Israel plans to start using the weapon next week, U.S. forces have already begun training with it and U.S. SWAT and police teams have expressed interest in purchasing it, Amos Golan, the device's developer, said at a demonstration Monday at a firing range near Tel Aviv.
"The Americans are very interested in this," Golan said. "I believe from what I have seen and heard that it can be a big success in Iraq because the Americans are dealing with an urban area there."
The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv had no immediate comment.
Golan thought of the idea for the weapon after years of pondering a failed Israeli army operation in the West Bank during the first Palestinian uprising in the late 1980s. Several Israeli soldiers were wounded when they stormed a house through the door and were hit by automatic fire shot from inside, Golan said.
An Israeli-American company, Coral Gables, Fla.-based Corner Shot Holdings, showed how it can be fired through an exploded doorway around the corner into a house, or from a hall into a room. A soldier sees the target on a small TV screen mounted on the barrel of the gun.
Armies from 15 countries are testing the system, said Golan, a former deputy commander of Israel's anti-terror unit.
The system is the only weapon that allows the user to stay safe around a corner and away from a target, Golan said.
The device swivels at the middle, 63 degrees to the left or right, with the stock, trigger and the small screen at the hand-held end. The entire firing mechanism, fitted with a pistol that sits over a mini-camera with a zoom lens, is located at the front end.
A lever positioned under the stock allows the user to quickly move the firing end to another position to better focus on the target.
The development of the idea took three years, and sales began three months ago. The weapon system costs between $3,000 and $5,000, depending on the components.
The device can be fitted with different kinds of pistols, including the Baretta 92, which is used by the American army, the Glock and the Colt. It can also be adapted to fit an M-16 rifle or tear gas launcher.
The camera can view between 200 and 400 yards, depending on the model. Accessories include an infrared laser illuminator, rubber bullet launcher, various lenses and a silencer. A video-out socket allows the shooter to film action in a room around the corner and transmit the images to commanders far away.
The mechanism has been patented in the United States and will be sold only to official government agencies, Golan said.