The NRA Reviews the Aromatic iP1 and Pronounces It A Complete Dog

Armatix iP1 (courtewsy americas1stfreedom.org)

“In May 2014, NRA staffers secretly tested the Armatix iP1, the so-called “smart gun” that at the time was causing a furor among both media and gun owners nationwide,” the NRA’s americas1stfreedom.org website reveals. “What we found was disappointing at best, and alarming at worst.” Wait. What? The NRA’s been sitting on their “smart gun” review for a year and a half? Obviously, the recent 60 Minutes piece on smart guns inspired Fairfax to dust-off their post and present it to the public. While the late-to-the-party review shows just how dire the technology is, Armatix may have sorted some of the issues in the meantime. That said . . .

maybe this is all the NRA could do, then and now. [NOTE: TTAG has repeatedly attempted to purchase an Armatix iP1 since it first reared its digital head – to no avail.] Anyway, the NRA reports that they found a number of “very serious problems” with the gun’s design and function.

Does the Armatix operate perfectly? Well, no; we found it to be troubling at best. NRA’s tests, conducted with staffers trained by Armatix, found a number of very serious problems:

  • The Armatix pistol initially required a full 20 minutes to pair with the watch, even with the aid of an IT pro trained in its use. Without pairing, the Armatix functions like any other handgun, capable of being fired by anyone.
  • Once paired, a “cold start” still requires a minimum of seven push-button commands and a duration of 12 seconds before the gun can be fired.
  • While the gun holds a maximum of 11 rounds (10+1), the best our experts could manage was nine consecutive rounds without a failure to fire (and that only once). Three or four misfires per magazine were common, despite using various brands of ammunition.
  • Although the Armatix has a decent single-action trigger, it has the worst double-action trigger we’ve ever tested, requiring more force than any other pistol we’ve fired.
  • The pistol must be within 10 inches of the watch during “start up.” This slows and complicates the use of the pistol if one hand is injured or otherwise unavailable.
  • The design of the Armatix’s hammer prevents it from being safely thumbed forward.
  • All this malfunction comes at a high price: At $1,798 ($1,399 for the base pistol and another $399 for the enabling watch), the Armatix is a more than five times the cost of other common .22s, like Walther’s excellent P22 ($319) or Browning’s tried-and-true Buckmark ($349), and four and a half times that of Smith & Wesson’s M&P22 polymer semi-auto ($379) or Ruger’s SR22 ($379). It’s also more than three times the cost of pistols like Glocks and Smith & Wesson M&Ps made in true self-defense calibers

So, the Armatix iP1 isn’t the greatest gun in the world, ergonomically, functionally, strategically or financially.

Bottom line: as tested, the Armatix iP1 is a dog. Surprised?

comments

  1. avatar fiun dagner says:

    And is anyone really surprised that a gun mandated by and designed for rabid anti-gunners is a piece of crud. when it is reliable enough for, and comes in caliber and accepted by, the military and law enforcement I might consider getting one for myself. Might. I don’t have millions of taxpayers to pay for it for me

    1. avatar working4change says:

      put on a hat, or jacket, vest or anything and your out of range…. tic toc tic toc resync. even picking up kids or a fight with one bad guy, if you need the gun, to bad you hand was out of range more a few sec and you have wait for it rearm. your dead.

      what about those of us who use either hand? or if you hand is full or hurt. oh no your dead.

      its not accurate, as they said it jams, mags will fall out or not seat fully preventing the gun from fireing like many guns its builtin a safety. the D-action was designed to be uber heavy so you dont oops n shoot your self in the foot.

      it feels like a toy, like a heavy NERF pistol. Sight suck and it is more complex to clean and what happens if it get wet or shorts out. add in the fact of 2 sets batteries watch and gun to worry about…. the signel drops if you sneeze, power lines, TVs, speakers, some lighting like CF bulb on the fritz, anything Highpower, and power transformers. they ALL jam or cause it to go out of sync. if you just lay it on the lable in the middle of a field with zero EM fields, it still drops and makes you resync. after a short period of time it automaticly drops sync as a safety feature so you dont forget to turn it off and kids use it? Yep sync gun, get ready, and slowly check your home, a beep and flashing light from your gun shutting down, WTF im disarmed and they know where i am. Bang your dead. hmm 10inches just walking around doing anything but being a statue it will drop sync/signel.

      on top of it all it is easy to disable. any spy store you buy a jammer for RF and Cell phones for under $200. can make one for about $20 with parts from junk or radioshack. of course the fed wants these guns? they flip a switch and Click Click nothing happens.

      oh yeah dont forget the GPS so you dont “loose” your gun or watch builtin. nope the fed would never backdoor that tech. go a head Conceal Carry that one. cops will know where you are at all times. they will know the location of All smartguns at will if it get going. thats the whole point. so are we going to have 2 watches? or forced to wear a dorky watch just to protect our selves?

      almost forget the fact criminals can and will hack/jam them, while thanking the fed for Disarming All law abiding citizens.

      1. avatar working4change says:

        yes i was around for the testing here in NJ, i have read the state police review and got a chance to shoot it the POS. they had to go to another range, the lighting had to much of an EM field for it to work. good old office lighting prevented it from working. lol

        1. avatar Almost Esq. says:

          If you actually did shoot the thing I would be interested to hear more about it. I suspect this the powers that be on this site would like to know more about it as well. Lastly, were you serious when you suggested that the police tested the weapon only to have it effected by the EM field of the lights?

    2. avatar DJ says:

      The military (and maybe the police) would love to be able to issue firearms they can “turn off”. If anyone adopts this technology, it would be them.

      Police and some military radios already have the capability for remote deactivation.

  2. avatar Noishkel says:

    I still want to get a hold of one to completely dismantle it and figured out just how that system works. Dollars to donuts you can pull the entire ‘smart’ of this gun with a field-strip. If this thing is THAT over engineered will probably be nothing to defeat.

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      Considering that they report the pistol can be fired normally up until it is paired with its watch, I think the solution would just be to skip the tear down and just never put a battery in the watch.

      Or to modify what we used to say in the automotive repair industry: “Jack up the sights and drive a decent pistol in under them.”

  3. avatar Another Robert says:

    Wonder if the Armatix would crash my browser like the damned ads do? (and that’s with Ad-blocker installed). Sorry, but I couldn’t help but laugh wryly when i tried to access the article on IE and it went down. I’m leaving Firefox now, before some ad locks it up.

    1. avatar Michelle says:

      I have the same problem. I’ve written to TTAG about it, and I’ve tried to identify which ads. (The Amazon ones, I think, may be it, oddly enough.) When TTAG gets in to a ‘crash cycle’ for me due to the ads, I just leave and come back (much) later. Not good.

    2. avatar What The Heck Is That says:

      The desktop site works fine for me, but the mobile site crashes my browser constantly. I’ve pretty much given up on it.

  4. avatar beefeater says:

    I like the headline. Like most dogs, this one seems to be “aromatic” to put it politely.

    1. avatar Mack Bolan says:

      I am thinking the headline needs to be fixed…

      1. avatar Rokurota says:

        Someone forgot to register “Armatrix” in autocorrect. Must be a high-capacity word.

      2. avatar Timmy! says:

        No Mack B, I think the headline is hilarious and otter stay!

      3. avatar Michelle says:

        yeah. he’s just saying the gun stinks.

  5. avatar Kelly in GA says:

    I think the title could be full of irony of you guys said it was a pile of dog squeeze rather than calling it a dog. The “Aromatic” iP1 functions like a steaming pile of dog s***.

  6. avatar Cliff H says:

    I believe you have confused the word “aromatic” with “noisome”. Perhaps because that while this pistol stinks it cannot be relied upon to make noise when you need it.

  7. avatar NYC2AZ says:

    Not surprising. Generally speaking, politically motivated inventions are crap that would fail in a free market if left to their own merits.

  8. avatar SmartGunsSuck says:

    ar·o·mat·ic
    ˌerəˈmadik/
    adjective
    1.
    having a pleasant and distinctive smell.

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      noi·some
      /ˈnoisəm/
      adjective
      1.
      having an extremely offensive smell
      “noisome vapors from the smoldering waste”

      See my comment a couple of steps up the chain.

  9. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    Well it fails “safe” so it goes bang when the electronics fail. This means that the simplest way to “un lock” one permanently is probably as simple as getting a lamp power cord and hooking it into the battery terminals.

  10. avatar Smith says:

    No, I’m not surprised, and nor is anyone who knows anything about guns.

  11. avatar Dustin says:

    Fragrant. Just like the anti-gun d!ckbags who created it.

  12. avatar Phil L. says:

    Wait a minute: Forget all of the “smarts” for a moment. Any newly designed, fresh-from-the-box semi-auto that can’t make through even one magazine without a malfunction points to significant design and manufacturing problems that have nothing to do with electronics.

  13. avatar John L. says:

    So without the watch (so no pairing and should just work) it’s a $1400 gun firing (sometimes) an anemic round with reliability problems and a bad trigger.

    Impressive … It makes the R51 look good!

    Even if R&D continued over the past year, I’d guess they’d have been more focused on the pairing and startup nuisances than on making the fundamentals better.

    1. avatar Bmworld says:

      Speaking of the R 51 Remington is doing a re-release under another name

    2. avatar Bmworld says:

      The RM 380

      1. avatar Stinkeye says:

        Nope. The RM380 is a completely different gun, based on the Rorbaugh pocket pistol design (Remington bought Rorbaugh a while back).

        1. avatar JR Pollock says:

          Just think of the epic fail they could create if they joined forces, and jointly produced a pistol with all of the bad qualities of both….

          I’d name it the Remiticks…

        2. avatar Geoff PR says:

          I’d name it the Remsh!ts…

          FIFY

  14. avatar James in Florida says:

    If the presidential detail would carry these, I still wouldnt want one.

  15. avatar craig says:

    Eh, 9 rounds of 22 before the gun fails ought to be enough to bring down a gang of criminals……Said no one ever

  16. avatar M. Mitchell Marmel says:

    But this is a semi-aromatic pistol! You have to squeeze the trigger for each sh*t!

  17. avatar New Chris says:

    I think this is ready to be issued to every law enforcement officer in the country. Its lack of reliability will definitely make them think twice before engaging in dangerous situations, thus saving thousands of officer lives each year. Also a lot fewer innocent bystanders and dogs will be shot by cops. It’s a win win.

  18. avatar Siris says:

    Leave the smart tech. to companies like Tracking Point. If I insist on paying several times the cost of a regular gun, they at least make their guns easier to hit intended targets and actually go bang.. I’d rather have the scope view steamed in my glasses or iPad with 30′ range than a watch that won’t work on the other hand..
    Perfect for protecting the politicians that want these “smart guns” tho.

  19. avatar Joe says:

    Of course the NRA sat on a bad review. They were waiting to see how much the company would “donate” for a positive review.

    Remington R51 anyone?

    1. avatar Andrew Lias says:

      More likely because it will be called a biased review no matter what they said about it. I’d actually like to see a neutral party evaluate these but have little doubt that what they’re saying is true. The fact it’s a 22 with 10 shots doesn’t make it even close to ready for a defensive pistol

    2. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “Of course the NRA sat on a bad review. They were waiting to see how much the company would “donate” for a positive review.”

      I’d love to see the standard dead-tree gun mags review that gun.

      The contortions they would have to make to give it a good review would make an Olympic gymnast proud…

  20. avatar styrgwillidar says:

    For those who didn’t take a minute to enjoy the full article at the link. Here’s an important question the review raised:

    ‘•Why does the Armatix contain “kill switch” functionality, allowing it to be disabled by third parties … a fact confirmed by such functionality at the test range?’

    1. avatar JR Pollock says:

      That’s the real reason the controllers want these so badly, it makes house to house confiscation unnecessary.

      I think the NRA did the right thing sitting on this review, and let the battle play out the way it did. Now they can’t be falsely accused of scuttling the gun with a bad review to stop its production.

  21. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    Lots of products are full of bugs when first introduced, then they gradually, eventually fix the bugs and offer and “improved” version.

    Still, if you can’t make a .22 pistol that actually runs, you should be ashamed of yourself.

    1. avatar JR Pollock says:

      Curtiss, as the proud owner of a Walther P22, I can assure you that lofty goal has already been attained. I have many superlatives for mine, and not one of them is “excellent”…

  22. avatar emfourty gasmask says:

    i really wish i could do some pen testing on the electronics

    I seriously bet I can, at the very least, remotely disable the firearm and the watch from a good distance

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “I seriously bet I can, at the very least, remotely disable the firearm and the watch from a good distance”

      It’s easily done.

      Just take a standard production smart gun and ‘activate’ it in the presence of a nice gigahertz range sampling-storage spectrum analyzer. Anyone who knows anyone who does work with the hardware flown in earth orbit can handle that for you.

      Now you know the exact transmission frequency and modulation method. Building the jammer or a brute-force ‘flooder’ is simple.

      That’s why you’ll *never* see that ‘tech’ on a cop’s duty gun.

  23. avatar TX Gun Gal says:

    No thanks, will stick with my Ruger 22SR pistol, keep the feed ramp reasonably clean and it shoots anything you want feed it, very accurate, very comfortable to fire, excellent handgun to teach a new shooter or someone used to larger caliber. Stocked up on .22lr before the drought.
    In my humble opinion the best 22 pistol in it’s class. Gee, now I’m missing a range session with it.

  24. avatar Daniel Tanna says:

    I’m surprised you passed these claims along without testing this for yourself.

    I understand nobody can find one of these Aramatix guns to test. But that ought to raise concerns about the NRA’s claims because that means their tests can’t be reproduced. Nothing about it can be independantly verified. But nevertheless you passed it on, uncritically.

    It comes across more like a political hit piece, actually, and like all hatchet jobs it’s based on unsubstantiated claims. The long delay in releasing it doesn’t help that impression.

    The NRA chose to sit on this for a year and a half, it would have been wiser to wait yourself until you can verify those claims.

    1. avatar working4change says:

      not ripping on you, just a thought.

      hmmmm reverse that idea, if the gun was sooo awesome, they would show it off and invite people to ranges accross the USA to try the pistol and show how awesome it is.

      of course not, just all that CO2 scrubber tech they now require but not work or even exist. or anything the fed demands we do for our safety. omg how did we survive without our Hero and Savior Our Glorious BOY King, the Traitor and Moslem “Barry” the first LQBT, Illegal Alien to be POTUS.

      FYI i did get a chance to test it, andnit worst then the NRA and others claim.

    2. avatar styrgwillidar says:

      FWIW:

      “… A1F withheld publication of the test results for fear that an honest review of the poorly functioning Armatix might be misconstrued as opposition to the technology itself. NRA was already being falsely accused of blocking smart gun development, and the expensive, small-caliber Armatix was failing on its own due to fears that sale of the gun would trigger New Jersey’s infamous mandate requiring similar technology in all guns…”

  25. avatar Chris T from KY says:

    In the game of poltical chess the NRA has played very well. Now I hope to see advertising asking for the armed security details for the new York times, the Washington post and CBS office buildings to start using these wonderful digital guns.

    And ask capital police guarding Sen Schumer and Sen Feinstein to use only this new weapon as their side arm. And include the security detail for Rosie O’Donnell.

  26. avatar Publius says:

    “Although the Armatix has a decent single-action trigger, it has the worst double-action trigger we’ve ever tested, requiring more force than any other pistol we’ve fired.”

    Clearly these schmucks have never fired a Nagant revolver or a Polish P-64….

    1. avatar Another Robert says:

      Who knows? maybe they have, and the Armatix is THAT bad…

    2. avatar Raoul Duke says:

      At least the Nagant and P64 go bang every the trigger is pulled and shoot calibers that will actually be useful in a defensive situation.

  27. avatar Hoplopfheil says:

    Reading with interest until… wait what? It’s a defensive .22 with woeful capacity that costs 2 flippin’ grand?

    Just wait until you’re trying to fight off a home invasion and it starts updating the firmware…

  28. avatar pres stone says:

    so is armatix a subsidary of Hi-Point? sounds like it.

    1. avatar CRF says:

      If I had a choice between overpaying $2000 for a Hi-Poont and overpaying $2000 for this, I’d be walking home with a Hi-Point.

    2. avatar What The Heck Is That says:

      I would HAPPILY take a Hi-Point over this turd. The Hi-Point has a far higher likelihood of going BANG when I pull the trigger, and it actually fires a decent defense round.

  29. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    Without pairing, the Armatix functions like any other handgun, capable of being fired by anyone.
    Probably the best feature about this POS.

  30. avatar Mk10108 says:

    A hammer is more useful…oh wait it is a $1700 hammer.

  31. avatar Fred Frendly says:

    A negative review in the American Rifleman? Thats a first.

  32. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    Not surprised. I’ve seen some less than positive reviews in the NRA rag. Bersa CC 9mm for one-on and on about the shoddy manufacturing-wait they’ve never advertised…

  33. avatar VSN says:

    Wait, they charge separately for the watch and the gun? How do you use the gun without the watch?

    1. avatar NYC2AZ says:

      It operates like a normal (poorly built) gun without the watch. The gun has to be paired with the watch like a Bluetooth headset with a phone.

  34. avatar KC in NorCal says:

    And, ironically, according to California’s laws this gun, if available, would be considered unsafe and unable to be sold to any body but LEO.

  35. avatar Kyle says:

    I’m sorry i can’t buy one of these Edsels!

    I’d like to start a “Worst guns of the 21st Century” Collection.

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