Armatix Smart System RFID Pistol and Watch Coming to the US?

If you believe yesterday’s article at sfgate,com, the future of firearms safety is almost here. Finally, the Europeans have found gun controllers’ Nirvana. Short of outright confiscation, anyway. The gun control industrial complex has thrown up their collective hands for years asking why America’s firearms manufacturers can’t produce a smart gun. We can put a man on the moon, but Smith and Ruger can’t market guns with biometric technology! What’s up with that? Well, German firm Armatix hasn’t quite cracked the biometric barrier, but they’ve developed an RFID-enabled pistol that, they say, will only work when it’s in close proximity to a watch the shooter wears. A few problems come immediately to mind, though . . .

First, there’s the company’s approach. Describing their “complete system,” Armatix says,

Smart System consists of a radio-controlled watch that is responsible for gun access and use.

Ill-informed marketing puffery? A little something lost in translation from the original Deutch? Annoying pedantism on my part? Probably some of all of the above.

In any case, as any responsible gun owner knows, the guy with the heater is the one in charge of gun access and use. And always will it be thus. Abdicating responsibility for securing and controlling a firearm — no matter how many whiz-bang gizmos stand between you and powder ignition — is a recipe for disaster, tears and possibly jail time.

Which brings us around to that whiz-bang technology. Wanna shoot their iP1 .22LR pistol? No prob. Just punch your 5-digit PIN into the watch. Which shouldn’t be simple in the dark. With a bad guy coming at you in your bedroom. At zero dark thirty.

Plan on toting it? Cool! Punch your code in, slip the gun in your pocket or holster and off you go, ready to rock. Just be careful because, as the Armatix site details, the gun has a 15-inch “operating distance.” So if you have your gun on your waist and reach over your head for something, there’s a good chance your gun will go dormant. You’ll just have to pop your code back in to wake it up. Assuming you realize it. Or will the gun beep when shutting down?

Leave aside caliber, as you’d expect the electronic guts of this thing could go into a 9mm as easy as a .22. Whatever, those are just a couple of issues that come immediately to mind. But despite the fervent wishes of some in Congress to mandate all guns sold have some kind of biometric safety feature, all this system does is illustrate that we just ain’t there yet.

We’ve asked Armatix for a sample to test and hope to get our mitts on one. Watch (so to speak) this space.

63 Responses to Armatix Smart System RFID Pistol and Watch Coming to the US?

  1. avatarDudeBro says:

    And whom (PD, DHS) would own the tech to disable your crappy watch?

    Btw, my recaptcha word is “watched”.

    • avatarDon says:

      I can and have jammed RFID with a $45 software defined radio.

      • avatar16V says:

        Exactamundo! Please issue these to all government employees post haste!

        I’ll stand there with a transmitter as they squeeze the trigger in vain. I love it.

  2. avatarimrambi says:

    15″ operating distance?

    One handed shooting won’t happen. If you (watch) hand is against your chest, it will just out of the range. If you hand is to your side, its way out of range.

    You get shot and your SO picks it up to shoot back and stands up, it won’t work. That is not acceptable.

    • avatarSnjohnson says:

      I imagine this being bought by liberals who are terrified of guns but still want to have one for safety. It looks like a toy and that American flag pattern isn’t helping.

    • avatarMichael C says:

      Imrambi, there is a very simple solution for one handed shooting. Wear the gun watch on your shooting hand.

      • avatarwork4change says:

        Hmmm yep that is perfect till you hurt your shooting hand. what if you are on the ground and the person is on your other side. do you role over and die or switch hands… oh yeah it wont work anymore. Drop the gun for a moment Oh no it reset!! Hmmm you get near a power source, oh crap i jsut shot myself the thing just went off in my pants or even in your holster. you wife moves the case near an older TV or speaker Bang! someone in your home just got shot.

        Maybe Those that want the rest of us to use it should try it out in their home for a year. Carry it around town with that DORKY watch on at all times. Nope no one have any clue.

  3. avatarWheelgun says:

    These things are best left in Sci Fi films. The only safety control device I want on my gun is the trigger!

    Long live the sear and trigger engagement! (Especially w/o batteries.)

    Wheelgun

  4. avatarSoccerchainsaw says:

    I still drive a car with a stick shift and my favorite self defense pistol is a Sig with DA/SA where the only safety is betweem my ears. Don’t count on me being an early adopter of this new technology. My mouse is even still tethered to my computer….

    • avatarmountocean says:

      Speaking of teathers, I once had one of those fancy home phones that didn’t need to be plugged into the wall. But my (state issued) roomate kept leaving the transceiver on his desk under paperwork or in his bed under the bedding. I couldn’t find it and the battery would die; therefore: no phone. The solution we reached was to tie one end of piece of string to our wireless phone and the other end to the basestation/charger. Horray! No more lost or dead phones.

      Application, how about instead of Dick Tracey radio-watches with poor range and falible batteries, we just tie a thick cord to our pistols a la WWI. I’m sure if Smith and Ruger marketed a shiny new hank of rope the American public would climb over each other to buy them. After all, (sarc to follow) we desperately need the security.

    • avatarMark says:

      My car has a clutch, rack and pinion steering and crank windows, my computer has a wired trackball and my preferred pistol is a 1911. There is no “safety gizmo” I would ever trust on a firearm. A phaser with an optional stun setting I would like to try.

  5. avatarjacquejet says:

    How much battery life will the watch have. If it is sending out a continuous signal, not long, I suspect. Being dead cause your watch went flat would really suck.

  6. avatarLance says:

    Doubt this will work a oven on some US model kills the computer so a guns a gun.

    • avatarWilliam says:

      What did you just say? I read it four times, and it got more inscrutable each time. I ain’t readin’ it agin! I’m afraid it will cause my brain to reverse polarity.

      • avatarChuckN says:

        I believe he means that if you place a gun with a
        RFID into an oven, the heat will kill the chip,
        rendering the gun usable.

        Whether Armatix guarded against this is up for
        grabs. I somehow doubt they tamper-proofed
        the entire electrical system. However, they could
        have a safety the makes the pistol unusable if
        the RFID is disabled.

        • avatarJMS says:

          Yeah my assumption would be that disabling the chip would turn the gun into a paperweight. I’d have to assume its default state is locked, and the watch/chip combo unlocks it. Either of those things go bad and the gun is locked.

  7. avatarHal says:

    Good guy presents gun.

    Bad guy disarms good guy.

    Good guy laughs at bad guy while bad guy stubbornly tries to shoot good guy.

    Good guy forgets that bad guy gave him a sufficient reason to use deadly force in the first place. Maybe bad guy had a pipe. Maybe bad guy had a knife. Maybe bad guy just beats good guy’s @ss to death with his dumb smart gun. Good guy tries to wrestle gun away from bad guy, watch kicks in and bad guy now gets to shoot good guy just like he always wanted.

    My Glock is “smart” because it has someone trained both in its operation and in the use of force using it.

  8. avatarLongBeach says:

    If we could get to the point technology-wise where I could program the grips of my 1911 to only allow use by myself and my lady, I’m all for it. I know there are downsides to this technology and I vehemently disagree with making it mandatory for any firearm, but if this system were available I would consider buying it. I’m sure there are many who would disagree with me, and I look forward to reading those comments. As always I bow to the rest of the Armed Intelligentsia. Who knows? I might be swayed.

    • avatarWilliam says:

      I don’t know if you have kids or not, so let’s leave that out of the story:

      Bad guy invades your home when you have house guests, shoot you and your SO dead as doornails.

      Where does this leave your guests? I don’t think they’ll have an opportunity to remove your watch, put it on, and then shoot.

      Sometimes the “free market” delivers us stuff that seems like a good idea, but turns out not to be.

      • avatarnerd_nurd says:

        any guest of mine knows to bring his own gun

      • avatarmountocean says:

        If the guests are anywhere near your gun, which I hope is somewhere near you, they probably got shot around the same time you did.
        If they’re not near you gun, it leaves them an equal distance from the invader and I doubt they’ll want to close with one to try and grab the other.

        I’m with LongBeach, if something worked flawlessly based on biometrics so I don’t have to wear a watch or enter a code(Skyfall) I’d be interested. But until batteries last forever, EMP doesn’t fry circuts and I’m the ONLY person that can control it I’ll pass.

        LongBeach, Massad Ayoob used to preach the virtues of a system with magnetic rings that deactivated a magnetic safety on his house revolver. If it’s something you want it might be worth looking into. Magna-Trigger I believe.

        • avatarLongBeach says:

          Thanks guys, some very valid points. There are 2 kids in the house, a 14 year old boy (who is very firearms savvy) and a 5 year old girl who is as nosy as can be. If I could find a happy medium using this tech where my 1911 isn’t locked away in the safe and practically unreachable or left out for anyone to use, I’d be a happy customer. Now, the standard Armed Intelligentsia answer would be home carry, of which I am a practicing proponent of, but recently I’ve been having some serious right shoulder problems (relic from my water polo career) which renders home carry more or less useless. Hence, if I could leave my 1911 on the coffee table, secure in the knowledge that only I and my lady could operate it, I would definitely take advantage of this technology. Mountocean, I will do some research on this Magna-trigger. Who knows, could give me an excuse to get my lady the Ruger SP101 I (errr, she) desire!

  9. avatarSteve says:

    Interesting idea.

    When/if the police start using it I might consider it.

    Until then, I’ll stick to something proven. Common sense.

    • avatarSertorius says:

      This.

      The last time I saw numbers, about 1 in 4 law enforcement officers who were shot were shot with their own sidearm. So law enforcement has a huge incentive to adopt smart gun technology, if and when it actually works.

      When cops are ok with this technology, or other smart gun technology, on their duty gun, give me a call. Until then, forget it.

      P.S. that watch is hideous. It looks like a 1980s era Casio.

    • avatarSGC says:

      There was a system used by the Dekalb Co GA police back in the 1970′s…involved wearing magnetic rings that somehow enabled/disabled the trigger on thier S&W revolvers…didn’t last long from what I can remember…

      Being a techie, I wouldn’t trust ANYTHING technology related controlling my firearm…too many things to go wrong there. At least the magneto rings were a mechanical device…

  10. avatarmountocean says:

    Ironic that the smart gun is unlocked internally by an RFID watch from the future, but the smart gun is locked in a stylish black case with two steel combination locks.

  11. avatarBrian S says:

    what could possibly go wrong?!

    aside from…

    - tech savy criminals scanning for RFID signals, telling them who is armed and who isn’t, from the comfort of their car as they drive through neighborhoods

    - real time location tracking of any and all RFID guns, and you, since you’re wearing a tracking device. (and you were worried about paper registration!)

    - EMP or directed electronic countermeasures disabling your weapons when you might need it most

    - Hackers getting past the RFID lockout to use stolen weapons anyway.

    - Un-studied health side-affects from wearing RFID transmitting technology.

    • avatarWilliam says:

      That last one! Very good. It’s like having to wear a smart meter.

    • avatarChip says:

      This!

      - EMP or directed electronic countermeasures disabling your weapons when you might need it most

      If a simple signal activates the gun then it is an equally simple signal to cancel the original signal rendering firearm inert.

      And LEO’s would never *intentionally* broadcast the ‘kill signal’ to render all the ‘smart guns’ in an area suddenly inert (/sarc)

  12. avatarPwrserge says:

    Yup, sounds like the first thing I’d rip out of any new gun I buy. There has not been a safety device made that you could not override with the right tools and half a brain.

  13. avatarTommy Boy says:

    They now have a RFID paint that can be applied anywhere, ie. tree, light posts, (and probably through chem trails) and wa-la there is “their” unlimited towers…

  14. avatarJAS says:

    A smart gun is a very stupid idea. Smart is between the ears, and nowhere else.

  15. avatarPulatso says:

    I’d rather have the Smith & Ruger.

  16. avatarEddie D. says:

    This is destined for the halls of FAILURE. At best this can be a cool conversation piece but not a reliable weapon.

    First of all fingerprint scanners are a joke.And can be easily spoofed.

    Second, A smart criminal could figure out a way to jam the signal. Imagine an entire police force using this gun and a tech savvy crime lord runs havoc on the city while jamming every cop in towns gun. Sounds like a movie in the making

    Last but certainly not least. Too many chances for a system fail. Like what if your shooting hand is incapacitated and you need to switch hands?

    This weapon is most certainly an accident waiting to happen.

  17. avatarnd says:

    And to make sure you don’t use the scary gun, they made the watch really ugly.

  18. avatarJoseph says:

    This might make a liberal have an orgasm, otherwise it’s utterly useless.

  19. avatarFrankM says:

    I remembered that a bunch of years ago New Jersey passed a “smart gun” law. I just looked it up and according to Wikipedia three years after NJ’s state attorney general deems smart gun tech “safe and commercially available” all new handguns sold in the state will need to include this technology. Of course the law enforcement community successfully lobbied for a police exemption (rather than lobbying against the law).

    I hope this doesn’t count towards that.

  20. avatarRabbi says:

    I just emailed them the following:

    Your gun won’t work if I forget my watch
    Your gun won’t work if the battery dies
    Your gun won’t work when I shoot one-handed
    Your gun won’t work if the radio signal is jammed
    Your gun won’t work when my watch hand is holding my family back from danger
    Your gun won’t work if my watch gets ripped from my wrist in a fight
    Your gun won’t work if I have to give it to someone else to save my life or theirs

    This product is dangerous and WILL cost lives.

    YOU WILL BE SUED WHEN PEOPLE DIE BECAUSE YOUR GUN DIDN’T WORK

    • avatarMichael C says:

      If that gun won’t work when shooting one handed, your obviously wearing the watch on the wrong arm. The system is clearly designed for the shooter to wear the smart watch on their shooting arm. Look on the Armitix website at the smart system.
      http://www.armatix.us/Smart-System.778.0.html?&L=7
      The picture clearly shows the gun in the left hand with the watch on the left wrist. That said, everything else you said is right and this is definitely not a good product to rely on to protect yourself and others.

  21. avatarRandy Drescher says:

    Maybe we could have guns where someone could just flip a switch & they all won’t fire, a brady wet dream./// They can keep that crap in Germany, Randy

  22. avatarMikeinid says:

    I want a battery in a device whose mission is to be absolutely %100 reliable. I also want a car that doesn’t run, food that makes me sick, and a government that steals my rights. They ought to package that crap together, instead of giving you a stupid watch. Like I can tell time.

  23. avatarSGC says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_Gun

    Interesting ideas there, but nothing I’d trust with my life…

  24. avatarCYRANO says:

    It was in a Bond movie and it worked there so it must work in real life. Oh Ted Kennedy where are you with your ranting about plastic guns.

  25. avatarRobert Bub says:

    That thing is friggin ugly in so many ways. And digital watches were never cool.

    This whole RFID thing on your wrist watch makes me think of this:

    It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.
    -Revelation 13:16-18, NIV

  26. avatarjwm says:

    My gun is a mechanical device, not an electrical doodad. When my gun starts to use power packs and shoot death rays I’ll consider having a computer on board. Not until then. And while I’m on death rays, where’s my flying car and robot maid?

    • avatarMark says:

      I’ve seen how people drive. Flying cars are a bad idea and the robot maid could get a virus.

      • avatarjwm says:

        You’re a glass is half empty kind of guy aren’t you, Mark?

        Still another fault with this system. What about those that don’t wear a watch? Nowadays a lot of folks rely on their pocket gadgets, such as cell phones for their time piece.

  27. avatarChris Mallory says:

    This needs a 20 year trial period where this is the only type of weapons government employees are allowed to own or use. At the end of those 20 years we can evaluate if the tech is safe for sale to citizens. Until then citizens can own and use any weapon.

  28. avatarPatrick says:

    I wouldn’t mind a device sort of like this that I could attach myself, that would be difficult to remove without my key/tool, a device that would only need to be within several feet of me to work, a device that would not require any action other than proximity, and that would by default allow the weapon to work if the system breaks (which would be a difficult feature to accomplish).

    It could prevent someone irresponsible from using one of numerous weapons stored around a house, for example if visitors are over with a house mate and I leave the house. What if I didn’t want to take weapons all out of their places to put them in a safe whenever untrustworthy guests come over and I’m out? (Not that I encourage people with weapons stashed about to invite untrustworthy people into their houses.)
    Ok, so that’s a whole lot of ‘if’s, but it may not be a horrible idea for some people (though I really doubt I’d buy it). I’m trying to keep an open mind. The product, as it currently exists, is probably a really bad idea.

  29. avatarJerryboy says:

    i recently watched an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, in which a species of short, superintelligent people called Bynars steal the Enterprise because a star in their home system went super nova and wiped out the computer on their home planet that they needed to work in order to live, and the Enterprise was the only ship close enough with a big enough computer on board to hold all the information from their computer that would keep them alive.

    this new electronic doodad is one more step towards that fate for our species.

  30. avatarC says:

    1.) The Flag is facing the wrong way
    2.) A good chance that if someone nicks your gun, there’s a good chance you’ll try to wrestle it back. So your hand will be within 15″. OR do you take off and chuck the watch first, or just run and let them keep it?

    It’s just like cars. All the safety features in the world can’t compensate for an idiot operator.

  31. avatarNazgul says:

    At present, the technology has too many limitations to be practical. That being said, not all guns had safeties when they first came out. A personalized weapon that can only be operated by a specific individual is intriguing, but the technology has a long way to go before it can be practical and affordable.

  32. avatardunsho says:

    i like the idea, just require all police dept to use it 1st.

  33. avatarRodeo Jones says:

    another problem: if the gun and watch are separated.. more than 1,000 yards from each other.. they both explode.

  34. avatarJoe L says:

    My quess is that most of you would still be living in caves if it wasn’t for other people coming up with better ideas. Change very scary to Uhg! Of coarse little kids in this country never die from some knuckle-dragger leaving guns out around the house because you never know when your going to need to shoot somebody. Then again most schizoid-paranoid gun nut jobbers would think they were being tracked by the government through the watches radio transmitter.

    • avatarRay C. says:

      This is technology that certainly has not reached prime-time. That said, if you’re making fun of the “schizoid-paranoid gun nut jobbers”, you ARE aware that all RFID devices can easily be tracked, right? Do you have an EZ-Pas on your car?

      I agree with the poster above, that “all of my guns are smart guns, because I know how to operate them and control them.”

  35. avatarrevjen45 says:

    It was in a Bond movie and it worked there so it must work in real life.

    Yup, if it’s in a movie it must be real. Therefore “Godzilla” is proof that a radioactive lizard 350 ft tall exists.

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