Of all the many things our county is known for producing – maple syrup, hockey stars, ketchup chips, snow — "firearms" have never really been associated with Canadian innovation.
Canada did not invent the gun, nor do its citizens even have the constitutional right to carry one without a license, proper training and a thorough background check.
Heck, if media stereotypes have taught us anything, most Canucks would rather throw down with hockey gloves than wave around a glock.
So why is Canada being credited this week for shaping "the future of firearms?"
Because it appears to be true, that's why.
Canadians may not be huge on carrying guns, but when it comes to building insanely cool next-generation assault rifles, our government is leading the game.
Tech and innovation enthusiasts have been buzzing about Canada's new "smart gun" since a prototype video (seen above) was released earlier this month by Defence Research and Development Canada, a civilian agency of the Department of National Defence.
Developed in partnership with Colt Canada for the Canadian Armed Forces, the headline-grabbing integrated assault rifle concept boasts "more firepower, improved accuracy and smart integrated accessories that connect to command and control networks" according to a DRDC press release.
It also includes "a firing mechanism to shoot lightweight cased telescoped ammunition, a secondary effects module for increased firepower and a NATO standard power and data rail to integrate accessories like electro-optical sights and position sensors."
Oh — and an M203 grenade launcher.
"In the medium term, this weapon concept represents a lethal, flexible general-purpose platform,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Serge Lapointe, from the Soldier Systems group in Director Land Requirements – Soldier Systems (DLR 5) of the Canadian Army. “It will be able to operate in all theatres of operations in the most complex terrain including urban areas, mountains, jungles, deserts and the Arctic.”
These features, and the fact that this "smart gun" would allow soldiers to generate or receive data from their command networks is exciting to many — but what's really got the internet paying attention is the promise of a gun that can shoot on its own.
Several international media outlets have run with the angle that Canada's new smart gun, which has been in development since 2009, can "find, aim and shoot at a target all by itself," sparking even more interest in the project.
The DRDC did not actually mention this set of features in its official release, however.
What the agency did share was that its team "studied how to increase the rifle’s accuracy using technology that can automatically detect targets and assist with engaging them."
"In the next phase of development, automated target detection and assisted target engagement will be the subject of an in-depth study in the Future Small Arms Research (FSAR) project," reads the Feb. 9 release on DRDC's website.
The evolution of the smart gun
February 9, 2015 More firepower, improved accuracy and smart integrated accessories that connect to command and control networks are the headline features of the new integrated assault rifle concept that Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) and Colt Canada have developed for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).
Self-shooting or not, many are impressed by what they've seen of the Canada's future weapons thus far.
Calling the prototype a "smart gun worthy of a Schwarzenegger movie," Gizmodo's Adam Clark Estes wrote "the new Colt-made Canadian smart gun is a glimpse into the future of firearms."
"America's friendly neighbor to the north has designed and tested a new smartgun with foreboding firepower for its military," wrote Dylan Love for The Daily Dot. "That's right, Canada has made a digital killing machine."
Who'd a thunk it? Since most other countries are making kazillions of dollars on the arms trade - often supplying weapons to both sides of a war, Canada might just as well join in.