PEO Soldier recently purchased six Tracking Point systems, the newest smart rifle technology in the precision-shooting industry.
Military.com Associate Editor Brendan McGarry and I got to check out Tracking Point at SHOT Show 2014 in Vegas. And it was hard not to be impressed.
McGarry wrote a Jan. 15 piece on Tracking Point for DefenseTech, but PEO Soldier just recently got back to us.
“The Army purchased six Tracking Point fire control systems to begin exploring purported key target acquisition and aiming technologies,” said PEO spokesman Alton Stewart.Tracking Point emerged about a year ago. I only got to shoot it once, but it was cool. You look through this very large optic. You put your red dot onto the target – mine was 980 meters down range. You push a red button on the right side of the trigger guard to tag it.
“The Army is considering buying additional Tracking Point weapon Systems pending of funding. This purchase would allow the Army to evaluate, test and analyze the commercially available, non-developmental item to assess the capabilities this system could bring to the soldiers and to assist Army requirement developers to define future fire control requirements.”
Then the red dot drops below the target. You bring it back up just below the tag. You then squeeze the trigger, but the rifle doesn’t fire until you put the red dot over the tag. As soon as its lined up, the weapon fires.
First-round hit. It seems to work, but I have no idea if they tinkered with it to have it zeroed to pre-set targets.
The system includes a Linux-powered computer in the scope with sensors that collect imagery and ballistic data such as atmospheric conditions, cant, inclination, even the slight shift of the Earth’s rotation known as the Coriolis effect. Because the computer is wireless-enabled, information can be streamed to a laptop, smart phone or tablet computer for spotting or to share intelligence.
It’s impressive technology, but it completely goes against the science of shooting. I mean you don’t need to know anything about fundamentals of marksmanship to operate this thing – not really sure it’s such as good idea to thrust upon the sniper community.
Tracking point officials maintain that the technology was never intended for snipers but more for the average shooter, who might need to engage a target at sniper range.
“This is not necessarily for them,” Oren Schaube, a marketing official with the Austin, Texas-based company. “This is for guys who don’t have that training who need to perform in greater capabilities. This is more for your average soldier.”
As you might have guessed, Tracking Point is expensive. These guns range in cost from about $10,000 for scope-and-trigger kits installed on semi-automatic Daniel Defense rifles accurate to about 750 yards, to between $22,000 and $27,000 for those installed on bolt-action Surgeon rifles accurate to about 1,250 yards, according to Schauble. The kits can also be installed on other types of firearms.