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 If it were repealed (and hopefully not replaced), Armatix wouldn’t have to use cops as guinea pigs; the market could decide the gun’s fate.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.