Too lazy to spend years learning how to kill beautiful animals from nearly a mile away? Or are you merely rich and incompetent, with a desire to shoot something to death from a far distance? Maybe both? If so, great news! For just $27,500, you can buy a rifle that—with only 30 minutes of instruction—will transform you from a novice to an expert marksman capable of hitting a target 1,200 yards away.
Tracking Point, a Texas-based gun maker, released the XS model “smart rifle” earlier this year with the goal of letting just about anyone accurately shoot a target up to 12 football fields away. Tracking Point founder John McHale developed the idea for the rifle after failed hunting trip in Tanzania. From CNET:
At one point, McHale had closed within 300 yards of the animal. But when he released the round, thinking he was on target, the gazelle didn't budge. He had missed completely. He tried — and missed — again, but this time scared off his prey. McHale said he couldn't stay steady enough to hit the 4-inch kill zone of the gazelle at 300 yards. He simply lacked the skill.
So the defeated McHale returned home and used his background in tech startups to create Talking Point rifle, which removes the need for the physical or mental skill previously required in successful long-distance shooting. Again from CNET:
Long-range shooting involves a lot of math. As soon as a bullet blasts out of a gun's barrel, it's falling. Other factors also shape how a bullet behaves in flight, such as elevation, cant, distance to target, and inclination.
Most experienced long-range hunters keep a "dope book," or log of every variable for every shot made with a specific rifle. They then pore over this ballistics data trying to perfect future shots. With Tracking Point rifles, all of this information is gathered in real time by the gun itself and then fed to the shooter via the display in the firearm's scope. This means people who don't even know what a dope book is can hit a long-range target with the same acumen as a pro.
CNET’s Dara Kerr tested the rifle at an Austin-area shooting range, where she received instructions from firearms specialist August Crocker. When Kerr – who had little prior shooting experience — asked if it would be difficult to hit a target 750 yards away, Crocker said it wouldn’t.
"I've been a competitive shooter all of my life," Crocker said. "I could do it with a conventional rifle. But with Tracking Point, I could have you doing that in half an hour."
Using military-grade heads-up display (HUD), called a "Networked Tracking Scope," combined with a built-in computer, the gun tracks its target, whether it’s moving or still, with a reported 100 percent accuracy rate.
"Before you tag, the computer inside has already profiled the variables," Crocker told CNET. "As soon as you tag, it quantifies all of those variables and the gun tells you where to put the crosshairs."
"First shot is a tenfold improvement over what most trained shooters can do," Crocker added. "I've shot with the best. I've shot with Olympians in Finland, and nothing comes close to the capabilities we have."
The gun also has built-in Wi-Fi, which transfers the scope's image to the iPad that comes free with each rifle. A friend can watch in real-time as you shoot, and the scope also records up to two hours of video, which — don't worry — you can easily share to Facebook or YouTube.
But why stop at a mere 3,600 feet? Tracking Point is already at work on a new rifle, tentatively titled the "Super Gun," which could hit a target at 1.75 miles, besting the current world record by over a quarter of a mile.
As for concerns that the scope removes any human element, the company's CEO says not to worry. "There are a number of people who say the gun shoots itself," Tracking Point CEO Jason Schauble told CNN. "It doesn't. The shooter is always in the loop."
Good to know. You wouldn't want to be "out of the loop" when killing something a mile away.