Image source: NPR.org
So-called smart guns could soon be on the market, and can reportedly turn a novice shooter into a sniper rather quickly.
Our lives are full of smart phones, smart cars, and even smart houses, so perhaps smart rifles were a logical part of the progression. The computer-enabled guns cost a very pretty penny – $27,000 each. The rifles currently come in a .300 Winchester Magnum and .338 Lapua varieties.
The Texas company that created the high-tech rifles maintains the weapon itself decides the exact moment of firing and therefore enhances accuracy significantly. A built-in computer does all the work; the human shooter is basically a secondary part of the equation. The shooter locks the target, but when the trigger is squeezed, the smart gun makes the necessary firing adjustments and trigger release decision.
“It allows people to make first round hits at extreme ranges, we’re talking 1,000, or 1,200 yards,”TrackingPoint CEO Jason Schauble told Fox News Insider.
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The high-tech rifle is designed to aid hunters, but some gun control critics are fearful that the American-made weapon will turn novices into experts far too easily. Schauble does not agree with the alarmists. He noted that all customers have to go through the same firearms screening process as they would to purchase a conventional gun.
The XactSystem Precision Guided Firearm includes an integrated networked tacking scope, tag button and guided trigger. A package deal offered by TrackingPoint also includes the Pelican 3300 hard case and 200 rounds of XactShot ammo. The smart gun’s scope has a 35-power lens than reduces heat refraction and minimizes shaking. The Heads Up Display (HUD) is the key to user interaction with the firearm. The system adjusts to wind direction, and the smart gun comes complete with WiFi capabilities so the shooter can record and share their hunting or range expertise with the masses – or use for educational review.
The company’s founder, John McHale, decided to make the idea of a smart rifle a reality after returning from a three week gazelle hunting trip in Tanzania. Three hundred yards from his target, the Texan recalls shooting multiple times, until he scared his prey away after failing to hit the four-inch kill zone on the animal from such a distance. He felt he lacked the necessary skill to make the shot, and could not remain steady enough before pulling the trigger. The smart gun project began to take shape during the long flight back to the Lone Star State.
August Crocker, a firearms specialist for Tracking Point, had this to say about the benefits of the smart rifle:
I’ve been a competitive shooter all my life. I could do it [long range shot] with a conventional rifle. But with a Tracking Point, I could have you doing that in half an hour. Before you tag, the computer inside has already profiled the variables. As soon as you tag, it quantifies all of those variables and the gun tells you where to put the crosshairs. First shot is a tenfold improvement over what most trained shooters can do. I’ve shot with the best. I’ve shot with Olympians in Finland, and nothing comes close to the capabilities we have. There are so many things that Mr. McHale conceptualized. That’s how I personally became so wowed, how many innovations he brought into the system.
TrackingPoint reportedly planned to manufacture about 500 of the smart guns this year, when purchasing began in May – but they are already sold out.
The official description about the smart gun from the TrackingPoint website reads:
The Heads Up Display (HUD) communicates large amounts of ballistic and environment data to the user when looking through the Networked Tracking Scope. Find the TrackingPoint Precision Guided Firearm model that meets your needs. Products are differentiated by caliber, barrel length, chassis system, application, and ammunition. All systems are tested and zeroed prior to shipping. Additional PGF models will be introduced in 2014.