Arming a Drone with a Paintball Marker

By Benjamin Wittes
Tuesday, February 12, 2013, 9:03 PM

A few weeks ago, I wrote in a brief essay published by the Hoover Institution, in which I posed the following question: "How long do we really think it will take before a gun enthusiast arms a remotely-piloted robotic aircraft with his favorite handgun (very doable by a competent layperson with a few thousand dollars to burn)"?

Well, that didn't take long. Today Jim Comey drew my attention to this YouTube video, which actually predates my essay by a few weeks. The second half of the video features a drone armed with a paintball marker accurately nailing targets remotely. I doubt this system cost more than a couple of thousand dollars---judging by the look of the hardware. It may have cost significantly less than that. (I have seen hex-rotor drones in the $700 range, and paintball guns are very cheap.) The point is that the hypothetical I described in the Hoover essay is very doable by the competent layperson. "If this is what a novice with a small budget can accomplish," the voiceover narrator says, "then clearly, this technology has a lot of potential."