Behold the new world of digitized guns

The weapons landscape is going through major changes as startups invent precision rifles, high-tech scopes, gun-centric iPhone adapters, and pistols that require fingerprint authorization.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
3 min read
The Corner Shot weapon system platform lets shooters hit targets from around corners and behind ledges. Corner Shot

As the world becomes more digitized, smartphones, smart watches, and smart cars have begun to hit the market -- and smart guns are no exception.

High-tech weapons, gun-centric apps, and tech-infused optical shooting scopes are popping up not only at hunting and gun shows but also at consumer-focused electronics shows. Earlier this year, one of the world's most high-tech long-range shooting rifles, Tracking Point's XS1, went on sale. And it has competition.

While many of these firearms and apps are geared toward perfecting a shot or feeding the shooter ballistics information, some new inventions are focused on making guns safer. These startups are working on what's called "authorized user recognition technology," which digitally locks guns so only the weapon's owners can fire them.

See also: Now you're a sharpshooter: The smart rifle arrives

Below is a list of some of the types of smart guns and related gadgets that are either on the market or in line to debut soon.

Tracking Point: This company's XS line of rifles features three high-powered, long-range rifles that let novices hit moving targets at up to 1,200 yards with almost 100 percent accuracy. The guns come wired with a small computer that provides a "guided trigger," tag and lock technology, and a Wi-Fi antenna. All of these components let users gather ballistics data in real-time and live stream their shots to share on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, or e-mail.

On target: The $25,000 smart rifle (pictures)

See all photos

Corner Shot: This "weapon system platform" lets shooters hide around corners and shoot at targets up to 275 yards away. The platform attaches to most semiautomatic and select-fire pistols; it has a swiveling front section and is used with a digital video camera.

The Liberator: This is a 3D-printed handgun made by Defense Distributed that fires standard handgun rounds and is made almost entirely of plastic. The Liberator can be instantly downloaded from the Internet and anonymously printed. However, printing requires an expensive high-end 3D-printer and once printed, the guns are said to rarely work. Just last month, the world's first 3D-printed rifle, the "Grizzly," made its debut.

Inteliscope Tactical Rifle Adapter: This iOS app is used by attaching an iPhone or iPod Touch to most types of rifles. Once attached, the app helps users shoot more efficiently by featuring custom crosshairs, GPS, digital zoom, video recording, ballistics data, compass, flashlight, shot timer, and more.

ELCAN DigitalHunter DayNight: This computerized rifle scope can attach to most types of rifles; it has an electronic zoom, gives shooters ballistics inputs, and also has video capabilities. The scope also lets hunters see at night with night vision and a flashlight.

Burris Eliminator III: This digital tracking scope has a high-powered lens with a laser rangefinder that adjusts a rifle's sights to compensate for bullet drop and other long-range shooting variables. The Eliminator can help shooters hit targets at ranges of up to 1,200 yards.

Armatix smart system: This system comes in the form of a digital handgun that is infused with authorized user recognition technology. The gun will only fire if the shooter is within range of an accompanying wristwatch. To be turned on, the watch requires a digital PIN code or fingerprint authorization; and if the gun loses radio contact with the watch, the device will automatically deactivate.

Yardarm Safety First: This mobile app system is another form of authorized user recognition technology. It involves a wireless controller that activates an alarm on an owner's cell phone if the gun is handled. Owner can then use their phones to remotely turn on the gun's trigger safety and disable the weapon.

How Yardarm's Safety First technology works. Yardarm