Friday, February 21, 2014

US: German Firearms Manufacturer Releases First "Smart" Handgun Designed Primarily for Safety

According to The Washington Post, the first so-called “smart gun” has hit retail shelves in the US, although the firearm's exorbitant high-tech cost, may dampen buyers' enthusiasm. 

German firearms manufacturer, Armatix GmbH, which has released its Smart System iP1, a .22 cal. semi-auto pistol, can only function with an accompanying wristwatch.

COMMENT: Now, here's the interesting part: The small-caliber pistol, which costs $1,399 plus the electronic wristwatch which is sold separately for another $399, brings the total cost to $1,798!

When the RFID-equipped watch is activated by a PIN number and placed near the pistol, it sends an electronic signal to unlock the the firearm at which point a light on the back  of the receiver activates a green light, communicating to the owner that the pistol is ready to fire.
Otherwise, when not ready to fire, the receiver light remains red, which means it is safe.
The combined cost of  this pistol--$1,798--is TWICE the cost of  most mechanically-operated firearms, particularly those in larger calibers.

In a larger caliber, purchased for "concealed-carry," would be cost-prohibitive for all but the wealthiest of owners. 
It is unknown as to whether Armatix GmbH used focus groups or engaged in any market research of firearm owners before releasing the .22 cal. pistol.
As a former Federal Firearms Licensee and a certified NRA pistol instructor, it is my conclusion that a .22 cal. pistol, which is hardly an effective caliber for "concealed-carry" use and personal protection, may not be a lucrative product for those interested in "concealed-carry" usage.
It is my impression that Armatix GmbH came out with the .22 cal. firearm to see whether it would actually "sell," otherwise they would have marketed the pistol in 9mm or above as the "concealed-carry" market in the US is huge, considering that all fifty states currently have "concealed-carry" laws.
One of the reasons that mechanically-operated firearms have been so successful from a marketing point of view is because they are safe to operate. 
In contrast, designing a firearm that is dependent upon an "electronic watch sold separately" and batteries to even fire when seconds count, is a pistol that I would never purchase for "concealed-carry."
In the US, the majority of firearms owners who have "concealed-carry" permits rely heavily on small safes that can be securely bolted anywhere, enabling a pistol or revolver to be accessible 24/7 ONLY to the owner.