First Smart Gun Hits the Shelves in CA

A bit pricey, as new tech tends to be, but a step in the right direction.  Basic idea: only works for the person it should work for, not for bad guys.  Sounds like a reasonable idea.

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  • I agree that it’s a step in the right direction, and it looks cool. But this version is keyed to a wristwatch programmed with a specific PIN, so saying that only the owner can fire it is a bit of a stretch. Hopefully we’ll have fingerprint or DNA coded firearms soon.

    • Dave G.

      Would such a gun able to be shared? I mean, say I bought such a gun. Would only I be able to use it? My wife? My kids (older ones)? I’m curious because I don’t know what the capabilities are. FWIW, I don’t own a gun. Just wondering.

      • chezami

        Dunno. I’d look up the specs on Google. I look at it as a first draft.

      • Jared Clark

        Presumably, anyone with a watch and the correct PIN could use it (they do seem to be sold separately)

    • Linebyline

      I foresee people using subcutaneous RFID or maybe NFC chips. I doubt it’ll be all that popular (really, how many people want to be microchipped?) but I’m sure some folks will. It would neatly solve the problem of needing a separate dongle or fob or wristband or whatever, or else having to scan a thumb before being able to fire.

  • AnsonEddy

    Interesting design choice to make it look like an amalgam of a studio prop from Buck Rogers and a 1970s blow drier. Somewhere the ghost of John M Browning weeps.

  • Jared Clark

    Definitely an improvement in safety measures, but it may come with its own problems. I can think of two concerns that I hope the company can address:

    The first is jailbreaking or modifying. If it is reasonably possible to alter the gun to function without the watch, then it will make the black market more expensive (pricier guns + pricey modification), which is great, but it won’t stop it entirely. They will need to make sure the firearm is bricked with any modification to the computer.

    The second is computer malfunctioning. Many computers can be damaged by something as simple as a magnet. We will likely see a response to the new weapon in the form of technology designed to destroy the watch, which would seem to disable the gun. The watch would definitely need to be protected from attacks like this as much as possible.

    It’s not a perfect solution, but hopefully this will make our fallen world a little safer.

    • kenofken

      Ending the black market might be too ambitious of a goal for this technology, at least at first. Its more immediate value might be accidental deaths and homicides within homes. We have lots of these cases where five-year-olds play with a gun and shoot themselves or a sibling, teens that kill one another during stupid drunken horseplay, or suicide – instances where there isn’t a lot of premeditation or time or forethought to try to hack the electronics.

      • Jared Clark

        Excellent point. This will definitely decrease the amount of accidental deaths!

  • Colin Gormley

    I can’t seem to find it but does anyone know what happens if the system has an error (system malfunction as opposed to invalid authentication) during authentication? I’m curious if the gun locks up or if it releases due to being unable to perform the authentication, valid or otherwise.

  • kirthigdon

    My guess is that these will find a niche market (high end collectors) but will never be flying off the shelves – even at low prices. In the nature of things, these guns will always be more expensive than ones which don’t have the dedicated use technology and most people don’t want a more expensive gun which only they can use. I haven’t owned a gun in a long time, but this feature would have been a negative for me back when I did and I have yet to meet a gun owner who expressed any interest in such a feature.
    Kirt Higdon

  • Linebyline

    I’m all for the idea of using tech to make guns safer, but two thoughts occur to me.

    1. Early-adopter bugs and lethal weapons are a bad combination. If I were interested in one of these, I’d still wait a good long time before buying one.

    2. Shoving a computer into anything that’s not a computer has consequences, which the makers of such products frequently ignore, which is why your TV is probably sending spam right now.

  • iamlucky13

    I can’t agree it’s a step in the right direction.

    While possibly (if it works reliably) it could reduce illegitimate use, it also creates one more avenue for eliminating the very last of a multi-layered system of checks and balances on the government.

    • chezami