A smartgun is a weapon (usually a handgun) fitted with a fire-control system. The defining feature of a smartgun is the ability to accurately convey where the weapon is aimed (usually via some sort of Head-up display), and, in the more advanced versions, to target itself within certain limitations set by the users. The purpose of such systems is to allow the precise aiming of automatic fire and the reduction of friendly fire casualties, as in the United States Army's real-world Land Warrior program.
Due to the difficulties involved in developing such a system, the weapon is still mainly fictional, being common in Cyberpunk and other science fiction genres. The science fiction concept of a smartgun has its origins in much earlier works of military science fiction, such as Starship Troopers and The Forever War. The term "smartgun" as applied to such systems appears in popular culture at least as early as the 1980s.
Aliens demonstrated its capabilities with the M56 Smartgun, a handheld light machine gun. This weapon was connected to the user's Head-Up Display, showing where the weapon is aimed. It was also equipped with a motion-sensitive auto-tracking system, capable of autonomous and accurate targeting of moving objects (the real weapon was a MG42 with a Steadicam harness).
- Cameron, James - Aliens - 20th Century Fox, United States, 1986
- Pondsmith, Michael - Cyberpunk 2020: The Roleplaying Game of the Dark Future - R. Talsorian Games, United States, 1990
- FASA Corp. - Shadowrun: Where Man Meets Machine - FASA Corporation, United States, 1990