Their aim is safety

Multiple companies are developing so-called smart guns and gun-safety technology. Their common goal is to prevent a firearm’s use by anyone other than an owner or authorized user. Some of the technology is still in development and testing. But several guns incorporating safety technology are already on the market.

Read the story: 'Smart' guns may help prevent violence — if they can make it on the U.S. market

Dynamic grip recognition
Developed at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and now being fitted to a firearm by Laguna Beach-based Allied Biometrix, this safe-gun technology uses sensors embedded in a gun’s butt. Those sensors read and recognize an authorized user’s hand grip and store that unique pattern into memory. When the trigger is squeezed, that grip is matched to stored records, enabling the gun to fire instantly. If it doesn't match, the firearm stays locked.


Trigger magnet
and sensors


Radio frequency identification
Armatix’s iP1 pistol and watch, as well as a shotgun-and-ring system offered by Mossberg Group Inc., embed a radio frequency device in an accessory worn or carried by the gun's authorized user. When the device is within range of the gun, its signal unlocks the gun for firing. An Irish firm, TriggerSmart, is also developing this technology for guns.

Not authorized

Radio frequency


LED light:

Fingerprint recognition
The Intelligun pistol, offered by Kodiak Industries, uses fingerprint identification technology. Safe Gun Technology Inc. is developing a fingerprint recognition device for the AR-15 rifle. And Kai Kloepfer, an 18-year-old from Boulder, Colo., is developing a handgun incorporating the technology. Safe Gun and Kloepfer are both recipients of grants from the Smart Tech for Firearms Challenge.



Sources: U.S. Department of Justice report “A Review of Gun Safety Technology,” smart gun manufacturers
Graphics reporting by Melissa Healy

Lorena Elebee / @latimesgraphics