Military

PIN-controlled self-locking gun has safety in its sights

The 3D-printed functional prototype of the Smart 2™ 9mm pistol
The 3D-printed functional prototype of the Smart 2™ 9mm pistol
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The 3D-printed functional prototype of the Smart 2™ 9mm pistol
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The 3D-printed functional prototype of the Smart 2™ 9mm pistol
Concept prototype of the Smart AR
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Concept prototype of the Smart AR

One of the problems with handguns is that it's very difficult to keep them both available for immediate use, yet secure against falling into the wrong hands. San Diego-based startup Safety First Arms is looking to solve that problem with its self-locking Smart 2 pistol, which is unlocked using a built-in PIN pad and incorporates an anti-theft alarm to prevent theft, tampering, and unauthorized use.

Smart guns are often proposed as a way to prevent gun thefts or tragic accidents while allowing firearms to remain readily available. Some of these use fingerprints or other biometrics to activate guns, while others rely on RFID rings, watches, or wristbands that need to be in the vicinity of the gun to allow it to be fired. But while these have their advantages, they also have some practical difficulties.

"The problem with these other designs is that they just aren't practical," says Brian Weinberg, co-founder and engineer of Safety First Arms. "Fingerprint readers have unacceptable reliability issues in the real world where people wear gloves or their hands are wet, moisturized or dirty. And, RFID rings and watches are not practical for most people and do nothing to protect against tampering and theft."

Concept prototype of the Smart AR
Concept prototype of the Smart AR

Currently in the prototype phase, Smart 2 consists of a 9mm pistol or a AR-15 type rifle. According to the company, they're designed to be tamper-proof and can be left loaded and ready on a bedside table without the danger of theft or mishandling.

Smart 2 works by means of a light-up integrated PIN pad similar to the ones on hotel room safes or ATMs. A three to five-digit PIN unlocks the gun in under a second, while a second safety on the back of the grip relocks the gun automatically in a third of a second if released, so if it's mislaid or wrested from the owner, it's rendered harmless.

In addition, Smart 2 has a Theft Guard feature, which is a motion detector and keypad monitor. If the gun is tampered with or moved, after a preset number of seconds, it sounds a loud, piercing alarm if the PIN isn't entered. There's also a 12-hour unlock mode to turn the Smart 2 into a conventional firearm for a limited time. For added protection, the gun can't be accessed wirelessly and has a long-life battery that warns when it's time for replacement and sounds an alarm if ignored.

Safety First says that the Smart 2 will be available in about two years, and although the company has only produced a single functional 3D-printed prototype, it has already secured US$1 million in orders from two gun shops. The estimated price is US$1,295.

The video below introduces the Smart 2.

Source: Safety First Arms

When a curious child finds a loaded gun--the SMART 2

11 comments
GlassHalfEmpty
Good idea! Why did it take so long? Now, can we take the "disassemble and keep in a safe" firearm laws off the books?
Anne Ominous
With today's technology, nothing battery-powered comes even close to matching the reliability of a modern mechanical handgun. The problem with these fancy "safe" guns is they are only "safe" in one direction. That is, in order to make them good at stopping unauthorized people from operating them, they sacrifice reliability for those who ARE authorized. A lot. The enormous difficulty of making a firearm that prevents unauthorized use AND is sufficiently reliable for self-defense makes them impractical. I sure as hell wouldn't want one. In order to really meet both reliability and these kinds of "safety" standards, they have to work effectively to 3 nines, both ways. I.e., they must prevent unauthorized use to 1 in 10,000 AND work for the authorized user 9,999 out of 10,000 times. Some have done the former. A few have done the latter. None have come even close to doing both. Dead battery? Too bad.
RangerJones
$1,295.00, Yeah that's practical-NO
Wolf0579
Even if you "train in" the unlocking procedure to the point of it being automatic, it's still going to add seconds to your ability to respond to a life or death situation, and as such, a liability no one who wants to protect their wives and children would allow. The same is true of disassemble and keep in a safe laws.
tyme2par4
So if someone breaks into my house, I have to, in a panic, type in a pin? Then if I switch hands, I have to remember to type in that pin again, because I've then released the second safety. No thanks.
BerryJGriffin
No thank you. Isn't going in my holster, ever.
JeffKing
Simply put, this is the worst idea ever. I'm a firearms trainer and one of the first things I tell people is that a safety is a mechanical device that can and will fail. The only thing worse than that would be an electronic safety like this. So now you will have idiots leaving guns out thinking that they are perfectly safe. Also a gun like this is useless as a self defence gun. Just imagine that there is an attacker and you need to pull your gun, enter the pin and then fire? Also, if you even slightly adjust your grip that grip safety will get disengaged and then you have to reenter the pin. I know, I have XD's and I disabled the grip safety in mine due to just this issue. Gun safety can not be surrogated by a gadget. Gun safety starts and ends with rules. If you live by the rules accidents just can not happen. The first step towards that is EDUCATION. Mandatory gun safety classes in school would be a great first step. If the kid in that class had been educated at all on guns he would NOT be touching that gun. I have three kids around that age and all of them know better than to do that. 1. STOP 2. DON'T TOUCH 3. RUN AND GET AN ADULT. And for adults. LOCK IT UP! You have young kids in the house, ever? Get a quick access safe. I have one next to my bed, one next to my desk, one in my shop and a large regular gun safe for everything else.
Timelord
The biggest obstacle isn't the technology. As 60 Minutes reported a few weeks ago, it's the gun lobby and their rabid supporters who see smart guns as the first step to taking away their rights. Read the transcript on the CBS News website to find out just how nutty they are.
Anne Ominous
@Timelord: Yes, it's the technology. I don't deny that some people think they see the other coming down the pike. And I don't blame them, to be honest. But the technology REALLY, genuinely, is not there. Earlier I mentioned "3 nines" but didn't really explain what I meant by that phrase. I meant 99.999% of the time. All the statistics from whence that number is derived are too extensive to show here. But in order to be "worth it" for saving lives, it has to stop someone unauthorized 99.999% of the time, AND it has to WORK for the authorized person 99.999% of the time. Guns that will do one or the other have been made. But nobody has come even close to doing both. Usually, they have succeeded on the (so-called) "safety" side, that is, stopping someone unauthorized from using the gun, while sacrificing the reliability side. The problem is that guns are used far more often for defense than they are used for ill, or involved in accidents or theft. So the reliability side is a very big "safety" issue too. And this product is a case in point. Anything that works on batteries... ANYTHING that works on batteries... fails the reliability side of the equation. A good old Glock will be vastly more reliable in a pinch. The same holds for all the other schemes that have been tried. RFID rings can be cloned, transmitters on the person fail (or can be spoofed), fingerprint sensors are a joke, and so on. AND they all work on batteries. Combination locks are mechanically complex and slow to open. Etc. No thanks.
Joe Blough
The geniuses at the NRA are already battling any safety measures. They prefer dead kids over simple sensible controls. But then they aren't exactly the brightest bulbs in the pack.
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