New Smart Pistol Worries Gun Rights Groups

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The first so-called “smart gun” is causing gun-rights advocacy groups to worry about a future filled with strict new gun regulations, according to news outlets.

KitUp! first wrote about he Smart System iP1, a .22-caliber pistol made by the German gun-maker Armatix GmbH, in February. The James-Bond style pistol only works when it’s used in close proximity with a special wristwatch.

When the RFID-equipped watch is activated by a PIN number and placed near the gun — like when a shooter grips the handle — it sends a signal to unlock the pistol, activating a green light on the back of the grip.

The iP1 could revolutionize gun safety, but the National Rifle Association is concerned that the new technology will lead to a government mandate that all firearms be similarly equipped, according to May 6 New York Daily News story.

Engage Armament, a gun store in Maryland, had planned to carry the smart pistol starting May 1. But the owner called it off after he received threats over the issue, according to news reports.

These pistols sell for about $1,400 and the watch retails for another $400 – that’s about three times more than the price of a new, high-quality semi-auto pistol.

About the Author

Matthew Cox
Matthew Cox has been a defense reporter since 1998 and is an associate editor for Military.com. He traveled to Afghanistan and Iraq numerous times from 2002 to 2008, covering infantry units in combat. Matthew was an infantryman in the 82nd Airborne Division.

52 Comments on "New Smart Pistol Worries Gun Rights Groups"

  1. Again, speculations. Too much tin foil for me.

    As for the gun, its the first model.

    I'm speculative on that.

  2. New Jersey already has a law on the books that as soon as a smart pistol goes on the market anywhere in the U.S., than only smart pistols will be allowed to be sold in N.J.

  3. i will happly adapot electronic to make my gun fire, right after all LEO's and military brancehes do.
    my livelihood is basied on all machenes will fail, and often wehn needed. i will not be trusting a defenceive weapion to haveing the right watch on the right hand if i ever need to defend myself.

    also consitering tHe 2002 law in New Jersery that will require all handgun sold in the state to be "smart guns" three years after the first one goes on the market, there is good reasion for the NRA's consern.

  4. Juanito Grande | May 8, 2014 at 8:04 am |

    "…could revolutionize gun safety." How "safe" is a handgun which can't be used to defend one's self, one's home, or family? Will criminals be required to use "smart guns" when conducting armed robberies, home invasions, murders, rapes, etc? This feel-good contraption will only serve to make criminality safer.

  5. planethou | May 8, 2014 at 9:22 am |

    Just as an aside to the author (M. Cox) for future reference: "PIN number" is redundant. Think about what PIN stands for.

  6. kjenkinsaf | May 8, 2014 at 10:22 am |

    God forbid that my family is attacked, and one of us incapacitated. Here honey, use my gun. Oh wait, take my (bang) watch too. This is way too stupid an idea to work. Oh wait, that makes it PERFECT for the gun grabbers.

  7. I would offer a slightly different and more effective product. A watch, which when worn, measures the wear's IQ, emotional state, genetic predisposition for instability, excessive exposure to video gaming and derelict parents. Thresholds can be established for those predictors, and if the threshold is exceeded, in one or more category, the watch stops all neural activity right at the synapse.
    A much more effective solution, and marketable at $300 to $500 with a tactical version at $600.

  8. you guys want a handgun that's tied to a wanna-be wrist watch, and another threaed today wants to put "auto-scopes" on M-4's ("tag" a target that duck down, then auto-fire when something in that proximity appears…….. either way, both "solutions" are nuts…… the 'smart pistol' is a worthless if I'm "down"……… an autofire score takes out a friendly that has nuetralized a taget from the rear…….. Both equally dumb.

  9. Several issues come to mind:
    – It is only chambered in .22, not much use besides plinking
    – We have not seen any actual independent reviews of the gun
    – The draconian NJ law tied to the sale of this "smart gun"
    – The near $1500+ price tag
    – How secure is the technology? Meaning can it be hacked to be disabled by anyone.
    – How weather resistant is the gun and its electronics?
    – How durable?
    – Tamper resistant?

    Those are just of the top of my head.

    Oh and it makes for a good story that Engage Armament received threats but the only proof we have is the drunken tirade by one of the owners and no actual supported proof that it happened. It does make for a nice sensational news story though; you know the kind the press loves when it can spin some bad light towards the gun rights groups.

  10. always3rd | May 8, 2014 at 1:28 pm |

    So what would happen in the even of an EMP? Obviously, in the chaos that ensues directly after, I am no longer able to defend myself or my family due to a now $2k paperweight. Maybe thats been the idea all along?

  11. Transporter | May 8, 2014 at 2:29 pm |

    Good for the inventor for creating something unique. It is not however the answer society is looking for to end gun violence. Am I really going to wear around this watch all the time and when I'm not wearing it, I guess I better place it under lock and key (and not just because it is a ridiculous $400)? I just plain DO NOT see the NEED for a weapon such as this; especially in .22 cal.
    ~Long live the right of the people to bear arms (however many and whatever kind they want)~

  12. Smart pistol — dumb idea. Oh, time out, wait my battery just died.

  13. Will there be an exchange program, so all the criminals with their dumb guns can have smart guns, instead?

  14. what a silly thing to build! most folk would be dead before they got the first shot off!

  15. Criminals would not be able to use this pistol, ya its a smart pistol. If you buy one you would be in the same group as the criminals, ya a smart pistol.

  16. JDs Handsome Son | May 8, 2014 at 10:15 pm |

    If this were a smart society the only things made to wear some kind of electronic device would be our elected officeholders and their high-ranking appointees. They are the biggest menace to us all, not guns or anything else. They have become wicked, evil and dangerous with all their surveillance and scheming. Look at their pictures if you doubt me. They all look sick and disturbed. Each day we wake up and read about yet another plan they have to corral us, take our stuff, violate our rights, and restrict what we can say and do. I propose that these sinister people be fitted with headcams, ankle bracelets, and other sensory devices so that we can know where they are, who they're with, and what they're doing 24/7.

    Our Federal representatives are required to fill out conflict of interest and financial disclosure forms annually. It takes Senator Dianne Feinstein over 30 pages to document all her vast wealth and all the business ventures she and her $$Billionaire husband have, including LLC's and companies created to bid on lucrative government contracts she steers to him that pay him $$Millions. Why does any "servant" of the public need a 30 page disclosure form? Shouldn't she be limited to 5 pages? Shouldn't she have to turn in all her financial instruments and business ventures until what remains to her would fit on 5 pages?

  17. I think it is a cool Idea. I think anyone who wants one should be able to purchase or sell it anytime and anywhere they choose. With that said, it should never be mandated that It can be the only gun sold or purchased. That is the problem with America. The State Governments can't try and shovel this stuff down our throats and expect us to eat it.. It will not happen…

  18. As a law prior emforcement officer this gun is a terrible a idea I have trained shooting with both hand in case I can not use my shooting hand. Now how do I swith the watch over to the other hand.

  19. There's nothing "smart" about this pistol, and nothing personalized either. Anyone possessing its watch can fire it, so I imagine that doesn't meet the test(s) specified in the NJ statute.

    In fact you don't need the watch to use this gun, you need the RFID chip inside the watch. Let's say these did go on sale and could somehow be mandated for purchase (after all the years of court challenges that is). After plunking down eighteen Benjamins the first thing I'm going to do is spend another $10 or so on some cheap tools, take that watch apart, pull out the RFID chip and tape it to the gun.

    The pistol does need batteries for its RF transmitter and some would complain about relying on batteries in a life/death situation, but I don't think that's a big deal. Ask anyone with a pacemaker about relying on batteries. Presumably this thing uses button cells (think watch battery). Those things last 10 years or more in storage and they're cheap. So buy a few and replace them every 6 months just like you do with your smoke detector (you do replace those batteries, right?).

    Now, I'm in no way arguing for or against this gun, and certainly I don't want to see any single item mandated for purchase by a government, be it guns, cars, microwave ovens, or anything else. I say let the free market decide the issue. I'm just saying that its smart/personalized functionality is overblown and easy to remedy. As a proof of concept this is an interesting piece of kit. As a commercial venture I think it will fail. It may, however, point someone else to a solution that is actually feasible from a commercial, technical and practical standpoint.

  20. JJ Murray | May 9, 2014 at 7:41 am |

    If I have a smart gun then I don't need rules that ban me from carrying a concealed weapon without a class and a permit. In fact, since it's a smart gun I should be able to open carry anywhere. After all since the anti-gun crowd always blames the weapon a "smart" gun should be safe to carry anywhere since it's not going to jump out and start shooting people.

  21. Stefan s. | May 9, 2014 at 6:15 pm |

    Batteries fail you die! Nothing is "smart" these days. You can't have a computer that doesn't crash. Now firearms will too!

  22. If they're going to make a $1500+ watch and firearm combo at least make it an Oakley, MTM or bare minimum a Sunto.

  23. I stand neutral on this firearm. One thing for sure is I won't buy it. Just because I won't buy it, it shouldn't mean others can't buy it (starting to sound like a democrat, "if I don't want it, NOBODY should/can buy it"). The only thing I'm worried what this firearm "could" do is add fuel to the Anti-Gun crowd but it's just speculation. This gun could be a great choice when you have kid(s) around. It's just an extra layer of security or problems depending on how you see it.
    Again, it's not for me. Caliber is puny, not everybody wears watches, expensive, etc. I have kids and their friends running around constantly. I teach my kids gun safety, to not fear guns but respect it. I also use pin activated, hardmounted Gunvaults around my house placed at an adult height level.

  24. It would't take much for Gov with appropriate manufacturers to develop a pistol that cannot be fired even by it's owner say at Police/Gov Agents. This could use the same technology or even a simple radio transmitter receiver device to block the trigger mechanism. You could have a situation where complete housing blocks are covered and any pistol/rifle/weapon [not knives] could be disabled from firing. To do this only Gov issued trigger disabled weapons can be sold and every other legacy weapon collected and destroyed by Gov.

  25. I saw a special on this gun, and the person (can't remember their name) who wrote the law in question said they are will reverse the the law if store owners are wilingl to sell the gun. That was the jest of the interview at least. True or not I don't know, because I'm not the one who can really do anything about the law.

    One person said something to the effect of, anyone who has the watch can fire the gun. That's not 100% true. A code has to entered into the watch first. Granted once that code is in, I'm guessing anyone with the watch can fire the gun. But I'm sure if it's a life or death situation, it will not be easy peasy to get that watch off a person wrist.

  26. fredwilliams58 | May 13, 2014 at 4:46 pm |

    I will get one of these as soon as they are considered reliable enough that the police and military start using them.

  27. So what happens if you have to use your other hand? If someone "on your side" needs to use it?

  28. I'd be wanting to see Bloomberg's guards or the Secret Service using these first.

    Guessing that will never happen.

  29. shawn1999 – The fact that this website is a private enterprise is irrelevant and has nothing to do with SAR's comment. He writes, "I guess kitup does not like the Constitution or the Bill of Rights." complaining about their PC filter for these posts. The fact that they have a right to censor/filter their own posts is not the issue, but the fact that they actually ARE censoring them is! Why should they be afraid of their readers making their case using the Constitution and Bill of Rights, especially since it is germaine to the argument against the subject of this article?

    UNLESS – SAR violated any of the tenets of the Kitup Commenting Policy which is posted at the bottom of the website. Either way, he has a right to complain and Kitup has a right to post his complaints – or not! The validity of his argument remains.

  30. Grand Poobah | May 14, 2014 at 3:20 pm |

    As an RFID engineer and gun owner, there's no way I'd depend on this weapon. RFID is a very promising technology and useful in tracking materials, expensive equipment, and valuable shipments. However, it's also very susceptible to interference and can be jammed by an assortment of radio frequencies. As a former military officer and concerned American, I know that the government has the technology to jam these devices over a large area, making them worthless in an emergency situation. No thanks, Big Brother.

  31. consider that anything that is trying to pick up a signal can be jammed. So the gun can be jammed using a radio that transmits on the same frequency as the RFID tag. You just have to out power the signal. Any idiot can actually make a jamming device, as there are plans on the internet. Criminals will figure this out, the government already has that capability, this is one reason they are pushing technologies like this. What better way to control guns than stopping "we the peoples'" guns from working.

  32. This firearm is dangerous to the 2nd Amendment. If all our cell phones can be listened to, what's to stop the guns from being disabled, ANYWHERE! All at once if anyone needed to. It is operational only because it is wireless.

  33. It is useless to simply fret about what *might* be. This is just a 'heads up' moment.
    Prepare for the future, plan to use it, and guard your rights as you would your familes.

  34. It just keeps shooting you in the balls.

    I like the concept of safety mechanisms which are reliant upon the function of the weapon. Both passive and active. The electronic safety concept can insure a trigger pull is proper.

    In this case someone is taking things away from you. Eh? How about if you don't have the watch on, the gun explodes?

  35. If someone wants to buy one why not? You don't want your right to bear arms to be infringed, yet it is ok to infringe someone elses right to the arms they want to bear. Pretty hypocritical. To threaten someone who wants to sell them is outrageous. That is the kind of person you do not want armed if there is no law and order. If they don't get their way the open fire.

  36. what happens if our government gets corrupt and we try to defend our constitutional right can they just send a signal to disarm all our firearms fuck that

  37. how about if the battery dies right when your going to defend your wife or daughter from being gang rapped and killed.

  38. someone should get the creator of this gun and have a show down with a real gun and see who gets the fist shot off

  39. It isn't a smart gun. It's a dumb gun.

    It depends on extra parts, easily mislaid. It is electronic, therefore fragile in several ways : radio interference, water, shock, dead batteries, (government) hacking and expired capacitors. It is a .22, so cannot be called a reasonable defense, unless the opponent is a rabbit. It is costly to the point of prohibition. It is attractive only to those who object to people having the means to resist.

    Bottom line : I can make a better gun in my garage for around a hundred bucks. So can you.

  40. Just a thought | May 18, 2014 at 10:13 am |

    Everyone here seems to think that the sole and exclusive purpose for purchasing a gun is to have it available in the event you need to "defend" yourself against an intruder, or in the event of some catastrophic societal meltdown. In reality, what are the chances that you'll be faced with an armed intruder in your home, or having to deal with armed incursions due to an EMP strike? I, for one, have concluded the chances are very, very low and accordingly, have personally decided against purchasing a firearm for these reasons.

    In reality, the vast majority of civilian firearm use in America is recreational. Looked at from this perspective, this firearm makes great sense. I'm only going to be using this gun when and where I want to, probably at a gun range or some other venue appropriate for shooting. I might have a real interest in controlling who fires my guns, and when, and this offers a choice for people who otherwise might not purchase guns at all.

  41. All I have to day is Jamming signal

  42. So, an EMP strike could effectively disarm you. Great plan???
    I don't think that's going to sit too well with the preppers.

  43. If the "smart" gun is controlled by electronics, the government will have the technology to make the guns inoperative whenever they desire, thus gun control.

  44. Mitch Gant | May 21, 2014 at 5:47 am |

    The worrisome issue is not whether this type of gun should be sold, but whether it will be mandated that all weapons must eventually employ the technology. Handcuffing your defense to a second device to activate it which just might not operate or be available at the spur of circumstances or locations seems foolhardy to me.

  45. No way I would own one of these, if I actually need a gun I;m not in the mood or have the time to put on a wrist watch

  46. Oh really? Cause I like using handguns that rely solely on my previous cleaning of the weapon and knowledge of how to shoot a firearm. I REFUSE to put my trust in electronics that have a chance to fail, compared to a piece of metal that isn't going to short-circuit on me. That one time that gun fails to recognize you as a malfunction and you die… Well, I suppose it won't matter for you then.

  47. OK the point is and always has been. A gun is a tool like a hammer. The problem is PEOPLE, not guns.

  48. So uhm, what police and military organizations are excited about these? Hmm? Hmmmm?

  49. I just read through the comments and . .whoa . . I’m amazed that there can be so many paranoid people posting in one thread.

    Anyway the gun is a first step. Not that great since anyone who grabs the watch can use it. Eventually guns will be keyed to biometric signatures.

  50. There are a couple of interesting things associated with this weapon, as well as some common sense issues to consider. First, the gun is designed by a German company. A lot of fine weapons come out of Europe. But realize that owning a weapon in Europe is altogether a different matter. Some weapons such as shotguns are owned by the general populace for hunting purposes only. But hand guns in most of Europe…no. We in the US enjoy a unique freedom in our right to bear arms that most of the western hemisphere do not. So just who is this "smart gun" being developed for?

  51. As for the technology; it is certainly in the early stages. Improvements will come. The comments here regarding the watch having to be on the same wrist has the hand on the gun; I'm not sure if that is what the write up indicates. I got the impression the watch has to be in the vacinity, meaning in could possibly be on the opposite wrist, but maybe I'm mistaken. Regardless, that does not mean I ever have intentions of owning one. Yes, it is only in a .22 cal right now, which I find interesting since it is coming from Germany. You would expect it to be in a European cal. But maybe that goes back to the question, just who is this being developed for. I would expect it to eventually be available in other cals. I'm sure that is very dependent on the success of this model.

  52. As for use by the military or police; probobly not now. But that may depend on where the technology goes. Consider much of the technology currently being developed for the "smart soldier". Is this really such a big leap? My suggestion to everyone on this site is to your keep minds open. Not in the sense of accepting the direction the anti-gun left is trying to push us, but by keeping your ears and eyes open to what this may mean to us who believe in the constitution and our right to bare arms. And keep in mind also that technology can be used for both good and bad.

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