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Pistol sets off inventory loss alarm?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by shotgunkevin, Sep 27, 2007.

  1. shotgunkevin

    shotgunkevin Well-Known Member

    This happened to me twice, two and a half weeks ago, and again two days ago. I went to the pet store to get overpriced, highfalutin, designer cat food for my pudgy cat. On both occasions, I triggered the shoplifter alarm twice, when I entered the store and when I left. Of course, I was carrying concealed. Both times, I just kept on walking. I didn't want to have to explain anything to management.

    Should I assume this particular store has a simple metal detector and not an electronic inventory tag system? I'll try and remember to shop at the other franchise, and hopefully not deal with this again.
  2. I've seen some cell phones set them off.
  3. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

    To what gain would a pet store attain by having metal detectors? Of their stock, a tremendous amount isn't even metal. They are not a security area. Metal detectors are an expensive accessory for a store to have. Security scanners are as well, but security scanners serve a very specific purpose of helping prevent inventory loss. So why would you think they have metal detectors?

    It may be a cell phone or you have in your possession a security tag that isn't fully deactivated. You may not know it as some are made into products.
  4. Cannonball888

    Cannonball888 Well-Known Member

    Electronic inventory tag systems often are desgned to detect tightly wound coils of wire (look at the underside of the merchandise stickers). Such configurations can be found in many electronic and electrical devices using coiled wire. I used to carry a ball of telephone cord to work and it would set off the alarm almost very time.
  5. 230RN

    230RN Marines on Mt. Curibacci

    All springs, including those in firearms, have self-resonant characteristics which may fall in or near the search field frequency of these detectors. Whether or not the field can penetrate to the springs and set off the alarms depends mainly on whether the springs are surrounded by steel. For example, the coil mainspring in revolvers are usually under wooden or plastic grips. This self-resonance characteristic is also true of flat mainsprings.

    Thus it is, to my mind, well within the realm of possibility that a gun can set off one of those things. But it's one of those situations where everything has to happen to be just right.

    I think it's happened to me with a Colt Detective Special in an ankle holster, but I did not want to experiment --i.e., take off the gun and walk through it again.

    Every time this subject comes up I get tempted to dig out my grid-dip oscillar and look for resonances in the springs of various guns. However, since I see it as a distinct possibility, the motivation to "prove" it is not very strong.

    With the thousands of times firearms go through these detectors every day, I am not surprised that occasionally one might get set off just by a chance convergence of many factors.


    (1) Double-Naught: OP is not talking about metal detectors, OP is talking about those "gates" which detect the little inventory control chips on the merchandise.

    (2) Most of the time the beepers get set off (a lot of things can trigger them) they just wave me through, since I seem to radiate "innocence." However, if I am ever seriously challenged, I decided that I would let them search me, but I would tell them not to touch my gun. IF they feel that is necessary, I will tell them I will wait right there until a Commissioned Peace Officer arrives to search me. And I would tell them that when they make the call, make sure they mention that I have a CCW license. That's my plan. Hope I never have to implement it.

    May I emphasize Commissioned Peace Officer?

    DEwd0xxx 73
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2007
  6. nonquixote

    nonquixote Well-Known Member

    I once thought that was happening to me. Door alarms started going off often as I entered or left stores. My first assumption was that maybe my carry weapon was setting it off. Turned out that a wallet I had recently purchased still had the anti-theft chip hidden inside. Something to consider.
  7. Blue Line

    Blue Line Well-Known Member

    I carry every day and have never had my gun, mag or flashlight, cell phone, pager, or car keys or anything else I normally carry, set off one of those detectors. I bet you have one somewhere on your person like a jacket, shoe, something that has one that has not been deactivated. Most of the time I see the store clerks ignore those things anyway, kind of like car alarms.
  8. FieroCDSP

    FieroCDSP Well-Known Member

    Wallets, shoes, boots especially, some belts. Jeans will sometimes have them in the 5th pocket. Mechanics brand gloves have them sewn into a tear away strip. Next time it happens, try standing outside the gate (usually more than a foot from the gate itself) and stick each foot through. 99% of the time that it's not an actual shoplifter, it's a leather boot. Depending on the system, you have to scrunch the things down on their top to get the pad to activate. If it's not your boots, check you wallet. If it end up being that, make sure you take anything with a mag-strip out of the wallet before they deactivate it. Any magnetic field that can pull a stapler down from 6" above the pad is not healthy for anything magnetic.
  9. Chrome

    Chrome Well-Known Member

    My wallet will occasionally get magnetized. I usually just take out the credit cards and ask the cashier to "deactivate" it. Go back and leave the pistol in the car. If it doesn't go off....uh...ask the cashier to deactivate your gun?

    :eek: Tell her you don't want the alarms going off at the airport.*


    *I'm being facetious. Please don't do this. It would probably lead to a mass exodus of sheep from the store.
  10. Citroen

    Citroen Well-Known Member

    Odds against it

    The devices that you pass through at retail entrances are there to monitor radio frequency chips that many inventory items have embedded in the package or even the price sticker.

    I guess something else like a cell phone or pager Could set one off but I doubt it. A gun? That would really be a stretch!

    If you really want to know, try leaving the gun in your car and, wearing exactly what you wore before and having exactly what was in your pockets with you, walk through.

    I have never had an EAS sensor alert on my cell phone, pager or gun. The cell phone and pager go everywhere with me - the gun to those places where it can legally visit.

    Charlotte, NC
  11. yomama

    yomama Well-Known Member

    I thought it might have been my pistol on two occasions. First occasion I had a new sweatshirt on and I eventually found the security tag in the sleeve about the bicep area. The other time I had a new wallet and the security tag was in the compartment under where you put your credit cards. Both took me a little time to figure out. I knew it couldn't be the gun. I figured there was no way they could have a metal detector at the door, or everyones cell phones, keys, and whatever else would set it off. It would be going off non-stop.
  12. vit

    vit Well-Known Member

    Did the alarm go off when you went INTO the store or just when walking out?
  13. foghornl

    foghornl Well-Known Member

    I had that happen a few times, too...

    Turns out that the combination of cel-fone in left front shorts pocket, car keys w/remote door locks in right front pocket, and wallet with my workplace 'gate key card' would set off the alarms at ONE store. If I had any of those items in hand, instead of pocket, alarms didn't go off
  14. shotgunkevin

    shotgunkevin Well-Known Member

    I suppose it could be a newish pair of jeans. I've been into that store many times, and this has only happened on my two most recent visits. Who knows, I could've worn the same pair of jeans both times.

    I can't imagine the store would tolerate the incessant beeping and chirping if cell phones, pagers, keys, credit cards, or any common thing set it off. Everyone has a cell phone and credit/debit card these days.

    I'm not going to experiment with it, I'll just go to another store. Leaving the gun in the car would be like leaving the pants in the car. I'm just used to it.
  15. DMK

    DMK Well-Known Member

    I was waiting at the customer service desk(near the door) at a dept. store for like an hour one day. That alarm went off about a half dozen times. None of the staff ever raised an eyebrow, they just tuned it out. Seems to me many of these systems may be maladjusted. ;)
  16. MD_Willington

    MD_Willington Well-Known Member

    Many printed circuit boards have traces on them that act as a coil... of course most firearms have springs in them... a coil of wire.

    Not really surprised.
  17. CDignition

    CDignition Well-Known Member

    They aren't metal detectors, they're RFID readers. the little tags in the stuff they sell has to be deactivated wit ha magnet before you can walk thru them without setting it off. Your gun didn't and cannot set them off. Likely you have a speedpass or something like that on your person, or maybe a cell phone.
  18. CNYCacher

    CNYCacher Well-Known Member

    So no Glocks then?

  19. 230RN

    230RN Marines on Mt. Curibacci

    I respectfully disagree. As I said, I believe it is well within the realm of possbility. Maybe it doesn't happen, but this does not mean it can't happen.

    The inventory chips are detuned when they are demagnetized. In fact, you don't even need a coil.

    I discovered a thin ferrous wire in the backing of a library book once. Magnetized it, went into the library, set off the alarm, got waved in.

    Picked some books up, slipped the wire into one of them (so there were two wires in the book) and when both went over the demagger at the checkout counter, it was also demagged, and I therefore exited with no alarm.

    Chances are best that it was something else that set off OP's alarm, but it is not impossible that it was his gun.

    Not that familiar with Glocks, but if it's striker-fired, the firing pin spring (and of course the recoil spring) is probably shielded by the slide, and the mag spring would probably be shielded by the mag itself. But not impossible.

    The last time we went through this (on PDO?) there were two camps (as there will be here). Those who said it never happened to them, and it was therefore impossible, and those who recognized that springs (and even straight wires) have self-resonant characteristics which might fall in the sensing frequencies of the tag detectors.

    As I mentioned, I am well aware that such is a possibility, and don't feel a need to prove it. Which is why I never bothered to unlimber my GDO (Grid-Dip Oscillator, a device designed to determine resonant frequencies) to check it out. There are so many variables involved which would affect a spring's tuning, including the size of wire in the spring, its diameter and length, whether it's compressed or not, whether it happens to have a little residual magnetism picked up from somewhere, etc, etc, that it is not likely that any particular gun will happen to have its springs juuuust right to set off an inventory control detector.

    Therefore, negative attempts to set off an inventory detector with a particular gun mean nothing.

    DE wd0xxx

    A grid-dip oscillator:
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2007
  20. vit

    vit Well-Known Member

    To me it sounds that one of the tags wasn't deactivated, if it was something you had on your person the alarm would be triggered going in or out.

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