This Al Jazeera documentary on “smart guns” (click the image above to view it) is a remarkably even-handed look at available technology and the political “challenges” facing its adoption. Interestingly, The Trace’s embedded version starts at 6:54, somehow managing to miss the New Jersey problem (the Garden State will ban “dumb gun” sales three years after a “smart gun” goes on sale anywhere in the U.S.). Anyway, AJ got a sneak peak at Armatix’s new 9mm “smart gun.”

We immediately discover that the old Armatix gun — the IP1, a .22 – could only be fired by the hand equipped with the RFID-equipped watch. If you have to fire it one-handed with your off hand, you’re SOL. (The interviewer’s slide-bite-inviting grip on the pistol is bound to render his left hand less useful anyway.)

As for the new firearm’s user recognition system, the handgun is unlocked by squeezing the grip’s finger indentations in a predetermined sequence — kinda like the keypad gun safes. The German engineer’s offhand warning that “you have to train a little bit” to operate the IP9 is hardly what I’d call confidence inspiring.

According to this report Armatix is planning on “inspiring” the U.S. market for their new gun by “convincing” police departments to be the product’s earliest early adopters. In other words, they want to skirt the New Jersey problem — at least initially — by selling their guns to public servants, pitting PC pols against entirely, appropriately skeptical police departments.

Gun control advocates love them some “smart guns.” But they’ve shot both the “smart gun” industry (such as it is) and themselves in the foot with the New Jersey mandate. If it were repealed (and hopefully not replaced), Armatix wouldn’t have to use cops as guinea pigs; the market could decide the gun’s fate.

Oh wait. Massachusetts is considering a bill that would more or less replicate New Jersey’s “smart gun” mandate. Reliable technology or no, you can’t fix stupid.

72 Responses to New From Armatix: IP9 9mm ‘Smart Gun’ (Destined for U.S. Police Departments?)

  1. “As for the new firearm’s user recognition system, the handgun is unlocked by squeezing the grip’s finger indentations in a predetermined sequence — kinda like the keypad gun safes.”

    Sounds like a real winner. Like solving a rubix cube, only while being shot at.

    • Rabbi – allow me to play the Devil’s advocate for a moment, please –

      The finger ‘sequence’ – If the time to finger squeeze the ‘unlock’ code is *less* than the time required to release a retention holster, where’s the problem?

      And, as far as I’m concerned, I like the idea of a pure mechanical ‘lock’ than *any* electronic lock, full stop…

      • hummm lets see you do that ‘puzzle’ while being shot at –or would you prefer a regular flip safely? When your life is on the line?

        • Any worse than remembering the motion sequence to release the gun from the retention holster?

          This thing is *supposed* to be marketed for on duty LE, remember?

      • A good retention holster (e.g. Safariland ALS and SLS) adds only one or two tenths of a second to the draw. Twiddling your fingers during the draw is a good way to drop your gun. Fumbling the combination means you are holding an inert lump instead of a defensive tool. Given how much most police officers DON”T practice, I see nothing but problems in the field.

        • “A good retention holster (e.g. Safariland ALS and SLS) adds only one or two tenths of a second to the draw.”

          Good, it looks like you answered the question. Armatix needs to shorten the time needed to unlock it.

          I will, however, stand by my earlier statement that a pure mechanical, non-electronic ‘lock’ is *far* superior to *ANY* electronic system.

          No battery, *GOOD*. That’s a huge improvement to the earlier model. Still a *long* way to go, but it is a move in the right direction.

          I’ll never buy one, if I can help it, were I *forced* to, I’ll damn sure choose mechanical over ANYTHING battery-powered…

      • You’ve never been shot at, have you? Because I promise you, fine motor control is instantly gone from the adrenaline dump. This is literally a worse idea than wearing a bracelet.

        • What if they put pretty flowers and rainbows on the bracelet or maybe made it out of magical love beads and sea shells ?

        • CPC – “What if they put pretty flowers and rainbows on the bracelet or maybe made it out of magical love beads and sea shells ?”

          Oh, well, then. OK, I guess. Puka shells are the best for that.

      • I’ve seen befuddled shooters agonize over “what’s wrong with my gun” and even include cycling the action in their ooda loop before figuring out “oh, it’s the safety.” Yea, playing secret handshake with your firearm when it’s go time is totally a super idea.

  2. I know I shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover but the trigger just look like it’s gonna be heavy and spongy.

    Also, a finger sequence? On a carry pistol? Two strikes, Armatixs. Intentions of any sort aside I honestly don’t think there is even a good theory (feasible or not with modern technology) on how to make a pistol able to be used by only it’s intended user. Biometrics is really the only thing that comes to mind, but finger prints are easily negated with liquid (sweat, water, blood, etc.) and gloves. Maybe an RFID ring? But again, it’s not convenient. The whole idea of a consumer product like 3D televisions didn’t take off because they required glasses to use them and now look: no one manufactures them anymore.

    • You’re probably not off base being sceptical of the trigger. I think the original .22 LR version had something like a 25 lb double action pull.

    • In the video you can see the guy struggling with the gun. His hands shaking wildly as he squeezes with full force not just with the firing hand but also his support hand.

      Either the trigger is horrendous, the shooter is the worst in the world or both.

  3. How about donating the guns to the security details protecting people who’s names are Bloomberg, Cuomo, Watts, Schumer, Pelosi, Boxer, etc.

    • +1…. we can add obama’s SS detail to that list since he is such an advocate of smartgun technology.

  4. Well out of this whole ugly “smart gun” bull crap, I do like the fact that they are pushing it on police forces to adopt first. If there is nothing wrong with them and they can so easily replace standard firearms, I say let the police be the guinea pigs.

  5. This is what happens when the desire to be the first to market to capitalize on money beats out common sense.

  6. Anything that could potentially make a gun less reliable or slower to activate is a no-go on a defensive firearm.

    And the cops know this as well as anyone.

    Armatix’ entire strategy is dead in the water. Which is fine.

  7. How long does it take to authorize the gun? If it is more than a second, it is too long. How long does it stay authorized after the initial grip is released? It can’t be too long, or the whole purpose of preventing a perp from using it is defeated, and if it is too short, then one cannot use one’s off hand. An officer at the window of a car has less than two seconds to perceive a threat, react, draw his or her weapon and potentially fire. There is so much fail built into this question that the gun will necessarily fail.

    • If it’s more than one or two tenths of a second, it’s too long. That’s the time difference between holsters without retention and Safariland’s ALS and SLS. Furthermore, the additional actions required by the Safariland products are an intuitive part of the draw stroke. Selective finger pressure isn’t.

  8. “… the handgun is unlocked by squeezing the grip’s finger indentations in a predetermined sequence …”

    That design may be fine when speed is not important. If you suddenly had to draw and shoot as fast as possible, I think that design will totally suck because the operator has to:
    (a) manipulate holster retention mechanism
    (b) draw handgun
    (c) manipulate grip to unlock the “smart” feature
    (d) aim
    (e) squeeze trigger

    Trying to manipulate the unlock feature while drawing and aiming — under stress — I believe is going to be impossible.

  9. haha I wonder what the real game is here. Because no one who knows anything about real-world application of guns would think this would work.

    So, what, is this to secure grants? There’s an angle here.

    • Same scheme as shot-spotter. Soak up as many tax dollars as you can as quickly as you can then shudder shop before the cities begin to dismantle their million dollar wastes.

      The game is a little riskier here because eventually a cop mandated to carry one of these things is going to be killed.

      • Shire-man, you nailed it on Shot Spotter. Worst POS technology foisted on tax payers in Toledo, OH, ever! There was a homicide a few years back right under one of the damn things, and a Sky Cop camera. Not one damn bit of evidence, not even the sound of gunfire.
        Anyone who buys into purchasing this for anyone other than themselves ought to face a firing squad. First ‘O’ in Shot Spotter should be replaced with an ‘I’. ARMATRICKS seems to be a more descriptive name!

        • Grew up in Toledo. Left it around 1980. What the hell happened?. It’s turned into a hell hole, and the cancer is spreading.

  10. Bring them to market like any other gun. Let them succeed or fail on the merits. Heck, if they worked, I’d buy one.
    Just don’t be surprised at the the first suicide or accidental shooting or critical time malfunction with one.

    • “Bring them to market like any other gun. Let them succeed or fail on the merits. ”

      The problem with this is that New Jersey had mandated that if what you want done occurs, then within three years, no one in NJ can buy any gun other than a “smart gun.” If that gun fails in the marketplace and is withdrawn from the market, what do New Jerseyans buy? There will be no guns to sell. New Jersey will be effectively a “gun free” state (except for the ones in place, except that how long will it take to make all non-smart guns illegal during that three year period?).
      Just because gay marriage is legal, does that mean that should be the only type of marriage available?

  11. Were I more cynical or hates cops more, I’d say “Sure, let the police beta test these guns for about 10 years and then I’ll think about buying one.”

    Meanwhile the cops are carrying .22 and a pistol that clearly will never work. People die. Lots of them.

  12. Maybe they can make one where you have to answer your specific security questions before it can be fired?
    ME: “I need to fire my gun!!!!”
    GUN: “What was your first dogs name?”

    Ooohh, better yet a safe word or phrase has to be yelled out before the gun can be fired. Like how supposedly they teach police and military dogs in a non spoken language for that region? Gods…it would make range time soooo interesting, just to hear what people would choose.

    Like asking your Amazon Echo if you can shoot…”Alexa, let me shoot that MFer!!!”

  13. Took me a bit to read this. My “Smart Phone” locked up on me and didn’t like my fingerprint.

    Now what were they saying about “Smart Guns”?

  14. On the plus side… If these things were issued the BLM type folks would have nothing to complain about in terms of officer involved shootings.

  15. I’d take the 21 foot challenge against this any day. This is gonna get some police officers killed, I hope they enjoy their clubs.

  16. Based on the headline I thought it was going to be a gun that wouldn’t fire when pointed at your dog…

  17. The problem I have with any safety device- Magazine disconnect, manual safety, etc., is that it encourages the user (especially an inexperienced or untrained one) to “test” the safety device by pulling the trigger, just like they do in the video. Pulling the trigger violates an important safety rule. That’s fine if you’re doing it for a good reason, like dry firing, but bad any other time.

    Also, any device like this encourages complacency. “Oh, I don’t have to lock up my gun, it’s a smart gun! It won’t fire unless I’ve got it.” Except that now the owner’s kids bring their friends over to try to pull the trigger of Mom’s “smart” gun. Then they go to Uncle’s house, who only has a “normal” gun, and they try the same thing.

    Guns are dangerous, that’s their purpose. Anytime you try to make dangerous things safe, you’re asking for it. Best to accept that they are dangerous and treat them accordingly.

  18. Here’s the thing: I am ALL FOR IT !!!! JUST AS SOON as ALL law enforcement activities in the U.S. adopt it and dump their “dumb” guns. Till then, not a chance.

  19. I’m in favor of cops being the guinea pigs for this firearms mess, but only in blue states and cities where the cops’ job is to suppress the lawful ownership and use of firearms.

    For ’tis the sport to have the engineer hoist by his own petard.

    Pro-gun cops need not apply. Live long and prosper, y’all.

  20. As a person that helped train cops to shoot

    I would never issue this thing!

    what a about ‘weak’ hand shooting when injured?
    You would have to train every week to keep that muscle memory up! on that ‘off’ hand?

    then what about this—your hand is hurt during a struggle to ‘cuff’ someone and ‘ONE” finger, just ONE is stunned and not working right now or broken—the officer is FUCKED –then dead!

    nope a so called safety device that needs all fingers working on the hand in use—nope never on my gun belt!

  21. Stop shooting at me for a second I have to enter my guns code!

    Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start.

  22. Okay, so — exactly why should I give even one fart about the New Jersey law?

    First, it doesn’t affect any of the other 49 states – how can it? Second, it’s not like it’s a Constitutional Amendment that requires 3/4 of the States to overturn it — they could overturn it in a New Jersey Minute if they actually wanted to. And if the residents of New Jersey don’t want to, then — to hell with ’em. They get what they elected. Organize, march, protest, and elect sane representatives. Or move to a free state and let it sink.

    Second, in about a month this whole thing will become largely moot, since Gorsuch should be confirmed by then and seated on the court, and it only takes one single gay-marriage-style ruling to change the law in every jurisdiction throughout the land. Including New Jersey.

    Third, just what exactly is supposed to happen? New Jersey says that if a Smart Gun is made available, then the sale of all dumb guns becomes illegal. That cannot possibly pass Constitutional muster under a Gorsuch court. So let it trigger — the NRA and GOA will sue, and it’ll be overturned faster than Chris Christie can finish off a plate of spaghetti.

    Fourth, the bill’s been on the books for 15 years. Fifteen years! And the Senate majority leader in NJ already said she’ll repeal it, if the NRA would agree to not stand in the way of Smart Gun Technology. They should take that deal, get the stupid law off the books and recognize that there some things that you just cannot stop — you can’t stop 3D printed guns, you can’t stop Uber/Lyft, you can’t stop self-driving cars, and you’re not going to be able to stop “smart gun” technology development.

    So why, exactly, do we cringe in terror and clutch our pearls in fear of the New Jersey law? (I admit I wouldn’t feel quite so strong about it if we had President Pantsuit and Merrick Garland going into the USSC).

    • Gorsuch only restores the balance back to what it was before Scalia died. That isn’t a reliable pro-Second Amendment Court, as it depends on Kennedy and his extremely variable moods. Now, if one of the quite elderly justices retires (Ginsburg is 83, Kennedy is 80, and Breyer is 78), that new appointment will change the makeup of the court.

  23. Ever wondered who the anti-gun lobby is, asides from the idiots at moms demand action and their sugardaddy Soros?
    Companies like armatrix. Especially armatrix. They seek to destroy the complete gun market and make their products a must-have by law for all police and military guys. They know they will never get a stance on the free civilian market so they want to outright ban it to destroy any competitior that can and wants to live outsides of politically manipulated government contracts. Don’t win by being better than the competition but rather by banning them. What a nice bunch of people. They all deserve to die from a bullet to the head. No, i don’t want to suggest to hurt them – just send them in the worst part of town with their own shitty “smart” tools and then let Murphy’s (firearms) law and natural selection do their jobs…

    • But what did Armatix do? I’ll tell you what they do to us gunowners in Germany/EU and also gunowners all over the world.

      “The Small Arms Survey SAS wrote a backgroundpaper for a meeting of the Bonn International Center
      for Conversion in Juni 2013 in Berlin: Smart Technology in SALW Control.
      they wrote:
      To support the conference the Small Arms Survey commissioned four background papers
      reflecting various perspectives of the ‘smart gun’ debate.

      The papers have five authors, all in favor of Smart Guns, simply out of pure profit or because they hope for complete civil disarmament because guns will be controlled, grab-able and asronomically expensive:
      – the owners of Armatix (Hefner und Giebel), want to sell smart guns, preferrably with a forced monopoly
      – creator/inventor of Smart Guns, IT-Prof Michel Reece
      – German Lobbyist Jörg Schönbohm, who is making publicity for Armatix since years
      – the lawyer Stephen Teret, from the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research who wants to ban all civil guns for years.”

      They directly work with and for the worst possible guncontrol advocates and are not a weapons manufacturer but gungrabbers who wait for their monopoly to sell crap that will kill policemen.
      NEVER buy from them. They are the enemy. Work against them wherever possible. Encourage everybody to NOT buy their products.

      (Article above was from Katja Tribel and Ron Fungun: Gunology)

  24. My evil hack mind thinks that if it is already locked there has got to be a way to keep it locked. Talk about bad PR for smart guns. Someone hacks into an entire PD’s smart gun armory and prevents them from going bang by the “right” people.

    Heck it could even be people that make the guns like the people at Apple building in back doors.

  25. Also new from Armatix…

    Fire exit doors and fire extinguishers that can be operated only by the hand equipped with the RFID-equipped watch, and unlocked by squeezing the grip’s finger indentations in a predetermined sequence.

    And by the way to operate the said doors and extinguishers “you have to train a little bit”.

  26. With a smart gun nothing can go wrong………nothing can go wrong…….nothing can go wrong……….

  27. Why is it in the states that have mag capacity laws, the LEOs don’t have to limit thier capacity, or type of ammunition or handguns that are not drop safe(therefore not on the list). Why is it they can have other less than lethal martial items and the public can not have them either. This is just escaltion of the militarization of the police.

  28. I watched the video.
    There’s a light (prolly an LED) which means there’s a battery in there somewhere. Batteries die. Think about how you discover batteries die: Whatever the battery powers doesn’t work when you try to use it.
    The video didn’t explain how the gun determines which finger code is used; is it mechanical (would this hold up to repeated recoil forces? How much pressure is needed to enable the gun?) or electrical (which falls prey to the exact same problem of every other electrical “safe gun” system: Batteries fail.)
    What happens if the person wanting to fire the gun is somehow injured in his firing hand, like in a fight with a perp? When that gun is needed most, it just won’t work.
    The speed with which this system works had already been brought up several times. Another question: If the finger release fails through the wrong sequence being used, how long is the reset? If the system is mechanical, what strength is required? Obviously, the sequence must have a sequence of a minimum number of presses to overcome a “brute force” unlocking by a perp trying several sequences to get it to work. I saw in the video a five press sequence; obviously, under stress, especially with a wet hand, this will be very difficult to manage immediately after a draw. Good for security, bad for safety.

    The whole idea of trying to get LEAs to test these will be met with a solid line of “NO!”
    I also noticed there were no armorers who gave an opinion. You would think asking them their opinion would somehow fir into the equation.

  29. In the video, the people keep wanting to compare a smart gun to a smart phone. This is very flawed logic for two reasons. First, if you fail to unlock your phone the first time, you are not under any pressure to get it unlocked, you can just re-enter the code or re-try your fingerprint. Second, every phone has the ability to bypass any unlocking mechanism so that the user can dial 911 so they can…………………. wait for it………………………..protect themselves in case of an emergency, like, say, someone is trying to rape or kill them.

    All of my firearms already have that “bypass” mechanism. 🙂

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