By Jeff Fletcher
One of the most unique hunter safety devices we've ever seen was unveiled at SHOT this year from Hunter Safety Lab, the New Zealand-based start-up whose initial debut product could be a real life saver.
Dubbed the IRIS, it is the world's first active safety alert system designed to prevent hunters being mistaken for game and shot. IRIS provides additional peace of mind for you and the people you hunt with by enhancing existing hunter-safety measures like blaze-orange, with globally unique detection technology that warns a hunter their gun is accidentally aimed at a person.
IRIS consists of two components: the IRIS sensor and IRIS detectable apparel. The IRIS sensor can be attached to a rifle scope or shotgun barrel and sends pulses of non-visible infrared laser in the direction of fire. When the sensor detects laser reflections off special infrared reflective patches on IRIS detectable apparel, it instantly warns the shooter they've targeted another hunter.
Unlike a laser-pointer, the area covered by the IRIS laser grows bigger with distance. IRIS patches anywhere in the area of coverage can be detected, and detection is still possible even when leaves or branches partially block the view of the target. IRIS works day or night, rain or shine, and uses a single AA lithium battery which provides up to 120 hour of use.
In action and when a riflescope suggests a target and the IRIS identifies it as another hunter wearing reflective patches on clothing including vests and hat, the eye relief end of the IRIS displays a strobe-like series of flashes to warn the hunter of incidental targeting, no doubt a real life saver.