In the May 19 Washington Post, Justin Brady's article, "What a small handgun teaches us about our fear of creativity," looked at the Boberg XR9-S and XR45-S. The article is not what you might think, given the paper in which it ran. Instead of attacking guns and gun owners, Brady examines Boberg founder Arne Boberg's difficulty finding acceptance for his design for a new pistol from established firearm manufacturers, and uses this example to show how people can be afraid of new ideas or products.
I think Brady has an excellent point, and encourage you to read the whole article. However, I also think Brady ignored two important details, one dealing with the Boberg pistol and another, more sinister topic that has been making news lately.
First, the pistol. Brady details how Boberg approached established manufacturers with his design prior to manufacturing it via his own company:
As Boberg recounts, Kimber showed initial interest, but with such a new and unfamiliar design, and so many moving parts, they had significant doubts it would actually function. They eventually stopped returning phone calls. A meeting with Magnum Research returned a better reaction, with the head of research even firing the gun and singing its praise, but the company was also concerned with the unfamiliarity of the design. Something just didn't smell right to the leaders making the decisions. … Why did they doubt this new innovative idea? Why could they not see this for the innovation it truly was?
We reviewed the XR9-S in 2012, and while its radical design won plaudits, the pistol was not without some significant faults. Those problems were not deal-breakers, but they were present. Without mentioning these faults, Brady's insinuation that the established gunmakers turned Boberg down because they feared a new idea loses much of its believability. Certainly, those companies may have feared a radical design, but alternatively, they could have thought it was too fraught with bugs at the time for them to manufacture and bring to market.
From what I've heard lately, many of those early problems have since been sorted out. Boberg's new pistols are, according to these sources, quite good, but I can definitely understand why a company might have chosen to avoid the design for reasons other than fear of something new.
The more concerning detail Brady did not mention has nothing to do with Boberg, the company's handguns or, for that matter, any extant popular firearm. In his legitimate point that we should keep an open mind to new ideas, left unsaid is the looming specter of so-called "smart guns." This backdoor effort at gun control is extremely popular among those who seek to curtail our natural right to keep and bear arms.
Brady says: "Creativity is riddled with uncertainty, but even when an idea has clearly demonstrated advantages, only a tiny bit of uncertainty is all that is needed to not only derail any creative opportunity, but turn people against it." This may be accurate in some cases, but not all.
Our opposition to "smart-gun" technology has nothing to do with fear of new, innovative products. In fact, absent a determined effort to ban all guns save "smart guns," we would not care either way about an unreliable technology with limited practical use—let the market decide if gun owners want such a firearm. A legal mandate calling for such technology is another story entirely, and that is what we seek to stop.
Without mentioning our legitimate opposition to "smart-gun" mandates, Brady's article could be used by the enemies of liberty as evidence we gun owners are simply afraid of new things. We are decidedly not afraid of new technologies. Quite the contrary, we are intrigued by them and seek them out wherever we can and whenever they provide a decided advantage. We are, however, adamantly opposed to those technologies dictating how we exercise our rights.