Is This Smart Bullet Tech the Answer to the Problem of Gun Violence?

Screenshot from the SAAMO promo video (!how/c1tsl)

Screenshot from the SAAMO promo video (!how/c1tsl)

In an earlier post, we wrote about a smart bullet technology, the EXACTO smart bullet developed by DARPA. This new post, however, is about a different kind of smart bullet. Compared to EXACTO which is mainly intended to ensure that a target is hit, this smart bullet is about making guns safer. It is about creating the precautions that can prevent mass shooting incidents and the violent use of guns in the possession of civilians.

But can a bullet ever become a solution to gun violence? This happens to be the goal of one Allentown company in designing a smart bullet technology. A small, relatively unknown company in eastern Pennsylvania is currently developing a bullet that aims to prevent accidental or unwanted shots to reduce the number of unintended and violent injuries caused by gun mishandling, negligence, abuse, or misuse.


The small company in question is called Everlokt. Established in 2006,  it was originally formed to develop touch energy door technology but has since ventured into creating the technology that can make guns less dangerous and less prone to becoming tools of violence. The company’s new venture is said to be in response to the Sandy Hook elementary school shootings that happened around 2 years ago. The company now carries the slogan “Enabling technologies to ensure safe, secure, and restricted access to residential, industrial, and commercial customers.”

According to John Stein, founder and executive officer of Everlokt, their goal in developing smart bullets is to save kids’ lives. He recalled how tragic the Sandy Hook shooting incident was but something like having guns kept at home killing a family member by accident could also be as grave. Stein thinks such a situation will likely destroy a whole family. That’s why they came up with a simpler and less expensive way to make guns safer.

Safe Access Ammunition (SAAMO)

Everlokt’s SAAMO project is an attempt in developing a smart bullet technology that can reduce gun violence and accidents. As mentioned on the official SAAMO page, it is different from other trigger gun control technology. Instead of controlling a gun, what it does is to manage the bullets loaded in a gun. It is not the same as the concept of a smart gun although it essentially does the same thing in terms of gun safety.

How It Works

This technology works by replacing the grip of a gun, essentially integrating the SAAMO technology in an existent gun and replacing the ammunition to be used. The SAAMO grip (the device that replaces the standard gun grip) is equipped with sensors capable of identifying the person handling the gun. In short, the SAAMO technology involves two things: the use of the SAAMO smart bullet and the replacement of a gun’s grip.

Screenshot from the SAAMO promo video (!how/c1tsl)

Screenshot from the SAAMO promo video (!how/c1tsl)

The SAAMO grip does not have sensors similar to what you will find in smartphones or smart watches. No, there are no IR sensors, gyrometers, or accelerometers involved. The grip only makes use of sensors that detect the squeeze sequence a gun user does to unlock the weapon. Basically, the gun identifies the gun owner based on the squeeze sequence he or she does on the gun. It’s like adding a lock screen on a smartphone through the replacement of the gun grip. With the SAAMO bullets loaded, the gun will refuse to fire unless the right squeeze sequence is done.

Screenshot from the SAAMO promo video (!how/c1tsl)

Screenshot from the SAAMO promo video (!how/c1tsl)

Advantages of SAAMO

Compared to smart guns, Stein says that the SAAMO technology can be considered better. This is because it does not require the purchase of a new gun. Virtually every gun permitted for civilians to own and carry can be converted into a SAAMO smart gun. Stein adds that if the smart gun technology fails, the gun is rendered useless. With SAAMO, the gun does not get damaged even if the SAAMO grip sensor fails.

Some would say that this is rather futile since someone who is really bent on using a gun for unwarranted purposes can simply remove the SAAMO additions on the gun. This might be true but it is unlikely for many to realize that a gun does not work because it is locked by SAAMO. The SAAMO system still serves its intended purpose of making it difficult to accidentally shoot guns and making it difficult for anyone to steal and use a gun.

SAAMO is a cheaper way to have a safer gun kept at home. It provides another security feature on top of the standard security system that comes with a gun without the need for complicated modifications or the need to replace an old gun with an expensive smart gun. Also worth noting is the fact that you can use just one or two SAAMO bullets to keep your gun safe. Steins says that you don’t have to replace all your bullets. Having one or two SAAMO bullets loaded on top of the magazine is enough to prevent the gun from being used by those who don’t know the SAAMO grip squeeze sequence.

Everlokt was recently granted $50,000 in funding for their Safe Access Ammunition (SAAMO) project. The manufacture of the bullets has not started yet but the concept has already been prepared and patent applications have already been filed.