The Future Is Now: Tracking Point Precision Guided Firearms

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TrackingPoint is a manufacturer of “Intelligent Digital Tracking Scopes” and “Precision Guided Firearms” for hunting and tactical shooting. Their impressive technology allows a shooter to designate a target using the digital scope and the rifle will automatically fire only when the rifle is correctly lined up to the target. The demonstration of thier prototype looks more like a sci-fi movie than real life!

Initially the company will have three rifle models. The XS1 will be a tactical style rifle chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum, the XS2 will be a smaller version of the XS1 chambered in .300 Win. Mag. and the XS3 will be a hunting version of the XS2. The company recently confirmed that rifles and scopes will go into production next year (2013).

[ Many thanks to Branko for the tip. ]

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Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Chucky

    “Intelligent” could be misleading. At first I was thinking it was a product that superimposes the projected point of impact given inputs of rifle, ammo, and meteorological information. Still, pretty nifty for hunting purposes though as it almost guarantees ethical kills all the time.

    • SAPH

      Im a professional hunter and I personally don’t see any true sporting value , even if you walk and stalk rather than hunt from a hide you have eliminated some of the challenge and it still wont help you if the animal moves after you pull the trigger. Also looking at the springbok that they shot at long seemingly impress ranges but whats they point of shooting something so far away it doesn’t have a chance to escape? Thats not hunting. Nice for the military im sure but not sporting

      • JMD

        Not everyone shares your idea of what counts as “hunting”. Some people just want meat. Not everyone does it as a sport.

      • Ray

        Didn’t a similar stating about what is and isn’t sporting lead to to a certain magazine editor being forced to resign recently?

      • Duray

        Someone who “just wants meat” could buy an awful lot for the price of a laser guided computer controlled cannon to shoot antelope a half mile away.

    • SAPH

      All hunting is sport hunting unless for survival, even if its for meat not trophies. Other wise you are engaging in culling or cropping, you don’t enjoy actually selecting your animal and shooting it, you do it because you must and there is no enjoyment other than getting a good piece of game. But then if that’s so, why not just ask somebody else to get your game for you? If you’re doing it for survival then a product that requires batteries probably wont interest you because it can readily fail. I dont think it is sporting, but that is my opinion, if you differ then that fine. I didnt come here to start a fight, just stating an opinion, trying to get a discussion going maybe. The product is interesting but doesnt remove the risk of unethical shot placement or the animal moving. Technology cant make you an ethical hunter just better if you are one, but this doesnt fall into my definition of hunting and as was pointed out to me everybody has a different one for themselves

      • Giolli Joker

        @ SAPH
        I agree with your words and I’d add that this technology could lead to more risk of injuring the animal by having chosen not to get closer “because with this rifle/optic I don’t need to!”.
        Yet I see a niche for the system: training in long range target shooting: I learn to stabilize on the target to tag it then I let the system work for me, until I’ll be able to squeeze the trigger instead of pushing a button in the very moment I’m on spot…

      • Máté

        One could say that it’s unfair, if you are using tools.

      • RocketScientist

        So let me guess this straight: Using this scope/targeting-system is un-sporting, because it gives the hunter too much of an advantage.. but using a car/truck to drive to the hunting area, suiting up in scent-absorbing outline-disguising photo-realistic camouflage, dousing yourself in scent neutralizer or cover scents or scent attractants, using precision-ground optics (binoculars) to scan hundreds of acres in seconds for your quarry, then stalking them on high-tech insulated gore-tex silent-soled boots, or maybe hiding in a camouflaged lightweight synthetic-fiber and extruded-aluminum-alloy tree-stand/blind, and finally taking the shot using a precision firearms sending an aerodynamic multi-layered composite-construction expanding-hollowpoint projectile at potentially many times the speed of sound into the vitals of the target… that IS considered sporting to you??? My point is that unless you’re taking on a deer with nothing more than tooth, nail, and gigantic balls, then you’re using technology (tools) to circumvent the prey’s natural defenses against predators (sight, smell, hearing, behavioral patterns, etc). This is what makes us Human. If that’s unsporting than every hunter everywhere is being unsporting, even the New–Guinean tribesman using handcarved blowguns and darts. Now if you’re saying that this device would make it too easy for your particular tastes, and that you prefer slightly more challenge, that is fine. Say that. But don’t get all high and mighty about it and claim that its unsportsmanlike. It makes you sound a bit of a fool to say “It is only sportsmanlike to use technology developed during the period from the dawn of man until 2005 AD… using anything newer than that is just not fair”

      • W

        right. unsportsmanlike.

        never mind the quick, clean, humane kills you can make with this devise….

    • http://www.debunkers.org/ SPQR

      If you have a good line up on the target, why is not the “tag” just the moment you fire the rifle? Isn’t getting a good tag just as difficult as a good shot?

      I don’t see the benefit myself.

      • noob

        at extreme range breathing and even heartbeat can be a source of shooter error resulting in a miss.

        This system allows the rifle to assess if the firing solution is correct and the rifle is truly at rest before the round is fired off.

        It uses technology to mitigate human error – which is what most technology is used for. Will it make a really big difference? maybe maybe not.

        It’s sort of like ABS brakes on your car. You don’t need them to get out of a skid – you can get out of a skid by pumping the break pedal. The ABS system just does it for you when it detects a skid.

        This thing effectively detects when you’ve screwed up your breathing and stops you from taking the shot until conditions are right.

      • MH

        Its a video scope. Pause video, tag, unpause.

  • Giolli Joker

    Wait a minute…
    I have to align my sight on the intended target for a fraction of second to allow me to press a button to “register” the target… and training myself to just pull the trigger in that very moment? :-)

    • Marc

      A mis-tag is less consequential than a miss. What turns me off is the use of Remingtons.

      • NI Shooter

        Sorry to burst your bubble, but those are Accuracy International AX series rifles, not Remingtons.

      • NI Shooter

        Sorry to burst your bubble, but those are Accuracy International AX338 or AX300 rifles, not Remingtons.

      • Mike Knox

        And I’m bursting your bubble as well, Accuracy International rifles have Block bolt ends with three position safeties on it, not cylindrical with frame mounted safeties like Remington has. Check the images..

  • Reverend Clint

    wonder if this could be used on a M2 for longer range shots carlos hathcock style

    • Michael Christenbury

      The .338 Lapua is a longer ranged cartridge than the .50 BMG!

  • bbmg

    Does it have a conventional trigger actuated by a solenoid or similar?

    Remington a few years ago came out with the EtronX which uses electronic ignition: http://www.popularmechanics.com/outdoors/survival/gear/1277311

    In the military electrically fired primers are far from being a new idea, this was a feature present for example in the MK 108 30mm cannon from WW2. Using such a system would ensure better accuracy because the “lock time” is reduced to virtually zero, though of course you would not be able to use conventional ammunition.

    The military potential for anti material rifles using such a device is immense, though of course it would need to be used in conjunction with consistent ammunition and a range finder coupled with a ballistic computer that takes the weather into account. It’s one thing pulling the trigger at the right time, but the crosshair has to be in the right place too.

    • Icchan

      I think they’re using standard stab-primers instead of an electrical system; it’s probably just using the computer and a mechanical actuator of some kind to trip the sear. Since it’s offered in standard rounds, it can’t use an electrical primer like the Etronx, despite the superior lock time and the obvious application here.

      I wonder if they’ll make something like this scaled up for tank guns. I know there’s a lot of automatic adjustments to an Abrams’ 120mm to account for wind, movement, stabilization and such, but it still comes down to a dude pulling a trigger and the timing of muscle movements. Pick a dot on a target, or a dot on each of a bunch of different targets on a screen, and slew the gun into position or even let it go automatically. It’s just adjusting angle and elevation of the barrel at that point…

  • mike

    Make a retrofit kit for other firearms and I’m a buyer.

  • Ray

    Imagine this connected to an iPad and a M107 on a moveable tripod of some kind? You could have some nice precision shots on hadj without ever sticking yourself and the rifle above the hesco you’re taking cover behind. I think Barrett need to step up and either look at something similar for their rifle or actively work on bringing their XM109 out.

  • Icchan

    I have a scary thought. How good is biometrics getting? Instead of using a ‘tag a red dot on the screen’ design, why not a bit of facial-recognition software so that you can actually identify a particular target and let the computer decide when to break the shot and take someone out of a crowd at insane distances? Alternatively, give it shoot/no-shoot targets based on hostages; things like the famous “human shield” tactics still leave fractions of a second where your target is exposed.

    A human can’t make a shoot decision and pull the trigger that fast.

    A computer can.

    • Avery

      The facial recognition stuff is pretty advanced these days and will get better in time. However, there’s been some research by privacy advocates into developing ways to deter it, through dazzle camouflage makeup and hairstyles.

      http://cvdazzle.com/

      I could see something like this or the equally-sci-fi “scramble suit” coming to fruition.

      Honestly, I see the completely computer auto-sniper to be a ways off. You’re still want to have a human in that loop when lives are on the line, but tomorrow’s future sharpshooter or sniper will probably a bit like a drone pilot of today, selecting targets and then giving the okay for letting the auto-snipers loose. But, it’s only going to more dangerous, especially when you no longer have to worry about trajectories and have the thing using a direct-energy weapon.

  • ARC

    I can’t help but think that this is another step in ‘Terminator’ technology. I’m also not sure if I’m making a joke or not.

    • bbmg

      The terminator is with us already, and a lot more terrifying that the ones in the movies: http://defense-update.com/products/p/predatorB.htm

      While you might have some chance of defeating a humanoid robot that is chasing you, if what is hunting you down is flying at 30,000 feet where you cannot see or hear it your fate is sealed.

  • fred johnson

    How did those signs with the precise yardage listed get out there on the hunting photos?

    Does someone have a battery powered printer for field use or is someone carrying a whole selection of pre-printed signs in their pack?

    :D

    • SAPH

      Advertising- Not what happened, what we can tell you happened and how.

  • anon

    Aside from the range finder, it looks like a expensive gimmick for rich hunters who think $15,000 rifles covered with gold inlay are passe.

    • HSR47

      You obviously have no idea how much some of those rifles cost.

      I saw a double-barrel bolt-action rifle once, and looked it up online later. Apparently they START at $50,000 and go up from there.

  • Steff Davies

    As SAPH rightly says, this does nothing at all for the case in which the animal moves after the round is fired. Even presuming you have excellent accuracy from a first shot* the time of flight for a bullet to the ranges shown for the game photos is long enough for the target to move, and given the small target area on a deer, you’re going to wound far too often. Then you have an unpredictably fast moving target and a 50x scope to try to keep it in, so you’ll fail and your animal will die painfully and slowly. I can see a system like this being militarily useful to reduce training needs for marksmen doing static defence or maritime security from moving decks or helicopters, but for hunting or culling it strikes me as not being ethically justifiable at the ranges they’re demonstrating it at.

    *(unlikely unless you have magical remote-wind-sensing eyes, and if you have those you almost certainly have the technique to make the shot manually – the pointy-squeezy bit’s the easier part)

    • damien

      There are pretty good algorithms that exist for tracking moving targets. Its conceivable that this device or a follow on device will have the ability to maintain a “tag” on a moving target and to adjust the aimpoint to lead the target correctly.

  • Paul O.

    And this device compensates for wind how?

  • gunslinger

    interesting concept. I’m guessing once you “tag” and hold, there’s a dissconnect between the sear and the trigger. once the sight determins you are on target, it actuates a release for the sear, causing the round to fire (as you are already holding the trigger)

    but i don’t see this as “ethical” in hunting. just a step below those “hunt from a computer” type things.

    but for a military/defense type application…there could be something

  • Mike Knox

    Meh, nothing new. If I recall correctly, the Germans tried this on the Leopard 2 MBT in the 90s and Alliant with the OICW..

  • Nill

    Would be interested for them to show a single normal, non-reactive target to demonstrate how close to the “tag” the shot actually ends up.

    You can also see the tag visibly drift off the original point of aim during the one example with a slow moving animal as the tag location seems to be tracking off the environment more than the target itself. (possibly an issue with low light/contrast, but still a concern)

  • cy

    I just read some information about the battleship USS Texas, the navy had a similar system onboard her and she was built in 1912. When the gun was ready to fire, the gunner held the “FIRE” button down and when the ship stabilized and the stars or something aligned the gun fired.
    What will they think of of next? or what will they resurrect next?

  • John Doe

    I’m just going to use this post to say that I’m thankful for the 2nd Amendment, and I’m thankful for all the brave men and women who fought to keep my rights. God Bless America.

  • Charlie

    Fine for war, but I don’ see the sport in it as far as game goes.

  • chris b

    Great technology, as soldiers we break it all the time. The KISS principle doesn’t apply when you need batteries.

    I have the best ballistics calculator in the world….. it’s called my BRAIN.

    Not only can it compute distance it can compute drop, wind, altitude and target – it stops my head from hitting the ground while I am walking, talking , eating and holding my rifle !

    I love tech as it helps unnatural shooters like myself who need to constantly practice so I can hit the barn at 100yards.

  • Graham 1

    Now we just have to combine this technology with those guided bullets from that post back in January!

  • Branko

    Update:
    pre-sale has started. Prices are $19,995.00, $17,500.00 and $14,995.00 for XS1, XS2 and XS3 in that order. Pre sale is 25% of the price, and they claim that item should arrive in Spring 2013.

    A little more information is available now, but still not enough. Rifles will be made by Surgeon Rifles. Barrel lengths will be 27″ (XS1), 24″ (XS2) and 22″ (XS3). Barrels are made by Krieger Barrels. Scope will not be 50x, but 6-30x (for XS2 and XS3) and 6-35x (XS1). You get some ammo (200 rd) too. I don’t know is that ammo necessary for system to work, but I think it’s not, it would be unreasonable. Ballistic computer works fine up to 1200 yd for XS1, 1000 yd for XS2 and 750 yd for XS3.

    They also claim that system does tracking of tagged target even if it gets out of field of view of rangefinder.

    quote:
    “Optic persistently tracks target and maintains Tag even if it leaves field of view. Reticle automatically adjusts for range and other ballistic variables.”

    What they mean by “other ballistic variables”, we will see.

    Latest, scope will also have wireless connectivity (I guess bluetooth). There will be an app for smartphones that can record everything you see through scope. Just by that, I can assume that target market are younger generation that don’t want to practice with rifle much, but like to share how bad ass they are :D (joke)

    I can’t say is this good or bad, does it work or not, but I’m glad that tech is making its way around steel. This project might make success, might fail as well, but I hope it will be ignition for other to improve or make some inovations in the industry. I would like to try it out, but to actually use it for hunting? No thanks. Not my style. None the less, it has it own uses.

    • Máté

      Video games will be realistic after all…

  • AK™

    How often is the gun going to ask you with a pop-up,”do you want to upgrade your software now?”

  • Mike Knox

    Just like that ‘chin stock’ Idea, I’m thinking this is just a waste of time and money. By the time you’ve “tagged” the target and realigned the reticle, you would already have fired the first shot and a follow up shot if neccesary. No doubt this’ll cost more than needed for a decent scope..

  • Charlie

    Branko: Thanks for the update. The price makes the whole thing moot for me. Most game in the U.S. east of the Mississippi is taken at 100 yards or less anyway. I’ll stick to my 2.5 fixed for deer and my 6×24 for long range varmints. I can buy a new car with all the money I saved or add on to my cabin in the woods.

  • Lance

    So Skynet replaces shooters now too? No marksmanship just push your buttons right. LOL

  • NickB

    And the CIA has $1,000,000 invested for “Hunting”(Joke)

  • Charlie

    OK RocetScientist, first of all I don’t use any of those things you mentioned. I don’t even drive to hunt because I live on my own hunting ground. I wear traditional red and black plaid although state law requires me to wear an a non-camo orange blaze hat and vest. I do use a 2.5 power scope on my old .30-30 because of my weak eyes. Because of the woods, anything over a 100 yard shot would be impossible any way. Living on a fixed income, I hunt to put meat on the table and protect my limited crops.

    If using a 20K computerized scope [probably developed for war] to shoot game 1,000 yards away makes you feel like a man, go ahead and do so. If finding that distasteful makes me a fool, I guess there’s no fool like and old fool and I can live with that.

    • Máté

      I have no problem with defending your crop and putting food on the table, but don’t call it fair if you are using tools that your prey can’t even understand. If you go barehanded, but at least melee, it can be considered fair, if you are shooting from a range that the animal thinks is beyond your reach, it’s just hunting. It’s still a sport, but not fair for the animal.

    • RocketScientist

      You use almost all the things I mentioned. You use a cartridge that propels a bullet at about twice the speed of sound. Nevermind that you refer to it as ‘old’, it has only been around for about 125 years. You attack the game from something like 100 times farther away than any predator it has ever experienced. You use a set of precision optics to find and target the game. Even if you are not wearing cammo, you are still wearing shoes and clothing that protect you from the elements and allow you to hunt and stalk in conditions you would otherwise not be able to. You are using a level of technology that would have been considered “unsporting” not too long ago, and was unimaginable as recently as 150 year past. Don’t get me wrong, I am a hunter, and have no problems with anyone taking game with the techniques you use. But theres NOTHING “fair” about it. You are drawing an arbitrary line in the sand and saying it is fair to use technology older than X, but no newer. Which, considering the level of technology you ARE willing to accept and the magnitude of the advantage that gives you over your quarry, is a little silly. It’d be like two aliens orbiting our solar system arguing over whether its fair to use their new phase-shifting disintegrator rays that will destroy our entire solar system in 1 trillionth of a second, or whether only the previous-generation non-phase-shifting ones that take THREE trillionths of a second to do it are really fair. You deride people who would need to use technology to hit a deer from 1000 yds away just to “feel like a man”, yet are completely comfortable using technology to triple the distance from which you can kill a deer (over a bowhunter or musket-shooter), or even 100x the distance (compared to someone with a knife/club). Doesn’t this strike you as a little hypocritical? If you find using a $20k scope “developed for war” (BTW, 99% of firearms technology are developed for war) makes thing too easy and not challenging enough for your tastes that is fine. Stick to saying that. But don’t try and tell anyone that DOES want to use it that they’re not being “fair” enough, when you yourself are doing the same thing, just to a slightly (almost undetectably) smaller degree.

      • Jake Monnett

        Do you know what separates us from the other animals?
        We are the only animal that can kill from a distance.

      • john s

        Well said.

  • Eagle

    How about subject this thing to 100 plus degrees F, desert sand and wind, then freeze it for eight hours. After that change your altitude by a couple of thousand feet, in less that 15 minutes. After that take your shot on a no moon night at 1000 plus meters.

    When the guys backing this computer firing solution optics SHOW me it can withstand real life situations I’ll believe it. Till then I’m a non believer!

    • Glenn E Bell

      From your typing to God’s ears. I’d like to see it work in 100% humidity, in and out of rice paddys, taking a strole from one side of a small river to the other even holding any weapon over your head is not always going to keep it out of the muck. Never had trouble freezing except when hunting lunch but the condisation would be a bitch on electronics. However, you have to start someplace. Remember that what we shoot now used to be a hand held piped with a touch hole. Protect your rights!~

    • http://www.facebook.com/kyzer.sosay.7 Kyzer Sosay

      Would you like to see it fire under water over 3,000 yards shooting at a the loch Ness Monster by a blind guy?

  • Charlie

    The best way to make quick humane kills is to never take a shot you’re not sure of. I never have to follow a blood trail because they always drop like a rock. Remember this is a sales pitch. As the ads usually add in small print, “actual results may vary.” No prong horn antelopes on my property. If you’ve got the money for the rifle, the scope and the guided hunt on ranch out west or out of the country, go ahead a drop all the money you want to. I guess it’s good for the economy. As soon as they come on the market, all you nimrods run out and buy them up.

  • Charlie

    I am limited by state law as to what methods I can use to hunt. No sling shots for example, which would require quite a bit of skill but is not considered humane. That’s why I always go for head shots on small game and heart-lung on deer. Since the wolves have been exterminated in KY, the deer would eventually over populate and starve except for seasonal regulated hunts. Although, I guess that beats being eaten alive by wolves or fawns attacked by coyotes. After all, all animals are part of the food chain and perhaps that is unfair, but there it is. I don’t hunt for trophies. I eat everything I shoot, although I feed the coyotes and possums to my mastiff. But if “hard times come a knockin at the door,” I would eat them as well.

    Admittedly, the more advanced weapon system, the less skill required. Even with my advanced Marlin 30AS, I have to be patient and read the signs and put my self in a position to take a good shot. It’s call stalking. A computerized rifle scope is more like playing a video game. Pull the trigger when the machine says you can’t miss. Again, great for war, but where is the sport? Why not just use armed drones? Then you won’t have to leave the comfort of your arm chair.

    • Daz

      Has anyone here shot this thing yet? Looks pretty cool and a step forward. Eagle, I take it your military?or are u a hunter that HAHO jumps into freezing desert environs to kill feral pigs at night at extreme distances?

    • john s

      But you do use a scope right? So how is this different? I am sure the old open sight hunters figured them new fangled scoped rifles were crutched for city folks.

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  • Haik

    how much is this system going to be>>?

  • eirec bleire

    This technology will put an expert marksmen’s consistent long distant “lethality”, taking years to acquire, into the hands of anyone who can afford it, has proximate access or inevitably “borrows” it easier when not required to be “reasonably” secured by a liable owner. This tech is “fun” and will be attractive to the imbalanced or alienated “video game” mind set eventually to have easy access to dependable “lethality” secured by the stealth of long distance. No way could a civilian comfortably defend oneself, loved ones or fellow citizens against this tech carrying a hand gun as “one shot – one kill” will be a virtual guarantee with devices like these. As chip and sensor tech gets more sophisticated and cheaper, firearm tactics will revolutionize. Imagine battalions of marksmen snipers. Thus ground tactics for lone and large numbers of average combatants throughout the world will “require” greater dependence on sophisticated drone surveilance/suppression etc. even civil LE will insist on louder than some have quietly attempted without even FAA approval. Public safety AND privacy will diminish more I expect. But hunting should become more humane for game when not targeted by a non expert’s eye that can keep the safety on their non expert “ego eye” ( i.e. not eagle eye) at 200+ yards with this tech.
    How wrong am I? Honest question.

    • eirecbleire

      For now, this tech may be fairly beta and “reasonably” undependable compared to what it’ll develop into at a more accessible price.

    • Thatguy

      Horrifically wrong.

      Your idea that most weapons used in crimes are stolen because the owner didn’t secure them is simply factually incorrect. Most weapons used in crimes are legally bought, not stolen. Saying that someone makes an expensive weapon therefore it’s going to increase crime is a joke.

      First off, a civilian can’t defend them selves from a .338 now who is being shot from a distance. This changes nothing there.

      There is a delay between pulling the trigger and the bullet leaving the gun, for extreme long range that is terribly important and this doesn’t solve that problem.

      Your extensions that suddenly all ground troops around the world will be equipped overnight with 20,000$ rifles is equally flawed. In an era of sequestration you think we’re going to be giving out 20K rifles to the troops?

      Then there’s the magic extension of this to LE wanting drones and will be able to get them without FAA approval. There’s an enormous amount wrong with this statement. First off, the idea that a federal governmental agency would willingly give up power is a bit of a joke and inconsistent with the rest of your arguments. FAA would never willingly give up rights to airspace.

  • Brown Jason

    Good computer
    tracking
    software
    will help you to log and trace all your computer’s activities and IP address
    even though you are away from your computer.

  • patriotstate

    I will never have, or need access to this device. however, as someone who has to spend a lot of money, and travel to hunt, with VERY limited time to hunt; and being an ethical hunter…. go for it !!!

  • An American

    Wonder if they will sell just the scope without all the camera and video BS? That,s were a lot of the money for it goes.

  • Wyatt

    Can I get just the scope for my Bow?