‘Smart pistol’ push may shift to police market

Marketing of the so-called smart pistol may shift to U.S. police departments and law enforcement agencies after a controversial roll-out to commercial stores, according to a news report.

Safety advocates want to sell the Smart System iP1 made by the German gun-maker Armatix GmbH to cops, according to an article by Michael Rosenwald in The Washington Post. As he writes:

The James Bond-style, .22-caliber pistol is designed to improve safety by only working when it’s in close proximity to a wristwatch.

When the RFID-equipped watch is activated by a PIN number and placed near the gun — like when a shooter grips the handle — it sends a signal to unlock the pistol, activating a green light on the back of the grip. Otherwise, the firearm stays locked and the light on the back remains red.

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While the iP1 could revolutionize safety, gun-rights groups such as the National Rifle Association oppose it out of concern that the government will mandate for all firearms to be similarly equipped with the technology.

The outcry from gun owners was so fierce that the first store to sell the weapon, The Oak Tree Gun Club near Los Angeles, ended up pulling it from its shelves. Another outlet, Engage Armament near Washington, D.C., did the same after the owner received death threats.

The Washington Post article gives an interesting look at the man behind the high-tech weapon, 58-year-old German gun designer Ernst Mauch.

The designer spent almost three decades at the gun-maker Heckler & Koch GmbH, where he helped create the HK416 assault rifle — the same weapon used by U.S. commandos in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, according to the article. After leaving the company several years ago, he joined a much smaller German gun manufacturer, Armatix GmbH, where he helped launch the Smart System iP1, it states.

The Metro Industrial Areas Foundation, a community group that advocates for gun safety, is working with Mauch to meet with U.S. police officials in September, according to the article.