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Sometimes I read stuff on the internet and facepalm myself at the sheer ridiculousness I just forced my brain to process. The move’s usually triggered by news stories on Congressional pork rinds or the latest escapades of a reality-challenged reality star. And now I’ve wandered upon something that makes me wonder if the Chiappa Firearms Italian mothership has strapped on a jetpack and jumped the symbolic shark . . .

The press release is in Italian, but a quick trip to Google Translate allowed me to get the gist of Chiappa’s new venture. Basically they are incorporating RFID chips into all their new firearms which will . . .

accompany the weapon forever, providing all information earnings Рand upgradeable Рthe production cycle, as well as information commercial property on registration and data. Easy to imagine that the trace of the weapon is a constant almost completely prevented the theft or use other than sport.

From an asset management standpoint, RFID chips actually make sense. Using a simple scanner you can keep track of all your property throughout its lifecycle. From production, through maintenenace and eventually when it has outlived its usefullness, destruction.

But we’re talking about firearms here, not property you leave sitting around in a warehouse. They have very visible serial numbers and to most gun owners that number is a closely guarded secret. This is typically the most fail safe way to ID a firearm. Chiappa says that the chips can’t be re-programmed, but someone somewhere will figure it out.

Which leads me to wonder how much in sales will this end up costing them? While there may be several advantages to this new technology, as it applies to Chiappa’s manufacturing process, I can’t help but wonder how people will abuse it. Tech savvy criminals have already found out how to exploit the RFID chips that are in new credit cards, what’s to stop them from exploiting this new application too?

Time will tell whether Chiappa utilizing this technology is causing unwarranted internet fear mongering or if there really is something to fear here. The optimist in me wants to believe that there really isn’t anything to this story rather than Chiappa wanting to keep better track of their products throughout their manufacturing process.

Unfortunately, the realist in me realizes that anything the Brady Bunch or MAIG would like raises the hair on the back of my neck for a good reason.

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    • There goes a really cool revolver I likely would have loved owning. Oh well…

      (Oh Well,.. that was my first thought, too. I’m just officially adding it to the Oh Well list.)

  1. This morning I emailed Chiappa’s American head of operations, Ron Norton, for a comment on the RFID chips they’re putting in all their firearms. I haven’t heard back from him, but I wouldn’t take that silence negatively since today is Saturday and everyone needs a day away from their email once in a while. When I get a response I’ll post it.

    Manufacturers like Chiappa need to understand that I, like most Americans, will never buy a gun with a tracking device in it. If I ever suspect that a gun I own is ‘bugged’, I will diligently locate and destroy the tracking device. And I’ll probably get rid of the gun anyway. And never buy another from that manufacturer.

    I certainly hope that we don’t have to start scanning our guns with RF readers.

  2. AS much as I want a Rhino if the RFIDs are brought to the states I don’t think I’ll get one unless I can be sure to get one of the old pre chip ones.

  3. You know, I really started wondering about these chips when my exwife tried to get one implanted in the back of my neck…

  4. I need to call BS on this one. RFID is a passive, read only technology and requires a ping from a RFID reader to activate it and only then does it send a signal with hardwired info only(ie; serial number, date and location of manufacture). No GPS or round count info can be written to or stored on an RFID device. The technology does not work well when surrounded by ferrous metal and in my opinion would only be useful to the manufacturer for internal tracking of individual guns. However, they really shot themselves in the foot on this one, if there is one single way to discourage an American from buying a gun it is by adding anything that even remotely resembles a tracking device or other “big brother” type of stuff. I still cannot figure out how S&W and others sell so many guns with internal locking devices.

    • +1.

      However, I’m not sure you can really blame Chiappa for underestimating the tinfoil hat tendencies of its potential customers. How do you measure batshit crazy?

    • Good point. But let’s say the tag is located under the grip where it would be a little easier to ping. And what have we here? A reader with a (best case I’m sure, but still…) 450′ read range. So my local LEO’s get a grant from their favorite alphabet soup letter agency deploying readers on the street to ping for these chips unique to firearms. And here comes John Q. Citizen out for a stroll sporting his new Rhino. Concealed, of course. Or so he thinks.

      “Excuse me, sir? Could we have a word with you?”

    • While the RFID chip on the product is passive, the reader is not.

      Companies can use RFID to track packages through their life from manufacture to end user. From manufacture to warehouse. From Warehouse to truck, from truck to buyer, from buyer to store and then out of the store. The company I work for had been looking at RFID for inventory control and assurance of on time delivery. RFID readers through dock entrances, Box truck doors, etc,..

      So now its your carry weapon with RFID. As you know, RFID associates an ITEM (your weapon and you attached with it) to a NUMBER that can possibly be tracked as you move from place to place. What places you go and when you’re there.

      Its true that proximity to certain metals decreases the effectiveness of the reader. But either way, once you put RFID tags out there an infrastructure for tracking is in place. As RFID readers get better, the tracking gets better. I just don’t like the idea of creating an infrastructure of tagging devices.

      I’m not paranoid. I don’t believe there would be much harm in owning a weapon with a RFID chip. Its no more harmful than using your grocery store discount card. But the possibility of tracking is increased.

      …and besides, a tinfoil IWB holster would be just as uncomfortable as my tinfoil hat and goggles.

  5. If I’m not mistaken, Anschutz was entertaining the idea of incorporating “smart-gun” technology into their products. Yet another company to cross off of my list. It’s a pity because I was kind of looking forward to getting a Model 64 repeater with a nice set of iron sights.

  6. “The technology does not work well when surrounded by ferrous metals…”

    The Chiappa has an alloy frame. Only the lockworks, cylnder and carrel shroud are steel.

  7. This technology is useless for tracking anyone that doesn’t want to be tracked. RFIDs fail all the time and are easily disabled purposely or accidentally. Plenty of folks have reported chips in their passports that stopped working after accidentally being put in a microwave, smashed with a hammer, or swept across one of those pads that disables ‘inventory control tags’.

  8. Hey guys,

    Not all RFID is passive. As a matter of fact, we sell only Active RFID. The tags operate at 433 MHz and ping the RFID reader every 1.5s. The RFID readers can be equipped with a variety of Antennas that will increase the read range up to 450′.

    Because our tags are active, we can detect when a tag enters or leaves the range of a reader. There is also an integral motion sensor in each tag, as well as a tamper switch that, like the motion sensor, can transmit a separate byte of data, when tampered with. We don’t experience the types of failures that are so often associated with passive RFID.

    Please see:


    Peter Monahan


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