Handgun drone unsuccessfully shoots mobile phone

Spocko sez, "In this commercial for a cell phone screen protector product, a quadcopter flies up to some fruit, sodas and a cell phones and shoots them with a remote controlled handgun. The company, Clearplex, has many videos of it's screen protector products being shot at, so this one is a natural, although creepy, extension of that series. The video is edited so it's hard to know how accurate the quad-copter is, but consider how apparently easy creating this one was,what's the next step?"

Drone vs Phone: Samsung Galaxy S IV - GunDrone (Thanks, Spocko)


  1. Eight rotors means that it isn’t a quadcopter, it is an octocopter. Now governments will have something else to ban in the war against terror along with pressure cookers.

  2. I suppose the only creepy thing about it is the fact that it has the potential to be a remote weapon.  But realistically an R/C helicopter could have been out fitted with the same things, and those have been around for a fairly long time.

    Am I the only one that remembers the Batman plot line of the R/C car rigged with explosives, yet I don’t see that happening in real life.

    1.  Batman, GTA, at least one movie I’ve seen…. I think the reality is if you can obtain explosives that are small enough to fit on an RC car more or less unnoticed then you probably won’t make much of a bang. Or you have access to very illegal stuff and perhaps more straightforward methods.

  3. This video fascinated me, so I wrote to the people at ClearPlex and asked a few question. I haven’t hear from them yet, but here they are. If you have others please let me know and I’ll ask them too. 
    I recently wrote about your video, Drones Vs. Phones Samsung Galaxy S IV – GunDrone, for my blog Spocko’s Brain after seeing it at the science fiction and science blog io9.com.I’m curious why you chose to use an armed Ocotocopter to illustrate the protective properties of your screen protector. I’m also interested in the greater implications of people making their own armed drones in the United States.Did you follow any plans to create this drone, or did you figure it out yourself?
    Will you be publishing how you built this drone?
    What devices did you use to control the drone and the camera/phone attached to it?
    How close/far away were you from the copter while controlling it? Were you using a cell phone connection, and RF controller, wifi or a combination of them.
    Were there any accidents during the testing? (i.e. lack of control because of wind or malfunctions)Some people have noted that the video was edited and it did not show an angle where you could see the drone handgun fire and actually hit the object. Is this because it never happened or because of simple editing choices? Were there issues controlling the drone and aiming the gun? How many people were involved? Were there separate individuals, one for the gun, one for the pilot and one for the camera mounted on the copter?I’m also curious about your political views.Do you have an opinion on police or the federal government using armed drones in the US? What about using them in other countries?Do you think that people who create homemade armed drones should be licensed?
    Should the FAA issue rulings on armed drones in the US?Has anyone from the military contacted you about this? What kind of questions did they have for you? Are you concerned that you now might be on a terrorist watch list?Finally, I understand that this video is intended to be a sales tool. Has it worked? Have you received a lot of orders for your product or more inquires about how to build it or where to buy the one?Thank you,Michal Spocko

      1. No. I did NOT know. Thank you for the links. What I find interesting is that the person in the video says that putting a handgun on a drone is “most certainly a felony.” I wonder if that is true. 

        After watching this I’m much more inclined to believe that the video of the drone shooting the fruit or phone is real. Then again, it might just have been cut together to get the best shots.
        The Danger Info paintgun one is pretty compelling case for the shots to the fruit and soda in the Clearplex is real.

        He also makes a point. “Spying on your neighbors is still illegal.”
        So there’s that. 

  4. I see someone learned something from the Blendtec’s (see, I ever remember the brand!).  Don’t show me pictures of half naked women dancing around your product. If you are going to give me something with minima information, at least make it interesting.  Bonus points if you give information and it is interesting.  I think this one is a bit of a stretch, but they are selling a freaking screen casing, so what more can you do?

    1. Depend on who is measuring success. The people who came up with an idea for a video actually were successful since it sparked people like me to share. 
      As you can see from my letter to the company, I don’t know if it will sell products. If it does, then it’s successful. If you go to their site you will see if you mention this video you get 5 percent off the product. (I note that other videos give you 10 percent off so check out those if you are going to buy)

  5. Not that I spend a lot of time thinking of ways to create mayhem, but I imagine that private ROVs are the next big thing in bad guy stuff.

    Could some asshole crash a plane by putting one in the way of the engine?  Or shoot a gun into a crowd?  The implications are scary.  Of course, the solutions will probably be scarier (i.e. banning remote control drones, as if that will be possible).

    1. The real nightmare will come when they are miniaturized.

      You at least have some awareness when a 2 foot diameter drone is coming at you.

      A swarm of coordinated bee-sized drones, each with a 0.1g of C-4 or with a ricin stinger, will come with no warning.

      1. Stanislaw Lem predicted it, brilliantly, in his Weapon Systems of The Twenty First Century, in 1986.  A rapid trend to miniaturization until there is zero space for humans in combat – life expectancy would be measured in seconds at most.

        Doesn’t bode well for aircraft carriers or other massive machines.

      2.  Ever read the Dune series?  Hunter-seekers anyone?

        Just figure out the tech for a “suspensor field” and you’re set for silent assassination drones…

  6. While I don’t see a technical issue attaching remote-controlled guns to radio-controlled aircraft, this video doesn’t show the helicopter shooting anything- it’s just competent film editing. There is a shot showing the gun’s hammer falling and the helicopter recoiling, but there’s no muzzle flash or smoke- so I’m not convinced the gun actually fired (it would just complicate producing the commercial). The “recoil” could have been someone just giving the ‘copter a shake with their hand. As for the stuff getting hit, you don’t see where the projectile is coming from, so it would be a lot easier just to have someone stand to one side and use a gun in the normal fashion. Finally, if a cell phone did get hit by a handgun bullet, and it had the structural integrity to not bust into a hundred pieces,  it wouldn’t just fall over- it would go flying.

      1. Modern body armor is made from stuff that (mostly) stops handgun rounds(especially if they’ve been cherry-picked by the producers of the commercial to be one of the lower mass, lower velocity, and/or softer ones). It’s defeating rifle rounds, especially those designed to penetrate armor, that’s an engineering problem vexing enough that you probably couldn’t walk while wearing the solution…

        1. That depends greatly on distance. Also, there is ceramic-layer armor that, although significantly more expensive than a solid aramid ballistic vest, can stop ordinary rifle rounds and high-velocity shrapnel at relatively close range. Stopping armor piercing rounds will probably require reactive armor of some sort.

          1. FYI – pistol appears to be a Taurus Judge – probably shooting .410 birdshot instead of a standard projectile.

    1. i agree. i suspect the whole thing is fake. i’ve worked in advertising, and i’m all too familiar with the general rule: no need to do something for real when it’s cheaper and easier to fake it. ackpht’s analysis is spot on. we never see the shot, or any evidence of a shot, other than the final hit, which could have come from any off camera source. i suspect the (clearly evident) instability of the copter would make this entire set up unlikely if not impossible, unless laser targeting was also employed. and the recoil…

      1. There’s a moment around  1:48 where the camera shows us the drone from behind the cell phone. Just a second later, there’s a moment where the camera shows us the cell phone from behind the drone, with no camera in sight. This suggests multiple takes from multiple camera angles.

        And the first two “shots” in the video are timed to sync with the music. You don’t hear an actual shot; you hear something added to the music track.

        All of which suggest that the “drone carrying gun shoots things”  is fake. Cute idea for an ad, though.

    2. I’d imagine the recoil would be so incredibly de-stabilizing to the aircraft.

      This whole video has Send-it-to-MythBusters written all over it.

    3.  It looks like they were shooting birdshot rounds from a .410 “shot-pistol”. A few pellets of birdshot may plausibly be deflected by a screen protector.

      It’s pretty clear fro the slow-mo footage that they were not firing a single solid bullet.

  7. Nice catch on this Spocko.
    It’s not entirely germane to your topic, but based on the editing and the instability of the platform, I doubt the targets were actually shot by gun on the platform. The scary thing is that they did appear to be actually firing the gun remotely. 

    1. It looks like the gun is a .45 colt/.45 long colt (not clear on the terminology there). But that sort of revolver can also fire .410 shotgun shells. And given that the close ups seem to be showing very small shot striking the targets I think we can assume that’s what they’re doing. .410’s have very, very low recoil so that would help with stability and accuracy. It would also decrease the need for accuracy, and reduce any damage done. Especially with what looks like bird shot. 

      1. I’d guess it is a Taurus Judge, which shoots .410 shotgun rounds, note how long the cylender is. So it is hitting the phone with small shot (and you can see multiple impacts on the other things shot). Of course, we never see the copter shooting anything….

        The screen protector spreads the load out enough for the phone’s screen to handle it. They may well have played around with different loads and distances until they got something where it fails with out the screen protector, and survives with it.

        1.  In the youtube notes, it says it is in fact a Taurus Judge, Public Defender: .410/ Colt 45

      2. came here for this.  in the slow-mo, you can see that only very small particles hit the phone.  “looks like bird shot” was my thought, too.  VERY different than getting hit by a bullet, as implied by the revolver.  good work sorting out that it was the special Colt.  although, with all the trick editing, they may as well have used a desert eagle on the ‘copter’s shots and a BB gun for the phone’s shots…

  8. I remember reading about some other exacopter shooting a gun here on BB a few months ago. It’s not all that hard to do.

    The newsworthy thing is that it is featured in a commercial. It’s getting mainstream. Sorta like when I told a friend the other day that I have a 3D printer, she asked me if I had made a gun with it yet.

    1. Righto, bro, when the girlies get hip to something, then you know it’s gone mainstream.

          1. I couldn’t find anything in nixiebunny’s recent comment history to indicate gender. Maybe it was during the school-year when I mostly abstain from BB wonderfulness.

            On the other hand, which is more likely, that someone wouldn’t know whether or not a person they regard as a friend was a geek, or that someone had made an assumption on the internet about someone they didn’t actually know?

            I also find calling women “girlies”…gratingly infantilizing, and would be kind of irritated if someone used it to refer to any friend of mine.

  9. “The company, Clearplex, has many videos of it’s screen protector…”

    “It’s” is always a contraction, never possessive.  Fight apostrophe disease!

    1. Yeah, I caught that after I submitted it to Boing Boing. Damn it. Two mistakes in less than a paragraph! I really need an editor. Thanks for the catch. 

  10. If you were, hypothetically, actually going to weaponize a quad or octocopter, small arms designed for humans are probably not the best place to start(cheap and convenient, yes, well suited to the goal, not so much).

    With a fixed-wing aircraft(of any size) mounting guns facing either forward or directly backward, recoil is rather neatly aligned with trajectory and (while stresses on the frame and loss of speed aren’t negligible, especially for very small aircraft) recoil won’t be seriously disrupting the direction the aircraft is pointing.

    With a quadcopter, the recoil is going to be closer to perpendicular than to parallel. The inertial control systems are good enough that the copter probably won’t flip over, and will regain position within a second or two; but sub millisecond stability will be pretty ugly indeed, for anything that isn’t large enough to damp recoil by sheer inertia.

    What you’d probably want to use instead would be a miniaturized version of a recoilless rifle or rocket launch tube. Not as efficient as their fully enclosed brethren; but markedly larger projectiles are possible from mounts that would otherwise be far too flimsy for the purpose.

  11. Heck pretty soon everyone will be able to get their own armed drone.  You will able to buy one at a local gun show.  The NRA will make sure of that.

  12. Open Source Drones are the next logical step in open source weapons.
    I imagine we could see a printed Glock drone pistol mount any day.

    It would be a good thing for the people of the world to have at least some pale imitation of the small arms technology of their governors. History has shown that when arms technology is limited to one group, that group tends to exploit the tech for their own powers and ends. The same is true of communications tech, which is why the NSA is spying on everyone.

  13. This is why the standard load out these days for the school drop off or downtown is depleted uranium Drone Loads:

  14. Did any of those pellets actually hit the phone? I see about 15-20 pellets, only one of which bounces away from the phone. It seems to have struck near the button, but it could even have bounced up off the stump (you can’t see where it strikes because the stump is blocking your view). All of the other pellets fly straight past the phone, and the phone seems to fall over from unbalancing rather than recoil. The phone without Clearplex gets a couple of direct hits near to the center and you can see the amount of force it absorbs is much higher.

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