By: Joshua Gideon
A quality-hunting gun is a prized possession of many hunters and an heirloom for many families across the USA. These guns, despite their age and condition, are passed down generation to generation. One might mistake them for just another gun, but for many of us, they are more than the wood and metal of which they are made. The wood with all its nicks and dings tells a story. Like the story of when your grandfather scratched it while coming down from the tree stand at the old hunting spot. He didn’t get upset like you thought he would but just laughed and said it gave the gun character. The cold metal touching your bare hands reminds you of those cold hunting mornings, getting up well before the sun peeked over the horizon with the smell of grandpa’s coffee filling the air. If that gun could tell stories, it would tell you of that missed shot on that monster buck. Or the first time your daughter went hunting with you and got her first bird. Beginner’s luck. If only that gun could tell the stories it holds within the craftsmanship of wood and metal. If only it could…what if it could?
With the release of the Beretta Gun Pod 2 system for the A400 semi-automatic shotgun line, that cherished hunting gun can now tell its stories and let you preserve them for generations to come! Using state of the art technology, the Gun Pod 2 system tucks away a small and unnoticeable passive blue tooth device inside the gunstock. The device coupled with the free downloadable app (available to iPhone and Android) allows you to create a full journal of your hunting trips, including pictures, GPS locations, Shots fired, type of ammo used, etc., documenting in as much detail as you wish. The neat part is that you don’t have to worry about any of that while you are on your hunt. You can simply grab your gun; throw your phone in your pack or pocket and go. This device is using passive blue tooth technology, similar to what is being used in the wearable electronic device industry, such as smart watches and fitness devices. By using a non-paired passive connection, the device uses less power and allows your iPhone or iPad to conserve its battery. Once you are back at the cabin warming up by the fire, you and your hunting buddies can compile your pictures and document the details of your hunt.
The great thing about this system is Beretta took pain-staking care to ensure that they were NOT developing a so-called “Smart Gun” or a gun that was built around electronics. Rather, they wanted to take the opposite approach and find a way to put the small electronics in already existing quality Beretta firearms. This was stressed to me as I visited the Beretta booth at the NRAAM in Nashville, TN and evident in the design of the product. At the booth I met the mind behind the Gun Pod 2, Riccardo Zanardelli, Firearms Communication and Trade Marketing Manager for Beretta. Riccardo is a sharp guy and it was clear how passionate he is about the product. Since I come from an Information Technology background and he was talking tech, he and I hit it off immediately and were really able to dig into the geeky part of the design. I was very impressed with the forward thinking and technology being used in this product. The more we spoke though, the more I saw his vision and began to realize the full potential of this technology.
It was at this point that I asked Riccardo what other guns Beretta planned to integrate with this or similar technology. He did admit that some plans were in the works. We then began to discuss some pretty amazing things that could come out of this technology. Image that the new Beretta APX (whenever it is released) comes with the option of having a similar version of this system installed for military, law enforcement, and the private security industry, or even the civilian self-defense market. I can see huge benefits for law enforcement in gathering evidence after a shooting incident.
Some products create buzz and excitement not by what they are about today, but rather what doors they open and what roads they lead down in the future. This is one such product. It is no secret that Beretta has struggled to get past its reputation as the company that supplies the M9 to the US military and really break into the law enforcement or civilian defensive firearms sectors of the industry. Don’t get me wrong, in context, the M9 is a solid firearm and was a great selection for those military units that purchased them in the mid 1980’s. However, it is critical that Beretta becomes a true contender in the law enforcement and civilian defensive firearms sectors. I believe this technology has the potential to put Beretta in the same position it was in when it won the U.S. Military contract with the M9.
Imagine if you will a small police department that has just replaced their current .40 caliber handguns with the new Beretta APX in 9mm. The armorer (or officer in charge of maintaining the firearms) has detailed statistics of round count and age of all the firearms in his inventory. When a handgun hits 5,000 rounds, an alert is sent to his phone letting him know it’s time to change the recoil spring and extractor on that firearm. With a click of a button, he orders the replacement part directly from Beretta and schedules the officer who has been assigned the firearm to bring it in for maintenance. No more poor maintenance and record keeping. If the officer is forced to fire his firearm in the line of duty, information from the device can be transferred into case report software detailing the exact spot the shots were fired and specifically how many. In fact, any time shots are fired while on duty, an alert could be sent to the on duty supervisor. The possibilities here are endless! The Gun Pod 2 technology goes far beyond journaling a hunt. It opens the door for endless functionality without interfering with the gun or keeping it from being what it is. I truly believe Beretta has opened the door to a new future of firearms!
Beretta, if you are listening <taps mic>, this is your chance to really shine! Taking a responsible approach to integrating technology with firearms is a huge undertaking. There are many out there that are afraid of this type of technology. However, the approach Beretta is taking can win the hearts and minds of the average gun owner. Also, remember that technology is a fast-paced industry and develops products at a faster pace than firearms. If you allocate your resources towards further developing this technology (especially shrinking it to fit in your striker fired handguns like the APX), you have the potential to be knocking on the door of Smith & Wesson, SIG, & Ruger in handgun sales.
It is unmistakable that Beretta has listened to their customers when creating the Gun Pod 2. They have heard what the customers want and produced a difficult add-on product while keeping the integrity of the original product. This alone seems to be a rare trait with firearms companies these days. I am looking forward to seeing where Beretta goes next with this product and all their future product lines. Good luck, and if you need anyone to help you with that APX pistol, you have my number.