    “what is the purpose that you are logging into your firearm this evening?”
    Home security
    “what is the ethnicity of alleged criminal?”
    unknown
    Please wait for one of our smart gun technicians to call you.

  • Avery

    Two words for LEOs or CCW shooters concerned about justifiable shoots: gun cameras. It’s possible now, with improving smartphone technolgy, to build a digital camera into a LAM or lighting device and have it start running video in 8 megapixels in 60 frames per second the moment it clears a holster or a finger is put onto a trigger. The iPhone’s camera is @1cm^2, 1cm x 2cm if you include the PCB connector and ribbon.

  • Jwedel1231

    The fact that there is so little to gain, and that gain will be useful in so small a context, and the drawbacks are so huge and unavoidable… I’ll pass.

    And I’m not even talking about the political nonsense that these guns would bring with them.

  • Cal.Bar

    This is GREAT for cops! Mandate THEY use the systems for a few years and see how THEY like them. THEN get back to us.

  • Bdpenn

    Of course the technology will work. It always does. We have to look at what the Justice Dept. has to gain(and all of us as well, that hurts doesn’t it?). Safety and disarming criminals. A win win For sure and of course the only way to guarantee the objectives is to ban current firearms to prevent them from getting into the hands of unauthorized users. The goal is that simple. If you have been paying attention Mossberg and others are prepared and ready to go forward. With standards set look to the next shot show for the reality.
    The tech war is already won. Th next battle is about putting the squeeze on current firearms. Try to think ahead, the anti-gunners are for sure!! They’re winning.
    VOTE WISELY!!

  • David Sharpe

    Only when these work 100% of the time, are mandatory for police and for political protection and for the military, and as long as they cannot be remotely disabled will I be okay with these for civilians.

    Until then, nope.

  • RSG

    I will only CONSIDER supporting smart gun technology after 10 years of mandatory usage by all levels of law enforcement, especially including the secret service. This mandatory usage would require all SS agents to only use smart gun tech on all living past presidents, including their family members, as well as the current presidents full detail