Imagine having a rifle with which it is impossible to miss your intended target. For hunters and shooting enthusiasts, that may seem like a wild pipe dream. However, the guys over at TrackingPoint are working to make that a reality with their new shooting platform called the Precision Guided Firearm.
TrackingPoint is an applied technology company based in Austin, Texas and founded by John McHale. McHale, along with some friends and Austin Ventures, took $35 million in start-up cash and set out to create a rifle that could not miss.
They achieved their goal, although it was not always a smooth path.
While hunting in Africa, McHale had an opportunity to take a Thomson's gazelle at a range of 350 yards. Unfortunately, McHale was unable to calm his nerves enough for a steady shot. He missed the gazelle and played it over and over in his mind for the rest of his safari. That miss led to the idea that sparked TrackingPoint.
A combination of cutting edge technology makes it possible for the makers of this rifle to boast that it never misses. Well, we shouldn't say rifle. The gun itself is not made by TrackingPoint. Instead, they utilize .300 Winchester Magnum rifles from Surgeon Rifles out of Prague, Oklahoma. It is the impressive technology behind the scope and targeting system developed by TrackingPoint that makes those rifles so accurate.
That technology includes a laser rangefinder, several gyroscopes, an accelerometer, a magnetometer, as well as a 14.6 megapixel digital camera. Built-in Linux based Wi-Fi, it allows for live streaming of hunts to an iPad. The brain behind the operation is a digital-signal processor that calculates equations up to 54 times per second in order to find the best time to fire.
Despite that astounding pedigree, the Precision Guided Firearm did run into some quality issues during the first production run. Most of the complaints surfaced from inaccuracy during periods of extreme heat and cold. However, with a personnel change and a couple tweaks to production and parts, that problem was solved relatively quickly.
With prices ranging from $22,500 all the way up to $27,500, these rifles are not cheap and are certainly only within the purchasing range of a small group of hunting and shooting enthusiasts. However, there does seem to be a viable market amongst that group with over 2000 people already signing up through the required online form. TrackingPoint then runs the applicants through public records and focuses on those that seem affluent enough to afford such a rifle. The other applicants are kept in a database for consideration once prices drop on future models.
While some may feel that such advanced technology has no place in the tradition based world of hunting and takes away from the skill of shooting accurately, TrackingPoint is proving that technology is the way of the future even in the world of hunting and shooting. The company is also already brainstorming more ideas including a semi-automatic version of the Precision Guided Firearm.
It will be interesting to see how TrackingPoint continues to grow and how their product will affect the shooting and hunting industry as a whole.
Check out this video demonstration for more:
Image via Tracking-Point.com