Shooting people just became a lot easier for the social media/gamer generation. TrackingPoint a new company in Texas has started selling an advanced long-range "precision guided" rifle on the civilian market that uses laser and computer technology. It's a modern bolt action rifle, with Wi-Fi connection that lets a user stream live video and audio to an iPad and post hunting kill-shots to Facebook or YouTube. Currently, the rifle retails for $22,000 to $27,000 depending on the modifications and upgrades, but there are plans to sell the license to another company that will produce the advanced rifle for as little as $5,000.
Included in Your XactSystemTM Precision Guided Firearm Package
Every PGF comes complete with the following:
- Integrated Networked Tracking Scope, Guided Trigger, and Tag Button
- PelicanTM 3300 hard case
- 3 batteries and chargers
- 200 rounds of XactShotTM Ammunition by Barnes®
- Cleaning kit
- iPad Mini loaded with the TrackingPoint AppTM and ShotView AppTM
The rifle has a sci-fi-esque 3D display which allows untrained beginners to hit moving targets at 500 yards or farther using an advanced scope that takes into account distance, barometric pressure, temperature and even curvature of the earth. It tracks the target and paints a red laser tag on it which tracks the target even when it moves. The rifle makes automatic adjustments and can even decide when to shoot for you, so you can squeeze the trigger and the rifle will only fire when the blue crosshairs have lined up with the target marked by the red dot perfectly.
Check out the demo:
This technology can make even novices crack long-range sharpshooters without any practice whatsoever. No more years and years of training required. "We're taking centuries old tech, firearms and ammunition, and introducing 21st century technology to it," TrackingPoint CEO Jason Schauble said, "It delivers five times the first-shot success rate of traditional systems, at up to 1,200 yards, regardless of skill level." Schauble at 38-years-old is a decorated special forces officer who served in the marines and retired after being wounded in Iraq.
The company is fairly open about the videogame feel the rifle has, "This is a weapon that will get the Call of Duty generation into the real shooting sports," says Schauble who is unapologetic about the attempt to lure a the younger gamer generation. He also dismisses veteran hunters who express concern about the sport being degraded by swarms of "noobs" using the "SmartRifle,"
"It's called progress. The strongest appeal is to younger shooters who have grown up in the video-game and social-networking culture. They can share their best shots on Facebook. They'll 'get it' right away."
These features include the following apps:
The Networked Tracking Scope also records
- Video and voice audio of your shot sequences, from tag until 10-15 seconds after the shot
- Still photos of the tag, the shot, and the frame 10-15 seconds after the shot
- Shot data
Using the TrackingPoint App, you can download and share these images, complete with voice and shot data. Hunters can prove shots by sharing images and data with friends on Facebook, Twitter, and email.
The advanced 'SmartRifle' has understandably raised concern among many in the wake of devastating shootings across the country. It shares many of the issues of the 3D printed gun. This new weapon comes as support for background checks and additional gun control regulation rises:
According to a Pew Research Center survey released Thursday and conducted earlier in May, 81 percent of Americans said they continue to back making gun show and private firearms sales subject to background checks, while only 17 percent said they were opposed. A HuffPost/YouGov poll also conducted in early May showed respondents in favor of expanding background checks by a 74 percent to 16 percent margin.
Both the Pew survey and a new Washington Post/ABC News poll found that support for the defeated Manchin-Toomey measure, which would have expanded background checks to all gun show and online purchases, is also widespread. In the Pew survey, 73 percent said the Manchin-Toomey proposal should be passed if reintroduced, while 67 percent of respondents to the Post/ABC poll said the Senate did the wrong thing in rejecting the legislation.
Gun control advocates have pointed out the many disturbing possibilities this kind of rifle allows:
David Chipman, a spokesman for Mayors Against Illegal Guns which lobbies for an expansion of background checks for people buying guns, said the PGF "is not your grandfather's hunting rifle used for sport and recreation this is a weapon designed to kill with precision."
"This technology potentially enables any two bit criminal to operate with the skills of a highly trained sniper," Chipman said.
Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Education Fund to Stop Gun Violence, dismissed the significance of locking the software.
"This is an industry hell bent on making weapons more lethal and taking no measures to extend safety," Horwitz said. "If this type of technology is transferred into semi automatic and automatic weapons, it would make it even more lethal."
Schauble is aware of the gun control debate, he expresses his position, "We want to represent responsible gun owners and draw new people to the shooting sports. We also want to be an alternative to some of the more extreme voices that tend to show up in the media, shouting about gun rights. I own a lot of guns, and I'm not a crazy. There's room in this discussion for reasonable positions and innovation."
He points out that TrackingPoint does a personal background check and vetting of each individual buyer and only then ships the weapon to a federally licensed gun dealer in the buyer's home state who does an independent background check using the FBI database. Finally staying true to the "SmartRifle" label the gun's scope which allows the extremely accurate shooting is password protected which allows users to block the automatic shooting technology as if it's a smartphone.
The rifle can still be used manually, it just won't be usable by beginners. Part of the reason may be concern about the NRA, which opposes "smartgun" technology restricting the usage of a weapon to a single authorized user. It's difficult to say why the NRA opposes such technology, which on the whole seems to be a reasonable use of it but it is likely due to 'libertarian' concerns about the government being able to remotely lock people out of their guns. For this safe reason the "SmartRifle" does not have any GPS tracking technology.
Clearly there is concern among both gun rights and gun control groups about the "SmartRifle" technology. It remains to be seen how things will play out legally.
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