“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.
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?