Sporting and target shooters will be able to shoot every shot as accurately as expert marksmen with the release of the world’s first guided rifle shooting system next month.
As demonstrated in the two videos below, the electronic aiming system calculates the required trajectory and automatically fires the rifle when the sights are correctly aligned on the target, ensuring perfect hits with every shot, no matter how good – or bad – the shooter is.
US company Tracking Point claims to have developed its Intelligent Digital Tracking Scopes by cramming lock-and-launch missile technology into a rifle-mounted sight, and company president Jason Schauble says the product will be on sale in the US in January.
“We have created the world’s first precision guided firearm,” he says.
The system consists of what Tracking Points calls Tag Track Xact technology in the tracking scope, a ‘tag’ button and a guided trigger, all mounted on a standard rifle, and while no official price has been announced, it’s expected to be around $15,000-$20,000 for the complete firearm.
The shooter must align the scope’s reticle on the target and press the tag button, which tells the system what the aiming point is to be; in the sight picture, the shooter will see a red dot that stays as a ‘tag’ on the target, even when the rifle points away from it. Then the shooter pulls and holds the trigger, aligns the crosshairs with the tag, and as soon as the sight picture is lined up again, the rifle is fired by the system.
The Tag Track Xact programming allows the scope to calculate the firing solution with the help of an inbuilt rangefinder and compensation for prevailing winds, although full details are not yet available.
The obvious advantage is that Tracking Point’s aiming system removes a lot of human error from the equation: there is no delay between acquiring the target and firing the rifle; no chance the act of pulling the trigger will shift the point of aim; and no real potential for the shooter to flinch at the critical moment.
“What a precision guided firearm allows us to do is make extended-range first-round hits for anybody,” Schauble says. “You don’t have to be an experienced shooter, you don’t have to be someone who’s put thousands of rounds downrange.”
Tracking Point’s rifles can be used for both target shooting and hunting. The advantages for target shooters are obvious, although whether Tag Track Xact technology will be welcomed in general competition is another matter, again for obvious reasons.
The ability of the technology to ensure better shot placement by most hunters has clear benefits for achieving quick, clean kills, particularly as the trend for long-range hunting grows. However, the technology does not appear to assist shots at moving targets, and it has already started a debate about whether it constitutes ‘fair chase’.
Tracking Point has created three rifle systems for its tracking scopes. The headlining rifle is a tactical-style .338 Lapua Magnum called the XS1, and the XS2 is the same rifle in .300 Win Mag. The XS3 is a .300 Win Mag on a more convention hunting-style stock, though it is still a heavy-barrelled firearm more suited to shooting from a bipod than walking around.
Tracking Point’s website is giving away no information until 15 January, when the products will be officially launched.
This link will take you to a second video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlEFVOavvUM