RADETEC Handgun Electronic Round Counter. No Really.

The question: is this the accessory you’ve always wished someone would come up with or one of the greatest WTF items in firearms history? RADETEC will introduce two models at SHOT next week, one with a digital counter and  – for the numerically challenged among us – a color-coded version that changes from blue to green to red as your available round count drops. Our friends at guns.com say it’s designed “to help train shooters improve their internal ability to count rounds, anticipate reloads, and get back into the game faster.” It could be argued that taking your eye off the target and tilting the gun to check your round count might slow you down a tad, too. But that’s just me. The first models will fit 1911s as well as Glocks, Berettas and S&W M&Ps. Not that the march of technology is without its costs. If Harry Callahan had one for his .44 revolver, we might have been deprived of an iconic movie scene and a highly quotable quote.

comments

  1. avatar ST says:

    This makes as much sense as racing stripes on a Ford Econoline van. Most citizen DGU situations wont require 1 reload,and if it does you damn well can bet the parties in the firefight will have better things to do than to read a digital meter.

    Hollywood might see a benefit with their issues filming guns with bottomless magazines and all, but a gun with its slide locked back tells a much better tale to the practical shooter than a grimy sweat-covered digital dial with two zeros. Or are those 8’s ?

    1. avatar James says:

      Eighty-eight round magazine for a handgun?Link plz.

        1. avatar Totenglocke says:

          I want a 9mm Sub-2000 with one of those magazines.

  2. avatar GA Koenig says:

    If these guys have a reliable, easily retrofitted round counter, they will sell a boatload of them to the DOD.

    For years now, every future looking soldier systems document related to weapons has had a round counter. The DOD wants them desperately to help keep weapons maintained at proper intervals; keeping accurate round counts manually is notoriously unreliable. A round counter would also help with accountability. Given how difficult it is to get into military procurement channels, perhaps these RADE guys are using the civilian market (what little there is for this product) to help boot up some cash flow and get noticed by big volume mil and LEO customers.

    1. You would think a version for rifles, which would probably be more useful than the handgun model, would find a market.

      1. avatar Josh says:

        They do have a version for rifles. It was on there YouTube page about a year ago and seemed ALOT more useful than this. It even kept track of total round count as long as it’s attached to the same weapon.

  3. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

    The shooter in me agrees that these are a ridiculous addition at best, and a needless distraction at worst.

    The engineer in me, however, wants to know how they work. How is the counter triggered? Accoustic? Kinetic? Do you have to manually reset it after a reload, or is it somehow connected to the magazine catch? What about non-standard capacity magazines? RADE’s website is useless, so I’ll have to wait for the news from SHOT, I guess.

    1. avatar matt says:

      $160!!! Plus from the Accurate Shooter article it sounds like they require proprietary magazines. I thought of a similar product but never got around to prototyping it. I was thinking of doing it with optics or magnets, since acoustic wont work if there are other shooters around. And Kinetic wont work since a magazine may be roughly handled, enough to trip the accelerometer to thinking a gunshot had taken place. And both acoustic and kinetic would require near constant monitoring, compared to optics/magnets where you can power the sensor for a millisecond, and then sleep the rest of the second, giving much better battery life.

      1. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

        Strain gauge in the mag spring connected to an RF transmitter that talks to the gun? Just throwing ideas out there.

        1. avatar matt says:

          Never thought of a strain gauge or similar sensor sounds like it would be a good idea as well.

          RF would be a problem since how does the gun know which magazine was in it. If you could place a IR receiver in the gun, and a LED in the magazine, you could communicate that way. Hopefully there would be enough open space for the light to make it thru. Although I suppose for all this effort, you could put a magnet in the gun, and a hall effect sensor in the magazine.

        2. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

          Bluetooth, then? Gettin’ into serious cyberpunk territory, now. 😉

  4. avatar Aharon says:

    I remember first seeing such an ammo counter in the sci-fi film Alien. It was cool.

    1. avatar James says:

      Aliens. The second one. And the counters on those guns were quite impractically placed, if I remember right.

      EDIT: http://www.tk560.com/m41a.html

  5. avatar Mr. Lion says:

    Um.. exactly how is something that will actively dissuade people from counting rounds supposed to help people learn to count rounds?

  6. avatar IdahoPete says:

    A solution in desperate search for a problem. Or maybe a company hoping that the latest cool widget will make them some money. Wouldn’t buy one myself, but I can see some civilian police oversight groups in the leftist cities demanding that these be installed on all police firearms, so they can “assist in the review of police shootings”. Considering how many rounds get expended during some police-criminal shot exchanges, it will be real interesting to see how many of these end up on police guns.

    Following which, budget cut discussions will require police departments to mandate “shots fired” quotas for each officer. Once an officer hits his quota, he will be required to carry only empty guns. Hey, just some more of those “reasonable” gun restictions beloved of the left.

  7. avatar Silver says:

    One more step toward building the “Aliens” pulse rifle!

  8. avatar Rob J says:

    As if shooters didn’t have enough bad habits. This thing will draw your eyes off the target and sights on a regular basis. If you use it regularly you may be distracted when you actually have to defend yourself. When the crap hits the fan your revert to your training.

  9. avatar Jake F. says:

    There was a youtube video a while back from a guy that built a rail mounted round counter for rifles and I had plans to build one with a friend of mine.His used a motion sensor to count fired rounds I was going to use an Arduino, 14 segment led displays, and a trigger activated button to count down. Mine would have been for semi-auto just because it was easier and I wouldn’t have to worry about programming to cancel out readings from extra movement.

    I also want to know how it works, the easiest way would be a “smart magazine” that could let a pickup in the grip know how many rounds were in the mag. These magazines wouldn’t be too much more expensive if the concept ever caught on, the easiest way you would just have to install a chip inside to keep up with the follower and contacts so the chip can tell the counter in the grip whats left.

    1. avatar matt says:

      Except that the cartridges would short out those contacts. If the contacts are embedded in to the wall of the magazine, then that will greatly increase costs. The contact idea will also have problems from carbon and whatnot building up on them, and mechanical electrical contacts are well known to be finicky. Then you have the problem of the size all this takes up in a magazine along with a battery, do you really want to modify your 7 round 1911 magazine so it counts rounds and only holds 5? If your not going to use a battery, then your stuck with induction power or harvesting free energy, both which come with their own set of nightmares.

      1. avatar Jake F. says:

        I was thinking the battery that powers the counter would also power the mag sensor. Crud buildup would be the biggest problem but that’s what an R&D department is for.

        As for mag capacity it would be unaffected since the chip would fit on the bottom of the mag and the wires for the follower contacts or sensors could be a run up the outside of the magazine, this would work well on a Glock because the mags are plastic coated anyway.

        1. avatar matt says:

          “the wires… could be run up the outside of the magazine”

          huh? your stuck with a fixed magazine like a SKS, or your unpluging/replugging cable for the magazine everytime you reload.

        2. avatar Jake F. says:

          It would be easiest to sketch a picture. Think two recessed rows of contacts running up the back of the mag on the inside and a pair of brushes on the follower to reach the contacts, the recesses would keep the bullets from shorting the contacts and messing up the count. these would have to be wired to the chip in some way, I was thinking either external wires run under a plastic sheath would just be easier or cheaper than a mounted circuit board on the back. you would then need a couple contacts on the outside that would connect into the counter somehow like a set of blades that would fit into contact grooves when the mag was loaded into the gun.

          I’m sure it is actually done in some other fashion in this product but I was trying to think up a way that would take into account different capacity or partially loaded mags. No matter what it still is more complex then just keeping count. The colored light is easier; one contact makes it red when empty, another for yellow on last few rounds, then green for anything above.

  10. avatar Gossven says:

    I could see something like this being useful hooked to a belt fed weapon. Or even better figure out a way to send the info to your optics, because I am a giant fan of Shadowrun and having your own smart link would be awesome.

  11. avatar Nick says:

    Forget about all of the details on how they count rounds or who might use one etc. Its Pretty obvious from the images that they will impede a proper firing grip on the pistol.

    Neat idea, but I don’t think something like this belongs on a pistol.

  12. avatar Bruce W. Krafft says:

    I’m goin’ with WTF?!?

  13. avatar Mike says:

    They’re too low, looks like they’d interfere with a proper grip.

  14. avatar LastRound says:

    T&E of Rad Tech Speed Shot

    I was able to install and evaluate the speed shot on my Beretta 92fs and my S&W M&P 40 full size.

    The model of Speed Shot for the Beretta 92fs featured a digital numeric display.

    The model for the S&W M&P 40 featured an LED display changing color as the round count dropped.

    Both sets of grips were comparable in size to the OEM parts and the quality of the polymer and rubber on them felt solid with good workmanship. Any visible electronics on the underside of the grips was covered with a black material for protection/insulation. The batteries in the units had soldered contacts to eliminate chance of failure if the gun was dropped or suffered an impact.

    The installation on both was very straight forward and went smoothly. Installing the followers in my existing S&W magazines was simple. I did notice the capacity in my M&P dropped by one round as result of the new follower being larger than the OEM but for me, that is an acceptable exchange for the feature of being able to have indication when your gun is about to run dry. The blue polymer followers seemed robust with high quality magnets to function with the system. A magazine for my 92fs came with those grips but the follower in that magazine was swapped into an existing 15 round magazine for testing. The magnets do stick to the inside of the magazines but do not seem to affect the function of the magazine.

    When gripping the M&P, the display section of the Speed Shot touched my hand but did not affect my firing grip. The display on this model is smaller than on the grips for the Beretta 92fs. The display on that model would be better if it were higher as the display caused the grip to feel a bit low although not enough to affect trigger feel or pull. There was no issue holstering both models.

    I ran a series of full and partial magazines through both guns. Both of them functioned well except for one double feed in the Beretta. It seemed this was due to the ammunition and not the speed shot.

    Both speed shots were visible in full sunlight and the model on the M&P 40 had several hundred rounds through it for pistol exercises and a range qualification. It was easy to see the warning function as the rounds were expended from the magazine and I was able to easily drop and change magazines without needing to run dry or use the slide stop/magazine release. It is truly an edge knowing your round count for any situation. Others at the range tried the units. Opinion on both were mixed. People who were not as enthusiastic about firearm technology felt the displays were distracting or did not grasp the tactical importance of the speed shot. Others who tested them found them a totally worthwhile upgrade.

    The Beretta speed shot with the numeric display felt more appealing to me as you could determine the number of rounds left in the weapon at any time merely by gripping the gun, depressing the button on the front of the grip & displaying the count. The momentary display of each change in count with the weapon discharge worked timely and accurately showing the count then going dark so it would not betray your position if moving after shooting at night. The light sensor adjusted the contrast of the display up-down depending on dim or bright light.

    Hopefully a model with the numeric display for the M&P as well as Glocks can be obtained for testing as well.

    I am looking forward to continuing the testing with multiple users and different conditions. Thanks to Rad Tech for providing speed shot units for the T&E!

    LastRound

  15. avatar matt says:

    i want this for my AR15

  16. avatar Last Round says:

    This is a worthwhile addition to a handgun in my opinion. There are a few people out there who say “If I cant do it with ## of shots then I deserve what I get- or it is not of much use” Well my reply would be to simulate a gunfight with an armed adversary by doing simunitions or paintball where you could actually get hits, misses and see how fast each of you run dry or play with tactical reloads. If you do that you will see there are times it is not just a matter of standing toe to toe and then it is all over. If you are each moving and shooting but maybe not hitting-you will see that every bit helps. Not everyone is a tried and true expert out there and they are who will benefit from something like this. For all the experts who extole more training and not dependance on a gadget, I would say, look at history, there have been a lot of developments over time providing an edge in combat. Yes, training is the best thing but do not relegate yourself to be tied to limiting old practices. Combine good training with new technology to win or you will be surpassed.

  17. avatar LastRound says:

    Hi everyone, I just want to say I am still carrying & using the Speed Shot grips. They have worked consistently on my handguns and there have been no issues with battery life or issues with dirt etc. eve through freezing temperatures. The displays have been visible in low light and in bright sunshine. There have been no issues with my grip being affected by the location of the display on the S&W. It rides above my hand and has remained visible on numerous reloads.

    As I stated above. Proper training in the use and manipulation of your weapon is crucial to get and stay up on. Like anything, you can loose your edge with any perishable skill if you do not train consistently. Having this device gives you an advantage over an adversary who does not have it or could be a lifesaver if you are in any protracted action.

  18. avatar ern1911 says:

    the gun mag follower has a magnet that the grip picks up

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