Most people who have done any kind of firearms training are familiar with the blue gun, a training gun made out of a chunk of plastic. Over the years these training tools have become more and more detailed with their representation of the various duty weapons out there. While it has been great to have a safer training tool that allows us to point a dummy weapon, it has a vital flaw. The blue gun does not have working features.
Each year, there is at least 1 on-the-job accident for every 1,000 police officers in the United States. A lot of people will think “desk pop” when they think on-the-job accidents related to firearms. Unfortunately for one rookie from the NYPD, he found out this isn’t always true. He accidently violated NYPD policy when pulling his firearm and had his hand on the trigger. This resulted in an accidental discharge that took the life of an unarmed subject in a stairwell.
This isn't an isolated problem; from rookies to seasoned pros, all have had incidents. Even Navy SEALs have had firearms related accidents that might have been avoidable.
Accidents from having the finger on the trigger are more common than a lot of police officers and weapons users would think. This often stems from the blue gun training. The blue gun isn’t functional so it is easy to let your finger slip down the gun.
Mike Farrell has worked hard to change this. Mike took a shooting class and noticed that there was a need for a new training tool. A smarter type of training weapon and one that is more functional. That is why he created the Smart Firearm. The Smart Firearm is a more functional training device that can help completely change the face weapons training.
A Smart Firearm is a molded plastic shell that almost exactly replicates one of several common duty weapons. Unlike the blue gun, many of the features on the Smart Firearm work.
On the standard model, you have a working trigger, magazine release (the magazine stays in the weapon though), and a slide. On the second tier model, you can work the magazine too. It can be dropped out of the firearm and a new one inserted, making for even more realistic training.
The next model up utilizes a laser cartridge to indicate where the firearm is pointing when the trigger is pulled. That way you can get an idea of whether or not the trainee is on target. This can significantly improve training experiences because with traditional plastic, training pistols you just have to trust that it is on target. I never really liked that much.
All of these good features are only the side benefits. Smart Firearms come with an onboard chip to help officers realizes when they are making a mistake.
If an officer puts their finger on the trigger or in the area of the trigger of their training weapon, it sounds an alarm. The original Smart Firearm only operated on a limited number of processes. The latest model is capable of much more.
Some agencies are already noticing the benefit of training with Smart Firearms. They are able to provide corrective action during training for those who place their finger near the trigger when they should not do so. You can get a Smart Firearm in the following models:
Smith & Wesson
The company is currently working to develop rifle and shotgun versions of the Smart Firearm.
The cost of a Smart Firearm starts off at $219 and goes up for the various models depending on the features you opt for. According to the website, Smart Firearms offers discounts for law enforcement and military but the exact discount isn’t listed.
These training firearms could be a life-saving tool. I know that I would have liked to use one during my firearms class and requalification. It would have also been nice for some of the other training classes I have taken over the years.
Note: I was not paid to review this specific device. I am just highlighting a useful training tool.
About the author:
Ian graduated Seattle University with a Bachelor's in Criminal Justice with a Specialization in Administration of Justice. He has held positions as an Auxiliary Department of Public Safety Officer, a Security Patrol Supervisor, and as an in-house security officer for a major medical center. Through all of this he has picked up a wealth of experience, training, and education that he is happy to pass on to others. Ian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did you just get a job as a law enforcement officer or are you trying to get one?
Law enforcement is a very rewarding career, one that can enhance your life and benefit you greatly. Preparing for a job in law enforcement shares some similarities to other careers. At the same time it has unique challenges to overcome.
Let’s take a moment to examine how you can prepare for a job as a law enforcement officer.