Not So Smart Gun

A Facebook friend brought this bit of tech to my attention.

The Armatix Smart System includes a watch and a gun, and the firearm will only work when it is within RFID range of the user’s watch. (Credit: Armatix).


Interesting? Sure, but I wouldn’t have one. Really, it brings up more questions than answers.

First off, I want to know what happens when the batteries die. Does the system lock up making your firearm a fancy looking club? What if there is some kind of interference?

And what is the range on that RFID? Anti-gun types often like to trot out the idea that a criminal will just take your gun and use it against you. I would assume that anyone that was close enough to snag your heater would still be within RFID range. Or is the range so short that I would have to be wearing the watch on the hand I was using to shoot the gun? I wear my watch on my left hand and generally shoot right-handed although I can shoot left-handed as well. What happens if I need to use the opposite hand?

I suppose if it works exactly as advertised, it would add a bit of security in the situation of a stolen gun, but that only lasts as long as it takes to hack the thing.

Or maybe it’s supposed to provide peace of mind when you leave a loaded gun on your nightstand. Bet Kendra St. Clair’s mom is glad she wasn’t using one of these. You can’t substitute technology for training. Teach your children to be safe around guns, and take the necessary precautions that fit your situation. No matter what 20/20 says, you probably know best how to keep your children safe. There is no one size fits all.

And finally, putting this technology out there does nothing to prevent crime of any sort. It’s just another marketing gimmick to separate naïve people from their money. Worse than that, it’s another place for some gung-ho legislator to hang their pet cause. Even if this worked perfectly, you can’t snap your fingers and make every firearm out there complaint any more than you can make all the icky guns disappear with a signature.

I wouldn’t want to live in a world where you could. You see, the world would be a far, far scarier place without firearms. Eliminating them would only serve to cripple the weak. Brute force would win the day. I do not want to live in a world where the most vulnerable among us are deprived of an equalizer against those bent on violence. You have to wonder about the true motivations of those calling for just that.

14 thoughts on “Not So Smart Gun”

  1. That would still cause several problems. What if my usual gun hand becomes disabled? What if I need someone else to be able to use it? No, I’ll stick with guns without this tech, thank you.

  2. Sure, I’ll use one of these… as soon as they become mandatory for police.

    After all, “Officer Safety” is the word of the day, right? And everyone is worried about cops getting shot with their own guns, right?

    Then there should be zero concerns about the police being issued these.

    I’ll just be over here, holding my breath.
    Erin Palette´s last blog post ..Meltdown in progress. Please stand by.

  3. IIRC, it’s only available in .22LR with a NY/CT/MD/CA-compliant 10-round magazine…

    …which is not a caliber-capacity combination on which I’d entrust my life.

    Plus, it looks like a kids’ toy. You might get a better visceral reaction from a bad-guy by putting a rattle-can black finish on one of these, sans the “riot shield” (hey, it’s even got tacticool rails!). 😉

  4. Well, it’ll make existing guns far more valuable. Sort of like “non-lock, non-MIM” Smiths.

    Sure, let’s see the cops use them. And then watch the hilarity when the bad guys mount a 100 watt RFID-jammer in the trunk of their car (and then use non-RFID Hi-Points to shoot the cops).
    Comrade Misfit´s last blog post ..Ballistic Snake Oil

  5. No, No way, BS . We need it to work without any failure. When it comes the time , of crisis, you will all thank the old gun.

  6. Not in a million years.

    I can think of a half dozen attack techniques that would be fun to play around with. Is it vulnerable? Who knows? But since AFAIKT the manufacturer has not published specs on how it works, the suspicion is that security wasn’t an after thought, it wasn’t thought of at all.

    Maybe I’m wrong, and these guys have done their due diligence (unlike everyone else, like ever). Maybe.

    But I’ll never get one.

    1. Borepatch,

      I’d be willing to bet you could crack these wirelessly in real time, inexpensively- and with basic tools and a bit of knowledge, disable the system altogether. But that would require knowing how the system works.

      I _guarantee_ I can jam it and put the system in failure mode from a distance. And I could get all the data I need from any gun show or store where these things are demonstrated. Might be able to get the required data by just emailing and ASKING them for the FCC classification. . .

      I presume it is “fail safe”, not “fail deadly”, since that’s the _objective_ here (to keep “unauthorized” users from using your gun). . . therefore, I can disarm anyone who tries to rely on one of these.

  7. The concept has been around for decades.

    Back in the 1970s, a guy named Richard Devoid invented the “Mag-na-trigger,” which was a modification to the then-commonplace types of police service revolvers so that they wouldn’t work unless the user wore a ring on one of his fingers in a certain way, in a certain orientation, so that it would pull a little locking plunger out of the way and allow the trigger to roll back. I believe that since the inventor’s death, his heirs fought for some years in court over who’d have the rights to sell it, and this went on for long enough that police departments switched to semiauto pistols in the interim and the intended market disappeared. Nowadays if you want one, you can Google for a company called Tarnhelm Supply that claims, in a suspiciously 1990s-looking Web page, to have the last conversion kits in stock, and will sell them to you, some assembly required.

    Even then, with a strictly mechanical system, this didn’t sell. It required some fairly expensive machine work to be done on the revolver’s frame to install the kit, which did not appeal to law enforcement agencies. The mechanism’s tolerances were close, and improper assembly or improper lubrication could make it unreliable. It wouldn’t work if you’d taken off the magnetic ring to wash your hands. And these days, a K-frame S&W revolver is regarded by anyone under about forty years of age as the missing link between the wheel-lock and modern firearms, so they’re not big sellers.

    The modern electronic “smart gun” idea is all of this plus all of the uncertainties introduced by dead batteries, damaged keyboard buttons, broken antennas, and software problems, and also gives us the sneaking suspicion that the idea is being pushed by the sort of people who would dearly love to be able to click on a button on a screen in their Washington offices and disable all the firearms in civilian hands on the continent at once.

    No thanks. I’ll stick with what I have now.

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