A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

The Dumb Smart Gun

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Remember the Armatix iP1? It was a supposed smart gun that utilized a wrist-mounted authenticator to allow the gun to fire. The gun, as far as I know, never mad it to market. While the inability to bring the gun to market causes anti-self-defense advocates to blame the National Rifle Association (NRA) it turns out the real problem was likely technical. As it turns out the NRA actually had the chance to perform range tests on the iP1 and were left wanting. Here is a list of technical failures exhibited during the NRA’s testing:

Does the Armatix operate perfectly? Well, no; we found it to be troubling at best. NRA’s tests, conducted with staffers trained by Armatix, found a number of very serious problems:

  • The Armatix pistol initially required a full 20 minutes to pair with the watch, even with the aid of an IT pro trained in its use. Without pairing, the Armatix functions like any other handgun, capable of being fired by anyone.
  • Once paired, a “cold start” still requires a minimum of seven push-button commands and a duration of 12 seconds before the gun can be fired.
  • While the gun holds a maximum of 11 rounds (10+1), the best our experts could manage was nine consecutive rounds without a failure to fire (and that only once). Three or four misfires per magazine were common, despite using various brands of ammunition.
  • […]

  • The pistol must be within 10 inches of the watch during “start up.” This slows and complicates the use of the pistol if one hand is injured or otherwise unavailable.

This is uncommon for a version one release although the fact the authentication system doesn’t prevent the gun from firing until it has been paired makes the entire system rather pointless. I would have thought such an obvious mistake wouldn’t have made it to a range test. The fact it did makes one wonder what other obvious mistakes were made.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 25th, 2015 at 10:00 am