How can technology improve our ability to utilize firearms?
Firearms development as a whole has stalled a bit, and there doesn’t seem to be much more the industry can do to move forward with the ammunition and weapon types we currently have.
To me, the next step would be making them easier to use, more intuitive, and reducing human error in using these firearms.
Looking towards the future means embracing technology; some of that tech is already here. Let’s look at some sci-fi-worthy guns and gear on the market (or almost on the market).
Best Futuristic Guns & Gear
1. Radetec Ammo Counters
Radetec USA makes some fascinating handgun attachments.
These attachments are designed to give the user real-time feedback on the amount of ammunition in the handgun’s magazine. They come in numerous configurations for a variety of guns and function in several different ways.
The Digital Counter is their most precise model, which uses grips that attach to either your M1911 or Beretta 92FS to provide an exact ammo count.
Another simpler option is the LED Advisor. Shooters get feedback from different colored LEDs.
As you get low, your LED will flash blue when you get lower, say the last few rounds, it goes green. When you get below that, it’s red for critical and will flash rapidly on the last round.
The RISC has an ammo counter that attaches to a Glock slide and keeps up with the ammo, either counting up or counting down.
All of these devices are simple, well-made, and very lightweight and use a counter in conjunction with a special follower that communicates to the counter.
It’s such a neat system and provides real-time information on something that can be critical depending on the situation.
Plus, it’s one of the more affordable options on this list.
2. B&T BWC
Brugger and Thomet make some of the best submachine guns, PCCs, and rifles out there. The Swiss company produces a variety of firearms, and one new system they recently revealed is the B&T BWC.
BWC stands for Because We Can.
It’s not necessarily a firearm but a chassis that takes a Sig P320 fire control unit. It’s all in one and isn’t a Micro-Roni-like system.
Because the FCU is the firearm, technically, the BWC is not. You will have to form 1 the gun since it features a stock and lacks a pistol-only version.
Much like the FMG-9 Magpul revealed decades ago, the gun folds into what looks like a very non-gun object.
B&T are masters of the subgun and PCC, and I have high hopes that the BWC will be ergonomic, easy to use, and accurate. One feature that has been revealed is that the weapon will be optic-ready.
The BWC looks like it’d be at home in a TV show like Firefly or The Expanse, wielded by some secretive commandos.
But guess what? You don’t have to wait several hundred years to get the BWC, as it is primed for Q1 2023 full release.
3. Meprolight Foresight
I’ve seen lots of cool stuff at SHOT Show, but rarely have I seen something that stops me and makes me go back to a booth more than once.
The Meprolight Foresight was one of those things.
I now own one, and it’s a rock-solid optic. It’s the first optic I’d call smart. The device uses an app that connects to your iOS or Android device, and you can do a ton through the app.
This includes creating up to 10 different profiles with 10 different zeroes, names, and more, whether for ten different guns or multiple profiles for one gun.
If it’s on a shotgun, you can have profiles for slugs and buckshot. Toss it on a .300 Blackout and create profiles for supersonic and subsonic ammo. Your imagination is the only thing that can stop you.
On top of profiles, you can use the app to zero the optic and adjust windage and elevation, making zeroing easy and precise. You can also pick your favorite reticles from more than two dozen options.
The optic provides a heads-up display with direction in degrees, a level, and battery life. It’s simple, with a green reticle that is bright, clear, and very easy to use.
Prices accurate at time of writing
Prices accurate at time of writing
In the future, Meprolight promises the release a shot counter to allow you to monitor the ammo in your magazine, which seems like an exciting update.
4. Aimshot Wireless Light and Laser
For whatever reason, Crimson Trace discontinued their Linq line of lights and lasers and ceased further development of the system.
Luckily a small company called AimShot seems to be taking up the slack. They produce both a wireless white light and a wireless laser system for rifles and shotguns.
The TZ980 provides 400 lumens of white light with a remote wireless switch to activate the light on demand — no need for cable management. The light also comes in an IR Model if that’s your gig.
You can even easily adjust the output from 5 to 100% on demand. On top of the light is a micro-sized rifle laser available as either a visible green laser or an IR laser. It’s wireless as well and easy and quick to activate.
Admittedly the light is a little large and a little underpowered, but it’s also affordable, given its novel design.
I would love to adapt my Streamlight to a wireless configuration and think that might be the future more than dedicated wireless lights.
Prices accurate at time of writing
Prices accurate at time of writing
While this technology is still in its infancy, I’m glad someone is trying to develop and push it further.
5. Flux Raider
The National Firearms Act restricts the usage of certain types of firearms, effectively stagnating the development of several weapon types. Stocked pistols have been particularly affected by this.
Luckily some forward-thinking companies are around to help push development along, especially with the advent of pistol braces. Flux Defense is one such company.
The Flux Raider is a P320 chassis system that uses the Fire Control Unit as the firearm and requires a complete P320 slide. It comes in both SBR and braced models.
Utilizing a chassis helps to transform a duty pistol into something much more capable. Unlike the Roni, the Raider is much more compact and low-key. It can even be easily holstered and carried in a duty-style rig.
It can be fired as a standard two-handed pistol, but with the press of a small lever, a stock or brace can deploy to make the weapon more effective at longer ranges.
A forward mag holder and rails to mount optics and lights are present.
The Raider system is truly fascinating and would be at home in any sci-fi flick. The Raider is a ton of fun and worth the price of admission, as far as I’m concerned.
6. AR-15 DigiTrigger
You can do nearly anything to an AR-15, including swapping the trigger. There are many options out there, but the DigiTrigger does things differently.
Not only is it a mechanical trigger, but it’s a digital trigger as well. As a digital trigger, the DigiTrigger can reduce the weight of the trigger pull to 1 pound with no mechanical feedback.
The DigiTrigger has two modes: a standard pull and fire and a binary option that fires when pulled and released.
Obviously, digital means batteries, so what happens when the batteries die? Well, it simply switches to standard mechanical mode. You can still fire your weapon without issue and get an approximately 5.5-pound single-stage mil-spec trigger.
This one is fairly expensive but is also a novel option for your AR-15. As these triggers keep evolving, it will be fascinating to see where the technology goes.
Prices accurate at time of writing
Prices accurate at time of writing
7. Magpul Maztech X4 System
My wildcard choice is the Magpul Maztech X4 system. It’s the wild card option because it’s not on the market yet, but it seems promising.
There has been a lot of talk about the NGSW this year and these fancy optics we call fire control systems.
Magpul is creating a commercially available fire control system that allows the average Joe to turn their AR-15 into a futuristic, highly mobile, extremely accurate platform.
The Maztech X4 is a multi-component system that allows you to attach a fire control system to your favorite LPVO.
It provides an accurate range finder paired with ballistic data to grant precise drop points for hitting targets at various ranges without doing the required math.
On top of that, the heads-up display gives you a compass in both standard directions and degrees. Multiple components allow the shooter to feed in data like magazine capacity and shots fired. You can also loop other people into your display.
To keep up with the ammo count, you’ll need a Magpul grip and magazine. The magazine holds a battery, but the system can work without power.
With power, you get an exact number of rounds left. Without it, you get a rough estimation of full, medium, or low.
These are the systems we’ve seen, but it looks like the future will have more attachments to increase the system’s functionality, including goggles and various rail attachments.
It’s fascinating to see the advancements in the gun world are not all polymer frame, striker-fired handguns, and AR-15s. If you dig in deep, you can find some wonderful advancements that often don’t make the front pages.
The firearms community as a whole is often suspicious of new things, especially digital involvement, with firearms.
But I say we should open up, embrace the future and see what the market can do to push the envelope of technology.
What do you think of these products? Let us know in the comments below! Are you interested in other new and coming-soon products? Check out our article on the Best Gear of SHOT Show 2023!
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The Aimshot Wireless Laser comes in two different models - one green and one IR.
I had a chance to try the green yesterday. It works but it could be better:
1. Its a little bulky in height. I can see where they can shave off some of that height. But other than that the size is fine.
2. Its light weight. The case is a combination of a hard plastic (like is used in various other name brand lasers) and aluminum.
3. The beam is bright, visible outside in bright sunlight but like all of the civilian grade green rifle lasers not brilliantly bright as if you were indoors. So its about the same as others in this aspect.
4. It comes with a QD pic rail mount. This could be better. Its sort of picky about the type of rail section it sets on. For example, it does not set completely level on a section of Magpul polymer rail and this makes it ever so slightly tilted about 2 degrees in towards the rifle but on a Magpul aluminum rail section it sets level and is fine. This is probably because the Magpul polymer rail is slightly thicker enough so that when the QD mount grips it on one side as it closes on it it rests more on the screw on that side and pushes one side up ever so slightly. Aimshot makes mention in their instructions about rails being different and some adjustment of the QD portion might be needed but they don't mention not using a polymer rail section. I would not use a polymer rail section for it anyway, just happen to have had one mounted up for a light though and thought I would use it when I found this out.
5. The Aimshot instructions make mention to be careful not to leave the battery in the wireless switch for more than a couple of days. It will go dead even without use because its constantly on. This is a big con here - whats the sense in having a wireless switch that's that not going to be ready when you are if you, say, needed to use the rifle for home defense?
6. The laser its self has a separate on/off switch next to the laser activation switch button on the laser body. The laser can be operated without the wireless switch by using the laser activation switch button on the laser body, after you turn the on/off switch to the on position. This isn't too bad, but when you pick up your rifle for, say, a suddenly home defense situation ya gotta make sure the on/off switch is turned on. But the clincher here is Aimshot in their instructions tells you that the on/off switch needs to be turned off so they battery will not run down even if the laser beam its self is not on. This is a big con - the battery will drain even though you are not using the laser its self if you leave it turned on - this impacts reliability in a sudden use, say, home defense situation because you can't leave the on/off switch set to on for that kind of sudden use because if you do while that rifle is setting doing nothing the battery is going dead.
Overall: Although the size and weight may suit some (its not really objectionable, but could be a little less bulky in height), the reliability due to the battery situation is a factor here that decreases its reliability for a defense rifle. It reminds me of the battery drain issues with optics/laser/lights back in the late 1990's to mid 2000's which tells me this unit may simply be older tech repackaged and re marketed as the GII wireless as the Aimshot original laser they had previously with the same model number although a little larger had the same battery issues this one has with a phantom battery drain. The wireless switch, although a neat idea, is not reliable due to the battery drain issues so that kinda makes it worthless in a way. The laser overall works, but here again the battery drain issues when the laser is not in use if you happen to leave the on/off switch in the on position affects its reliability for a serious use on a defense rifle.
If you are looking for a reliable rifle laser in this price range, and are not going to use a pistol laser on the rifle (which most all work fine if mounted on a free float aluminum handguard), you might consider something like the Sightmark LoPro Mini if pic rail mount is your thing (My sightmark LoPro has been very rudely abused. frozen, heated, thrown against walls, dropped off buildings, and it keeps on working and never lost zero. The Aimshot Wireless Laser though, I would not use it for a defense rifle because when you pick that rifle up in that sudden need you need things to just work when you press that button and not worry about battery's being dead or having to turn on an extra switch for a laser.
And another thing with the Aimshot Wireless Laser... its advertised on their web site with:
"Precision adjustment, giving the operator the ability to adjust for elevation and windage with simple 1 click MOA adjustment..."
and its in their catalog as:
"Precise: 1 MOA adjustments for windage/elevation with tactile feedback"
The windage and elevation adjustments ARE NOT "1 click MOA adjustment/1 MOA adjustments for windage/elevation with tactile feedback" - its the same old 'screw turn and guess and trial and error' mechanism or at least it was on the green beam model I got to try out which was brand new out of the box.
This clinches the decision for me as to my opinion of this laser. If I were looking for a rifle laser I would not go with the KT8103 Gen II Wireless Rifle Laser. The reasons being:
1. There is a factor of lack of reliability due to the battery drain issues I noted. Its ridiculous for the Aimshot company motto slogan (on their web site) to be "Be Ready", or to even consider being ready when you need it in that moment of home/self defense, when the battery issue makes it unreliable enough so you can not count on being ready when you grab that rifle for that immediate use. One of the things we do when we have a defense rifle is try to mitigate failures with our gear as much as we can, but with this Aimshot laser you are actually adding a failure point.
2. They somewhat, apparently, 'falsely' advertised the product in relation to the windage and elevation adjustments.
3. It costs more than other fire arms lasers suitable for rifle also of known reliability in the price ranges below $200.00.
4. It seems to not be using, as they advertised on their web site ,"the next step in laser sight technology". Instead it seems to be the 'previous two steps' (e.g. older technology) simply repackaged into a wireless model with a wireless switch.
I'm looking for the phased plasma rifle in 40 watt range.
Try a rail gun... darn thing here wont let me post a link directly so on YouTube look up "I now OWN a freakin RAILGUN!!!".
I'm still wondering when the big name brand companies will stop making all their weapon lights and lasers these 'bulky' form factor things that 'hang' on and away from the rifle via picatinny mounts or mlok mounts that still hang the device off the rifle.
Seriously, with MLOK why not make low profile that mounts in line with the slots instead of hanging off them.
Even the budget market has caught on to that. For example, look up a company called Votatu on Amazon at their MLOK mounted stuff to get an idea.
"Seriously, with MLOK why not make low profile that mounts in line with the slots instead of hanging off them"
Meaning, low profile MLOK mount devices that mounts in line with the slots instead of hanging off them and not 'put a picatinny rail section on an MLOK hand guard'.
That BWC looks just like a toy spy gun hidden in a portable radio, part of Mattel's Agent M line that I had as a kid.
That Aimshot KT8103 Gen II Wireless Rifle Laser is only 2.5 ounces. I called the company today, guy told me about it.
nobody likes change. especially manufacturers, because that means they have to spend money, instead of making money, on new machines and employees to keep up with the ever changing technology. Then there are companies like Meprolight which provides the technology of what the NGSW and Optic program is supposed to be from a failing Vortex Optic, that cannot do anything it claims. What people have to watch out for is, for the government to put their input on firearms and accessories, weaponizing civilian technologies, and start implementing fingerprint technology, biometric locking, gps tracking, or even some type of retinal scanners, stuff like that. As much as I dream of the days, of lower cost futuristic sci-fi parts, accessories, optics, and firearms. it will always be a slow process because the majority of consumers, only want to buy for the most part what the military uses, and manufacturers only want to market what is cheap, to make and sell, at a massive markup for a profit. whether it is an old outdated technology, or consumer demand. Regardless firearms technology has stalled, nobody wants to build anything new, without a military contract to back it up.
I agree with many of your positions. There is some room for discussion on several points that I would like to address. I get the impression that your thought process is thorough, and you have spent time developing your data. I would like to continue our conversation in a narrower venue. No need to entertain others with our thoughts. Let me know if you have an interest in a follow up discussion. I can send you PM data.
When I have a little extra time. I would be happy to answer any questions that I am capable of answering on this topic. I am on my way out the door at the moment though, but if you don't mind me answering off and on throughout then we can continue the conversation..
Check out the laugo alien.
first advancement in pistols in a long time
agreed! I am not saying there hasn't been new designs of existing systems. all I am saying is there is not enough manufacturers designing new technology, to warrant a change in the industry. leading to newer more Sci-fi worthy guns and gadgets
Shooters in general don't like change. The experts in big companies hire good shooters that know conventional systems well. They aren't comfortable talking about concepts that may not fit into conventional theory. What will they think when someone shows up at Shot Show with a sight that does not mount on the gun? How many of you out there rolled their eyes at that idea, and you want new ideas?
It is amazing how resistant all industries are to change and new ideas. I have a new concept that will affect the targeting industry, but the experts are locked into the conventional systems until they see their grandchildren out-perform their hard-earned skills. It has only taken 5 years for several experienced shooters to acknowledge that this new sight is potentially a better sight. I found several product ideas at Shot Show that has potential in my system. Big corporations don't believe in or support independent inventors. Simple concepts should be able to be invented in "in-house product development" departments.
Just like everything else things will continue to get smaller, easier, and most importantly, cheaper. You won't even recognize the firearms industry in 25 years, hopefully we'll still be around to see it all unfold!
Speaking of Sci Fi, I'm kind of surprised that nobody seems to have tried to build a Pyrran power pistol. It was almost a character in a series of novels years back. A ridiculously powerful handgun was strapped to the forearm and used 'sensors' to detect when your hand and forearm were ready to shoot the gun. A bunch of hobbyists have built Jim West/Travis Bickle mechanical systems (although I don't think any have been used to actually fire a handgun) but with all the advances that allow people to walk and use two hands it seems it should be doable. Of course, it would probably be considered a brace.
if you can’t count your round count, your lazy. Your not responsible gun owner and yes I’m an older man. You are accountable for every round that leaves your weapon.
Come on Will, really? And just how many people do you think are counting their rounds at the range? I'd guess 1 in 10, maybe 1 in 20, or less, I've owned firearms since I was a kid and have never counted rounds, and I've never had an issue and certainly don't consider myself to be an irresponsible gun owner.
So you logged into this section just to be an old grumpy POS? Congratulations everyone thinks you’re a douche.. probably been a douche your entire life
Way to be!!, same here
That's like saying you shouldn't have integrated safeties to make your weapon drop safe, because "you are accountable for not dropping your weapon."
It must be because I'm on a limited budget, but such "goodies" are usually way outside what I can afford. It's interesting to read about,, but not something I'm going to go all gonzo about.
I also wonder how much of all this fancy electronic stuff will be dead in the water after an EMP? It's because of that potential threat, that I'm saving up to go with etched optics to swap out with my Red Dots.
Aimshot KT8103 Gen II green laser:
How much does it weigh and case dimensions? Doesn't say on the Aimshot site.
Is the pic mount on the case center line on the case or is it offset from center line?
Except for the wireless switch it sounds similar to the Sightmark LoPro green rifle laser (which turned out to be a pretty good though rifle laser)