“Smart” Gun Glitches Confirm Gun Owner Concerns

Thumb Print Internet Security Smart Gun
Thumb Print Internet Security Smart Gun
National Rifle Association Institute For Legislative Action (NRA-ILA)
National Rifle Association Institute For Legislative Action (NRA-ILA)

Washington, DC – -(Ammoland.com)- As part of his executive gun-control fixes, President Obama has endorsed so-called “smart” gun technology on the premise that if “you can’t unlock your phone unless you’ve got the right fingerprint, why can’t we do the same thing for our guns?”

Never mind that smartphone technology is currently far from infallible. A fingerprint ID feature is liable to fail when it is cold outside, or when fingers are sweaty, wet or dirty. Smartphone engineers continue to wrestle with more general performance and safety concerns, like inexplicably exploding phones.

It’s not particularly surprising, then, that a “smart” gun recently showcased revealed some of the same failings.

A prototype using a Glock 22, developed by 19-year-old inventor Kai Kloepfer, has a biometric fingerprint sensor, similar to the one in a smartphone, built into the grip and aligned to approximately where the shooter’s middle finger would rest. The prototype takes approximately a second and a half to recognize a fingerprint and unlock the gun. In order for the gun to continue to be available to fire, the shooter’s finger has to remain aligned with the sensor. The sensor can’t recognize a wet fingerprint, and the gun isn’t designed to work for persons with dirty hands or who are wearing gloves. The modifications to the gun also mean that the magazine capacity is downsized from 15 rounds to nine. All of these raise concerns about the viability of the gun as a weapon in a critical defensive use situation.

Gun owners have additional legitimate reasons for viewing “smart” gun technology with reservations.  

Armatix RFID Smart Gun Smart Guns
Armatix RFID Smart Gun Smart Guns

Radio frequency ID (RFID) access or token-access “smart” gun technology comes with its own kinds of glitches. This is based on the firearm remaining locked and unusable unless an authorized user’s token (like a watch or ring) comes within a defined proximity of the enabled gun. In November 2014, the New Jersey Attorney General issued an opinion on the Armatix iP1 handgun, a “smart” gun utilizing RFID technology that retails at around $1,800.

The iP1handgun is paired with a wristwatch containing an RFID chip that enables the functioning of the gun. The watch must be situated within 10 inches of the gun in order for the gun to fire. The opinion concluded that “as a matter of design, the pistol may be fired by a person who is not an authorized or recognized user.”

Provided the gun is “situated within 10 inches of the enabling wristwatch, it may be fired by anyone,” including an unauthorized individual who simply maintains possession of the gun within 10 inches of the authorized user’s wrist, or an unauthorized user who forcibly takes both the wristwatch and gun.

One gun-control group, The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, recommends the development of “smart” gun technology that, besides preventing unauthorized use, would allow guns to be remotely disabled and their locations GPS-tracked.

This capability was echoed in a 2016 Report to the President by the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and Defense, which noted that technology currently being tested would allow “real-time data collection involving the location and use of law enforcement firearms.” A computer chip embedded in a law enforcement firearm would transmit data, using the officer’s smartphone, to a police operations center about the gun’s location and use. “More sophisticated systems can collect additional information about the gun’s use—such as when the weapon has been unholstered or discharged.”

It’s not hard to imagine how this kind of data collection and tracking technology can be used or abused if it’s incorporated into “smart” guns more generally.

Despite these targeted developments, the law enforcement community itself hasn’t been quick to validate “smart” gun technology. Quite apart from the high price tags, there are justified concerns about how these firearms will perform in the field. San Francisco’s Police Chief Greg Suhr has volunteered his department for testing “smart” guns, but he necessarily frames this in the context of more developed technology using willing volunteers.

Officer safety is huge, so you wouldn’t want to compel that upon officers,” he says, although he is “all but certain there are officers that would be willing to do such a pilot.” 

The NRA doesn’t oppose technological advances and has never opposed “smart” guns or the ability of consumers to make their own choices. What it doesn’t support – in common with the vast majority of Americans – is government mandates that impose expensive and unreliable technology on the buying public as a matter of law.

Smart Guns
“Officer safety is huge, so you wouldn’t want to compel that upon officers,” he says, although he is “all but certain there are officers that would be willing to do such a pilot.”

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the “lobbying” arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Visit: www.nra.org

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Re the Smart Gun, so called, one question, a question unanswered, continues to concern me. That question arises from the following. As memory serves, feel free to correct me should I be in error, Smart Guns would be required for John or Jane Q. Public. Especially interesting however was the proviso in legislative proposals offered, that would exempt police forces from the dictates of Smart Gun proposals. How come this passing strange exemption is a question, the answer to which has yet to come to my interested attention.


We already have smart safes, why would would need any more than that? I agree with the KISS principle. Look at passwords for instance. The harder the password, the more likely you’ll tape it to the bottom of your keyboard. Do we really want to replace the handgun with a shotgun that turns around well in a hallway? [Assuming of course the technology isn’t planned for ALL firearms]


The adherence of some to the fairytales of The Smart Gun prominently displaye just one thing. The lack of smarts of those who push such foolishness. In addition, I wonder if they are as they appear, unaware of The KISS Principle, the KISS in the principle translating to the following. Keep It Simple Stupid.

Gary B. Wells

In the case of the use of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapon, our “safe” firearms become useless? I’m not keen on batteries required for the sights on my primary defense weapons, I definitely do not want to have to rely on electronics just to operate the firearm itself.

Viscount V

In a car accident, you are better off not wearing a seatbelt and being thrown clear of the wreakage. Airbags are more likely to cause serious burns than save a life. And they might go off accidentally while driving, causing a deadly accident. If you make things too safe, they become too expensive and people stop learning how to operate them responsibly.

Meanwhile somewhere in Europe someone is inventing a safer gun and he/her will be the next Glock.


If you look down the road for this technology, you will see the scary solution. IMPLANTS! You will be implanted with a unique identifier keyed to every weapon you own. And just like your Social Security card, it won’t be used as a means of identification either. But the government will have to make you “want” to get one. I guess it will start off by speeding you through the checkout line when buying a firearm or ammo with no background check needed. Maybe they’ll have special shooting ranges where only people with implants can get in. I know, I’m… Read more »

The Mechanic

STOP this so-called “smart gun” technology, It does NOT work!

TAKE ACTION by contacting your Representative and Senators — urging them to support a total and complete ban on President Obama’s latest round of illegal and unconstitutional restrictions on gun rights! Link below.

Link: http://cqrcengage.com/gunowners/app/write-a-letter?4&engagementId=236693


The liberals would be much happier if the mag capacity was downsized to zero and the sensor was in the chamber.