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Gun Safety Technology

Date Published
June 17, 2013

Since the mid-1990s, numerous teams have developed firearms with advanced gun safety technology to varying degrees of maturity. These firearms are designed to contain authorization systems that generally combine an authentication mechanism that actuates a blocking mechanism in a seamless process that is designed to take less time than handling and firing a conventional gun.

On this page find:

Gun Safety Technology Market Survey

In January 26, 2013, the President released his Plan to Reduce Gun Violence, which included 23 executive actions to reduce gun violence. Among those actions was a directive to the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies.

In June of 2013, NIJ published A Review of Gun Safety Technologies, a technology assessment and market survey of existing and emerging gun safety technologies that are of interest to the law enforcement and criminal justice communities and others interested in gun safety. Learn more about the market survey or download the report (pdf, 96 pages).

Gun Safety Technology Challenge


No winners were selected for this Challenge. No stage 2 and stage 3 testing will not take place.

The President’s Plan to Reduce Gun Violence directed the Department of Justice to challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies. In response, NIJ launched the Gun Safety Technology Challenge to seek an objective demonstration through testing and evaluation of the reliability of firearms and firearms accessories available today that are typically known by various terms such as smart guns, user-authorized handguns, childproof guns, and personalized firearms. Learn more about the Challenge.

Baseline Specifications for Law Enforcement Service Pistols

In April of 2016, the U.S. Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and Defense submitted a Report to the President Outlining a Strategy to Expedite Deployment of Gun Safety Technology (pdf, 17 pages).[1]  The report both describes the potential benefits of advanced gun safety technology and notes that additional work is required before this technology is ready for widespread adoption by law enforcement agencies. In particular, the report stressed the importance of integrating this technology into a firearm’s design without compromising reliability, durability, and accuracy. To address these issues, the report called on law enforcement agencies to develop “baseline specifications” to outline operational requirements for any firearms equipped with gun safety technology. The goal of the baseline specifications is to make clear to private manufacturers what the agencies expect from this technology.

The Departments of Justice and Homeland Security assembled a working group, led by NIJ, to identify operational needs and prepare a draft document that defines generic baseline specifications for law enforcement service pistols with additional technology to enhance the security of firearms.

On November 16, 2016, NIJ released the final Baseline Specifications for Law Enforcement Service Pistols with Security Technology (pdf, 25 pages).

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Date Published: June 17, 2013