Guns.com was out at the Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot this weekend and spotted something nifty on one of the tables. A new company has developed an electronic trigger for the AR-15 rifle platform, and it boasts some interesting improvements — mainly for military users, though. The trigger is programmable, meaning that those with a registered machine gun can tinker with everything from how many rounds are fired per burst to the cyclic rate of the gun (the trigger is timed, not mechanically tripped). For those without a registered full auto device there will be a semi-auto version coming out soon, but my bet is that it will be on the market for 24 hours before someone figures out a way to make it fire more than one round per trigger pull.
Guns.com calls this the “wave of the future,” but I don’t see it just yet. Geissele has a similar trigger with similar characteristics (no break and no creep) on the market already but you don’t see that fitted into every new rifle. Add in the fact that gun owners are already weary of electronic firearms and you have a product that has a great potential for a niche market but might not have a lot of broad appeal. Remember that Remington has gone down this road before and thought they had a slam dunk with their Etronix rifle system (electronically fired primers), but that proved to be about a big a success as the R51.
The good news is that there’s a mechanical backup to the electronic system, but until we see how it actually works and if it has any impact on reliability that could go either way.
It’s a nifty concept, but I don’t really see any benefit for the average consumer. Unless you start pairing this with a palm scanner or RFID chip and then turn it into a smart gun somehow. Even then, it still suffers from the same malady that killed Remington’s Etronix: batteries and compatibility.