top of page
  • Robert Farago

Smart Guns - Stupid Idea?

A firearm for paranoid people and firearm haters

In today’s Wall Street Journal article The First Smart Gun Is Finally Coming to Market. Will Anyone Buy It?, author Zusha Elinson could have saved himself a lot of trouble. He could have put “no” underneath the headline and called it good. For good reason…

Think of products where reliability is a matter of life or death. Jet engines. The electric grid. Coffee machines. Handguns. If you’re opting for a ballistic solution to an imminent, credible threat of death or grievous bodily harm (When Can You Shoot Someone Legally?), you really want that solution to work.

That’s why “smart guns” – handguns with an electronic safety that only fire when held by a pre-authorized user – have about as much appeal to the average American gun owner as necrotizing fasciitis.

Life isn’t a movie. What if my handgun doesn’t work?

Anti-gun types see this concern as yet another symptom of OFWG paranoia. No, we’re not going to take your guns away. No, you shouldn’t worry about a smart gun failing. Manufacturers will make then as reliable as your cell phone. OK, more reliable.

Hang on. What are the odds a non-electronic dumb handgun will fail?

Back in the day, pretty damn high. Cheap ass handguns – demonized and immortalized as “Saturday Night Specials” – were rife. Guns like the Raven Arms MP-25 sold to hundreds of thousands of economically challenged consumers, mostly through pawnshops.

A lot of intended targets got a second lease on life thanks to the injection-molded zinc alloy Lorcin L25. It’s not known how many people were killed or injured by tiny pistols falling onto a hard surface, but more than none.

As the video above proves, there are still nasty, will-it-won’t-it-fire gats out there. But in the main, capitalism sorted that shit out in the late ‘80’s, when Gaston Glock’s “wonder nine” set a new reliability standard.

Today, the odds that any handgun that costs more than $400 (Glock, Smith & Wesson, Springfield, whatever) won’t go bang when prompted are pretty much zero.

As pointed out in the movie Oppenheimer, pretty much zero isn’t zero. Potential failure remains a huge concern for handgun owners. As you’d expect when contemplating a low-probability, high consequence event.

Even owners with the best handguns money can buy, meticulously cleaned and lubricated (the guns not the owners), practice “tap, rack, bang” failure drills. Why would they trust technology that leaves them no option – other than throwing the gun at an assailant – if it fails?

Anything mechanical can fail. Add an electronic component to a handgun, and now you have three ways for the gun to fail: mechanically, electronically or both.

With its grip sensor, fingerprint recognition, facial recognition and trigger activation systems, the Biofire gun profiled in the WSJ article exponentially increases the odds of mission-critical failure.

The WSJ article raises the point, and then buries the money shot (so to speak) in the 14th paragraph.

During a media demonstration earlier this year, the Biofire gun malfunctioned. Kloepfer said the weapon jammed—but there were no issues with its fingerprint or facial- recognition systems.

How did it jam? Why did it jam? Could the jam be cleared quickly and the weapon fired? What has Biofire done to address the issue? Prove that it doesn’t jam now.

I know: the WSJ isn’t The Truth About Guns. But the truth about smart guns is that they live or die depending on their reliability. Just like anyone brave enough to buy one. And then there’s the other concern…

The article touches on the fear that the government will use smart guns as justification for banning dumb guns. Not mentioned by the WSJ: if all handguns are, by law, smart guns, what’s to stop the government from requiring GPS tracking? Or remote disabling?

You basic gun-and-Bible-clinging American sees this downside. They know that when it comes to self-defense – against criminals or government tyranny – dumb guns are the smart way to go. Apologies to Charlton Heston, but you’ll never have to pry a smart gun from their cold, dead fingers.

0 views0 comments

Bình luận

bottom of page