With Data Trails out and additional matrix actions available, the following question came to my mind when reading the garbage in/garbage out Matrix action:

It states that you can repgrogam a smartgun system e.g. to eject the magazine when the user gives the fire command. What would happen if the user of a smartgun weapon instead pulls the trigger manually? Does the trigger give the fire command to the smartgun, thus ejecting the magazine, or does the trigger just fire the weapon directly, as it would in a weapon without smartgun system, bypassing the garbage in/garbage out command?

I am also open to answers regarding this question in general (not specified to the provided example), as manually pulling the trigger is just one example that comes to mind here.


The weapon fires normally.

These benefits only apply when the item’s wireless mode is on. (Wireless Bonuses, CRB 421)

The trigger is a manual trigger, it's a mechanical system. It isn't affected by the smartgun system and will work even on a dead zone (no wireless connection). A smartgun with the touch system (no trigger), wouldnt work though if you remove the fire command.

What you could do to mess with an enemy is replace the lock target with the eject command, that way, when they aim at someone with his smartgun and try to obtain that +1 bonus, his weapon will eject the clip.

Remember that some smartguns can even fire mentally, without someone even holding the gun.

In 4ed Arsenal we had Eletronic Firing (could be applied to any gun) and Trigger Removal (smartguns only), which explain how to replace the mecanical trigger with one controlled eletronically:

Electronic Firing: With this modification, most of the weapon’s moving parts are removed and it fires electronically, meaning that an electrical signal detonates the bullet’s propellant. This provides 1 point of recoil compensation (for restrictions on recoil compensation, see p. 148) and a –1 dice pool modifier to sound-based Perception Tests when trying to locate where the weapon is being fired from. Electronic firing is usually combined with trigger removal (see p. 153) to further reduce the number of moving parts, but this is not mandatory. The weapon still includes a loading mechanism that moves the bullet into the chamber, and it requires caseless ammunition.

Trigger Removal (Smartguns Only): The time needed to mechanically pull a trigger might just be the fraction of a second, and the deviation of the barrel due to the movement of the trigger finger just the fraction of a millimeter, but this is enough for many professionals to instead rely on wireless commands. The game effect of removing the trigger is negligible, but the gun can no longer be fired manually. A weapon without a mechanical trigger can only be fired by wireless command, via skinlink or smartlink, or over a fiberoptic cable that connects the weapon with its user’s datajack.

In 5ed core book, the Smartgun System says you can fire the weapon without pulling the trigger, but it does not say you replace the mecanisms:

Smartgun system: This connects a firearm or a projectile weapon directly to the user’s smartlink. Incorporating a small camera and laser range finder, the smartlink keeps track of ammunition, heat buildup, and material stress. If you have a smartlink, you can mentally switch between gun modes, eject a clip, and fire the gun without pulling the trigger.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you cite something that says the trigger is mechanical and not software-mediated? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jun 3 '15 at 15:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was going to cite rules from Arsenal and Augmentation, but i noticed the 5ed tag and removed it. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Jun 3 '15 at 15:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ But we can use as reference the wireless rules in the core book, saying that a weapon with no wireless connection can still be used, but without granting any bonus to the wielder. Even with no rule, the weapon wouldnt need a trigger if it wasnt mechanical. Even if the trigger was software-mediated, you would need some kind of mechanical mechanism to activate the software. A button is still hardware, not software. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Jun 3 '15 at 15:26
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ If you provide the caveat that it's from 4e and might not fully apply, it's still illuminating and the asker can proceed according to their judgement. As for wireless: stuff that into the answer as well. Bare assertion is always less convincing than assertions with the reasoning explained, even if the reasons aren't hard-and-fast proof. :) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jun 3 '15 at 15:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that a dead zone doesn't prevent wireless firing either; it just prevents long distance wireless firing via the 'net. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Jun 4 '15 at 3:11

This is a hard question to answer because they don't specifically say how much of the gun is software. For example, the way you're imagining it, the trigger is as much a button as a mouse click. However it is my belief (until I find RAW) that the trigger is still a mechanical object, physically activating the gun to fire and not by compulsion of circuitry. The way I've always ran is that the "smart" part of the gun was a glorified camera with a HUD that could be accessed in the same way as a digital camera.


Depends on the weapon manufacturer

Pure weapon design speculation here

If you design a gun to be fired mostly by an electronic signal, it makes no sense to add such a heavy and space consuming part as a mechanical fireing mechanism.
In a modern car today when you turn the steering wheel you just give electronic signals to a digital system, and the same is true for the throttle. Where a few years ago was a large and heavy metal rod connecting your hand to the wheels physically, now is just a some wireing.

So I would imagine the same is true for guns. Low-end and old ones use traditional triggeres, this is the reason a conversion for smartlink system is so expensive for those. But high-end gun, designed for smartlink from the beginning only contains the wireing. This makes it vulnerable to electronic attacks, but more resistant to sand for example.
A smart manufacturer would use a wired connection between the trigger button and the firing circuit, but even today's companies do not always consider security.

As a DM I would rule that if fires normally, if it is only converted to smartlink after purchase, or it is from a respectable company.


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