The Myth Of The ‘Smart Gun’

 

 

 

” “Biometrics and grip pattern detection can sense the registered owner of a gun and allow only that person to fire it. For example, the iGun, made by Mossberg Group, cannot be fired unless its owner is wearing a ring with a chip that activates the gun,” wrote Nick Bilton for the New York Times.

“But you would be hard pressed to find this technology on many weapons sold in stores.”

There’s a reason for that: because it doesn’t exist. Not yet, anyway, and not without some notable shortcomings. TriggerSmart is another such company, and they’re hoping to have a viable product available in 2014. They’re still in the prototype phase, though, and their product is pretty rough.

Smart guns introduce a layer of complexity that brings along with it several points of failure. They are battery-operated and generally default to safe. They are not water resistant. Biometric scanners require a clean scanner and a clean scan, and cannot be used with gloves. Radio-based scanners can be spoofed or jammed, and because they’re linked to a ring or bracelet, can be used by anyone with access to the key. Both systems are not instantaneous; it takes time for the controller to disengage the safety.

And they just don’t work 100 percent of the time. Which is precisely why both New Jersey and Maryland have enacted legislation that exempts them from being forced to issue smart guns to their police officers. For a target or recreational shooter, this might be OK. But for anyone who may want to use their gun for self-defense, police or otherwise, the failure rate inherent to smart guns—about one percent with the latest generation of smart safeties—is unacceptable. Smart guns aren’t. “

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