Weapons Manufacturer Unveils Black Box for Guns

The gadget would record details of every shot fired to track both weapon and user performance

Black Box Gun

Tracking gun and user performance since 2009FN Herstal

Military and police higher-ups can now see just how many shots a particular weapon fired during the course of a battle or incident. The Register reports that a new black box device designed for rifles and submachine guns could report on ammo usage and weapon jamming, as well as who shot whom at what time.

The new gadget could possibly record details such as where shots were fired and the intended target, and even indirectly finger the identity of the weapon user by using GPS and the weapon's identification number. That would allow individual soldiers to know how many shots they had fired without checking their magazines or ammo if hooked up to a Land Warrior system, and commanders could see if their troops are in danger of running low on ammo. Manufacturers could also know when a weapon might require maintenance, or if a particular gun had troubles such as jamming.

A black box device might also tip off higher-ups regarding the details of when and where weapons were fired, which could prove useful in follow-up investigations involving accidents or possible misbehavior. It could also inform after-action reports to help determine how to better improve soldier performance.

Belgian company FN Herstal plans to show off its black box at the MILIPOL security expo in Paris tomorrow. The device supposedly fits into the empty space the size of a pistol grip, and its battery can last either ten years or 100,000 shots.

This sounds like a worthy gun upgrade, in a different sense from the ability to shoot precision explosive bullets. The added accountability that such a device adds to the military and police also does not hurt, and even private gun owners may like the idea of better knowing their weapon -- without the outside monitoring, of course.