This weeks episode is reviewing a firearm accessory called a Shotcam by Burris.  Please click the READ MORE below to read the article and view the video link to the video portion of our webcast.


Review of Burris Shotcam

by Jessie Indracusin

Introduction

I was reading through one of my firearms periodicals when I noticed an advertisement for a video recording device for a gun.  This sparked my interests greatly and I had to investigate this further.  With the constant problems that face the average citizen who live in non-gun friendly States, this seemed like an excellent option for my viewers to protect themselves.  I would also like to thank Burris for providing this for evaluation. 

What is a Shotcam?

A Shotcam is a device that you can connect to a number of different weapons, as long as they have a universal rail mount.  The Shotcam has both a light and laser that is in addition to the Video and Voice functions the device has.  The video is shot at 640 x 480 VGA resolution. This chosen resolution is both for video quality and size, so the device can hold more information.The device is capable of going into still frame mode from video if the capacity dies down.  The amount of data that can be recorded is about an hour.  

The device does add noticable weight to a handgun.  On a rifle or shotgun, this is completely un-noticable. 

When this device is coupled with a special holster that is designed for the Shotcam, when you remove the gun from the holster, the gun will automatically turned on.  This is done via some special magnet system of sensing the gun has left the holster.  We did not have one of these holsters for the test, so I can not comment on how effective this feature works.

There are other optional accessories for the gun, including a touchpad for rifles or shotguns.  We also did not have this item to test with.

Law Enforcement Use

The primary target audience for this device has been Law Enforcement.  You tell this by the handguns they support out of the box and the guns that the holster manufacturer's support.  These are primarily most Glock Series pistols, limited Ruger options, Beretta PX4 and the S&W M&P line.  Unfortunately, my M&P pistol was out for trigger work so we mounted it on an HK45.

So why would Law Enforcement want this?  Imagine a situation in court where you have to answer for shooting incident.  The officer is on patrol late at night responding to a burglary and is investigating the situation.  As he is searching the backyard, he sees a person climbing out the back window.  The office has the gun drawn and aims it at the suspect, dicating orders to the suspect to comply.  The suspect pulls a knife from his pocket and the officer shoots.  The police department has a complete video recording of the incident. 

Now let's think about the court room 6 months later.  The suspect now has a clean shave, hair has been combed, wearing a nice clean suit maybe even has a smile.  The Defense Attorney mentions how this suspect is an active member of his church groups, builds homes for Habitat for Humanity and is one week away from finding the cure for cancer (okay, you get my point with this).  Now we look at the video of the person dressed in all black, crawling out a bedroom window at 1:00 AM in the morning and making an aggressive move on an officer after clear warning.  How do you think the court case is going to go with the jury?

There is also a term versus video behavior versus public behavior.  How often do you see people who know they are being video taped act  completely different and become the perfect Priest when someone shines a video camera on them.  This can also be the case in Law Enforcement.  If a department has had a lot of bad press related to shooting incidents in a large Metropolitan Police Department, this may be an excellent way of regaining trust with the community.  It directly counters all the claims of missconduct on the officer's part and the officer themselves may also alter their behavior a bit knowing the gun camera is there.

So how does this device fit in with Law Enforcement? Let me give you an objective opinion on my thoughts about the device in it's current state.  The idea is excellent, but I would not want the device on my gun as an officer.  The reason is size and bulk.  Taking it out to the range, it changed my shooting quality with now having the front of the gun be so front heavy.  The device really needs to shrink in size.  I am sure Burris probably has another device in the works that has taken advantage of newer technologies start making this device smaller.

However, that being said, I think Burris is on the right track for what the future of Law Enforcement is going to look like.  This device needs to come down to the size and weight of a more typical laser/light combo.  I think if they can take what was learned from this device and improve upon it, this could have some excellent Law Enforcement applications.  

However, as a Law Enforcement Training tool, this device has significant potential.  An instructor can review now not only video of recording an officer shoot from an angled video camera, he can now view from the gun itself.  You can see things like trigger control (or lack their of), gun flip and just general steadiness of the gun.  This can also be used to train a guy how to shoot within his "wiggle" room.  

SWAT teams having these on long guns can provide all of the benefits as mentioned before, but without the cons of weight.  For example, having this mounted on the UMP 45 had no noticable change in weight, balance or shooting.  The same held true on an AR.  Of course, storage of weapons now require a place to connect the charging cable to the light to ensure the device has a full charge on it when it is used.  This could be a potential problem.

Civilian Use

I mention this in my video that I really like this device for my viewers that live in non-gun friendly States.  They have an old saying of "Rather be judged by 12 then carried by 6".  Well that holds true in most States, but I can tell you that if you have to defend your actions in an Anti-gun State, you might get to the point you wish the opposite.  The Shotcam can be your own little documentary that you film of your break in at the house.  Think of it as your own viral video for your court defense.  The same things I mentioned earlier about how a suspect seems to look like Joe Perfect Citizen in court, goes to hell when they see the video off the end of your gun.  

 Keep in mind, out in the State of Texas we have Castle Doctrine Law.  The use of this becomes a bit limited since we have clear cut rules that say you are allowed to protect your property with no requirement or concern of retreat.  In a nutshell, when someone steps foot in your house that you don't want their (or technically your property that even extends to your vehicle), they basically become maggot food.  There is no discussion if you could have ran out the backdoor and called 911.  You have the right to end the incident their.  

However, not all States are as forward thinking and utilize "Common Sense" to gun laws (I love being able to pladgiarize one of Obama's favorite terms and turn it around).  So if I was living in California, would I want this on my gun I use for Home Defense?  Absolutely.  Is this device very expensive? Yes.  Is the cost even noticable if I have to pay for criminal defense in court for protecting my own life?  Not at all.

Conclusions

The price tag of this accessory is about $700.00 before you get into accessories, adapters, etc.  This is a very unique device and something that should be seriously considered if you have certain use case scenarios where you feel this could be beneficial.  For my viewers, "Legal Defense" for Home Defense rates high up their.  I would continue to monitor Burris in the future for enhancements on this design.  I also want to mention one other quick fact.  During the evaluation of this, I didn't tighten this down as tight as I needed too and launched this device down range, slamming along the concrete a few times.  It is VERY durable for an electronic device.

 

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Last Updated (Sunday, 18 April 2010 18:05)