“This innovative product platform denies the lethal capabilities of the weapon the (sic) anyone not explicitly granted permission to operate it. ClipFort’s Biometric Magazine provides firearm owners quick, safe and secure access to their personalized firearm.” Sound familiar? Why yes, those are the same pie-in-the-sky claims made by every other “smart gun” entrepreneur who’s come down the pike. Only this time, rather than redesigning the gun, the biometric brain of the ClipFort is contained in the magazine. Shouldn’t that be MagFort then? . . .

Pedantry aside though, this thing is no better — and potentially more dangerous — than other so-called smart gun technologies.

A locked ClipFort is designed to prevent an unauthorized user from racking the slide or dropping the magazine. Yes, but what it doesn’t do is prevent the gun from firing.

Let’s say Gary Gunowner, an ardent early adopter and proud new ClipFort user, is at the range popping caps and it’s time to head home to the family. He drops a standard mag and inserts a ClipFort because…you know…he want to be safe. Only he inadvertently leaves a round in the chamber.

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 2.34.37 PM

Once he’s home, he drops his GLOCK in the nightstand drawer. Who needs a safe? Gary’s gun is secure! ClipFort says so.

Yes, that photo above is from ClipFort’s web site. And it’s a pretty good representation of an unintended consequence of wide adoption of any ‘smart gun’ technology — dangerous gun-handling habits. The implication is that the little girl in the photo is in no real danger because there’s a ClipFort in that GLOCK. Daddy’s relying on his biometric mag to protect his daughter. He didn’t put his gun in a safe when he got home. Hell, he may not even have a safe…he uses a ClipFort after all.

But what about that round Gary left in the chamber at the range before putting his G17 in his range bag? And it looks like little Cindy Lou hasn’t been taught — by Eddie Eagle, Gary or anyone else — to stop, don’t touch, leave the area and tell and adult when she finds a firearm.

But maybe you don’t have kids. What happens when you really need the gun in an emergency? Doing their best to channel John Lennon, the ClipFort video asks us to, “Imagine we could prevent unauthorized users and at the same time have instant access to firearms.” Everyone close your eyes…and dream….

Only just as with every other smart gun that’s ever been designed, access isn’t quite so “instant.” And ClipFort is the worst yet. Watch the video at the top. You need two hands to unlock it, one to hold the gun and one to swipe for fingerprint recognition. And then you have to rack your pistol, assuming you’re carrying the way the system is designed.

Will your hands be shaking if someone has just kicked in your door? What if your hands are wet? Or dirty? Maybe it’s cold outside and you’re wearing gloves. Will that bad dood who’s bearing down on you wait while you pull off your left mitten with your teeth? Should you just play it safe and cut the left index fingers off of all your gloves?

But wait…there’s more! The ClipFort vid lists three upcoming features they’re beavering away at right now. They bill them as “premium apps and services” and they include, 1) remote status checks of your gun using your iPhone, 2) security alerts (again on your iPhone), and…wait for it…here’s everyone’s favorite… 3) GPS gun locators! Do we really need to tick off all the problems with those?

Finally, there’s the question of whether general availability of ClipFort mags will trigger New Jersey’s mandatory smart gun law. It seems like a potential gray area, but given the slightest opening to invoke a ban on the sale of all traditional “dumb” guns, we’d guess ClipFort will be more than enough for Garden State statists to raise the prohibition flag.

So given all that, who wants to buy a ClipFort mag?

 

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116 Responses to What Could Possibly Go Wrong? – ClipFort Biometric Magazines

      • The Glock in the photo is unloaded. Notice the trigger. Maybe they’re shooting for the customer who knows that.

        Well, it’s a possibility.

        • I mean, if you prefer Glocks without ejection ports, you would definitely be in the target market.

        • That’s one of the “smart” features – it hides the ejection port until you activate it, by yelling the key words, “Release the Glocks of War!”

        • Now that you mention the missing ejection port, it’s likely a Photoshop’d image. The kid was probably no where near a pistol at the time.

        • When I blow up the pic, it does look a replica photoshopped into the image. Great, so we’re supposed to buy from a company that can’t abide a replica gun existing in the same photo shoot as the girl — secured, mind you, by their product. Not much confidence showing there.

        • That’s the bestest hottest bleeding edgest trend in tacticool – the top eject feature. All the tactically bearded, black ballistic jammy wearin’ guys “in the know” are singing its praises. The ultimate in ambidextrousness.

    • what a weak argument, leave a round, lol. If that is best you can come up with Daniel, looks like this ones s sure thing, wow.

  1. You know, sometimes I wonder if all this smart technology is really a solution looking for a problem. I mean the second any of this stuff hits a slightly beyond test phase, all of a sudden politicians are trying to force the technology adoption. Has anyone checked if CA Senator Kevin DeLeon is on their board of directors? “ClipFort” just sayin….

    • I’m all for it. In fact, they need similar tech to prevent reckless, drunk, or “high-speed chase” driving In cars. Sensible, responsible drivers tend to brake, accellerate and steer smoothly and deliberately. Crazy or dui drivers tend to make abrupt and violent maneuvers. Steering and brakes should sense this and lock out the steering and brakes if it detects abrupt input. There would be a biometric override, of course, and a 4g app that can be used to restore steering and brakes if the maneuver was for responsible, common-sense reasons aftet an onstar-type rep contacts you and determines you are the legal owner and are not a danger to other drivers. What?

    • I make a point of avoiding anything, be it a government policy or new device that has the word “smart” attached to it.

  2. … also illegal in states where the magazine cannot extend past the grip. I think CT has this rule, any others?

    • Wow, that’s a new one to me. hell, I’m stuck in crazy ass Ca for the time being and even they don’t restrict magazines in that particular manner. They’re fascists about the actual capacity of the magazine yeah, but not the dimensions of it, the mag could hang down to the ground as long as it only holds ten rounds. Not that that’s any better, I just don’t understand the logic behind that when plenty of pistols use flush fitting mags with capacity much higher than 10. Then again, I don’t really get the logic of 10 rd mags either, so maybe that’s just me…

  3. Biometrics does not work if your fingerprint is dirty, greasy, scratched, cut or bloody. I refuse to use biometrics on any lifesaving equipment.

    • Only for diagnostic purposes, thank you. “Hey, paramedic, Bandage 3 here! I’m tasting some B- coming out of this guy and it’s slowing down fast. Better get some more units!” would be OK by me…

  4. If you want one go right ahead, I’ll pass thank you.

    It seems, like so many other things these days, like technology in search of a problem to solve and if you spend more than a minute or two in any of the gun-control echo chambers like Huffpo then this idea seems like it should be a slam dunk. Too bad the creators of this gizmo didn’t talk to actual firearm owners first.

    • Missed the edit window…..

      You have to watch the video! Scan forward to about 3 minutes 10 second….. They are working on “Assault Riffle” clips too!

      Assault Rifle Clips? Imagine the lives saved without violating the Second Amendment? Are we sure this isn’t some elaborate Troll attempt?

    • When, and if, these magazines come out, I think I will buy one.

      And then I will learn the easiest methods to hack it, disable it, circumvent it, and reprogram it. I will then make sure that that info is posted as far and as wide as possible.

      My money is that you will be able to treat the slide racking mechanism like a bump key attack. A little pressure on the slide, a couple whacks in the right direction, slide will be unlocked, same for the mag lock.

      Hackers gonna hack.

  5. I’m just getting a kick out of the fact that the article includes a picture of Daniel Craig as 007 in Skyfall with the caption “James Bond, played by Daniel Craig, uses his ‘smart gun’ in Skyfall. Photograph: Francois Duhamel”.

    The picture is of Daniel Craig, but the handgun he is firing is not his Walther PPK “smartgun”, but rather a Glock 17 which he took off of one of the evil henchmen.

    While the caption is inaccurate, if the evil henchmen had been using a “smartgun”, 007 would not have been able to use the henchmen’s own firearm against him, and save the day. Amazingly, the picture they chose for the article is actually more supportive of the of the technology than what they actually intended, as unrealistic as the concept is.

    • “In this image, John Hammond, played by Richard Attenborough, holds a freshly-hatched velociraptor.”

      I SAW IT IN A MOVIE SO IT MUST BE TRUE! I WANT A PET DINOSAUR!

      • Watches the rest of the movie
        “Never mind!”
        Never adopt a pet that’s more cunning and carnivorous than you are. It’s why I don’t like big cats as pets.

  6. If you just got to have one of these contraptions, then that’s a hell of a good reason to have a dependable backup weapon!

  7. I love how the when she says “shoot” it shows a loaded cartridge coming from the barrel of the gun.

    Also, how in the hell is the magazine going to deny the ability to cycle the slide, or eject the magazine???

    • Our Aperture Science Projectile Launcher launches the entire bullet. That’s 60% more bullet, per bullet.
      Now that’s thinking with Portals!

    • This is my question as well. At this point though, it’s all theoretical. I’m pretty sure they don’t understand how guns work.

    • I’m tempted to buy one (or at least play with one at a store), just to see how it works.

      I’d guess it pushes something out to the left side of the magazine to prevent the mag release from moving to the right.

      As for preventing the slide from reciprocating, I’d guess it extends something out from around the feed lips to block the slide.

      But whenever I look at my guns the first thing I usually think is, “I wonder how I could install some tiny electric motors in there to make it more complex and less reliable.”

  8. I think that the issue is forcing people to adopt this technology. However, there are definitely people who would feel more comfortable with additional safety features. The right decision for you is not the one for me.

    I think we should approach this with an open mind and do objective, open minded reviews. Not rants. Otherwise we will all just become THOSE people ranting about how those CD things are replacing 8 tracks, and the music just sounds horrible.

    Maybe it’s a bad idea, maybe not. The correct question: does it work as intended 100% of the time. And if it does fail (either because a greasy paw wont activate it, or the battery died), whats the backup?

    • I have to say I am intrigued, too. When we bought our first gun, I chose one with a safety lever, decocker, mag disconnect and a key lock — and that’s after you get into the safe. Now we favor Glocks, but the overabundance of safeties helped me sell the missus on our “gateway gun.” I can see this invention making some people comfortable enough to buy their first gun. As long as there’s no law mandating the ClipFort, a reasonable gun owner would soon learn real gun safety and ditch the CF.

  9. What an amazing product! It’s SO good, it lets the entire cartridge exit the barrel (around 0:39). As Bugs would say, “What a maroon!”

    • I was just about to say basically the same thing. You would figure a firearm accessory company wouldn’t make the same mistake that Bloomburg groups would with their advertisements.

      • A company that sells “clips” for semi-automatic “assault rifles”? I don’t think they’re as knowledgeable about guns as they think they are.

    • I was watching a movie last night about a conspiracy to overthrow the government, XII. These old folks pull a guy out of a tree, and the wife, a former doctor, pulls a bullet out of his shoulder. She and her husband are discussing it, and the hubby tells her that it is, I kid you not, a Teflon coated bullet designed to penetrate body armor. While he is saying this, he is holding on to this “bullet,” he is holding up a brass, RIMMED case. (That was, as we later see, fired out of a DE wielded by Val Kilmer.) So the director got it wrong on three separate counts.

      • Mark N,

        Not to provide any support to Hollywood (who generally doesn’t support us), but…there really was an LE-only cartridge with a Teflon coated bullet.

        In the 1960s, Paul Kopsch, Daniel Turcos, and Donald Ward, began experimenting with special purpose handgun ammunition. The inventors named their company “KTW,” after their initials. …the inventors settled on a bullet consisting mostly of hardened brass with a steel core….In an attempt to reduce barrel wear, the bullets were experimentally coated with a protective layer of Teflon.

  10. And the best part is, if the battery dies, your gun is completely disabled when you need it. How great is that?

  11. Couldn’t help but wonder- what if you’re storing the weapon you have to use in an emergency, actually read to– you know– use in an emergency with a round in the chamber. Gonna resist the temptation to drop the hammer on the bad guy before verifying you’ve unlocked the magazine- what happens then if say it doesn’t unlock but you thought it had- how bad is that jam going to be?

    Sell it to the LEOs, let them use and work the kinks out of it, or make the case for why it’s an incredibly bad idea…

    • based on the literature, you’d have to unlock it to load the weapon the first time. There is no info on the “time-out” i.e. how long it stays unlocked. It does not disable the hammer, so you have at least 1 shot. I am not sure it would jam- most guns the slide or bolt locks back when the mag is empty so if “locked” just means it simulates an empty mag I don’t think it will jam. But if it’s physically blocking the slide or bolt, the failure could be catastrophic. This is why it should actually be tested.

      • They claim you cannot cycle the slide while it’s locked. So if you took that first shot locked, it would fail to cycle, theoretically. In practice, however, the force of the shot would propel the slide against whatever is blocking the slide, quite possibly bending it beyond usability, and making things much, much worse.

        • My gut feel is that’s what will happen… but these things aren’t getting anywhere near any firearm I ever own so I’ll let someone else figure it out.

          According to the video you can’t rack the slide until the magazine is unlocked, although it refers to not being able to ‘cock’ the gun. Something you don’t need to do with dual action so….. bang, no slide and all the force going against whatever is holding it back.

          That’s just all kinds of bad in my book…. no no no no no no no no no no (repeat ad infinitum)

        • Another thought- at some point someone on a range somewhere swapping back and forth between magazines is gonna test this out for us. They are going to have a round in the chamber while they’re swapping magazines and pull the trigger without unlocking the fresh mag….

  12. So how many bullets have to be sacrificed to make room for the various electronics, mechanicals and power supply?

    And if we start with artificially low capacities already (hello California!)…?

    • Now THAT is a really good question. And: are they only available in NY SAFE (or MD) compliant capacity, or also standard capacity.

      • At a guess, it can only take SAFE compliant mags, with the side of the magazine normally reserved for staggered ammo filed in with a Li+ battery. Which means this couldn’t possibly work in a concealed carry pistol.

      • Here’s my idea for version 2:

        * Use the GPS chip in the magazine to determine the location.
        * Use the bluetooth to connect to a paired smartphone and access the internet.
        * Look up the magazine capacity restrictions for that location.
        * Extend (or contract) a rod from a servo motor to reduce (or increase) the capacity to the legal limit (or physical limit, where unrestricted).

        I should patent that idea! Not because I think it has any value that a customer would pay for, but just to keep some idiot from being able to implement it for the next 20 years.

  13. Oddly, it is an anti-gun site, in every respect except for the fact that it makes a product for gun owners. The site reposts press releases from Everytown, has bogus “children and teenagers” stats on its front page, and seems intent to make guns as scary-sounding as possible in order to push their product.

    Consider the references to “Everytown for Gun Safety” here:
    https://www.clipfort.com/in-the-media/

    If It’s A School Week In America, Odds Are There Will Be A School ShootingSince the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, there have been an average of 1.37 school shootings for each school week, according todata maintained by Everytown for Gun Safety, a group fighting to end gun violence. Read more here….

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

    • ok, but what do you really expect for marketing?

      If you go onto a portable breathalyzer site, it will tell you about the consequences of DUI, alcohol and the body, and so on, to validate you need a portable breathalyzer. Diet supplements, gym member ships, all work on the same idea.

      A lot of anti-gun groups are actually against this technology, because it could boost gun ownership by making it safer to own guns.

      • Hopefully this doesn’t give him any ideas but… I’m surprised Bloomberg hasn’t opened a gun store that only sells “smart guns” just to trigger the NJ law.

  14. I really like new products that try to bring additional safety and security factors to life – heck, that is why I own guns in the first place. Though, there is always the fun of needing to be constantly vigilant, especially with smaller, curious children, in households with firearms.

    But I still think I’ll pass until law enforcement and military units adopt this kind of stuff (like that would ever happen!)…and even then, probably not for me. Really hate the idea of having a jamm-able, hackable, radio that could possibly prevent me from using my firearm, even if the biometrics worked perfectly in every conceivable scenario and didn’t slow me down at all.

    The idea of centrally controllable access to firearms is so bad Hideo Kojima even used it as a major story element in the Metal Gear Solid 4 video game years back: imagine every U.S. Marine being locked out of their rifle right when the “bad guys” attack due to the biometrics database being hacked?

    I think the major issues ends up not really being about the technology. Even if the lock/unlock were perfect there would still be very realistic problems created by those politicians and policy advocates who would want to make these “features” mandatory and turn non-adopters into criminals.

  15. Is it 1 April already? And they are going to make it in pink to match all the pink Glocks that have been sold. Is that a California only model?

  16. This seems really innovative, actually. A “smart” gun that can still operate normally, with normal magazines. It is really a great marketing idea. BUT: I really cringed when they showed the neutered 10-round “Assault Weapon” magazines. Oh, give me break! They really might not know their market as well as they should!

  17. Oooh and they make (plan to) make the POS for a STURM Ruger. Anyone in the US actually carry a STURM Ruger? Lots o RUGERS don’t know a single person with a STURM Ruger.

    Perhaps these metrosexual FUDDs will next make for a Colt’s Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company _____>

  18. My safe has a biometric lock. I wear vinyl gloves when I clean a gun. However, when i go to the safe, 9 out of 10 times I have to rub my fingers on a cloth or wall before the lock works.

    Any oil on the magazine? I’ll bet it doesn’t work.

  19. This is brilliant!
    It gives me ideas!
    A biometric activated pencil, so only I can use it and not missppeell werds.
    And a biometric activated spoon to help Rosie what’s her face lose weight.
    Off to the lab!

  20. Sorry, but I’m not going to buy “safety” equipment from a guy who hasn’t even mastered basic trigger discipline. This chump’s finger goes straight to the trigger when he’s racking the slide, about a minute into the video.

    Also, I’m not particularly interested in having half a brick glued to the bottom of my handgun’s grip, or charging the battery in my “clip” every day.

  21. What must the lives of these OCD control freaks, be like? Technology….and this is where it gets funny,…..will save man from……himself? Since the advent of the fire-stick, when has that ever been the case? Not only has it never been the case, any Fabulist dreamers suggesting that we are now able to, through the use of modern technology, mitigate the unflagging stupidity of man, probably should be under the supervision of an adult guardian.

    Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away. ~ Phillip K. Dick

  22. Of course he flinches like crazy. Nobody who actually knows how to shoot could come up with this crap.

  23. I’m going to get one for all of my ghost guns. They’re constantly disappearing and it would be nice to be able to track those suckers down.
    Sign me up. 😉

  24. “Made in the USA”

    How, in the name of the existing, everlasting, eternal hell, can this be a selling point anywhere, for this? As a non-American, I love what you have done – every American innovation, I love it! But this product? EXPLAIN YOURSELF! HOW CAN YOU JUSTIFY IT BEING MADE IN THE USA!

  25. Oh man rick the bear took my line…these should be cop mandated so they can work the bugs out. Or secret service…

  26. That is one heck of a bad idea.
    Your dead by the time you swipe your finger and rack that thing ………….if it works.
    Your 100% dead if it doesn’t.
    Bad bad bad.
    No freggin thanks.
    Now as a Locksmith I wont even sell a REAL biometric safe due to the failure rate.
    A S&G dial pack alone is a waste of money at $600. That’s the high end deal too.
    We sold all of 6 and took or sent back 4 within the first 6 months.
    2 worked right,

    • Jay, as a locksmith, would you consider writing a TTAG article on what would make a good lockbox?.

      Or what modifications could be done to make them better?

  27. Some one needs to take one for team, buy it, make it fail, and sue this company into the ground! Before it becomes some new mandatory law that I will not abide by! And have no effect on the actions of criminals, only law abiding gun owners who will have to pay more money to be less saf

  28. It seems that it comes with “personalized ammunition” too. I’ve always wanted monogramed ammo.

  29. You know something? With all the technical gun knowledge problems I’m beginning to wonder if this whole thing is a set-up? Put out something they consider “reasonable” so they can turn around and say, “See? Those kooks won’t listen to any reasonable idea.”

    There’s just too many things that don’t fly to take this seriously.

    • I don’t think it’s necessarily a set-up. I think most “smart gun” entrepreneurs aren’t gun people to start with. If they really understood guns, they’d see that current technology can’t build a reliable, easy-to-use smart gun whose advantages outweigh its considerable drawbacks, and wouldn’t be trying to come up with these half-ass “solutions in search of a problem”. I think most of them probably are people who legitimately think they have a great idea and don’t understand how impractical it really is.

      They’ve never drawn a gun in even a simulation of an emergency, so they have no idea what an adrenalin dump is going to do to your ability to fiddle with electronics when an attacker has just blindsided you at the ATM. On a warm day at the range, punching paper, this kind of technology probably seems reasonable.

  30. I am conflicted on this one. This product and the negative comments about it fit right in with the recent blog entry about what will get more women interested in guns and in TTAG. My smartphone(s) cannot correct my spelling; I don’t like cars that talk to me; I prefer mechanical things I can fix myself; so I, like most of you, will not be buying one of these. (Maybe if the IDF buys a few hundred thousand of them and issues them to first-line forces I will change my mind, but that’s not happening any time soon.) However I can see the intended market, inside and outside of New Jersey. Young moms (and dads) who live on their smartphones, talk to their cars and enjoy it when the cars talk back, pop prescription drugs every time they have a bad day, are sloppy or scared about active gun safety and seek yet another passive solution. I think this technology, if proven, will be popular with women who keep a gun around the home for psychological protection and do not practice very often. I am not saying it is right, but it is a growth market, and a necessary market for pro-2a forces to cultivate in order to bring a larger number of the younger and female set into the fold.

  31. and you have to carry without one in the chamber? *and* have to swipe your finger? in a life-threatening situation? what could go wrong…

    • I’m trying to picture that fumbling-ass draw…

      1. Pull gun
      2. Swipe fingerprint scanner
      3. Swipe finger again
      4. Swipe finger again (I’ve used these sorts of biometric scanners before, and two or three tries is not uncommon)
      5. Rack slide
      6. Bleed out from being shot by bad guy three minutes ago

  32. Guessing the statistics on their promo video include teen gang members shooting each other. Otherwise they seem to be way higher than any accidental firearms related death stats that I have seen. Anyone know the answer to this ?

  33. So, their depiction of use is an obvious photoshop. Not much faith in the security offered by their product (thank goodness)

  34. How about a car that won’t run if your DRUNK? or a phone that dosen’t answer or dial while moving more than 3 mph? I know utter nonsense……crazy talk

    • “How about a car that won’t run if your DRUNK?”

      Get busted for drunk driving and the court may sentence you to have a breathalyzer attached to your vehicle’s steering column.

      Blow in the tube to start your vehicle…

  35. I think the intended audience for this would be the ” Californian hipster gun owner ”
    An IPhone in one hand and a useless gun in the other

  36. As soon as she said, “Assault Rifles” I snorted my beer and saluted the Anti’s for such a neat informercial. Bzzzt. Next.

  37. This will be the first time I say this…….

    Thank God HK hates you, they didn’t make the list of popular models.

    It looks like the Israeli anti gun mentality is bleeding into the US.

  38. Many great comments here that point out the many problems, and I really only have one more to add. I have spent many years working on a variety of things that use IC chips, and the thing is – they can fail at any time for no apparent reason at all. My most repeated answer to customers who ask why their expensive, new, state-of-the-art gizmo failed is, “It has integrated computer chips. They can fail at any time for any reason or at any time for no reason.”

    I, too, marvel at the ability this thing endows upon the gun to shoot complete cartridges, and the dudes incredible lack of trigger discipline. There is so much “fail” in this video & the device that I couldn’t even make it all the way through.

  39. The hilarious thing is that would actually be illegal in CT because it would cause the magazine to protrude conspicuously past the pistol grip.

  40. Keep your electronic toys. Even IF these disasters became law I would still not use them. A false sense of security is all these gimmicks provide. I have taught all 6 of my kids gun safety and taken them shooting from two or three years up. I also taught them to respect themselves and others.

  41. Anyone else notice that when they demonstrate the weapon firing through visual aid (not the video of the CEO) the entire round–bullet, cartridge, and an untapped primer– magically exited the guns barrel? Nit-picky I know.

    Biometrics aren’t even recommended for your “go” safe because they’re inherently unreliable in high stress situations where seconds count and things always go wrong, why the hell would I attach an unreliable technology to the one tool I need to be reliable when all others fail. Barriers to use are barriers to success in defensive situations.

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