Armory Track

All you need to know about Armory Tracking

Introduction

There are over 1 Billion firearms in the global marketplace, with approximately 133 million small arms in military arsenals and 23 million owned by police organizations.  From prior to World War II to present day, military, police, security organization and related armories have generally followed the same processes and standard-operating-procedures for managing weapons, gear and ammo, meaning that the processes are outdated.  The extensive requirements and manual processes associated with typical armory tracking can be further understood via the U.S. Army’s Armory Arms Room standard operating procedures: (https://home.army.mil/liberty/application/files/3714/8121/1487/DES_AROC_FINAL_SLIDE_DECK.pdf

Over the last twenty (20) years or so, there has been significant spending for modern, space efficient storage systems, but, the processes to manage the identification, accountability and security of weapons, gear and ammo have remained largely stagnant and out-of-date.  

Most armories, in any setting, military, police, sheriff, corrections, security company, etc., are still utilizing .doc and .xls to manage data, and clipboards/forms/physical documents-files to manage the information related to Issue, Return and Inventory functions, and hanging weapon tags to indicate alerts, such as Do Not Arm.   As such, armory functions are manual-based, time consuming, error-prone and inefficient.  To date, there has been limited adoption of database software and technology to enhance armory management to streamline processes, to improve performance speed, accuracy and security.

A minor subset, less than 5% currently, of the organizations that manage weapons, gear and ammo have engaged vendors specializing in armory management to deliver software, tracking and security technologies to transition armory management and weapons tracking to modern operations.  Some examples of cutomers that have started implementing current technology for armory management, and that this author has worked with, include the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Air Force, Saudi Arabia Royal Guard, Bermuda Police, U.S. Space Force and the FBI.  

There is need for greater accountability and security for the management of armories.  What did the procurement department order and what was actually received at warehouse(s) and/or armory(s)?  Can we account for all weapons, gear and ammo at every moment in time, instantaneously…and the data is correct?  Are we automating Issue, Assignment, Return, Check-in, Check-out processes?  Can we perform rapid and accurate inventories of armories and warehouses?  Can we prevent the unauthorized removal of weapons at exit points?   These and many other considerations are addressed through proven vendor-provided armory and warehouse management solutions for weapons, gear and ammo.

What is a weapon tracking system?

A weapon tracking system provides registration, tracking, accountability and security of weapons, gear and ammo for armories, warehouses and depots.   The primary components of a weapon tracking system include:

  • Software
  • Software and solution configuration
  • Tracking technologies
  • Security technologies
  • Labels and tags
  • Installation services and ongoing support
Example Armory Management Weapon Tracking System
Figure 1: Example Armory Management Weapon Tracking System

Software

Weapon tracking armory management software best practices is COTS commercial-off-the-shelf software (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commercial_off-the-shelf) that is rapidly configurable to an organization’s exacting data, workflow, tracking, security and reporting requirements.  COTS software is an alternative to the commissioning of custom-made, or ‘bespoke’, solutions. 

COTS armory management solutions provide the full features of the vendor’s software based on the vendor’s internal software design efforts, and based on the features and functions provided for all prior customers.  As such, the software continues to enhance over time in both capabilities and in terms of supporting most-current technology standards. 

COTS solutions eliminate the risks and costs of a custom developed one-off solution, and is assured of being continually developed and maintained over time, whereas custom-made solutions often lose key developers and the solution becomes difficult to support or fails to maintain support for current technologies, in either case rendering the software and system unusable.

Following are the primary capabilities of armory management weapon tracking software:

Unlimited software templates

A template is a collection of data fields and data field drop-down lists that are configured for an organization’s specific requirements.  Software templates support both serialized (uniquely identified) and non-serialized (an item-type where all items share a common identification, such as a common barcode).  The armory tracking software can be configured with a single template including fields to define all of an organization’s object types, or, separate templates can be configured so that data is more precise based on the object-type.  Example templates can include any or all of the below:

  • Personnel
  • All Object-types
  • Lethal Weapons
  • Non-Lethal Weapons
  • Weapon Dependent Gear
  • Gear
  • All Non-Serialized Items
  • Non-Serialized Items by Object-type
  • Ammo Boxes
  • Cartons
  • Cases
  • Parts

organizational and personal dashboards

  • Organizational dashboards utilize graphs, charts and pop-up data to provide a weapon tracking system User a snapshot view of the armory’s most important management information, such as statuses, tasks and locations.  Organizational dashboards include task, alert and messaging icons and lists, so that workflows are identified and prioritized.  Upcoming tasks display on a dashboard calendar and are color-coded based on level of priority.
  • Personal dashboards display rows of data for all tasks and messages received by weapon tracking system Users, keeping staff continuously updated on their work requirements and their participation in task workflows.  Users can open and respond to messages and can open and execute tasks, update task status, route tasks and update task workflows.

Issues, returns and assignments (check-out and check-in)

Personnel Authentication

Personnel that are to receive weapons, gear and ammo for short-term duty cycle or long-term assignment must be authenticated prior to transferring items to the person.  Personnel authentication can be performed by:

The management of the intake and outtake of weapons gear, gear and ammo is the centralized command center of the software, managing critical data elements to enable rapid and accurate tracking of items Issued or Returned according to compliance requirements and best-practices.  Armory management weapon tracking software automatically performs database lookups to quickly guide the User through check-out processes according to standard operating procedures.  Core tracking capabilities include:

  • Sight
  • Database lookup to review photo and personnel data
  • ID card visual review
  • ID card scan
  • Fingerprint scanner

Once an officer, solider or any security person is authenticated, the armory management weapon tracking system will automatically reconcile critical personnel data throughout the process of Issuing and Assigning of weapons, gear and ammo to authorized personnel.

Issue, Assign, Checkout

For county-based U.S. corrections departments, the U.S. military and for global, national and regional military and police forces, weapons, gear and ammo are typically Issued to personnel for a specific duty-cycle, generally for a duration of approximately eight (8) to twelve (12) hours.  This could be a force of ten (10) personnel or 100’s of personnel that are each being either Issued weapons, gear and ammo or returning weapons, gear and ammo.

For county-based U.S. corrections departments, the U.S. military and for global, national and regional military and police forces, weapons, gear and ammo are typically Issued to personnel for a specific duty-cycle, generally for a duration of approximately eight (8) to twelve (12) hours.  This could be a force of ten (10) personnel or 100’s of personnel that are each being either Issued weapons, gear and ammo or returning weapons, gear and ammo.

Issuing weapons, gear and ammo is an intensive and extensive exercise, with 100’s or 1,000’s of decision points for an armorer to process when Issuing weapons, gear and ammo to authorized personnel, including:

  • Database lookup of the person’s ARM / Do Not ARM status.  If person has been designated ‘Do Not ARM’, then legal, compliance and standard-operating-procedures dictate that no weapons are to be Issued to this person.  If weapons are Issued to this person and there is an incident where a weapon or weapons are drawn or fired, there can be significant legal and civic public relations consequences.  Personnel can be marked ‘Do Not ARM’ for disciplinary, legal, psychology or for any reason deemed appropriate by command / management.
  • If the person is marked ‘ARM’, then the armory management weapon tracking system automatically looks-up the weapon-types and the specific serial #’s that are assigned to the person.  This is typically based on the common operational practice that the weapons that personnel utilize when being trained, test firing and being certified to carry weapons, are the specific weapons to be Issued to the person for duty.  The weapons assigned to the person automatically display on a modern armory management tracking system computer screen and/or tablet PC.  Additionally, if there is weapon dependent gear, like a sight, those objects will also display on the tracking screen.  Further, the # of magazines that are prescribed for check-out for each weapon-type also display on the tracking screen.
  • If the person is being deployed to a specific duty-station or post, then the Armorer can select the Post to which the person is being dispatched to perform duty, and all weapons, gear and magazines required for that post-assignment will also automatically display on the screen, including both serialized items as a one-each unit, and, non-serialized items which are designated by selecting a quantity.

The armorer can rapidly delete any weapons, weapon dependent gear, gear, magazines or non-serialized items that are not going to be Issued. 

  • The armorer will pull from within the armory each of the items that displayed on the armory management weapon tracking system Check-out screen that were not deleted from the transaction.  As well, the armorer can pull any items that the Armorer deems appropriate for the duty assignment and real-time circumstances, though the items may not have automatically displayed after the person’s authentication.  When the item is pulled and is moved by the Armorer to a check-out computer station, or by using a tablet PC, the Armorer can validate that the custody of each item that is being transferred, including these typical methodologies:
  • Lookup the item in the database and identify the item ID number based on the data in the database.
  • View an item’s factory displayed serial number and input that number with electronic or physical keyboard.
  • View an ID # that has been etched onto or written in magic marker on the item and input that number with electronic or physical keyboard.
  • View an ID label on the item that shows a unique ID number and input that number with electronic or physical keyboard.
  • Scan a barcode on the item with a USB or Bluetooth barcode scanner.
  • Scan a RFID tag on the item with a USB or Bluetooth RFID / barcode scanner.
  • Issue-Return windows and / or doorways can be equipped with network connected RFID antennas that automatically detect items being passed by an Armorer to a recipient without the Armorer being required to physically scan the RFID object being transferred to personnel.
  • Laptop or computer can permanently reside upon, or be temporarily placed, on a rolling cart, along with tracking scanner, electronic signature pad, fingerprint scanner, printer, and any other hardware, for moving from within armory to Issue-Return windows or doorways for convenient transactions at each physical location.
  • For non-serialized items, without a Unique ID number, the Armorer can scan an item-type barcode that is placed on storage locations in proximity to the items, or utilize an Item-Type Master Binder that displays each item-type with photo, data and barcode, enabling Armorer to scan an item-type barcode and then decrement the items being transferred to indicate that they are being Issued to the person’s custody.
  • All of the items that are being Issued and checked-out by the Armorer can be displayed for the recipients visual inspection prior to accepting custody of the items that the Armory indicates are being transferred.  The primary methods that armory management weapon tracking systems validate transfer-of-custody are include:
    • The armorer can unilaterally transfer custody without the person receiving weapons, gear and ammo having any oversight or visibility.
    • The items being transferred to the recipient can display as data on a large, high resolution electronic signature pad screen, including item type, description and serial #.
    • The items being transferred to the recipient can display on an external monitor, including photo, item type, description and serial number.
    • The armorer can hand a tablet PC showing the items being transferred to the person’s custody on the tablet.

The recipient either signs the electronic signature pad, signs the tablet PC armory management weapons tracking software application, uses fingerprint scanner on tablet PC, or uses fingerprint scanner connected to a check-out station computer.

  • During the check-out process, an organization using a modern armory management weapons tracking system can produce any forms that are required according to standard operating procedures, utilizing the data from the computerized check-out process to populate the form(s).  Modern armory management weapon tracking systems enable forms to be generated matching formal form design standards, and the form(s) save to the database, can be viewed, can be printed and can be emailed.
  • The Armorer then can finalize the Issue transaction and all of the locations of all of the items transferred to the custody of the recipient are updated within the armory management weapon tracking system database.  An audit trail record of the transaction is also saved to the database and which cannot be deleted, that includes data about the Issue transaction and including pointing to electronic signature or fingerprint as a proof-of-transfer-of-custody to the recipient.  Check-out audit trail records include Armorer Issuing weapons, gear and ammo, person receiving the items, date and time and the items transferred.
Returns

Utilizing a computer, laptop or Tablet PC, when personnel present to return the items that were Issued to their custody, the following process occurs:

  • All of the items that were Issued to the person at the onset of their duty cycle, display as photos and data on the Return / Checkin software screen. 
  • Items are checked-in by RFID antennas, USB scanners or by entering serial numbers by keyboard, and all of the items are quickly returned to the armory, which should only take less than a minute.
  • Each time that weapons, gear and ammo are returned to an armory, and audit trail record is created including the person returning items, the Armorer receiving the items, the items received, date and time.
Armory management
Figure 2: Example Armory Management Weapon Tracking Software at an Armory Issue-Return Station
Figure 3: Example Armory Technical Configuration

Armory inventory and audits

After a shift turn-over, a mobile RFID-barcode scanner with Smartphone or Tablet PC device can be utilized to rapidly scan RFID tagged items and barcoded items, as well as keyboard entry of non-tagged item serial #’s.  Non-serialized items are counted.  The armory inventory displays every weapon, weapon dependent gear, gear, magazine, ammo box, carton, case, part and including quantities where appropriate, so that there is an instantaneous Armory Accountability Report generated after each Issue-Return cycle, demonstrating 100% accountability of all items.

Modern armory management weapon tracking systems also enable the use of mobile scanners with smart device or Tablet to Audit an Armory.  The difference between an Inventory and an Audit, is that an inventory detects ‘what’s in the armory’.  Whereas an Audit initiates by displaying all items expected to be in the armory, based on what the armory management weapon tracking software indicates is in the armory, and after scanning all items in the armory, rows of data display including intelligent determination of the status of all items:

  • Expected and found.
  • Expected and not found.
  • Unexpected and found.

As such, an Armorer can adjudicate the operation of the armory and the identification of its items real-time with the mobile scanning system.  

If there are any expected items that were not detected during the Audit, the ‘missing’ item ID numbers can be entered to the mobile scanner armory management weapon tracking system mobile computing system.  The scanner transmits radio waves approximately 25’ to rapidly identify all RFID-tagged items.  The scanner supports scanning the barcodes on any items that are barcoded, and entering serial numbers by keyboard if required.  The mobile scanner utilizes frequency of audible beeps, a cold-warm-hot color scale and a 0 to 100 numeric index to enable Armorers to rapidly locate needed items.

Armory management
Figure 4: Example Armory Inventory-Audit Depiction Utilizing Mobile Scanner

Smart Weapon Storage Systems

An additional and specialized capability for the management and Issuing of weapons and magazines is the use of Smart Weapon Storage Systems.  Smart Weapon Storage 

Systems can function as an automated self-service system without an armorer present, or can be overseen by an armorer.  Smart Weapon Storage Systems automate personnel authentication with built-in tablet PC’s, utilizing ID card, personnel identification number or fingerprint.  Lockers store pistols and magazines and latching racks store long arms with clamps and butt holders.  Sidearm lockers and Long Arm butt holders including RFID technology to automatically track weapons and magazines in and out of the system.

Armory management
Fig 5: Example of Smart Weapon Storage Systems

Tracking Methodologies and Technologies

A leading armory management weapon tracking system will support a wide range of tracking technologies, and can blend tracking technologies based on the needs of the organization implementing a system.   The primary tracking methodologies and technologies for all items in an armory, including weapons, gear and ammo, are discussed below:

Unique serial #’s visible on weapons and gear

Most all armories today are tracking weapons, gear and ammo using unique (serialized) or common (non-serialized) identification numbers.  In many cases, weapon and gear manufacturers place a identification number on the items that they deliver to an armory, or, have a manufacturing produced identification number on the item.  Many armories also use etching tools, internally produced labels or magic markers to identify each item with a unique identification number.  

Modern armory management weapon tracking systems also enable system Users to query the database to Search for an item in the armory management tracking system software, to identify the unique identification number.

These identification numbers can be input by physical or electronic keyboard using computers, laptops, tablets and phones.  Below is an example:

Figure 7: Examples of 1D and 2D barcodes on weapons

Barcode technology

When implementing an armory management weapon tracking system, many organizations procure barcodes to place on each weapon or gear item.  Barcodes are typically provided to customers with sequential #’s, starting with number 000001 and ascending depending on how many items are to be barcoded.  The sequential barcode number is input to the armory management weapon tracking system software database record for each item that is barcoded, so that scanning a barcode is the equivalent to keyboard entry of the serial number.  In other words, the serial number and barcode number are linked in the database.  There are two (2) primary types of barcodes:  1) 1D barcode which most people are familiar with, such as a product UPC barcode number; the barcode represents a unique identification number and that is the only data rendered by the barcode and 2) 2D barcode which can hold multiple data fiends within the barcode, but, for armory management weapon tracking systems, typically 2D tags are utilized due to their small size, and only include a unique identification number but not other data elements.  As example:

Armory Management
Figure 7: Examples of 1D and 2D barcodes on weapons

Non-serialized items in an armory require different processes and armory management weapon tracking system capabilities.  There are some item-types, such as boxes of ammunition that all share a common barcode number, similar to retail products…where all items of a specific-item type utilize the same identification number, most often represented by a barcode.  There are other items like OC Spray, handcuffs, flashlights and similar items that may each have a unique identification number, but often the items are managed based on a common, non-unique identification number and barcode.  Rather than scanning the barcode or entering the barcode number when items are being Issued or Returned, a barcode is scanned for the item and then the item is incremented or decremented.  When items are being Issued, the items are decremented (removed from the armory) and when items are first received by the armory and being added to the armory inventory, the items are incremented (added to or returned to location = armory).  There are two primary methods for automation of tracking of non-serialized items, based on a common identification number and/or barcode:

Barcode labels that identify non-serialized item-types can be placed at storage locations in proximity to the item-type in storage.  These barcodes can also be placed in a Registry Binder that includes the barcode and item-type data for each item-type.  The common identification number barcode number can be scanned with mobile scanner to identify the item-type and then the mobile scanner device or tablet can be utilized to increment or decrement the non-serialized items being Issued or Returned.  The barcodes can also be scanned from Registry Binder at a computer and scanned with USB barcode scanner.

Armory management
Figure 8: Example Non-serialized item-type barcodes

Barcodes are available that meet U.S. Department of Defence ‘Mil-Spec’ requirements and are available in metal and poly materials.  Barcode technology supports scanning one barcode label at a time from close proximity, with USB, Bluetooth, mobile scanner or tablet.

UHF RFID Technology

UHF (Ultra-High Frequency) RFID enables many tags to be detected concurrently and from distances up to approximately 40’, and supports passive tracking of weapon, gear and magazines at Issue-Return windows and at exit doorways. 

RFID tags are available in many sizes and materials, including ultra-thin RFID labels, and can be placed within long arm and sidearm grips or on the exterior of weapons.  RFID tags can also be placed on the exterior of gear and magazines, as well as on cartons and cases.  

Many police and military organizations have adopted the use of RFID technology for armory management weapons tracking, including the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Space Force, U.S. Air National Guard, Bermuda Police Services and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).  RFID technology enables faster Issues and Returns, and much faster armory inventories.


The RFID industry as a whole and RFID for managing armories is rapidly advancing with sales consistently growing throughout the global market.  Modern armory management weapon tracking systems support advanced RFID antennas that enable real-time tracking of all RFID tagged items in armories and warehouses.

armory management
Figure 9: Example RFID tag within pistol grip

Bluetooth / GSM / GPS Technology

Leading armory management weapon tracking systems support tags that include Bluetooth, GMS and GPS technologies, and that include an accelerometer to detect ‘shots fired’.    Gear can be tagged with Bluetooth tags, though the tags are sizable:

Figure 10: Example Bluetooth Weapon or Gear tag

Tags that include Bluetooth (BLE), GSM, GPS and accelerometer functionality deliver significant capabilities, including:

  • Real-time tracking of weapons within an armory or warehouse providing real-time inventory data.
  • When a weapon exits the armory, the armory management weapon tracking system software automatically updates the location of the weapon or item to ‘out of armory’ or ‘out of warehouse’.  
  • If personnel have a Bluetooth RFID personnel tag on their person, then the weapon is automatically paired to the person carrying the weapon, and the armory management weapon tracking system automatically updates the location of the weapon to the officer carrying the weapon.
  • A Bluetooth sensor can be placed at vehicle / personnel property exit checkpoints and automatically tracked off of the base or away from a property.  A geo-fence can be defined to identify a property’s borders, such as a military base or a police property, using GSM and GPS technology.  When a weapon exits the physical property, the weapon tracking armory management system is automatically updated with location ‘off of property’.
  • A distance can be defined, such as 1’ or 10’, within which it is expected that weapons will always be within this distance from the officer or solider of custody.  If a weapon separates from officer or solider, whether an operational error or a theft, a ‘weapon separated from officer’ alert is automatically triggered and displays within modern armory management weapon tracking systems software.
  • If a shot or shots are fired, an automatic alert displays within the armory management weapon tracking system software.
  • Rapid Response Vehicles (RRV’s) can be equipped with GSM/GPS tags.  If a ‘weapon separate from officer’ or ‘weapon fired’ alert is triggered, then the armory management weapons tracking system can automatically transmit alert messages to tablets or laptops within RRV’s, patrol vehicles or other vehicles in proximity to the event, and, alerts can be transmitted to cell phones of personnel that are in proximity of the event.
Figure 11: Example Bluetooth, GSM, GPS, Accelerometer weapon tags

Whereas USA police and military have shown very little interest in GSM/GPS weapon, across the globe many police and military organizations have heightened interest in GSM/GPS weapon tracking and the features as described above.  Particularly countries where there are ‘terrorist’ or ‘bandit’ groups that may steal weapons from officers or other security personnel.  Whereas modern armory management weapon tracking systems have ready-to-deliver GSM/GPS weapon tracking and weapon security systems, it is important to note some of the challenges with implementing GSM/GPS weapon tracking solutions:

  • Whereas a barcode tag may range from approximately $0.15 to $0.75 and a RFID tag ranges from approximately $0.35 to $3.75, BLE/GSM/GPS weapon tags range from about $50.00 to $125.00 each.
  • GSM/GPS weapon tags are large, but can fit nicely into longarm grips.  However, to fit in sidearm grips requires that a new grip be provided for the sidearm.  Depending on the quantity of weapon types, for the engineering and manufacturing weapon grips, the costs per grip can range from $45,000.00 to $75,000.00 each.
  • Depending on how often a GSM/GPS weapon tag transmits its location (beacons its location), the battery, which is exactly like the kind of battery in mobile phones, the tag will generally last approximately one (1) to seven (7) days.  GSM/GPS weapon tags must be manually charged the same as a mobile phone is charged.  However, there are weapon storage solutions available that can include charging stations that enable convenient charging capabilities, but, storage systems that store weapons and enable charging of GSM/GPS tags are expensive.
  • If a weapon is left unattended, is separated from the person-of-custody or is stolen, the weapon can only be tracked for as long as there is available battery power.  Further, if a weapon is taken outside of an area where there is GSM coverage, then the weapon is not able to be tracked.  If the battery retains power, and the tagged weapon is removed from an area with GSM coverage but returns to an area with GSM coverage, then the weapon is again able to be tracked.
GSM GPS Weapon tracking
Weapon Tracking
Figure 12: Example GSM/GPS Weapon Tracking

Tracking, Security and IT Hardware

There are a wide range of hardware tracking devices to track weapons, gear and ammo, including different hardware for each of the technologies as described above as to weapon tag-types / technologies.  For U.S. military and federal government armory management weapon tracking systems, the vendor is required and must provide TAA compliant hardware (https://pricereporter.com/taa-trade-agreements-act-compliance-explained/).

Barcode Hardware

Barcode hardware is limited in scope, but effective in its purposes.

USB barcode scanners

USB bar code scanners enable rapid, accurate scanning of serialized weapon, gear, ammo, cart and case barcode labels for Issues, Returns, Transfers and Assignments.  USB barcode scanners have pistol grip design so that the scanner can be utilized in-hand, and are available with stands for hands-free barcode scanning.  USB barcode scanners ‘emulate’ the keyboard, so scanning a barcode is the same as entering a serial or identification number by keyboard, but faster and eliminating human error.  An approximate cost of a USB scanner is around $350.00.

Figure 13: Example USB barcode scanner
Bluetooth barcode scanners

Bluetooth barcode scanners function the same as a USB barcode scanner, with the importance difference being that Bluetooth barcode scanners can be connected to a USB port and function as a USB scanner, but, also can be carried around within the armory to scan tags ‘on the fly’ within a range of approximately 30’ distances from the computer to which the scanned barcode data is populating.  An approximate cost of a Bluetooth barcode scanner is around $750.00+.

Figure 14: Example Bluetooth barcode scanner
Mobile barcode scanners

Mobile scanning any barcode at any location without restriction relative to the distance the scanner is from a computer station.  If there is WiFi, then barcode scans automatically update the armory management weapon tracking system software real-time as barcodes are scanned.  If WiFi is not allowed, then the mobile barcode scanner will sync barcode data to the armory management weapon tracking system software by connecting to an Ethernet port or by connecting the scanner to a computer via USB port.  Mobile barcode scanners in armory and warehouse environments typically are utilized in the following manners:

  • Rapid and accurate inventories of all barcoded weapons, gear, ammo, carton, cases and parts with the purpose of identifying all barcoded items in an armory or warehouse to produce inventory reports and ensure accountability.
  • Rapid and accurate audits of all barcoded weapons, gear, ammo, cartons, cases and parts within an armory or warehouse, with the additional capability to auto-display on the mobile barcode scanners computing screen the items that are expected to be at the location being audited.  Once a location barcode is scanned, entered or selected from a drop-down list, the mobile barcode scanner displays a list of all items expected to be at the defined location.  The scanner then applies intelligence to the data captured by barcode scans, utilizing color-coding of each row of data relative to the items expected to be in the armory, warehouse or firing range, or a specific area of an armory, warehouse or firing range, including:
    • Expected and detected.
    • Expected and not detected.
    • Unexpected and detected.
    • Unknown barcode number detected.
Figure 15: Example Mobile Barcode scanner
Barcode printers

Standard office laser and inkjet printers printing to barcode label sheets or barcode thermal/thermal transfer printers enable printing onto rolls of labels.  Barcode printers are typically utilized to print:

  • Print item (serialized), item-type (non-serialized) and location barcode labels for the continuity of an armory management weapon tracking system over time as items, storage systems and locations change, are added or need to be replaced over time.
  • Print electronic forms real-time during Issue and Return transactions to produce the forms that are required according to standard operating procedures, and to capture signatures as may be required.
  • Print reports real-time, such as ‘armory turnover report’ after an Issue-return event, periodically such as weekly or monthly, or ad hoc as-needed.

Armory and Weapons Warehouse RFID (radio wave identification) Hardware

The primary differences between barcode and RFID technologies, are that all tags in proximity to a RFID antenna or mobile scanner can be detected all-at-once from distances of 25’+, and RFID-tagged items can be passively identified and tracked at Issue-Return windows and at exit doorways without staff being required to physically scan a RFID tag or barcode label.  Additionally, mobile RFID scanners include a ‘Locate’ function that enables needed or missing item identification numbers to be input to the mobile scanner, and rapidly located utilizing frequency of beeps, cold-warm-hot color scale and 0 to 100 numeric index.

USB RFID-Barcode scanners

USB RFID-barcode scanners include two (2) triggers, one of which prompts barcode scans, and the other trigger which prompts RFID scans.  As such, serialized RFID items, serialized barcoded items and non-serialized barcoded items can all be scanned with a single scanner during Issue-Return transactions.  USB scanners can be utilized with tracking stations, including:

  • A computer or laptop that is mounted on a desk or work surface in an armory or warehouse.
  • An all-in-one computer with touchscreen monitor can be mounted on wall in proximity to Issue-Return windows or at doorways that are used for transacting Issues and Returns, and the USB RFID-barcode scanner can be placed on shelf or can be mounted on wall for easy removal for scanning and returned to wall mount when not being used.
  • Laptops, workstation computers or tablets can be permanently placed on rolling carts, or moved from work surface inside of the armory to a cart at time of Issues and Returns and then returned to the work surface after Issue-Return transactions are completed.
Figure 17: Example USB RFID-Barcode scanner
Automated RFID Issue-Return windows.

RFID technology supports the use of network connected readers to which one (1) or more RFID antennas can be mounted that communicate directly with armory management weapon tracking software, including automates updates to the software whenever a RFID-tagged item passes through an Issue-Return window.

Figure 18: Example Armory RFID Issue-Return window

As shown in ‘Figure 3:  Example Armory Technical Configuration’, an Issue-Return window typically is equipped with:

  • Computer, laptop or tablet.
  • Fingerprint scanner to authenticate personnel.
  • RFID antenna for passive tracking of RFID-tagged weapons and items.
  • USB RFID-barcode scanner for manual tracking of RFID and barcoded items.
  • Electronic signature pad to validate transfer of custody.
RFID security and tracking doorways

Armory and warehouse doorways can be outfitted with RFID reader and antennas to identify RFID-tagged weapons as they approach exit-points to prevent the unauthorized removal of weapons from armories or warehouses.  RFID security and tracking doorways also include an alarm light emitter and video camera to alert armory and other personnel in proximity with horn alert and flashing lights.  

The RFID antenna detects the weapons within approximately 10’ of the doorway and automatically transmits the weapon tag number(s) to the armory management tracking system software.  If a weapon that approaches an exit-point has not been authorized for removal, the horn alarm, flashing lights and software alerts are automatically triggered.  If personnel have RFID ID cards, the person attempting to exit the armory or warehouse with a weapon unauthorized for removal, the armory management software will identify the person in an automatic audit trail history record in the software including:  time, date, doorway location, weapon(s) that were attempted to be removed, the person attempting to remove the weapons and link to video and/or photos of the event.

Figure 19: Example Armory Weapon Tracking and Security Doorway
Real-time armory and warehouse RFID tracking

State-of-the-art RFID armory management weapon tracking systems also support long-range antennas that provide a tag detection distance up to approximately 75’, enabling entire armories and warehouses to be continually and fully monitored and inventoried real-time.  All RFID tagged weapons, gear, magazines, ammo, cartons and cases are constantly tracked.  If an RFID-tagged weapon or item exits the weapons armory or weapons warehouse, the armory management weapon tracking software is automatically updated with Location = ‘Out of Armory’ or ‘Out of Warehouse’.

Figure 20:  Example Real-time armory and warehouse identification and tracking
Mobile RFID-barcode scanners with smart device or tablet

Mobile RFID-barcode scanners are available with smart device (an industrial version of a mobile phone) or a tablet PC to provide important armory management functions.  A belt holster is available to hold the mobile scanner when not in use, and the tablet includes rotating hand-strap, so that armory or warehouse staff can utilize the tablet or smart device with both hands, and then can retrieve the mobile scanner from holster when scanning is required.  

Both smart devices and tablets are synced real-time to the mobile scanner via Bluetooth, similar to how a speaker is synced to a mobile phone or tablet.  The mobile scanner can automatically update the armory management weapons tracking system software if there is WiFi, and if there is not WiFi, the mobile scanner data syncs with the armory management weapons tracking software by Ethernet connection or by utilizing the USB port of a PC, laptop or tablet.

Figure 21: Example Mobile RFID-Barcode scanner and optional Tablet PC

Armory and Weapons Warehouse Security Hardware

The best armory management weapon tracking systems include support for an array of security devices, fully integrated with the armory management weapon tracking system software.  Armory management tracking systems provide identification of items, accountability and tracking of items and security.  

Common armory and warehouse security hardware options include:

Standard and biometric access control devices

Control and limit access to armories and weapons warehouses with access control systems utilizing PIN number, identification card, key fob, phone sync, fingerprint, iris  or facial recognition.

Figure 22: Example armory / weapons warehouse personnel access control capability
Video surveillance cameras

Utilize cameras inside and outside of armories and weapons warehouses to capture video footage and/or still photographs that link to armory and warehouse events, such as an Issue-Return transaction or an attempt to remove weapons from an armory or weapons warehouse.

Figure 23: Example armory and weapon warehouse security camera
Pin # entry or Identification card, fingerprint, iris or facial recognition scanners

Authenticate personnel that are to receive weapons, gear and ammo by requiring input of personnel identification number, by scanning the person’s ID card or by capturing biometric data.  Once personnel are authenticated, the armory management weapons tracking system automatically verifies and displays the person’s demographic data, assigned weapons, weapon certifications status and ARM / Do Not Arm status.

Figure 24: Example personnel authentication device
Devices to validate the transfer of custody from armory to personnel

When weapons, gear and magazines are Issued or Transferred to personnel, the person receiving items should know the items that the armorer displays within the armory management weapon tracking system software to validate that the items the armorer indicates are being Issued are actually being received by the officer, solider or other security personnel.  The most common methods for personnel to validate acceptance-of-custody include 1) electronic signature pad that display serial number and descriptions of each item being Issued 2) fingerprint scan or 3) PIN number entry.

Figure 25: Example transfer-of-custody validation device
Horn alarms and flashing lights for armory and weapon warehouse security

Alarms and flashing light devices can be installed at armory and warehouse exit points and/or in security offices to alert staff if weapons or any RFID-tagged item approaches an exit point in an unauthorized manner.  Alarms and flashing lights assist in preventing the unauthorized removal of weapons or other items from armories or warehouses.

Figure 26: Example alarm and flashing lights to prevent unauthorized weapon removals.

Information technology (IT) hardware

Top armory management weapon tracking system vendors typically provide optional provision, implementation and support of IT hardware and networking as may be required for a project’s installation.  Modern armory management tracking system software can be deployed on cloud or local servers.  Typical IT hardware includes:

  • Server
  • Uninterrupted power supply
  • External hard drive for disaster recovery
  • Routers
  • Network switches
  • PoE switches
  • Workstations
  • All-in-one computers
  • Laptops
  • External monitors
  • Tablets
  • Networking of computing devices to server
  • Printers

Leading armory management weapon tracking system vendors include turn-key system implementations including IT hardware and services, tracking technology hardware, RFID tags and barcode labels, and security technology hardware.

Figure 27: Armory and warehouse management system IT topology

Armory management and weapons warehouse system implementation and training

Leading armory management weapon tracking system vendors install turn-key systems that include software, software configuration hardware, professional services, tags and labels, IT staff training and System User staff training.

The best choice for an armory management weapon tracking system is from a vendor that has a fully developed system that includes all of the features required for the management of weapons, gear and ammo, and that has been successfully deployed and proven across prior installations for police, military and security organizations.

It is always best to implement an armory management weapon tracking software solution that is configured to an organizations exacting data, tracking, workflow, security and reporting requirements.  The armory management tracking system should be designed to perform in the manner and according to the processes that an organization is already using, with improvements and changes made to current processes for available improvements to operational performance.  

To configure software requires a close collaborative working relationship between the organization implementing the system and the vendor that is assisting the organization with the system’s implementation.   There are important features and data sets that are required to optimize armory management weapons tracking, including:

  • Software templates like, weapons, gear, ammo and personnel.
  • Customized data fields for each template that defines each item-type.
  • Drop-down lists for appropriate data fields based on recurring data values, such as weapon-type or weapon-status lists.
  • Define the Locations at which items can be located, such as warehouses, armories and the personnel authorized to receive weapons, gear and ammo.
  • Define weapon statuses, such as active, inactive, damaged, surplused, etc.
  • Define the tasks that are performed by the armory or weapons warehouse, such as personnel ID card renewals, personnel weapon certifications, weapon test firing, weapon cleaning, weapon inspection and similar tasks.
  • If any tasks require multiple steps and/or actions or approvals from multiple personnel, the workflows are defined.
  • Establish alert dates for each Task or Workflow that to define when a task is due for completion, to alert designated system Users responsible for task fulfilment, and to display on the armory management weapon tracking system’s software dashboard calendar.

Ongoing support and system maintenance

Top armory management weapon tracking system vendors provide ongoing system support and maintenance, to ensure that staff are continually trained and that all system components are operating to expected performance metrics.  Typical ongoing armory management weapon tracking system support and maintenance includes:

  • Periodic updates to the server and database software platforms, so that systems remain most-current based on the changing standards of leading software platforms like Microsoft, Oracle and many others.
  • Peridodic update of the armory management weapon tracking system application software, to ensure that each organization utilizing the system has the most current version and can leverage the continued improvements to the COTS software over time.
  • As needed training of system Users to ensure successful usage of the armory management weapon tracking system software and operation, and training support for new Users assigned to the system’s usage.
  • Repair or replace hardware to ensure that all hardware is in place and performing to expected standards.

There are multiple methodologies for top armory management weapon tracking systems to be supported over time, wherever the organization is located globally, including:

  • The vendor and developer of the armory management weapon tracking system must provide full and guaranteed support of all aspects of the system, including 365 x 7 x 24 customer service, emails, conference calls, web-meetings and onsite visits as required.
  • The best armory management weapon tracking system vendors procure hardware from global, industry-leading manufacturers that provide onsite and remote hardware support, such as Zebra for barcode and RFID hardware (www.zebra.com)  to ensure that their hardware is working properly, repaired or replaced.
  • Top armory management weapon tracking system vendors often work with local partners in regions of countries, countries, regions of the globe or globally.  As such, an organization implementing a leading armory management weapon tracking system receive local support for both installations and ongoing support through a local, trusted vendor.

Why is armory management weapon tracking important?

Appropriate considerations for an organization to analyse include 1) can we produce an accurate and complete inventory ‘right now’ showing the locations of all weapons, gear and ammo 2) if there is an event, such as a weapon being drawn and/or fired, will the systems in use and the documentation in place ensure that the organization has operated in a compliant manner to avoid legal issues or public perception challenges and 3) can we reconcile all weapons, gear and ammo inventory data and usage against original procurement data to ensure accountability of all weapons, gear and ammo.

Authorities in command of weapons, gear and ammo should have and know that their systems are state-of-the-art and provide them with the best opportunity to fully understand and monitor system-wide weapon, gear and ammo assets, as well as personnel and all facets of monitoring personnel and their readiness and certification to perform their duties.

However, most police, military and security organizations globally are managing armories and weapons warehouse much in the same way as they did at the time of WWII.  Manual processes including clipboards, forms and documents in file folders.  Such systems and processes are intrinsically slow, error-prone and inadequately ensure or defend compliance and operating procedures.  Many military, police and security organizations have established sometimes complex spreadsheet systems for managing data about weapons, gear, ammo and personnel, but, spreadsheets are not a database, and spreadsheets are fundamentally limited in their level of performance, accuracy, capabilities and the ability to produce the reports and data that is needed at all and any point in time (https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/database-vs-spreadsheet).

The reasons that an armory management weapon tracking database technology solution is important include:

  • Leverage the benefits of database management technology to have the best control of your data and operations.
  • As may be appropriate, the armory management weapon tracking system can be synchronized and integrated with an organizations other database and software systems, such as Financial and ERP systems, for seamless information management.
  • Ensure that the weapons, gear and ammo that were procured were received and accounted-for through documented receipt by armories, warehouses and depots.
  • Speed the performance, accuracy and compliance of Issuing weapons, gear and ammo through the use of a database, entering item identification numbers, scanning barcodes or scanning RFID tags.
  • Authenticate personnel by armory management weapon tracking system software look-up, CAC or identification card scanning, PIN number entry or fingerprint.
  • Ensure that weapons being Issued to personnel match personnel assigned weapons, that personnel weapon certifications are current and that the person is marked OK TO ARM versus DO NOT ARM.
  • Identify the duty or post to which personnel are being assigned, and auto-display the weapons, gear and ammo required for the post or duty assignment.
  • Speed the performance, accuracy and compliance of weapons, gear and ammo being Returned to armories or weapon warehouses through automated software functions that auto-display the items that were Issued for ultra-fast and accurate tracking of weapons, gear and ammo being returned to armories and weapons warehouses.
  • Achieve best practices accountability by capturing identification number input, fingerprint scan or electronic signature of the personnel receiving weapons, gear and ammo for validation of transfer-of-custody.
  • Enable passive tracking of RFID-tagged weapons, gear and ammo without staff having to manually enter identification numbers or scan barcode labels or RFID tags, simply by passing items through an Issue-Return window.
  • Armory and weapons warehouse standard operating procedures typically require a complete armory inventory after weapon, gear and ammo Issue and Return turnovers / shift changes.  Mobile scanners enable rapid inventories of items with visible identification numbers, barcode labels and RFID tags.  The mobile scanner can also be utilized to rapidly audit armories as to expected and located items.  Typical armory inventories and audits are with clipboard and sheets of paper, or, laptop with spreadsheets, in both cases slow and error-prone.  Mobile RFID – Barcode scanners typically reduce the time required for armory and weapon warehouse inventories by 90%+.
  • Manual armory and warehouse management systems have inadequacies in providing weapons security and specifically the ability to identify weapons that approach an exit prior to the weapon(s) exiting the armory or weapons warehouse to visually and audibly alert armorers and staff in proximity that weapons are being removed from an armory or warehouse in an unauthorized manner.
Enhanced decision-making

Top armory management weapon tracking systems improve the speed, accuracy, compliance and security of armory, weapons warehouse and ammo depot operations.  Real-time strategic data for commanders, authorities and Users that displays on software informational dashboards and that can be instantly queried and/or reports generated enables better knowledge, and hence enables better decision making.

Ensure accountability of current and historical data related to weapons, gear, ammo and personnel

Armory, weapon warehouse and ammo depot accountability is optimized by having accurate, real-time data.  Current and historical data is up-to-date and immediately available to system Users.  Personnel authentication, transfer-of-custody, weapon certifications compliance, ARM/Do Not Arm and post requirements are all tracked and monitored real-time when weapons, gear and ammo are being Issued.

Improved ability to meet compliance requirements

Have accurate and up-to-date data.  Leverage armory management weapons tracking system software and technology to embed business rules with system configuration, ensuring best operational compliance and also the production of any forms or reports that are required to demonstrate and document compliance.

Security and risk of loss or theft

Fundamentally, the most important security benefits that are gained through the use of armory management weapon tracking systems is to utilize software and technology to authenticate personnel and to validate transfer-of-custody, as described herein.  That is the foundation of the management and security of weapons, gear and ammo.

Software, barcode and RFID technology ensures that weapons, gear and ammo that are being Issued-from or Returned-to an armory, weapons warehouse or ammo depot are correctly identified, entered or scanned and that the armory management weapon tracking system software is updated with current locations and provides location and accountability of data.

RFID security / tracking doorways include RFID antennas, alarms, lights and camera to prevent or to document all removals of weapons, gear and ammo, and specifically to prevent the unauthorized removal of weapons from armories or warehouses, or ammo from ammo depots.

Many armories are manned full time and there is no risk of the movements or weapons, gear or ammo going undocumented.  However, other armories may not have full time staff overseeing operations and a self-service, secure armory system is required or desired.  Top armory management weapon tracking system solution vendors offer smart weapon and magazine storage systems that operate in manned or autonomous mode, including self-service biometrics, RFID and weighing scales.  These systems are particularly important for countries where there is risk of armory, weapon warehouse or ammo depot breach by ‘bad actors’.   Smart Weapon Storage systems include important tracking and security benefits, including:

  • Prevent unauthorized personnel from entering armories, weapon warehouses or ammo depots, and, prevent unauthorized personnel from receiving weapons, gear or ammo.
  • Establish rigorous transfer-of-custody, chain-of-custody procedures to ensure accountability of all weapons at all times, to isolate custody in case a weapon ‘goes missing’.
  • Utilize physical counts or weighing scales to ensure that magazines are removed from weapons and that there are no missing rounds, with automatic updates of ammo accountability and counts to the armory management weapon tracking system software. 
  • Prevent weapons from exiting armories in an unauthorized manner utilizing RFID, alarms, flashing lights and surveillance camera.
  • Mount weapon storage cabinets to floors and/or walls and equip the weapon storage cabinets with locking doors and locks to make it difficult for ‘bad actors’ to access weapons if they breach an armory.
  • Utilize heavy duty smart weapon and magazine storage systems that mount to floor and/or walls, and that include durable locks on sidearm and magazine lockers, and, longarm barrel clamps and butt holders, to prevent removal of weapons or magazines from armories, warehouse or depots by ‘bad actors’.

Who uses weapon tracking systems?

Any organization that has a security detail with lethal weapons, gear and ammo, and similarly any organization that maintains non-lethal weapons should utilize a modern armory management weapon tracking system for tracking, accountability and security of the weapons, gear and ammo owned by the organization.  It’s not just police, miliary or national security organizations that use armory management weapon tracking systems, there are many types of organizations, including:

  • Military 
  • Police 
  • National Guard
  • Security forces
  • Sheriff departments
  • Local government Corrections departments
  • Federal government prisons
  • Government ministries and agencies
  • Courthouses
  • Nuclear and other energy companies
  • Mining companies
  • Airports
  • Universities
  • Oil & Gas companies
  • Building and property security companies
  • Armored car companies

How to prepare a budget request and procure a weapon tracking system?

If there are obvious deficiencies in the procurement, accountability, tracking and/or security of weapons, gear and ammo, such as missing weapons and ‘black market’ selling of weapons, then there is an obvious need for a modern armory management weapon tracking system.  

Periodically audit and review armory, weapon warehouse and ammo depot standard operating procedures, use of computerization and use of technology to determine if the management, accountability, tracking and security of weapons, gear and ammo can be enhanced through a leading armory management weapon tracking system.

Once the need or desire for modern armory management weapons tracking, research the marketplace to determine vendors to discuss your requirements and to assist you with establishing solution specifications for the armory management weapon tracking system that will best meet the needs identified by the organization internally, and through gaining insights from vendors and their experience with prior organizations and armory management weapon tracking system deployments.  There are many methods for proceeding towards establishing specifications and a budget:

  • Establish and internal team of stakeholders to undertake the task of performing internal analysis and external solution / vendor reviews, for the purpose of capturing the information that is required to establish and take recommendations to authority figures that can approve budget for implementing a top armory management weapon tracking system solution.
  • An organization that seeks information about armory management weapon tracking solutions should query other military, police and security organizations in their country, or other countries, to determine if there have been successful armory management weapon tracking systems implemented by these trusted organizations.  And, the organization should perform Google, Youtube or use similar Internet Search tools to identify leading armory management weapon tracking system vendors.  
  • Review the websites and the documents, videos and blogs that are included in armory management weapon tracking vendor websites.  Carefully review each vendor’s capabilities and the references and prior projects which are indicated on vendor websites.  Select one (1) to three (3) vendors to enter into discussions for the purpose of better understanding the types of armory management weapon tracking systems that are available, and to enhance your knowledge of what options and capabilities are available through armory management weapon tracking system vendors that best address your organization’s requirements.  
  • Contact your preferred vendors and request their standard presentations, brochures, white papers and videos for your team’s review and for provision to authority figures within your organization.  Establish the reasoning that is the basis for considering the implementation of a leading armory management weapon tracking system.  Indicate the types of solutions that have been identified with the capabilities to transform the organization’s armory management weapon tracking systems, technology and operations.  Request armory management weapon tracking system presentations and software demonstrations from the preferred vendors that your team has identified.  Present your case to decision-makers.
  • Establish a preliminary scope-of-work that you can provide to prospective vendors for the purpose of receiving a preliminary proposal/quotation.  Some of the information that vendors will want to receive includes:
    • How many armories?  Warehouses?  Depots?
    • For each armory, warehouse and depot, produce an .xls that has a tab for each such Location.  For the rows of these .xls sheets, list all of the item-types for each Location, the quantity for each item-type, and, indicate if the item-type is going to be labelled with barcode or tagged with RFID.  For example:
#Armory 1
Item-TypesQuantityBarcode or RFID?
1Lethal Sidearm
2Sidearm Magazine
3Lethal Longarm
4Longarm Magazine
5Sidearm Sight
6Longarm Sight
7Taser
8Baton
9OC Spray
10Stinger Grenade
11Leg Irons
12Waist Chains
13Door Ram
14Holligan Tool
15Ballistic Shield
16Boxes of Ammo
17Gun Safes
18Radios
19Vests
20Night Vision Binoculars
21Cases
22Personnel
Etc.
Figure 28:  Example Item-Type table
  • Will armaments, heavy weaponry, vehicles, watercraft and/or aircraft be identified and tracked by the armory management weapon tracking system?  If so, identify each item-type and the quantity of each item-type.
  • For each armory, warehouse or depot, describe  the room or building layout, as to computer workstations utilized for tracking, Issue-Return windows, exits and the technologies of interest, such as:
#Infrastructure-typeYes/NoQtyComments
ARMORY, WAREHOUSE OR DEPOT TITLE (Location)
How many computer workstations at armory?
How many room or facility exit-points?
Is it your intention to track at Issue-Return windows?  And/or at workstations within the room or facility?  Are you interested in being able to mount hardware onto rolling carts that can be rolled to tracking stations and then rolled away after Issues-Returns are completed?  How many tracking stations in total of how many of each type?Workstations within armoryPermanently mounted tracking station at Issue-Return windows Permanently mounted tracking station at doorwayTracking station on rolling cart
How will personnel be authenticated?  Are you interested in fingerprint personnel authentication?
Will you validate chain-of-custody, and if so, will that be via electronic signature, fingerprint or identification PIN number?
Is there interest in installing RFID, alarm, lights and/or camera at armory exit points?  If so, how many?
Do you want to track at outdoor personnel / vehicle checkpoints?  If so, how many?
Figure 29:  Example tracking hardware requirements table
  • Amory management weapon tracking system vendors will need to know IT requirements, including:
    • Do you prefer a cloud or local, on-premises server deployment?
    • If local server, will you provide the server(s) for the project or is vendor to provide server(s).
    • Is a WiFi closed, private, secure network allowed?
    • If a closed, private network is not allowed, and networking of tracking stations to server is required, will you provide the networking or is vendor required to install any required network / cabling?
    • Each RFID fixed reader, if any are installed, such as at Issue-Return or doorway station(s), or where rolling carts will be positioned, will you provide Ethernet drops?  
    • Will integration with backend ERP, procurement or other database / software systems be required, and if so, please describe.
  • Once you have received preliminary proposals/quotations, evaluate armory management weapon tracking vendor offers.  If a vendor and solution stands out as your preferred solution based on the solution offered, capabilities, proposal and pricing, request that the armory management weapon tracking system vendor provide you with a ‘Sole Source Justification’ document.  Prepare your procurement request package for decision-makers and for the procurement department, and proceed accordingly.
  • As may be appropriate, request that vendor(s) arrange a site visit so that you can see for yourself a working weapon tracking system solution in operation, and/or request that the vendor come to your premises for a formal system demonstration and discussion.

Summary

This document is intended to prove a comprehensive view of armory management weapon tracking systems and the process to evaluate and procure an armory management weapon tracking system.  Following are the key points from this document:

  • Introduction and the need for modern armory management weapon tracking systems.
  • Extensive overview explaining ‘what is an armory management weapon tracking system’ and what are its components.
  • Explanation of the various tracking technologies that can be utilized for an armory management weapon tracking system.
  • Description of the primary tracking capabilities and devices that are utilized with an armory management weapon tracking system.
  • Description of the primary security capabilities and devices that are utilized with an armory management weapon tracking system.
  • Discussed the requirements and provision of implementation and training services, and, ongoing support.
  • Reviewed the importance of armory management weapon tracking systems.
  • Discussed the kinds of organizations that should consider armory management weapon tracking systems for their operations.
  • Outlined how to evaluate armory management tracking system vendors, approach the procurement process and select the vendor that you believe will provide you with the best system and support.
  • Reviewed the kinds of information and data that a vendor will require to provide a preliminary proposal and quotation, including software, tracking and security hardware requirements and IT requirements.

You are encouraged to thoroughly evaluate the vendors and solutions that are available from global companies providing armory management weapon tracking solutions.  The top leading best armory management system vendors will rise to the top, and those are the solutions and vendors that you should further evaluate.

The future of armory management weapon tracking systems

The requirements of military, police and security organizations for armory, warehouse and depot management are well defined, and these requirements will only nominally change over time.

The primary attribute of armory management weapon tracking systems is the implementation of database management software that replaces manual processes, paperwork and spreadsheets.  Top armory management weapon tracking system vendors have already worked with worldwide leading military, police and security organizations and have developed their software to address the needs of the global weapons management marketplace.  As such, the armory management weapon tracking system software will not substantively change in the future, and the onset of artificial intelligence and other emerging technology trends are not expected to have much or any impact as to the design and operation of armory management weapon tracking systems.

However, technology, hardware and tags are rapidly advancing.  Tracking and security technology will continually advance, but, this will take time.  It should be expected notwithstanding that a major breakthrough with existing or new technologies occurs, which is not expected, that the technologies and hardware available today should remain best-practices for years to come, approximately five (5) years or much further into the future.  But, the specific hardware and tags used with current tracking and security technologies will incrementally improve on a year-to-year basis, and should be expected to improve performance and/or reduce pricing over time.

In a manner, it is up to someone like you, that deals with weapons and armories on a day-to-day basis in the real-world, with actual operational environments, that decide the future of armory management weapon tracking systems.  In our view, the importance of armory, weapon/gear/ammo warehouses and ammo depots is self-evident, and the priority to ensure that these operations are most efficient, meet standard-operating-procedures, meet compliance requirements, ensure accountability and foster confidence from civil society…the public.  Given the political nature of the world today, including political and geo-political conflicts, every organization, particularly national military and police entities, should ensure that their systems, technologies and processes enable the highest degree of accountability and security.  In this author’s view, this discussion should be at the highest level of command, and if current systems are sub-optimal, those systems should be improved.

About Us

We are TrackingSystemsIoT (www.trackingsystemsiot.com).  Whereas we provide tracking systems supporting any technology for any application for any industry, our deepest experience and most significant capabilities are for armory management weapon tracking systems (www.weapontrackingsystemsiot.com).  

Our team’s experience with armory management weapon tracking systems initiated in 2007 with implementation of a double-blind procurement/warehouse management system to identify and track all weapons, gear and ammo procured by the U.S. Department of State, stored in the warehouse, maintained by armory staff, and Issued to embassies and agents worldwide.  What we learned with and from the U.S. Department of State set the foundation for our understanding of armory management weapon tracking system requirements, knowledge gained by the U.S. Department of States leading weapons, gear and ammo procurement and armory experts.

After installing the U.S. Department of State’s armory/warehouse management weapon tracking system in 2007, in 2009 our team worked with a large contingent of U.S. Air Force armory and weapons management experts to determine how to best modify the solution designed for the U.S. Department of State to meet the requirements and standard-operating-procedures of the U.S. Air Force for base security armories and firing ranges.  Specifically, the U.S. Air Force sought to establish a centralized software database of all weapons, gear and ammo stored in armories, improve the speed and accuracy of Issues and Returns, lock-down tracking and accountability, and quicken the time required for performing armory inventories and audits.  Our team has installed multiple armory management weapon tracking systems for the U.S. Air Force, as well as for the U.S. Air National Guard, and is currently implementing system for the U.S. Space Force.

Over subsequent years, our team has worked with U.S. Police, Sheriff Offices and Corrections departments to optimize how these organizations manage weapons, gear and ammo.  And we have worked with international clients like the Royal Bermuda Regiment, Bermuda Police Services, Saudia Arabia Royal Guard and Camp Arifjan in Kuwait.  

Our armory management weapon tracking website www.weapontrackingsystemsiot.com speaks for itself.  That’s what we do, those are our capabilities.

Our solutions platform, TrackingIoT and our team also fully support additional capabilities, so that a single solution can assist our clients with fulfilling needs or a wide range of applications, including:

  • Heavy weaponry
  • Rapid response and other vehicles
  • Vehicle assets
  • Facility assets
  • Industrial assets
  • Documents/folios, files and archives
  • Seized property and evidence
  • Tools
  • Parts
  • Warehouse tracking

Our business creed is based on doing what is in our customers best interests, and providing the best, optimized solutions that we can create through collaboration with our customers.  We believe in sharing information and discussing options; our focus is not on making sales, rather it is in sharing information that enables an organization to make decisions in the manner that the organization deems is in their best interests.  We always welcome the opportunity to communicate, share, investigate, identify options and define solutions with our customers.

Please contact us if we can assist you in any way.  We welcome every opportunity to be of service.

info@trackingsystemsiot.com

+941 375 9437 (mobile)

www.weapontrackingsystemsiot.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Translate »