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TrackingPoint precision guided rifles decide when to take their own best shot

By

December 3, 2012

TriggerPoint's president test-firing the TriggerPoint XS1 tactical/sniper rifle

TriggerPoint's president test-firing the TriggerPoint XS1 tactical/sniper rifle

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TrackingPoint, Inc., a precision guided rifle development company operating out of Austin, Texas, has developed breakthrough technology that claims to put jet fighter lock-and-launch technology onto a combat rifle, making sniper-level accuracy available to the average shooter.

Jason Schauble, the president of TrackingPoint, has taken on many challenges in his time. A past vice president of Remington’s Global Military Products, he is also a retired special ops Marine captain who won both Silver and Bronze Star medals in Iraq. Schaubel is now applying his "bold leadership, wise judgment, and complete dedication to duty" to leading TrackingPoint out of stealth mode and into a prominent position in the world of advanced tactical weapons.

TrackingPoint claims that their patent pending Intelligent Digital Tracking Scopes (tracking scopes) will allow an unskilled accurately hit long-range targets. How?

Initially, the view through a tracking scope is simply a magnified view of the target along an axis parallel to the rifle barrel. The shooter first "tags" a target by choosing a desired impact point on the target's surface. An electronic display adds a red dot that indicates the desired impact point, which remains fixed on the target as the direction of the rifle changes.

If the shooter fired the gun at this point, the result would be a clean miss. Between gravity, atmospheric drag, parallax, and cross-winds, bullets don't follow a straight path. What the shooter needs is a firing solution telling him where to point the rifle barrel so the bullet will hit the desired impact point when fired.

TriggerPoint XS1 prototype showing target tag and firing solution with windage correction

TriggerPoint XS1 prototype showing target tag and firing solution with windage correction

Now the riflescope computer displaces the aiming cross-hairs so that they indicate the bullet's impact point as predicted by the firing solution. If the trigger is now squeezed, the rifle will not fire until the desired impact point and the predicted impact point are sufficiently close together. At 1000 yards (914 m), most shots should hit within the width of a single hand.

In January, TrackingPoint plans to introduce three precision guided rifles. The XS1 will be a tactical rifle chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum, one the remaining candidates for the new US special ops sniper caliber. The XS2, and XS3 will be smaller versions of the XS1 chambered in .300 Winchester Magnum cartridges.

Rumors of retail prices in the US$15-20K range have been reported, but there have been no formal announcements as yet. The video below gives a useful summary of TrackingPoint's efforts to date combined with their aspirations.

Source: TrackingPoint, via The Firearm Blog

About the Author
Brian Dodson From an early age Brian wanted to become a scientist. He did, earning a Ph.D. in physics and embarking on an R&D career which has recently broken the 40th anniversary. What he didn't expect was that along the way he would become a patent agent, a rocket scientist, a gourmet cook, a biotech entrepreneur, an opera tenor and a science writer.   All articles by Brian Dodson
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17 Comments

How does the scope measure the cross wind?

MrGadget
3rd December, 2012 @ 12:51 am PST

@MrGadget

The Abrams tank uses laser doppler measurement, but I don't see anything that looks like a laser tube on that hardware, so it's probably got a built in scintillation anemometer.

My questions are:

1. Is that price only for the scope system?

2. Must the scope system be matched to a particular weapon?

3. Is it the whole system powered up all the time, or do the bells and whistles only get turned on when needed?

4. What is the heat signature of the system?

5. Effective battery life before replacements are required.

flink
3rd December, 2012 @ 03:29 am PST

That is truly amazing. Wow!

Juan de la Cruz
3rd December, 2012 @ 08:36 am PST

A very nice piece of kit in the right hands, the military. How are they going to prevent the gun crazies from getting their hands on it? I can't help but wonder what the DC snipers would have done with something like this.

Wally3178
3rd December, 2012 @ 07:07 pm PST

This is a very interesting development. As long as the Army keeps training snipers to do things without any electronic aids as they do today, this will be a fine addition.

Tyler.Totten
4th December, 2012 @ 08:27 am PST

This is all well and good on a "static" target; but, what can it do with a "dynamic"(moving) one??

Shef
4th December, 2012 @ 09:24 am PST

How does the system function against moving targets? What happens when, say, the front of the target is tagged & then he turns around? Or the view is momentarily obstructed?

Must the scope system be matched to a particular weapon? In order for the trigger to be controlled by the DTS, and for the tagging button to be ergonomic, I think the answer is yes. If the DTS is successful, there's likely to be a 7.62 X 51 mm & .50 BMG guns as well.

How will the system be kept from criminals & the sanity challenged? Foreign buyers will be limited by weapons tech restrictions. The price alone is a powerful deterrent. 1 possible solution would be for the Pentagon to buy the right to limit distribution.

theotherwill
4th December, 2012 @ 09:59 am PST

Not too many "gun crazies" with 20 large in their pockets, I would guess. And even if they had that much change, I bet there would be the Mother of all background checks going on. This will probably be limited to the military, law enforcement, and the occasional assassin.

Bruce H. Anderson
4th December, 2012 @ 10:09 am PST

Well what about the hunter wanna be's, or CEO's with a guide who puts you right where the animal is and now you don't even have to be a good shot. It's not fair to the animals, if there's any left.

Jerry Johnston
4th December, 2012 @ 10:36 am PST

Wish list for V2

1.Platform will sit on a fixed tripod the user sets up in the field. Tripod will be a motorised mount linked to a portable terminal so there is no need for the user to actually touch the rifle.

2.Object tracking will look something like face tracking on a digital camera able to differentiate between object types, and able to lock on to moving targets.

3.Ammunition selector will have multiple feeds and load ammunition relevant to the target. This will be delivered either through a rotating multi-calibre barrel or single rail.

4.The unit will receive environmental information from the portable terminal and correlate satellite imagery with rifle view to shoot through smoke or fog.

5.Rifle eye will be multi-wavelength, able to lock on to targets behind objects like thin walled structures.

6.Multi-object tracking would allow such a unit to fire multiple rounds in a consecutive manner without pausing between shots to re-establish lock.

Nairda
4th December, 2012 @ 04:16 pm PST

can it mate to any rifle or just niche ones?? A-Z rifle makes??

even older ones like 1914 Mauser bolt action or 1943 M1 Garand??

Stephen N Russell
4th December, 2012 @ 06:11 pm PST

I'd love to fire through this Lapua Magnum with that scope as an avid sniper hunter myself once but I'd rather wish this was NOT made public or available to the public except to the forces maintaing Peace & preventing further aggression by adversaries bent to disrupt our civil life and global harmony. What is 20K??? Its still peanuts!!! I'd rather it be charged at 650K and only to be watched over by an armoury Officer with a good enviable salary screened with a happy family & sex marriage as well!! :) Sure.... the SS men protecting The President should be equipped with this "shield slicer" I wud dubb it.

Desmond FLechner
5th December, 2012 @ 01:22 am PST

Jerry Johnston. Have you ever been hunting? I moved to a rural area in middle school and came to love the woods. I learned to hunt, fish, trap, and work on ranches and dairies. Believe whatever crap you read in PETA if you want--the real world is much different. The muskrat I trapped for fur and $ in High school have so climbed in population that the little bast@&ds are ruining local stream banks and damaging native trout habitat. I have a hundred traps that a teen could use to do the same thing I did, but they aren't legal to use anymore. The DFG is struggling to contain this non-native species before they do more damage.

Deer are more plentiful in our area than at any time in recorded history. I fly, and daily see vast numbers of wildlife, and yet I live about four miles as the crow flys from I-5 in mid northern California. You would be shocked . . .

PicklePop Flyer
5th December, 2012 @ 01:54 pm PST

Basically a good idea. Not however original to this group.

There are other even more interesting things possible if the unit budget goes to 20k with a minimum 1000 unit buy by the DOD.

This becomes a real business, with the trade secrets and patents at least 10 other major governments would need to keep up with Uncle Sam. $200 million thats serious.

attoman
6th December, 2012 @ 11:10 am PST

snipers in the Military seem to do just fine without this.

why would they bother to buy and use it?

Joseph Hoekman
7th December, 2012 @ 06:40 pm PST

@Joseph Hoekman: This snipers require extensive training and usually a two man team for long shots. The spotter and the shooter. This would eliminate the need to infiltrate the spotter. It would also allow vastly less trained personnel to hit a small moving target. Compared to the cost of training a sniper and spotter the $20k pricetag is penuts. That is why the military would use it. The snipers themselves might have a caniption fit as they are an elite group that many fail to make it into.

I agree that giving anyone with $20K US the ability to hit a quarter at half a mile would be a dangerous thing.

For those who express confidence that background checks would be exhaustive and inclusive I think that the gun lobby's resistance to regulation would make it impossible to prevent dangerous people from getting them. They are already lobbying more exhaustive background checks on assault rifles to death. If watching 30+ kids get murdered by a single shooter can not overcome their sense of entitlement enough to add a little more scrutiny to folks looking to buy weapons designed to kill multiple targets very very quickly this won't change anything. I fully expect this system to make it to market with the standard waiting periods and background checks that have allowed the criminally insane and even ex cons to aquire severely lethal equipment.

VirtualGathis
28th May, 2013 @ 12:50 pm PDT

Awesome, cheating, progress? I just call it inevitable. It was only a matter of time before someone married a ballistic computer with a device that automatically adjusts the sight so all the user has to do is put the crosshair on the target. It still can’t make your hand steadier, train you to be unseen when sneaking to your firing position, or calculate for wind that the firearm’s sensors aren’t picking up because the system is shielded from the breeze by your cover. This certainly doesn’t render snipers obsolete.

vanbachbn
14th April, 2014 @ 06:43 pm PDT
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