November 18th, 2009

FN Herstal Develops 'Black Box' Round Counter for Firearms

This story may seem like science fiction, but we assure you the details are real. FN Herstal has created a new electronic device, appropriately named the “Black Box”, which can record and store a rifle’s round count and firing sequences. In addition, the FN Black Box contains digital identifiers for the weapon. This means that, when coupled to a GPS, the FN Black Box can transmit the gun’s ID and location to a military command or other monitoring authority.

Black Box Technology Limited to Military… For Now
The technology is exciting, though the ramifications for gun control are chilling to say the least. At present, FN Herstal envisions its Black Box as an add-on for military or law enforcement weapons. No one has yet suggested that black boxes be fitted to civilian arms.

FN Herstal black box

The FN Black Box can record multiple types of firing data: round count, burst rates, burst lengths, and firing sequences. The digital sensors can even detect stoppages due to failures to cycle. FN evisions that this information can alert armorers when weapons require maintenance. In addition, by tracking the numbers of rounds fired, military commanders can determine when ammunition resupply is required or when barrels need replacement.

The Say Uncle Blog notes that while this kind of digital recorder may seem novel for weapons, “the same concept is often applied to industrial machines”, allowing factory owners to optimize maintenance schedules.

It there a black box in your future? We don’t see much application for Benchrest or High Power events, but this kind of round counter might prove useful in speed shooting disciplines. We do worry about the potential application of “black box” technology to defensive firearms. The digital records of shots fired as well as the sequence of those shots could be used as evidence in trials of gun owners. Imagine being on trial and having your testimony “impeached” by a digital chip removed from your gun.

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November 18th, 2009

Sanderson and Rhode Named 2009 USA Shooting Athletes of the Year

Keith SandersonUSA Shooting (USAS) has named pistol shooter Keith Sanderson and shotgunner Kim Rhode as the 2009 USAS Athletes of the Year. Keith and Kim were chosen based on the USAS selection procedure, a points system that rewards performance in major competitions.

Sanderson, a 2008 Olympian from Texas, earned the Male Athlete of the Year honor after an outstanding World Cup season in 2009, winning an unprecedented three medals on the ISSF World Cup circuit. Sanderson captured the gold at the Beijing World Cup, silver in Changwon, Korea and bronze at the World Cup Munich in the Men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol event. Sanderson also grabbed fifth place at the Milan World Cup. In addition, Sanderson finished in third place at the 2009 Rifle/Pistol Fall Selection Match at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Kim RhodeFor the third consecutive year, four-time Olympian Rhode (Calif.) was selected as the USA Shooting Female Athlete of the Year. Rhode won two World Cup medals this year, claiming the silver in San Marino and the bronze in Munich in the Women’s Skeet event. Rhode was also the 2009 National Champion and finished first at the 2009 Shotgun Fall Selection Match, earning a spot on the 2010 World Shooting Championship team. Rhode finished seventh at the 2009 Shotgun World Championships.

The USAS also recognizes discipline Athletes of the Year, who earned the highest number of points in each discipline. Sanderson was the male Athlete of the Year for pistol and Rhode was the female Athlete of the Year for shotgun. USAMU member Michael McPhail was the top male athlete for rifle. McPhail had an excellent year in the Men’s 50m Prone Rifle event, capturing two bronze medals on the World Cup circuit and a silver medal at the World Cup Final. Jamie Beyerle won t women’s rifle title for the fourth year in a row. USAMU member Josh Richmond was the men’s shotgun discipline Athlete of the year. Richmond, the 2009 National Champion, captured the Men’s Double Trap gold medal at the 2009 World Cup and finished fourth at the Shotgun World Championships.

Photos courtesy USA Shooting.

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November 18th, 2009

Garand Matches at Camp Perry On Shooting USA TV

Tonight’s episode of Shooting USA television features the popular Garand Match held at Camp Perry, Ohio each summer. The Garand match is now the biggest service rifle competition at Camp Perry. After covering the rifle action at Camp Perry, the November 18th episode of Shooting USA visits the Springfield Armory to explore the history of John Garand’s creation.

Garand Match

Today the M-1 Garand is an icon of history, and a very popular rifle for competition in the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s John C. Garand Match. CMP Director, Gary Anderson says, “[The Garand] is a piece of history and a lot of people feel like it’s an honor just to be able to shoot this rifle for what it represents. Also, it’s an accessible match — you can buy an M-1 Garand for five or $600 that will allow you to compete in an event like this. You don’t have to buy a lot of expensive equipment.”

Here are Shooting USA’s Wednesday broadcast times:
Eastern Time 4:30 PM, 8:30 PM, Midnight
Central Time 3:30 PM, 7:30 PM, 11:00 PM
Mountain Time 2:30 PM, 6:30 PM, 10:00 PMt
Pacific Time 1:30 PM, 5:30 PM, 9:00 PM

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