First “Smart Gun” Hits the Market in California, Requires a Specialized Watch, Costs $1,798
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Well the first so called smart gun is on sale in California, and if you’ve ever thought, “man, I have almost 2 grand burning a whole in my pocket and I really need a new compact .22LR pistol” then you’re in luck!
The Armatix iP1 is a system that requires the user to be wearing a specialized watch that allows the gun to activate. Oddly, the watch is sold separately from the gun for some reason that is completely lost on me. The cost of the gun is $1399 while the required watch is $399 (plus applicable taxes of course). The Washington Post says that a Glock hangun can be had for around $600, but the actual street price of a Glock is usually in the $500 range.
For comparison, you could buy a Glock handgun, several hundred rounds of ammunition, and take an advanced 2-3 day combat handgun training course for the cost of the iP1.
The iP1’s main appeal is supposedly that only the user will be able to operate the firearm. This seems all well and good until you realize that many people are just going to leave their “smart watch” with the gun most of the time.
There are several potential cons that I can think of right off the bat, so let’s go ahead and address those.
Reliability – This is probable the biggest concern with the system. What if my watch is damaged during an altercation with an intruder? What if the battery dies? What if there is a malfunction with the electronics inside the gun? Firearms, being mechanical in nature, are already subject to mechanical failures which require proper training to overcome should they arise, adding an electronic component to the equation will only introduce new failure points.
Outside control – At least one company is already working on technology that would render smart guns useless if they came within a certain distance of say a school or other off limits locations. However, what happens when criminals get their hands on that technology and start carrying some kind of RFID jammer in their pocket while they commit crimes?
The beauty of firearms is that they are mechanical in nature, requiring no power and little maintenance outside of periodic cleanings. They can be left loaded for, in some cases, years, and be ready to defend their owner at a moment’s notice. Introducing an electronic component into the equation only decreases the effectiveness of firearms as a defensive weapon.