BREAKING: Tracking Point In Financial Trouble, No Longer Taking Orders

2015-05-18 15_30_43-Official Site – XactSystem™ Precision Guided Firearms _ TrackingPoint

The makers of “precision-guided firearms” appear to be in financial distress. RecoilWeb reports:

TrackingPoint, Inc., maker of electro-optical, precision guided rifle systems has stopped taking orders.

The company posted the following on their website this morning, “Due to financial difficulty TrackingPoint will no longer be accepting orders. Thank you to our customers and loyal followers for sharing in our vision.”

It’s unclear if this means the company has ceased operations entirely, and what this means for existing orders.

We reached out to tracking point for comment via phone and email.

TrackingPoint, based in Austin, Texas, created what the company calls the first “Precision-Guided Firearm,” a new shooting system that combines optics, sensors and electronics in a single, rifle-mounted device that enables untrained shooters to make shots at extreme distances.

After the shooter designates the target by pressing a button after placing the optic’s reticle on the intended point of impact, the system measures movement of the target and the movement of the rifle, combines this data with atmospheric conditions and computes a firing solution. The shooter then aims the rifle at the newly displayed dot representing the ideal firing solution and pulls the trigger. The system holds the firing pin in place, releasing it after accounting for shooter induced motion.

The system works remarkably well in calm conditions. But, it cannot call wind, a critical aspect of long range shooting.

It is not a question of “if” the technology behind Tracking Points’ firearms will be successful, but “when”. Even so, this is not good news from the advanced firearms optics front.



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Guy

    Well, at the very least they could sell their patents? Pandora’s box is open now, someone will develop a similar product for sure.

    • 1leggeddog

      AKA, chinese replicas for a fraction of the price.

    • tt_ttf

      there was nothing really unique in the applications – not sure anything issues yet

      but barrel tracking, optical flow for target tracking etc etc – none of that is new and stuff being used in tanks and other systems for years

      A patent application needs to pass an obviousness test – same functions but on a smaller or cheaper platform does not make it patentable.

  • KestrelBike

    Did they just splurge away all their cash on marketing?

    • MacK

      They certainly expended quite a bit on making their products part of a “lifestyle” facade.

  • Vitsaus

    People must have realized it was just cheaper to buy ammo and go to the range to learn how to shoot.

  • nova3930

    Good engineers don’t always make good business owners…

    • flyingburgers

      My impression of this company was the opposite. Businessmen don’t always make good engineers.

      • kevin kelly

        It’s More engineers don’t make good businessmen. It’s obviously a revolutionary idea. Good engineering I’d say.

        • flyingburgers

          Basically DARPA and military contractors were far ahead of TrackingPoint and ran into real problems that even DARPA had issues solving.

          • nova3930

            Their implementation wasn’t perfect, but they still pulled off something that’s not easy with their system. The totality of the long range problem is pretty complex, so I have to give them a lot of engineering credit for solving it even partially.

          • CommonSense23

            What did they solve? All they did was just integrate a couple separate technologies into one big scope. They didn’t partially solve anything.

          • nova3930

            Have you ever done system integration? Have you ever melded separate pieces of gear into a combined unit to accomplish a task, including the software to make everything play nice? Speaking from the perspective of having done those things, it’s easier said than done.

          • CommonSense23

            Still didn’t solve any of the long range shooting issues. And their big selling part of the actually tracking point technology actually made it a huge hindrance for military use.

          • nova3930

            So developing a system capable of an automated firing solution for moving targets in a package that’s man portable doesn’t solve any problem? I’d say decreasing the CEP of long range shots is pretty much THE problem that everyone is trying to solve. I mean, people spend one heck of a lot of $ to get custom rifles, hand loaded ammo, and LOT’S of range time to get their CEP down to miniscule levels right? Those are simply traditional solutions while this and the DARPA guided projectiles are more exotic.
            Also, I don’t really care whether it’s militarily useful or not. It doesn’t change the engineering accomplishment of making the system work.

          • CommonSense23

            So what happens when you use up the 200 rounds of ammo you use and have to use your own ammo? You ever wonder why they had to send out there own ammo with it? This isn’t exotic. The tracking point gives me all the same data that truing my gun, a kestrel and laser range finder and less than twenty rounds. And my kestrel can read wind.

            Creating a system that creates a automated firing solution for moving targets in a package that is man portable had already been done. DARPA has had it for a while know. But as DARPA knows unless it can read wind it doesn’t do any good(which they almost have solved). Its great for impressing someone who doesn’t understand the problems that come into long range shooting.

            The whole tag and shoot it aspect, its not like that was insane technology again. Military has had that for a while and been using it in RWS systems for a while. Great they miniaturized it. Again they fielded a system that was a decade behind DARPAs, played up its capabilities, and miniaturized and combined some systems into a scope that no experienced shooter wanted, and was out of the price range of anybody who did.

          • nova3930

            Again, spoken like someone who’s never actually done any of that. Do you think DARPA gave them their system? Did DARPA publish a TDP that tells you exactly how to build their system along with source code? If not that means they did the integration from scratch. Knowing something is possible and doing it are two different things. You can fly a helicopter over a tribe of Amazonian spear chuckers but that doesn’t mean they can be Igor Sikorsky in a couple years.
            Your whole issue seems to be that you and “experienced shooters” don’t want the thing. That’s fine. I’m not arguing whether it’s useful or wanted or anything like that. That changes not one bit the accomplishment putting the package together. As soon as you get over conflating your personal dislike of something with the engineering accomplishment of putting it together, get back to me…

          • CommonSense23

            You over estimating what they did. They took a ballistic computer, laser, scope and a some basic tracking software and combined it. You want to know why they get to say they were the first to offer it to the public. Cause every one else who could have done it, knew it wouldn’t be revolutionary(and most importantly profitable) until it integrates the reading and calculating wind. That is all this is. A absolutely horrible business decision.

    • Grindstone50k

      That’s why I don’t like Shark Tank.

      “Oh, wow, what an amazing and innovative product. Hows your sales? Only 150k/year because you’re an engineer, not a businessman? I’m out.”

      • What the heck kind of shark tank are you talking about?

        • Sulaco

          Its a TV show in the US and Canada (where its called something else) where inventers pitch their ideas and products to monied investors that own companies for development or sales cash. They normally also sell a % of their product to the investors. The investors normaly say “I’m out” when they decline the offer on the show…

        • Grindstone50k

          … The TV show?

          • Never heard of it, but then I don’t watch television.

  • Texas-Roll-Over

    Here’s the real problem.

    Investors bought into the idea that they would make a boat load of dough when the military bought into it, with massive military contracts.

    The military decided not to buy when they found out that A) it doesn’t do wind, B) the gun couldn’t be fired without the computer or battery, and C) Without battery, there is no optical sight.

    Which basically rendered the entire platform useless for their needs. The military didn’t buy in and the company has slowly went down hill from there.

    They tried to recover by selling it to the public. This however was not a good business model as most people (normal guys/gals) en mas, do not have $25k laying around for their next big game, or long distance rifle platform.

    Projects like the DARPA guided munitions are looming on the horizon and my best bet would be that investors are soured by the debacle which has become tracking point.

    • flyingburgers

      I was at a technical conference back in 2013 when somebody from a big-name defense contractor told the VP Sales or something of TrackingPoint about the battery issue. Said their community had fought that battle with Army long ago and lost. They should have listened.
      Besides that, they showed off how they were lead by these people who were ex-Army infantry or cops or something, which really seemed to give me the impression that they didn’t have any experience in the defense industries… users rather than builders.

    • Southpaw89

      Aside from the price I would add that no hunter I know would use this over issues of fair chase, and if your building a long distance rifle isn’t the whole point of long range shooting the challenge of it? You certainly wouldn’t impress anyone at the range if your hitting targets with a scope that does all the work for you.

      • Matt

        The “whole point” of long-range shooting is to hit targets that are a long way away.

    • Guest

      Nor do people want a guided firearm. Shooting is fun because of the skill involved. If I want autoaim I stay home and play computer games.

      • Grindstone50k

        *console games. Unless you’re an aimbotter. In which case, screw you.

    • guest

      OR – govt snuffed their sales to civilians to prevent people from getting the modern equivalent of what was called the “acemaker” gunsight.
      Pretty much the same way govt does not want people to have guns that shoot around corners etc.
      Nice theory you have though, very mainstream, but very BS.

  • TexianPatriot

    A $15,000 plus AR was a bad idea from a business standpoint. Most gun people would rather spend that kind of money on something else, a Barrett, a transferable machine gun, a car. The market was too small for them to survive. The price point did not hit the mark. (Pun intended)
    For $15,000 dollars you could buy an awesome non-electronic gun and enough ammo to practice with so that you dont need a computer to hit what you are aiming at.

    • Adam aka eddie d.

      It was $15,000 presently.
      Every serious evolutional step has to start somewhere.
      Think about cars for example!
      Early users were ridicouled, people said they were fools for spending a ton of money on an inefficient gimmick.
      Than the business got rollin’. 🙂

      • TexianPatriot

        Im not saying their product idea was bad. (Except for not being able to fire when the electronics go down). Im saying the business model was bad.

        • Adam aka eddie d.

          That may be true though!

  • sam

    It’s a shame. Especially because there was a whiff of folk-hysteria on the air about it. I had my metaphorical popcorn ready, I would have liked to see that play out for the proverbial lols.

  • HKGuns

    Too big, too heavy, too expensive and too much power required. It never had a chance, anyone with better than average intelligence figured all of this out shortly after the first sales pitch.

  • TheSmellofNapalm

    I’d much rather have a DT HTI in .375 CT anyway….

  • Raoul O’Shaugnessy

    CIA ‘venture capital’ division will quietly swoop in, buy the patents and tech for pennies on the dollar, and quietly work the R&D for a few years.

    • Herr Wolf

      Why would the CIA do that when they can just arm their ME flunkies with cheap AKs?

      • Guy

        Exactly.

    • Kill Nigers

      The CIA’s VC arm operates openly and is called In-Q-Tel. And the idea that they would buy the patents is idiotic, if they cared they would have provided additional funding and TrackingPoint would have done anything for it. IQT’s investments are generally non-dilutive, so their existing shareholders would have loved for this to happen.

      Have fun with your r etarded conspiracy theories though.

  • Herr Wolf

    who will save us now?

  • Kivaari

    Who would have guessed this happening. There are not enough people with the excess cash to buy such a limited use item. It was a novelty item. I am surprised they sold enough to cover the cost of advertising.

  • TheSmellofNapalm

    I don’t understand how anyone can be surprised by this

  • Tom Currie

    There is (or WAS) a market for their product, even at its current immature level, but as others have pointed out, that market is NOT the military (at least not for the quantities needed to make the investors the billions they were expecting). The problem Tracking Point is facing today is that they have saturated the market — they have already sold this pig-in-a-poke to every potential customer who had the money and the interest. There simply are no more buyers out there. The only way to generate new sales would be to bring the price point down by several thousand dollars – at which point they would have another small bunch of sales followed by being right back in the same position where they are today.

    • nova3930

      Yep, their system is one that requires a lot of capital backing it along with patient investors in order to support miniaturization and cost reduction. Cut the size/weight in half and get it down to the $3-$5k range and you might possibly be able to sustain a company on the civilian market. @ $25k it will never happen because there will never be enough civilians with means and interest to buy in…

    • dsd1

      and a lot of pi$$ed off consumer level buyers who paid top price for the same toy that can be had at 1/10 price a year later… kinda the same thing i see with the interest in getting full auto off NFA – many existing full auto owners aren’t interested in their extremely valuable collections now being cut to 1/20 value and every joe-bob in a pickup truck picking up a full auto at walmart.

  • iksnilol

    Who is surprised this happened? Practically useless product that is also very expensive. For the money, you can get a good rifle (a really good one, like sub half MOA), a good scope and enough money left over to buy enough ammo to become professional.

  • ghost930

    It’s amazing the amount of neigh Sayers in this comment section. Folks, it was a tragedy for the military that they couldn’t get the tech worked out on this system. After eight tours in Iraq and Afghanistan I kind of liked the idea of being able to issue a DDM rifle to each squad that was capable of hitting out to 1700 yards with minimal training, and an average shooter. Anyone, and I do mean anyone who thinks that wouldn’t be a life saver, and game changer for guys that are boots on ground hasn’t been in combat. If you’ve paid attention to the wash out rates at the various sniper schools you would know there are never enough of us to go around. True scout snipers would not have been replaced by this platform for a myriad of reasons. But, it would have been a much appreciated force multiplier at the Company and Squad level, and would have saved lives. If you think that is bad, your an idiot.

    • CommonSense23

      Eight tours huh? What are you a Batt Boy? And if you can’t understand why the military could care less about tracking point you don’t understand long range shooting. One the military has been working on a better system for a while now that actually solves the problem of long range shooting, reading wind. Two, tracking point would not have been allowing people deployed to be taking 1700 yard shots untrained. It was a hindrance to military shooters. Its a gimmick system all around.

      • Agitator

        “Eight tours huh?”

        Yeah, credibility red flag right there.

      • dsd1

        also what if it fell into the wrong hands in theater? – now the enemy has the same ability back at us – these could become high value targets so how many would they want floating around out there in battle? as well as my thoughts were what would the politicians feel about some disgruntled nut job having one of these at some political rally…1700 yards away and very high hit potential – makes me think of the SHOOTER movie. i kinda feel the govt likes drones for the reasons ghost930 gave – much harder to get the drone and if you do most can’t do much with it without the controlling half.

        • CommonSense23

          You realize a trained shooter could care less about Tracking Point cause in no way does it help him, and a untrained shooter still is going to miss you at that range. Its a gimmick currently.

    • FWIW

      But since it can’t read wind, it isn’t actually capable of hitting out to 1700 yards in any sort of real-world scenario. That gap between the spec sheet and its actual capability is one of the (very good) reasons the military passed on it.

    • ghost930

      Yeah, eight tours dimwits, four active duty, four as an armed DOD contractor, sorry if that hurts your little testosterone levels. Oh, and a year in Kosovo during the shooting on top of those. Sorry if you lead dull lives, that’s on you.
      If some of you commenting geniuses had bothered to do a little research you would have seen the tracking point hunting trip to Africa, where shots were made anywhere from 800 out to past 1200 IN THE WIND you would know that the system teamed with a good shooter was capable of a lot. Some of these shots were made on moving gemsbok and gazelle, emphasis on the MOVING. And if anyone believes there is no variable winds on the Serengeti plain in Africa on an average day, then you haven’t been there. And for those of you that commented that the system wasn’t capable of these shots, have you shot one??? Yeah, thought so.
      I didn’t anywhere in my comment say it was a perfect system. What it does is take a majority of the variables out of a long shot, leaving you to concentrate on the hardest variable, reading the wind and mirage. Worrying about two variables beats worrying about seven or so every time ESPECIALLY in a high threat high tension environment.
      While testing the system at Range 37 at Bragg, they brought mediocre Army shooters over from admin units, and had them hitting 700-1000 meter targets regularly after twenty minutes indoc on the weapon. Anyone that thinks this would have happened with normal optics in twenty minutes is retarded to say the least.
      The system wasn’t bad, and a good majority of development was paid for outside of government funding leaving the possibility of DARPA and the Army finishing up the completion and saving some overall funding for the tax payers, and possibly quickly fielding a system that was viable.

      • ghost

        I don’t know about anybody else, but I’m impressed. Arrogance supported by ignorance. (I’m the one without the numbers…..)

        • ghost930

          I don’t know you got the ignorance supported by further ignorance down by the numbers pretty good.

  • Shannon Kelman

    I liken the technology to the advent of automatic transmissions in auto-racing. When it first came out everyone decried it saying it wasn’t sporting but now you would be hard pressed to find someone who wasn’t using it.

    The same goes here. Right now I expect hunters not to use it saying it isn’t sporting. However, the pendulum will swing and it will be considered unethical not to use one (accurate shot placement = quick and humane death). Sadly, these guys made some design mistakes and are too early in the tech to survive.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    So their $750,000 rifles aren’t flying off the shelf?
    Shocking.

  • nero

    plus its not a firearm that mil/gov want civies to own, always was a cool concept for youtube vids lol but I never ever had any desire to have a computer shoot for me. I always thought it would fail, and it is. down the drain.

  • kev

    The trackingpoint system suffers a few drawback alright, but from a technology point of view its a pioneering step, militaries are developing similar programs and private companies all over the world are developing their own systems that can be used on multiple platforms. While it’s great to see innovation in the firearms industry and it’s sad to see a product face an n certain future I assume this will not be the last and many companies will buy elements of this technology and make it better, cheaper. If anything like the machine gun and metallic cartridges this is another chapter in small arms.

  • Adam aka eddie d.

    This is very sad news.
    Nowadays every second company claims to be the ultimate tactical game changer etc., so the word “innovative” is really overplayed, but if any manufacturer deserves using it,
    it’s Tracking Point.
    Sadly, knowing how usually people are, it’s no wonder a lot of other companies don’t like them and try to keep them from making business.
    I’m quite sure this is what’s causing the problems.
    People like new inventions, unless they’ve put money on a different horse, that’s obviously slower on the track.
    Tracking Point kind of made half the firearm optics out there obsolete, suddenly long range shooting became something that not only a select few can do successfully, with $3000 optics and $5000 guns.
    Were they financially successful, their technology would soon get much cheaper, thus killing regular optics, just like smartphones killed regular cellphones in less than 5 years.
    They were probably bought out and forced to shut down, an age old trick from the money bags behind large concerns.
    But Tracking Point is the future of targeting on small arms, evolution cannot be stopped.

    • CommonSense23

      Except they didn’t solve any long rang problems. Everything they did was accomplished by a kestrel and laser range finder.

  • Just sayin…

    I tried out the demo they had set up at the SHOT show and wasn’t impressed by how the target dropped out of sight when you pressed the tag button. Very disconcerting to lose sight of the target and have to try to find it again.

  • ghost930

    It wasn’t a name drop DA, that’s where they were doing some of the testing. Did you want me to use a secret squirrel name for it? Yeah, they made the shot using YOUR dope card, on YOUR rifle. Because YOU knew how to do that. THEY didn’t. If you handed them your rifle cold bore, and said go prone and hit the steel plate at 700 they could not have done it even on a no value wind day. The people tracking point used were not shooters, and they were verbally instructed on how the tracking point system worked, put on a bench and told to shoot. They didn’t know anything about long range shooting, and they didn’t have what amounts to a professional level cheat sheet (your dope card for the rifle) with them.
    DARPA, give me a break. The systems DARPA is working on are still years out from deployment through the usual military R&D channels (if you think different I’ll be willing to bet a paycheck). It took the Army six years to develop and field an armored truck for crying out loud.
    If you bothered to read my post closely, you would see that I said the tracking point wasn’t perfect, nor is it the end state. But it’s pretty close to being field ready at some levels, and it’s off the shelf with very little government money being spent. On top of that, most of you are griping that it takes the human and skilled shooter element out of long range precision shooting. The DARPA projects on the board are even more non-human skill level systems, that completely take the shooter out of the equation. You would basically be turned into a button pusher even more so than the tracking point.
    As far as my syntax, holy crap, I didn’t know we had so many readers of Webster’s New Standard Dictionary in the group. Anyone doubts my background, you figure out a way to get in touch of site, and I’ll “drop[ some names” and my resume so you can follow up for yourselves. Happy Memorial Day to you all.

    • CommonSense23

      A DOPE card is a professional level cheat card? Thats news to me. Its a pretty basic and old idea, never thought it was some high speed tactic. So lets see what takes me 2 minutes to explain how to use a laser range finder, and read and dial my dope, is worse than the 20 minute indoc on the tracking point?
      DARPAs system are still a couple years out cause they actually solve the long range shooting issues. Tracking Points were solution was a simple gimmick. Take a round that is capable well out to 1600 yards, combine a kestrel and a laser range finder, add a system that negatively effects combat shooting, and impress a bunch of people who have never shot past 300 yards in their life. There are reasons SOCOM evaluated this and didn’t procure it.
      And your syntax is getting hit due to the fact it doesn’t sound right. Tours instead of deployments. Meters instead of yards, and the fact that you mentioned Range 37 where the 18B trainees go, instead of the SF sniper range.

      • ghost930

        Yeah by definition it’s a cheat card in that you are not figuring out the ballistics on the fly in your head, sorry that hurts your testosterone level. The reason it took you 2 minutes to explain, is because it hopefully took you several hours and some ammo at the range to get all the data for your dope card, which is normal.
        DARPA has solved anything. They haven’t fielded anything. Nothing is nothing at this point.
        SOCOM didn’t procure the system, because the electronics weren’t hardened enough to withstand field use, not because the ballistic portion didn’t work. That was what Tracking Point was trying to alleviate when they ran out of funding. That is always the hardest part of any system involving electronics. And, guess what? That’s the part your beloved DARPA is having a problem with also. Soldier proofing it.
        As far as my background and syntax, I find it kind of funny that I made a comment on a weapon system, and because you really didn’t have a rational retort, you did what all idiots do, you attacked my character and veracity. Note that I said nothing of yours in any of my post. Because I assume that if you are making comments here you care about shooting. Apparently you haven’t taken the time to note the motto of this site. Firearms, not politics. Because for all I know, your a 20 something kid living at home with his parents, that just happens to read a lot of gun magazines and watches you tube regularly. But, I didn’t say that. You were the one that immediately went to a personal attack, when you really had no useful argument, other than you apparently don’t like Tracking Point.
        Like I said in my last post Jack Ass (since you did make it personal) anytime you want to compare backgrounds I’m game, just name the method.
        By the way, CommonSense23, not really apropos (look it up) by your attitude to people who you don’t even know, but hey the internets full of you.

        • CommonSense23

          If you honestly think it takes several hours to figure out your DOPE you really have no clue. Try under 20 minutes and less than 20 rounds with a brand new and never fired rifle.