Firearms safety is always a primary concern (or should be), and while the big four firearms rules always apply, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room to improve. The SAFESHOOT safety system is one such way. This system is designed and developed to increase firearms safety and awareness particularly in situations where you may not be aware your gun is pointed in an unsafe direction.
The system is broken into two pieces, the Shooter portion, and the Defender portion. As the name implies, the Shooter device is attached to a firearm or optic via standard Picatinny rail. The Defender unit is carried by another person or even an animal. It can be fit to a backpack like the GPS Range Bag, a cargo pocket, or carried in the included pouch.
Whenever the Shooter is pointed in the vicinity of anyone or anything carrying a Defender module, the Shooter module sounds an alarm and flashes red LEDs to let you know you are pointing your firearm in the direction of a Defender unit.
It’s a simple concept, but their video provides a good illustration of how it work:
The system runs off of two CR123 batteries. The Shooter and Defender devices are somewhat large, but not as heavy as you’d imagine. They work off of a combination of radio frequency, MEMS sensors, and GPS to coordinate with each other.
The overall effective range is 900 yards, and there is no reliance on line of sight for these systems to function. I tested the maximum range between them and found the rating to be accurate. I started at 100 yards and used a compass to check the degree reading as I moved backward since a 900-yard straight line wasn’t an option.
I got as far back as 1,000 yards and the device still worked. However, that exceeds the advertised range, and just because it worked doesn’t mean I’d trust it at that range.
I also found that the claim that the system doesn’t require line of sight to be accurate. I positioned the units so that houses and forest lands were between the Shooter and Defender units and the system still worked perfectly. When the Shooter unit is directed at a Defender module, it issues a long, loud, and constant beep while the two red LEDs glare back at you.
There is a minimum distance standoff that makes a lot of sense and is only about 5 yards, but at that range, you should know who or what is in front of you.
Also, the SAFESHOOT alarm will shut off if you aim the Shooter module upward or downwards from the Defender. It seems to shut off several feet either above or below the Defender unit.
The Shooter unit doesn’t just identify the Defender when it’s aimed directly at it. It actually gives you lots of space to the left and right of the unit to prevent near misses. Maybe 15 feet or so in either direction.
If the SAFESHOOT Shooter is mounted on the left side of a long gun as it’s designed to be (for right handed shooters) the notification distance to the left is noticeably longer than the distance to the right of the gun.
The system works regardless of the time of day or weather conditions. It seems to work perfectly fine in the dew-covered morning with fog still hanging in the air.
Application of the SAFESHOOT System
The applications of the SAFESHOOT system are pretty much limited by your imagination. If you have a multitude of people hunting in an area, then each can be equipped with a Shooter and a Defender device. This can help prevent accidents when members of the hunting party split up. Even when people hunt together, one member of the group may wander off the find a comfortable tree to pee on.
A SAFESHOOT Defender unit can be attached to a dog or dogs working fields. Think of pointers flushing birds in tall grass. A Defender could be left to mark vehicles, barns, ATVs, hunting blinds, etc. That would prevent property damage as well as protect the people potentially using those objects. Each device needs anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes to establish a GPS connection and connect to each other, but after that, they run until the batteries die.
The downside of the SHOOTSAFE system is the clumsy setup process. Before you can run the devices, you have to use a computer to configure them. The computer can be either Windows or MAC.
First, you have to create an account at SAFESHOOT. Then, using the Dashboard, you have to activate each device via its serial number. The website will then spit out a new set of numbers for you to write down and save.
Next, you have download a program to our computer. Then plug in the included Bluetooth dongle and ensure that only one device is on at a time.
Launch the application when it’s finished downloading. You’ll have to run as administrator and allow it certain permissions.
The application will then ask for those numbers you’ve written down. Now, for some reason, it took a half dozen tries for me to activate the devices. I entered the numbers as they were presented and, eventually, it just worked and activated the devices. The devices beep, and now you know you are good to go.
Fortunately, you only need to do this once per device. It’s a neat idea, a little clumsy, but effective within the advertised parameters and it’s the only device of its kind on the market.
Specifications: SAFESHOOT Shooter Safety System
Effective Range: 900 Yards
Weight (Defender): 6.1 Ounces
Weight (Shooter): 6 Ounces
Length: 3.94 inches
Height: 2.76 inches
Width: 2.17 inches
Price (Defender): $369.99
Price (Shooter) – $429.99
Ratings (out of five stars):
Ergonomics * * * *
They are a little bit clunky, but hardly heavy. The controls consist of one simple button that clicks in with ease and has a long enough press that it will not be easily accidentally activated.
Usability * * *
The start-up process is very slow, and not one I want to repeat. The devices work effectively once they’re set up and outdoors. The big bulbous sensor hanging off your gun may get old and requires you to figure out the best way to mount it that works for you.
Effectiveness * * * * *
The SAFESHOOT system delivers a bright visual and loud audible warning when the Shooter unit crosses paths with a Defender unit. It works as advertised and at the range advertised quite effectively and efficiently.
Overall * * * *
The SAFESHOOT system is a neat setup. It does what it’s advertised to do, though it’s a little on the clunky side, size wise. It’s also expensive, without a doubt, but provides an innovative safety system that we haven’t seen before.