CES 2013 is featuring a Linux powered “autoaim” rifle by manufacturer TrackingPoint. Their primary products are Precision Guided Firearms, or PGFs, that use computer technology and a high end HUD-based scope to guide every shot. Their primary products are “a series of three heavily customized hunting rifles, ranging from a .300 Winchester Magnum with a 22-inch barrel up to a .338 Lapua Magnum with 27-inch barrel.”
The PGF from TrackingPoint is a heavily modified hunting rifle that features “a modified trigger mechanism with variable weighting, the computerized digital tracking scope, and hand-loaded match grade rounds” according to Ars Technica.
According to Business Insider, the new TrackingPoint rifle sight “turns every shooter into a sniper,” which sounds like an accurate summarization. Firing this gun is different and relatively easy compared to a normal hunting rifle. First you mark the target with a press of the button, with a marker showing up on the Heads Up Display (HUD) built into the scope. This marker follows the target for you. Then you pull the trigger, but the gun won’t fire until the computer determines you have perfectly lined up the shot. Releasing the trigger before firing resets the autoaim gun to default.
This autoaim hunting rifle also includes an iPad with the TrackingPoint app pre-configured and ready to go. The scope is capable of recording the visuals and streaming a live video feed over WiFi to the iPad, or an iPhone. This feature allows an experienced spotter to help n00b hunters line up their shots. Or, after going home, hunters can brag about that amazing 1000-yard shot by showing a video recording to all their friends on YouTube.
Although perhaps hunters might not have much to brag about, since according to Ars Technica “it was nearly impossible to miss, even at tremendous distances.” They also asked about potential involvement with the Department of Defense, but TrackingPoint feels it’s better to produce the technology first and find a market instead of chasing after potential DoD contracts.
Politics also became part of the discussion, with the recent school shootings weighing heavily on everyone’s minds:
“The company is also keenly aware of the potential negative public perception right now around firearms and firearm manufactures, in the wake of recent mass-shooting events like the ones in Sandy Hook and Aurora. The three models of PGF are bolt-action hunting rifles, unwieldy for any kind of close-quarters work; the tracking system itself requires patience and care to line up and fire, and it doesn’t appear at all to be the kind of thing a mass-shooter would employ. At this time, TrackingPoint indicated that it has no intention of producing a PGF system for anything other than bolt-action rifles.”
The price for a Precision Guided Firearm from TrackingPoint is relatively high—the rifles start at about $17,000. Although Ars Technica points out “that isn’t a huge premium over parting together one’s own rifle and precision optics.” Hunters who hunt primarily for the meat may find these products very interesting, but quite frankly I can imagine many hunters turning up their noses. After all, what’s the point if the gun is basically doing all the work for you?