Is the Smart Gun Practical For Self-Defense

Smart gun: Armatix iP1 Limited Edition Set (Image source: Armatix)

There is increasing talk about smart guns being sold in the US lead by New Jersey lawmakers. The main arguments used for the smart gun are to reduce accidents and suicides. The idea of a smart gun that can only he fired by an authorized person sounds great on paper, but there are many questions that make this idea not so smart.

  • What happens if it gets wet?
  • How do the electronics handle dust and dirt?
  • How is it known if the battery fails before the gun is needed?
  • Can the smart gun be disabled by an electromagnetic pulse?
  • How are software bugs dealt with?
  • And many more

Even with the unlikely guarantee of 100% reliability and none of the above will ever be an issue, there is one question without a satisfactory answer and it’s both the selling point and the biggest flaw of the smart gun. How will someone who’s trying to help me, bypass the security to save my life and possibly others? If it works the way it should, it’s not going to work for an unauthorized lawful user either.

Guns are mechanical and most common issues are easily fixed in the field. Mechanical things can stay in working order with regular cleaning and lubricating. This is true for current guns as well and machinery. High tech devices stop working randomly and require time to troubleshoot and test fixes (I just spent 2 days fixing a brand new, fresh out the box, Microsoft Surface Pro 4).

Introducing high technology to a mechanical process is great and is often welcomed when it makes things easier and more efficient. In some cases, it interferes with the process. Firearms fall into this category because of its purpose. Smart gun technology is designed to interrupt the mechanical process and adds a potential point of failure.

There are times when we don’t know our devices aren’t working right until we try to use a specific function. A smart gun failing will more than likely happen when the user is trying to defend himself, and there’s no tech support in a gunfight.

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