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Black Box for Guns

FN Herstal:

The FN Black Box:

detects/discriminates/counts shots
measures burst rates and burst lengths
records firing sequences
detects stoppages due to failures to cycle

The armorer can therefore anticipate necessary maintenance actions and consult all previous maintenance operations when and as required.

Interesting. The same concept is often applied to industrial machines.

13 Responses to “Black Box for Guns”

  1. Blake Says:

    Any guesses about how long before these are required by the Federal government to be on all guns? (or they at least start talking about making it a requirement)

  2. Jeff the Baptist Says:

    The Army really wants these. Then they can start doing systematic small arms maintenance just like they do it for the big guns. Right now most small arms round counts are complete guesstimates so it’s practically impossible to do preventative maintenance.

  3. Mikee Says:

    And the Army can tell exactly who fired what number of rounds and when during an action. The possible legal ramifications are numerous.

  4. Jeff the Baptist Says:

    “And the Army can tell exactly who fired what number of rounds and when during an action.”

    Maybe, but right now these things aren’t that precise. The round counts are only accurate to a few percent. And false positives are common as well. But they’re better than counting rounds on a piece of paper.

  5. D2k Says:

    “It features a non-replaceable battery that has a remarkable service life of 10 years and a recording capacity of 100,000 rounds.”

    As a programmer I find this appalling.
    100,000 is not any sort of natural barrier and is obviously there for planned obsolescence reasons.

  6. Yu-Ain Gonnano Says:


    Is there a natural barrier close enough that a media type person would round off to?

  7. Regolith Says:

    100,000 is not any sort of natural barrier and is obviously there for planned obsolescence reasons.

    Yes, but 100,000 rounds is usually more than the planned life of a firearm. I’ve heard of some shotguns making it past 100,000, but not many. They likely didn’t think they needed to store more than that.

  8. karrde Says:

    The “natural barrier” for a binary counting device near 100000 is 131071. That implies 18 bits in the number that is being incremented…

    Most microprocessors have numbers that are 8, 16, or 32 bits (for max values of 255, 32167, and 4294967295).

    The first two might roll over, but the third one is so far out of the range of accepted value that someone probably said “up to 100000”, and it stuck.

  9. jesse Says:

    I’d guess that they store more metadata about each shot than just having a single counter recording how many shots had been fired, such as a timestamp, etc.

    If each shot record takes only 8 bytes, it could store 131071 shots in 1MB of flash if they put nothing else in the memory and had no filesystem overhead. If they wanted to round that down a bit to store other things at the same time or had filesystem overhead to consider, 100000 shot records would take up 781KB.

    Obviously, that’d need to be adjusted depending on how big each shot record actually is and how large a flash chip they’re using, but I’d expect it to be something like that.

  10. Jim Says:

    I wouldn’t be too surprised to see GPS tracking integrated into this in the future.

  11. HK Says:

    Everyone here is thinking along the same lines as me — this is scary. I can definitely see this incorporated into every firearm manufactured in the near future. The first ones will be the LE guns. Then the military and then everyone’s guns.

    This is scary to me. I’m a huge FN fan, but this is something they could have skipped.

  12. GetGunInCanada Says:

    Police forces could use this to make sure people are doing their required practice! Someone should tell the Swiss about it too.

  13. Attila Says:

    It’d suck if someone… ND’ed and hit that module.

    Yeah, the SCAR and Five-seveN are great ideas. Sure, they have a long and glorious history as armorers.

    To hell with them if they collaborate with a .gov to mandate this for private citizens.

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