Range Report: What’s So Smart About This Gun?

By Woody published on in Firearms, News, Range Reports, Reviews, Safety and Training

America’s 1st Freedom magazine’s staff has had a chance to shoot the Armatix iP1—a so-called “smart gun” touted by some gun-control groups to be the end-all answer to gun safety. However, when shot by the magazine’s team under rigidly controlled circumstances, they found a number of problems with the handgun.

Armatix iP1 smart gun

The German company Armatix makes the 22 LR iP1.

Cheaper Than Dirt!’s The Shooter’s Log has received permission to excerpt extensively from the story, “What’s So Smart About This Gun?”, the full version of which you can read on the NRA’s America’s 1st Freedom website. The article was written by by Frank Winn, Guns & Gear Editor for the America’s 1st Freedom magazine. Following are some of the most important parts of the review:

Since the introduction of the Glock 17 in 1984, it’s unlikely that any firearm has come to American shores amid more hoopla and anxiety than the Armatix iP1. Hoopla, because the iP1 is touted as a “game-changer” in terms of firearms safety through its theoretic ability to prevent unauthorized use. Anxiety, because it could set in motion state laws (notably in New Jersey) that will mandate similar technology on all firearms, whether safety benefits are real or imagined, and quite independent of whether the technology actually works.

Our tests dealt mainly with the touted—and highly controversial—“smart” capability. Basically, this is a mode where the RFID electronics in the pistol are “paired” with the large wristwatch controller, and firing enabled. Pairing consists of selecting the correct mode on the wristwatch, entering an authorizing PIN, and bringing the pistol within 10 inches of the watch while the iP1 is held in a firing grip (backstrap “switch” pressed).

If the pistol and the watch communicate successfully, LEDs mounted in a translucent housing below the beavertail glow green, and the Armatix is ready to fire. A mechanical, trigger-mounted safety must also be in the “off” position to fire. Interestingly, this smallish safety control cannot easily be disengaged by a right-handed shooter with the pistol in a firing grip. The left hand must be employed….

Actual shooting proved interesting. After about 20 minutes, and under the ministrations of an IT pro with actual Armatix training, successful pairing was finally achieved with some difficulty. It’s our belief that arming would normally not take anywhere near this long, but don’t expect speed either….

Despite a decent single-action trigger, the longest string of fire any of our shooters achieved was nine shots (capacity is 10+1). Some shooters experienced three or four misfires while shooting a single magazine of ammo….

The second problem was the pistol’s double-action press. It would be easily off the scale of any weight or spring-based measure we’ve ever used when testing pistols.…

This brings us to problem three: Being able to thumb the hammer back implies you can thumb it forward. Again, nobody tried—and for good reason. The deep slide recess that forms a channel for the arc of the hammer travel allows little purchase for any thumbing of the hammer. It’s clearly a potential safety issue if an activating grip is maintained, merely nervy if you trust hammer-drop safeties….

This is about all we could discover in our test, which could not include many expedients we would normally employ on a brand-new design, including dropping, induced stoppages and clearing, fouling, and—most important for a firearm with embedded electronics—immersion….

Another worrisome detail is that the Armatix patent documents contain specifications for satellite-based or other at-a-distance “kill” switches (the Armatix “Target Response System,” for instance). Certainly, this should give pause to many who might otherwise find disabling technology appealing. Asking “who” has that shut-off switch in their control is certainly reasoned. “Why” is perhaps more troubling.

Click here to read the entire article.

See our previous reporting on the Armatix here, here, and here.

Some of the other issues raised in the story are more safety problems in operating the Armatix and whether the device can be hacked. Even if the technology were improved, is the Armatix 22 LR pistol a firearm concept you’d consider buying?

Tags: , ,

Trackback from your site.

The mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, "The Shooter's Log," is to provide information-not opinions-to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (33)

  • TRob ARob

    |

    I’ll buy it when the US Justice Dept mandates all police in the uS to have one for carry while on duty. Absent that, it’s not for me.

    Reply

    • Lance behind enemy lines in Dumphuckistan, formerly known as California.

      |

      I would never buy this crap even if it was the only legal gun to carry.

      Reply

  • JoshuaWayne

    |

    A purchase of this product is not a step but rather a leap towards gun control!!!

    Reply

  • Milla

    |

    the life of a loved one is completely ignorant on gun safety, technology, reliability or just doesn’t want others to have a way to protect themselves. And for that logic we need to get rid of all means of transportation, pencils and spoons.

    Reply

  • Wzrd1

    |

    @Andy, if your gun is stolen, would you want to be able to disable it remotely? Or do you respect criminals second amendment rights?

    Reply

  • Genaro

    |

    What ever happened to knowing Gun safety and responsibility? U can’t expect Google cars to compensate for all driver scenarios, why do we keep wanting to hold guns or manufacturers to bare all responsibility for our actions? This POC excuses for safe guns are never in a million years more reliable than my colt 1911.
    And why do u need some remote killswitch if it only works with the owners, this guns are fingerprinted to the owner, and this gun is supposed to be regulated to the max!
    All about this bad taste reflects unsafe at best very retarded response in an emergency, do u tthink the bad guy is going to what for u? U can’t expect speed from this type platforms, and speed is just as important as having self defense!

    Reply

  • Wzrd1

    |

    @Genaro, I wouldn’t mind possessing such a technology, *if* it was reliable, secure and fails toward my usage, rather than “safe”.
    That said, tiny caliber, uses RIFD that is infamously insecure and it’d fail useless if the system failed.
    I simply want a firearm that only I or my wife could use if someone entered our home, but if a burglar found our defensive weapon, it fails to operate for him. That is nearly what this does, but in an insecure manner.

    Reply

  • Genaro

    |

    Anyone who thinks this agenda is good for any individual protecting his/her life, or the life of a loved one is completely ignorant on gun safety, technology, reliability or just doesn’t want others to have a way to protect themselves. And for that logic we need to get rid of all means of transportation, pencils and spoons.

    Reply

    • TRob ARob

      |

      How trusting you are to leave them with forks. LOL

      Reply

  • Art

    |

    Better be able to prove to me that there is no special signal frequency that the government can use to disable the weapon before I would even think about considering it.

    Reply

    • Andy

      |

      Says right in the article that a “kill” switch is in the patent documents. Either satellite based or other “at-a-distance” methods. Huge red flag flying there.

      Reply

Leave a comment

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.

%d bloggers like this: