Smart guns are getting more and more mention lately, from nothing to a mention or two on some blogs.
So I went and looked up the only commercial one I could find, the Armatix model in preparation to deliver some thoughts on it.
.22 LR caliber is wile not exciting, fine enough for a range toy, but a 10 round magazine is a little disappointing in said caliber. Electronic magazine disconnect is something I’m just not sure why I’d want, even in a range toy. I hope different operating modes means safe, semi, and burst at the very least. Operating distance is fair enough I guess, it is a smart gun. Drop safety is something I think is required by law in the U.S. so advertising your gun as drop safe is like advertising it with the tagline ‘shoots bullets’ in the amount of meaning. Built in grip safety is not to my taste, but then again, I prefer keeping the booger hook off the bang switch sort of safety. Why does it have an interface for a camera? Oh, so it can identify targets and let the gun only shoot then. I’ll talk about that later. The watch isn’t great looking.
Alright, the one big point they have is the gun will only fire when facing a target, which would suck for long range shooters given how far off target the barrel really is due to bullet drop compensation. Now, what I can say is that for a rank novice, it seems like an interesting idea. They will learn how to keep the gun on target by holding it properly, but instead of hitting the ceiling or floor of the range, the gun simply won’t fire until it’s pointed at the target. If I was taking someone out to shoot who had never shot before, I’d give them that and help, since it would simply not work if they were doing something wrong.
Admittedly, I would prefer a more Glock like safety integrated, but with the gun not active unless the watch is quite close, in theory a safety could be removed completely and the gun would only be able to be fired if your watch hand was close enough and the trigger pulled, and could be accomplished with no mechanical parts to fail. Not only that, but with an electrically fired gun, it could be designed so that if any failure occurred, the system could fail safe instead of a safety failure making a misfire possible.
Electronic firing is a good system. It’s reliable and seen in some of the Vulcan cannon, but it’s rarely made it into a consumer gun, and in ever case when it did, it has never been taken advantage of. You have a system that has one moving part which is the trigger, no lock time and mechanical simplicity, not to mention a little cheaper to make. Electronic components are dirt cheap and insanely reliable under correct operating conditions, and cost much less to assemble than the machining steps on a mechanical assembly. But, the argument I keep hearing is that people might forget batteries or extra batteries, which makes as much sense as forgetting ammo, since it’s required to make the gun work.
Honestly, the systems that would make best use of that are precision rifle systems for extreme long range shooting, yet since many are based off of existing actions, it doesn’t really materialize.
It’s useless for a self defense gun since it says it won’t fire at people, but I’d rather not test that theory. What I would like to see is if smartguns start getting out more, I would like to see this bring back legal machineguns. After all, only the watch wearer could fire it, and when it comes down to it, machine guns are range toys or investments. It’s not an every day carry self defense gun, so if I were to see some ruling that said NFA stuff could be bought new and registered, or could avoid NFA entirely provided it was a smart gun I would be all over that. Honestly, for a range toy, it wouldn’t get used terribly often due to cost, and wearing a watch or even having to carry a battery with a larger gun wouldn’t be that big of a deal.
If I could have the S-18/1100 I want at the cost of wearing a watch to make it work and carrying around a battery for the gun, it would be better than not getting to have one at all. Not having to deal with any of that would be best, but I’d rather get it than not.
Enough with playing devil’s advocate. I will admit though that if Armatix lent me one and sent some ammo I would happily give it an honest and unbiased review, not that they’ll send me one, but I am curious how it works and how effective it is, despite being limited to being a range toy.