FA 16 Smart Guns?

So, What’s All This About “Smart Guns”?

“Biofire Technologies unveiled the Biofire Smart Gun®, a 9mm handgun that uses fingerprint and facial recognition bio-metrics ….”  (/PRNewswire – April 13, 2023)1

Quoting from the developer’s (Biofire) press release above, “The 9mm handgun fires only for authorized users, ensuring it can’t be used by children or criminals.”

Since when has legality or technology hampered “criminals”?  Children? Maybe a possibility.  You can order yours for only $1499 on the company’s website, however, Biofire evidently aren’t shipping yet. Biofire seems to have a pretty long list of venture capital firms backing then, to Include The Founders Fund (Google that), which has been implicated in a recent bank collapse. May some of those investors have a history of fighting for the nebulous idea of doing away with “gun violence” … finally a gun that’s not violent??? More in the links below.

Biofire Press release in full HERE >         https://is.gd/wohLmR
Biofire website, HERE >                             https://is.gd/2Z93Kd
More on Biofire from NPR HERE:             https://is.gd/WX3Uj2

I guess I’m just not as smart as those driving, or buying into this craze – at least not yet. Personally, I put my emphasis on individual firearm user safety, expanded firearms education, and strong criminal prosecution. Let’s look at what’s going on – below is what I’ve learned from some Google (actually, Duck Duck Go) searches. Any opinions not attributed to a quoted source are just that,

Background …There has been a lot of previous chatter about “Smart Guns”:

  • The Washington Free Beacon, in an article of July 2019, reported that Smith & Wesson announced on Friday it will not pursue so-called smart guns or abandon any of its current product line despite pressure from a group of investors”. In 1999 Smith & Wesson pledged to the US Government to “promote smart gun development”, but also from the Beacon, “Smith & Wesson nearly went bankrupt after facing backlash from customers for a wide-ranging deal [to develop smart guns] with the Clinton administration in 20002.
  • In 2002 the New Jersey State Legislature passed a law requiring gun stores only stock and sell smart guns, but that never came to fruition as no smart guns were commercially available. Guns.com  reported3 that in 2019 the NJ Governor signed a new law that “replaces it [the 2002 law] with a requirement that the state Attorney General continue to report to the governor and legislature every six months on the commercial availability of the devices in the country”.  This revised the law in NJ accommodates the wait for that “smart gun” in the future. When available, the new revised law would prevail!
  • Claims made about “smart guns” are summed up, again quoting Reuters, in a Jan, 2022 article4, “..they [smart guns] could also reduce suicides, render lost or stolen guns useless, and offer safety for police officers and jail guards who fear gun grabs”.  Further [LodeStar co-founder] said “he was inspired after hearing one too many stories about children shot while playing with an unattended gun”
  • Past history with smart guns has not been encouraging. Quoting from an NPR article of July 20225, “…the last time a smart gun was available in the U.S., it failed miserably. In 2014, hackers broke into the radio-frequency identification (RFID) of German manufacturer Armatix’s product, and magnets could also disable the locking mechanism.”  Similar issues have been seen with other such.  See the point below referenced to the American Rifleman of November 2015.

Other “Smart” Gun News 6  

  • Free State Firearms, LLC; (Baldwin, Ks https://freestatefirearms.co/?p=110)  is a next generation firearms manufacturing company providing user authentication firearm solutions. Our sole purpose for launching Free State Firearms, LLC is to save lives – full stop.”  – quoted from their website, emphasis theirs.
     Apparently, the company is also known as SmartGunz, LLC (https://smartgunz.co) as this website opens to the same page as FreeState.
    They are offering a 1911 pistol (the Sentry @$2,495) that is RFID controlled with an “authorization ring” to be worn by the owner which then activates the pistol.  Interestingly, a web search for news articles about Free State, LLC returns only articles on one of the two websites and all are authored by founder and owner Tom Holland of Baldwin City, KS. Further, for what’s it’s worth,  Mr Holland is also a Kansas State Senator (D) (https://www.tomhollandforkansas.org/).
  •  Lode Star Works (https://lodestarworks.com/) is introducing its LS9. They claim it is “The most advanced 9MM pistol ever made”. It is a 9mm, striker fired pistol, advertised on their website with these features: “a built in biometric sensor”; “Grip PIN pad for activation; Bluetooth enabled for Optional Smartphone activation”.  No pricing or availability is mentioned however.
  • Armatix, GmbH, a German company, seems to have been the first to have a functioning “smart” firearm (Armatix intro video – https://youtu.be/ES4Kodhr1v8) on the market. Their .22 cal pistol, with announced availability more than 10 years ago, never came to market.  More recently they announced the arrival of a new 9mm pistol, (available 2017) which used improved technology. They would also re-launch the .22 caliber entry.
    I have only read of the above from previously cited articles.  When I attempt to find Amatix-USA website for confirmation I am presented with an error message stating “this domain is for sale”.
  • For more about the Armatix entry, go to NRA’s America’s 1st Freedom article (https://is.gd/evPZVq)  – evidently the only “review” of this .22cal smart gun. it seems unlikely any offering from this supplier is imminent.
  • iGun Technologies. (https://is.gd/ilmyvg). Has an offerring, but theirs is an RFID controlled shotgun. The technology is similar to the Free State/SmartGunz system of having a ring used to activate the firearm. The most recent news posting on their website is from July of 2017.  

My Take on Smart Guns

There is/has been considerable media attention from most major news outlets over the past 20 or so years, much of it however often misleading & scant in depth. One report in particular I was curious about was a segment from CBS network’s “60 Minutes” of November 1st, 2015 which appeared in one of my searches. The web links all directed me to Paramount +subscription service. That link delivered a “404” error code stating that the video was no longer available. No reason why?

I can only surmise that we know little in facts, and are deluged with a lot of speculation, questionable claims, and undocumented information about smart guns. The NRA evidently is the only organization I can find which has field tested any smart gun, while being accused (wrongly?) of stifling any news and research into the topic by doing so. Read the NRA article (https://is.gd/evPZVq) several facts about the technology are mentioned giving it a poor review.

Personally, I put more faith in the user/owner of any firearm over any technological advancement. Not necessarily specific to firearms, but, I’m reminded of the flight of Apollo 13 in April of 1970.  In that instance, the latest/greatest in modern technology (the Space Shuttle) failed (the oxygen scrubbers) with the only means of getting the three astronauts back to earth safely coming from human ingenuity, not technology. See a 1 min clip here; https://youtu.be/ry55–J4_VQ). The same mind set used in solving that problem is the type of logical & practical thought in considering improvements as opposed to a quick technological “band-aid” being applied which could result in unanticipated consequences.

Sure, a “smart” gun may have some advantages in avoiding misuse & accidental discharges, but I’m confident the criminal element amongst us will quickly adapt by finding a way to defeat any of the technologies used. Responsibly Armed Americans, (read that Law Abiding) don’t need to be forced into compliance with yet another government regulation which completely avoids the root problem of prosecuting and sentencing the criminals who inappropriately use a legally available tool.

If on the other hand, the firearms market moves toward smart guns, so be it! Even in that sense however, what would you do in the dark of night when somebody breaks into your home intent on doing bodily harm and the batteries are dead? As shooters we are familiar with the situation when the battery in our sighting optic fails – luckily we have iron sights to rely on, not so with current “smart” technologies.

Rightfully or wrongfully so, we are striving to develop so-called “smart guns” with a passion for saving needless loss of life from (what the media so unappropriately labels) “gun violence”. I guess the idea is that if a legal & lawful firearm owner is the only one who could operate their chosen defensive (or sporting/hunting) firearm, automatically we would see decreased deaths by firearms. They are so wrong in that assumption – bad people do bad things.

It will not become the regulation on law abiding citizens that will prevent “gun violence”.  From my life experiences, and humble opinion, the ONLY solution is user responsibility – education about firearms and adherence to fundamental safety rules by ALL who handle/use firearms. Many of my generation received their introduction, frequently at a very young age, to firearms as sport and hunting tools and were impressed about the serious consequences of improper use of a firearm. Today, our youth are not provided such exposure to firearms, or for that matter human life, but rather are left to their own interpretations often developed when participating in virtual gaming activities – while many do not have the required level of respect for human life needed in a civilized society. .


  1. “Biofire Technologies unveiled the Biofire Smart Gun®, a 9mm handgun that uses fingerprint and facial recognition biometrics to ensure”.  (/PRNewswire – April 13, 2023; https://is.gd/wohLmR
  2. “Smith & Wesson Spurns ‘Smart Guns’ Despite Pressure from Investors”; The Washington Free Beacon by Stephen Gutowski February 8, 2019: https://freebeacon.com/?p=1122262
  3. Guns.com: NJ Dealers Must Carry ‘Smart Guns’ Under New Law 7/17/2019 08:30 AM | by Chris Eger; https://is.gd/Ylc91C
  4. “Exclusive: Smart guns finally arriving in U.S., seeking to shake up firearms market”; Reuters News Service by Daniel Trotta; January 11, 2022: https://is.gd/ms4XZw
  5. ‘NPR.org; “Smart gun’ innovators seek to reduce firearm deaths”;: Updated July 13, 2022, Heard on Morning Edition By : https://is.gd/jVjlGe
  6. Information taken from respective company websites as referenced.

One Comment:

  1. Interesting! Very logical and well documented opinion piece.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.