After a rocky start, the niche German firearms company specializing in personalized handguns (i.e. “smart guns”) is bringing a 9mm version and a vow they are not aiming “to replace conventional guns.”
The company’s first offering burst on to the scene in early 2014 with the iP1, a $1,300 .22LR that needed to pair to an RFID-equipped wrist watch to be able to fire. Armatix convinced firearms dealers in California and Maryland to offer the gun on a limited basis but both stores quickly recoiled after backlash from the Second Amendment community without selling any.
Although officials in states with sticky smart gun mandates held the iP1 would not trigger their dormant law, the company was left with 5,000 unsold high-dollar pistols and began to shift course towards a potentially more acceptable 9mm version marketed to police.
Then in 2015, news came that the small 30-employee company parted ways with Ernst Mauch, the engineer who helped found the thus-far unsuccessful venture and entered into Chapter 11-style corporate restructuring even as their chief executive in the U.S. publicly gaffed on firearms safety and the National Rifle Association tested the gun and found it lacking. (No agenda there, right?)
Now, Armatix’s current CEO and President Wolfgang Tweraser is ready to move forward with their iP9 9mm gun which will be available in mid-2017 along with the legacy iP1.