Guest Post from Jay Chambers from minutemanreview.com
You’ve probably already heard of smart guns. But, for those who aren’t savvy yet, smart guns are firearms that have personalized locking technology which prevents the gun from being fired by anyone other than the owner.
In concept, this is a good idea. A gun that only fires for authorized persons would be great for both civilians and law enforcement. Smart gun technology could even have some utility for the military.
Now, Don’t underestimate theseguns’ potential for future development. But, the current execution can be problematic. Recently, a hacker fired a locked smart gunusing only magnets. And, that’s not the only issue people have uncovered about smart guns.
So, clearly there are hurdles to overcome before smart guns become viable in real world application.
But, according to one study, 79 percent of gun ownerssupport retailers stocking smart guns alongside conventional firearms.
So, they may show up on shelves in the near future. Here’s what you need to know about smart guns to help you decide whether or not you’re into them.
Most Smart Guns Are Chambered in Small Calibers
The current batch of smart guns is largely centered around smaller calibers like .22 long rifle, which are not ideal for defensive use.
You’ll even need a more powerful round for competition, since .22 isn’t enough to knock down steel targets, or meet the power factorrequirements for most shooting divisions.
However, the small calibers of most smart guns are fine for target shooting and recreation. But, the main purpose of the technology is to make gun ownership safer, without compromising your ability to use one for self-defense.
So, the limited caliber selection of smart guns presents some real viability issues for defensive and competitive shooters.
Smart Gun Technology Adds Another Layer of Reliability Concern
In conventional firearms, reliability issues are matters of ammunition and the action of the gun. If the gun doesn’t shoot, it’s either because the ammunition failed or because the gun’s mechanisms failed or malfunctioned.
Modern firearms and modern ammunition have addressed these issues rather thoroughly. And, most new guns are exceptionally reliable.
Adding smart technologyintroduces another potential point of failure. If the personal locking technology isn’t perfect, it could turn a reliable gun into an unreliable gun, which is a major problem for defensive guns. It’s even more problematic for law enforcement and military applications.
And, it’s not just about the reliability of the technology itself. The system also has to be usable under stress. The personalized lock may function just fine on the range. But, things are much different during an actual self-defense or tactical incident.
The usability aspect of reliability is so tricky that even some conventional firearms struggle with it.
For example, grip safetiespresent no issue in low complexity, low stress shooting. But, they can be a liability in extreme close quarters situations, where the attacker actually has their hands on the shooter. A compromised grip can disengage the palm safety and render the gun inoperable. This can happen even if the shooter still has a secure enough grip to take a point-blank shot.
Most smart gun security systems are far more complex and sensitive to improper use than grip safeties. So, until the technology is perfected, smart guns will be far more prone to operator-induced malfunctions than conventional firearms.
Smart Guns May Not Solve the Problems They Are Built to Solve
The primary goal of smart guns is to reduce the potential for shooting accidents and crimes committed with stolen firearms. That’s a totally reasonable intent.
However, there are already ways to prevent these issues. And, the people who are most likely to buy smart guns are those who are most likely already following safe gun practices for gun storage, staging, and carry.
Basically, the people who need smart guns the most are least likely to be interested in them.
Also, suicidecontinues to be a central issue in gun ownership. The root of the problem may be social, economic, or something else. But, as long as the guns keep showing up in suicide cases, they’ll continue to be a focus.
Unfortunately, the available smart guns don’t address the issue of people using guns on themselves.
So, smart guns may not be a good solution to some common gun issues without major legislative support, which is an issue that’s too big to cover in this article.
Are Smart Guns a Smart Idea?
Eventually, they could be. When the technology has been developed to the point that it presents no issue to using the gun for legitimate reasons, smart guns will become a totally viable option.
But, in their current form, they’re not ready for deployment in defensive, law enforcement, or military contexts. And, that’s without even getting into the potential political issues surrounding smart guns.
In the end, smart guns are a good idea in concept. But, they still need a lot of work to be implemented.