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We ran a post this week noting a podcast from our friends at Student of the Gun in which Professor Paul Markel discusses the new Biofire Smart Gun. Let’s just say Prof. Markel isn’t persuaded by what he’s seen so far. You can listen to the 20-minute podcast here.

We contacted Biofire and they provided responses to some of the issues that Markel raised. We’re working on getting access to one of their newfangle contraptions ourselves, but in the mean time, here are Biofire’s retorts . . .

What is Biofire’s Smart Gun?

The Biofire Smart Gun is a 9mm striker-fired handgun that uses fingerprint and facial recognition biometrics to ensure that only authorized users can fire it. See a larger list of FAQ’s here.

Will the Smart Gun fail if I’m wearing gloves or have dirty hands?

If the Smart Gun’s owner is wearing gloves, its facial recognition system will arm the gun. If an authorized user is wearing a mask, the high-quality fingerprint scanner will arm the gun. The two systems work simultaneously, and whichever system recognizes the user first is the one that unlocks the firearm. Both systems are not required to unlock the firearm for an authorized user.

Does Biofire object to gun owners’ carrying firearms? 

Definitely not – while this Smart Gun was designed to be used for home defense, Biofire supports owners’ freedom to choose whatever firearms they like. We are looking forward to offering compatible holster solutions in the future for the customers that want them.

Can Biofire remotely access a Smart Gun?

No – the Smart Gun has no onboard WiFi, Bluetooth, or GPS. The Smart Gun cannot be remotely accessed through over-the-air communication of any kind, including by Biofire.

Do you have to keep the Biofire Smart Gun in the dock or cradle?

No – the rechargeable, high-endurance lithium-ion battery in the Smart Gun lasts for months, and the firearm can be stored in a number of ways, according to the owner’s personal preferences. Some customers may choose to keep it connected to a dock or cradle for ease of access and continuous charging, and many Smart Gun owners will choose to keep it completely separate from the Smart Dock. There is no locking mechanism associated with the dock itself.

Does the Smart Gun negate the need for firearm training and education, especially when it comes to children? 

As a company, Biofire strongly supports continuous training, education, and dialogue for gun owners and those who live in households with firearms. We believe it is very important for parents and guardians to both observe and teach their children safe firearm practices, and to treat every firearm as if it is loaded and unlocked – even a Smart Gun.

Does the Smart Gun delay access to armed response?

The Smart Gun provides instant access as well as peace of mind: it unlocks in less than one second, and it locks again the moment it leaves an authorized user’s hand. The shooting experience is seamless: authorized users can simply pick the gun up and fire it as they would any other handgun.

Does the Smart Gun only work for one person?

The Smart Gun works for up to five authorized users. The owner can add or remove temporary users for a set amount of time (for a day at the range, for example), and can also add or remove permanent trusted users at will. Changes to the Smart Gun’s authorized users require the owner to confirm using their personal biometrics.

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  1. that cleared up all the burning questions i had about this product for which i have no interest.

    • “…about this product for which i have no interest.”

      They’re perfectly cool with that, since you, I, or even Marsupials that somehow manage to use the internet aren’t the demographic they want to buy the stupid thing…

      • This only exists so politicians have another reason to push “safer” guns; or as in my case, for the California government to add another requirement to be put in the California Roster of Approved Handguns.

        • A safe gun is on that is in its holster, with the trigger covered. That is what any safety instructor will tell you. I see nothing “safe” about the above guns, and see plenty that could go wrong with them. In the end, I think I will keep my “dumb guns”. They are not broken, and I see no reason to “fix” them.

        • “…the California government to add another requirement to be put in the California Roster of Approved Handguns.”

          That’s on the way out…

    • Up to five users?? I can’t lend my wife or son a hand gun without breaking MI state laws. Do these idiots read? Maybe only “new” English?

  2. a forgotten question, “why isn’t biofire allowing independent and unsponsored testing/reviews?”

    • Easy, product’s not done. It’s scheduled to come out next year… I think even that’s optimistic given where the reliability is right now but the company is clearly not driven by their gun guys.

  3. It uses facial recognition. I find it hard to believe that it can do that while having no connection to the web.

    • Why? There’s nothing magic about the web; it can just use a pattern that’s stored on the gun. Phones have been able to do that for years (phones upload all your info, but they don’t *have* to just to work).

      • Over a decade ago I was using the seek system to take fingerprints, iris scans, and facial identification photos of random Afghans at traffic checkpoints to try to ID bombmakers, Taliban, and whatever weird shit the DOD wanted detained. It was wire connection only to any up/download and only on base so yeah something that size could be able to do facial and fingerprints while being fairly robust by now as what I used was just improved older tech from almost 2 decades ago. Not saying I like the idea especially with having anything have that data for later recovery.

        • Yeah, people really don’t appreciate how long this tech has been around. The main limiting factor was always memory capacity, and even that’s been a nonissue for quite a while now.

        • Kindle has had its products in the marketplace for a couple of decades. My Kindle works 99.9% of the time but every once in a while it gets wonky and I have to reboot it. It is only a minor inconvenience rebooting the Kindle. Sure wouldn’t want to have to reboot my home defense gun while several bad guys were breaking down the front door. I daresay that Kindle has probably sold more if its product than this wonder gun manufacturers will sell in their company’s lifetime.

        • No, that’s fine. I don’t know if it’s going to be a very good *gun* let alone a good product, and if I’m honest it doesn’t look great so far. The only thing I can say is that the claims they’ve made about the technology and potential are reasonable.

    • Consider the difference between scanning a face and looking for a match in the database of all driver license and passport photos, and scanning a face and looking for a match in the database of only five authorized users.

    • I am not a fan of this technology, facial/fingerprint recognition for a mechanical device such as a gun – this would be more accurately called a bio-imprinted password.

      Essentially all this product has done has taken the fingerprint scan and/or facial scan and converted the biological information into a mathematical formula i.e. a hash value (see MD5) it won’t need an internet connection to run the cryptographic algorithm, the scans or the monitoring and storage of the values to compare against.

      Now while this bio-recognition lock might be a product better versus with fumbling with a manual key lock or pin-pads in a middle of the night stressful situation, it still in my opinion has far more cons than pros.

      Since most gun owners, expect to not only own keep their firearms for their lifetimes they also hope that they will bequeath their firearms to their family and still last for generations. This product given current technology puts battery replacement life at about once every 2-3 years and memory replacement at about every 10 years. Also this is a product that could be exposed to extreme environmental conditions, dropped, heat-humidity, rain, puddles etc how is the memory, electronics and battery protected to prevent damage.

      Con#1 “Battery”: Regardless of how long a battery life it has it still at some point must be charged to be usable as designed; and with all rechargeable devices battery replacement will also be an issue and how is the memory of the “computer” managed with a dead or replaced battery. Keeping in mind that the battery could still be perfectly fine with over 300 to 500 charge cycles, but it could also fail sooner (how have they tested and gone through the battery manufacturer selection -cheapest and lowest quality or highest cost and most reliability) what kind of testing was performed to get the products anticipated life before replacement. – if the battery is damaged or being recharged what is protecting the owner from run away thermal issues.

      Con#2 “Memory”: Depending on the memory and compression technology used can the stored hash values become corrupt over time, or lost? The electrical charge stored in a flash memory cells degrades over time, and will degrade much faster at extended temperatures; also the more you use a memory this type of memory cards, the more likely it is to degrade over time. A typical memory card can go through 10,000 to 1 million “write/erase” cycles before failing rates increase, but also sitting idle “cold” no electrical charge for extended periods will also cause corruption as the memory cells lose electrical charge. Also like the battery their is a finite physical age limit, typically 10 years. Keeping in mind that the memory could still be perfectly fine with over 2 million write/erase cycles and older then 10 years, but it could also fail sooner (how have they tested and gone through the memory manufacturer selection; their is a finite amount of times before it becomes unusable. -cheapest and lowest quality or highest cost and most reliability) what kind of testing was performed to get the products anticipated life before replacement.

      Con#3 “motherboard”: If treated well and kept clean, a motherboard typically lasts between 10-20 years, though it is possible to last longer. This application of smart gun, could also put cleaning solvents and oils in contact with the motherboard(s) causing damage. Which means replacing the hardware with what will eventually become obsolete, and you may need to upgrade to the latest hardware.

      Con#4 “reliability”: Facial and fingerprint recognition is vastly improved from a few years ago, but error rates are still high especially in the facial and in controlled settings are much more accurate then in real life scenarios. Also keep in mind that similarity scores and comparison thresholds to account for the false negative rates and false positive rates (families are going to look very similar – if your trying to prevent your daughter who looks a lot like her mom from accessing the gun, this could be a problem if the wife is the owner, or some other similar scenarios, like identical twins, etc. Then you have the recognition “racial” demographic biases, non-whites will find this product to have a much higher rate of false positives and will prevent the gun owner from accessing, especially in a need to defend type of situation.

      Con#5 “quick to lock”: The manufacturer states that this product locks near immediately so anything from changing your hand grip location, changing the grip force from loose to tight, to switching hands temporarily and with the reliability factors, could lock out the owner when needed in a scenario where you are walking your house looking for the “source” of the late noise.

      Con#6 “Software reliability and upgrades”: Since no one has been able to independently verify it at this moment we have to rely on the manufacturers statement that this is what they are doing and given their descriptions we can assume that they are probably doing what they claim they are. However, at some point we can trust but will need to verify; take the electronics apart and verify no Wi-Fi/Bluetooth or other radio communications chips or antennas are on the motherboard(s) and also to have a radio spectrum analyzer running to see if broadcasts are occurring. Also how is full manufacturer reset, or software updates (bugs/fixes) deployed when owners change in the case of reselling, or in the case of bequeathing to new a owner, or fixing a software flaw, or software algorithm improvements

  4. That’s good there is no WiFi or Bluetooth. I was worried that if I purchased that hunk of shit er….fine piece of engineering, someone might hack my gun causing it to fire and shooting myself in the nuts since I carry IWB appendix.

    Bearing in mind that a 9mm can “blow a lung out” imagine what it could do to my balls!!

    • I would hope the unlock function (as well as the firearm in general) lacks any possible way of engaging the trigger without the user pulling it. The SIG jokes would be endless.

      • I think it is “fly by wire,” not a mechanical trigger. No magnets etc. to make it work against authorization. Wonder if it has a good trigger feel or not though…

  5. We’ve spoken of this. It doesn’t matter how many times you talk about a bad idea. It’s still a bad idea.

    • “…let’s see it adopted by the various federal agencies.”

      Like the primary weapon for the US Secret Service Presidential protection detail.

      What? It was only in my dreams?

      • Doesn’t matter. I’ll bring my own party favors. Won’t stop anyone from scav’ing their ammo though.

  6. I continue to assert that the chips in these smart guns will be hardwired with a backdoor that will enable law enforcement as well as any of the alphabet soup of Federal agencies to shut them down. electro-magnetic pulse from nuclear weapons will also fry the electronics. The real criminals will no doubt figure out how to hack them just as they now hack stolen smartphones.

    • If I’m close enough to have my smart gunm emphed I doubt I’d be worried about it working.
      I do agree with you on the backdoor shenanigans though.

    • “…electro-magnetic pulse from nuclear weapons will also fry the electronics.”

      You don’t need a nuke at close range, batteries can do it. A Taser-like device can shoot a wire, then charged capacitors can discharge with a loud ‘pop’ sound, a nasty short spike of high voltage propagates down that wire,and that chip is likely fried. That stupid gun has to sit for very long periods of time between use. Ultra-low voltage CMOS electronics are highly vulnerable to a near-field spike like that…

      • If they’re close enough to taser your gun, they’ll probably just taser you and beat you with the gun instead

        • I was referencing a hand-held device.

          Image the pulse you could propagate exploiting the massive electrical power a cop car responding to an active shooter could deliver.

          Several orders of magnitude.

          Yeah, it will fry the electronics of the other responding officers on scene, but that’s far more acceptable than more dead kids…

        • Sure, I was referencing the hand held Taser you originally described. What you’re describing now is *not* hand held? It’s the thing from Ocean’s 11, actually.

        • A lithium-ion battery I can hold in my hand can crank a car over and start it.

          That’s a few ounces of weight. Scale that up to a hundred pounds or more of weight and you have a *massive* amount of current that can get dumped in a milisecond or so.

          That’s *plenty* to generate an EMP pulse with a range of 50 feet or so.

          So yes, a cop car can carry the juice to fry CMOS electronics, if they wanted.

          That’s how a responding cop could ‘deactivate’ a smart gun if they wanted to.

          For ‘officer safety’ (*gag*), of course… 🙁

  7. I believe they should change it to a proprietary cartridge, that away when .giv decides only smart gunms can be sold theyd have a lock on the whole market.
    The new BioFire gunm and its revolutionary Flobert cartridge.
    The Flobert gives you reduced muzzle rise, quicker on target follow up shots and an amazing 26 foot pounds of energy. Its designed for all your hunting, defensive and shuting needs.
    BioFire leads the way.

  8. Stay away! Danger! Danger!

    The govt will soon require this. Especially if it doesn’t work well. They are great at rushing into things that sound good to them

      • In my town, the grid is coal-fired.

        I have fun telling electric car owners who live here how their vehicle is polluting the air still… 🙂

  9. Basics y’all, Basics. Will it work in the mud, the blood and the beer? Anything else is just flash. Wring it out (the production version, not some tweaked prototype) like any other gun, then tell me how great it is.

  10. I would like a “dealer sample copy” for evaluation as long as they don’t mind if I try to defeat their system while it’s in my custody…I promise – no hammers. I want to try it out with wet, dirty, greasy fingers. In the middle of the night. How much facial hair will it tolerate before I have to upload another facial scan. Grabbing it in the middle of the night and firing off-hand from the low-ready position. Strong electronic / electrical / magnetic fields. How easy is it to push out of battery. How reliable is the actual firearm part of their weapon. FTF’s, FTE’s – the whole gambit of physical maladies firearms can suffer. Drop testing it on hard / soft surfaces. drop testing and then trying the electronics. Are the electronics “potted’ to resist physical damage from falls. Wiring / contact fail points.

    Sooo many things I want to subject it to in the name of Science*.

    *science = my curiosity

    …but, no hammers.

  11. C’mon, man! This dang thing isn’t designed for concealed carry. Why it is almost as fat as my wife! (Sorry honey.) It’d stick out like a carbuncle on the ass of a stripper! It’d be easier to conceal carry a double barrelled shotgun. I mean, a double barrelled shotgun is all anyone needs for self defense!

    Can I have my ice cream now?

  12. The first time I drove in a Tesla several years ago, the owner told me all he has to do it fill up the windshield wiper fluid. Overnight, he said, the company can send software to adjust your brakes, something in the motor, change your dash, etc. I asked – why are you willing to give someone else that much control over your vehicle? He said Tesla wouldn’t do anything evil, and I agree with that, but it’s also irrelevant and didn’t answer the question.

    I don’t see problems with the tech-i-fication of some products right now (some already have problems), but down the road? Society will be an authoritarian’s dream.

    • Tell that to a guy a bought a used Tesla from a dealer who bought it at a Tesla sponsored auction with the autopilot feature enabled. And then Tesla decided to remotely disable the feature because the new owner didn’t pay for it.

      • New owner needs to sue the auction who advertised it for sale with autopilot, for fraud…

    • EV makes sense in the circumstances of the following : stand alone unit without remote control or data collection (lol can stop here), warm climate lacking freezing weather, lots of subsidized charging stations everywhere, cheap kwh electric for home charging (about those nule plants). Absent basically any of those conditions it is an expensive and potentially dangerous status symbol of dubious value.

        • Never thought we’d have to give auto’s a tin foil hat of their own, but there it is. And I do.

      • The average cost of an EV is much more than a non-EV, so it’s a completely different class of people that buy them. It’s a status symbol. Here’s the bad part: the poorer class subsidizes the richer class to buy their EVs. That’s how tax breaks work. Yet some idiots still believe Democrats are out there fighting for the “little guy.”

        • Hope your roof has a southern face and you have money to throw at upgraded electric and possibly higher home insurance…….. it’s a mess up here but admittedly it could work in a less restricted state but then you may not get “free” chargers in various parking lots.

  13. Honestly lost respect for Forgotten Weapons after he started pushing this garbage🙄😧

    • Yes Sir.

      I was never fond of Ian’s speaking style / voice in the first place (I found him long-winded, monotonous and, frankly, boring most of the time). His Biofire monologue was the final nail in the coffin.

  14. what should be everyones concern:
    its the brainchild of the left
    just like micro stamping
    and taggants
    if any of them are allowed to succeed as an option for consumers
    they will eventually become mandatory for consumers
    say what you want
    you cannot be both an informed supporter of the 2nd amendment
    and a supporter or consumer of this technology
    it will only lead to our undoing
    and on this point
    there can be no compromise

  15. Humidity. Salt air. Temperature change. Electronics rot.. sooner or later. Prefer not to add another point of failure to a life-critical process.

    • These are fair points. I own at least one gun that is more than 100 years old, and many that are 50+ years old. I don’t own any working electronics that old. The closest I come is a Commodore Vic-20 computer with a finicky keyboard, that barely works with modern TVs. Earlier than that and you’re getting into vacuum tubes, core memory, and a lot of stuff that no longer works without a TON of specialized knowledge and care. What will electronics look like 100 years from now?

      Guns are often a multi-generation purchase, and this strikes me as a real limitation. I’m intrigued by the biofire gun, to be honest, not because I want one (I don’t), but because I appreciate innovation and invention (and clever design). But in addition to asking, “will this work,” we should also ask, “will this last?”

      I have my doubts.

      • But in addition to asking, “will this work,” we should also ask, “will this last?”

        Good point, and probably not. I also expect there will be continuous software upgrades/bug fixes which may, or may not, require you to send it back to the factory for installation.

    • yes, all left leaning le are interested in making it mandatory for the civilian population

  16. Note some of the weasel wording they use, too.

    “Can Biofire remotely access a Smart Gun?
    No – the Smart Gun has no onboard WiFi, Bluetooth, or GPS. The Smart Gun cannot be remotely accessed through over-the-air communication of any kind, including by Biofire.”

    The gun itself may have no WiFi, but the cradle definitely appears to be some sort of Android platform, and they’ve already shown it off stating its “firmware is up to date.” Which means the firmware can be out of date. Which means there’s almost certainly a way to update it, and I’ll eat my hat if that way to update it isn’t WiFi. So while they can’t access the gun “remotely through over-the-air communication,” dollars to donuts they can do exactly that by sending a lock-out signal to it through the cradle it lives in.

  17. If I put my life in the hands of the fingerprint reader on my $1000 phone that is designed to be locked/unlocked many times per day I’d be dead and full of holes right now.

  18. First comment refers to Missouri as the “Show me state”. Seldom remembered is that motto was created in response to their neighbors to the east in Illinois which, before it took the motto of the “Land of Lincoln” was commonly known as the “Sucker State”. Yes, really. May explain the rampant gun control nonsense from Springfield, there. And yes, I grew up in that sorry state.


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