Smart Rifles: Sniping for Dummies
Everyone will agree that technology enriches our lives, from instant communication across the world, to automating tasks that once would have taken hundreds of man-hours. But at what point does technology go too far?
This is a question that the Austin, Texas based company TrackingPoint has undoubtedly heard, and both evidently and rightly, ignored.
Creators of what they've labeled the world's first "Smart Rifle", these enterprising Texans have come up with a way to turn a completely untrained shooter into a someone who could fend off an enemy at the gates.
The author, demoing their .338 Lapua model.
I got to get my hands on a demo of one of their rifles, chambered in .338 Lapua, at this year's South by Southwest conference. Strangely enough, their booth was in the Gaming expo, which in hindsight was a perfect fit, as the vast majority of video gamers have never so much as held a real firearm, which makes them the perfect market for the company.
You see, if you can click a button, you can fire these rifles, with exceptional accuracy. I spoke to Jerel Heritage, one of TrackingPoint's technicians. He explained the operation of the firearm, which relies on a Linux-based computer that calculates all the ballistic variables for you. You simply paint what you want to shoot with a small button on the side of the trigger well, hold down the trigger, and the rifle will only fire once your barrel is in the exact spot to make the shot.
Is that "cheating"? No. What are you, stupid? The point of any weapon is to have tactical superiority over your enemy. And if we're discussing non-tactical uses, such as hunting, wouldn't it be more human to be absolutely sure of your shot placement to kill the animal as cleanly as possible?
TrackingPoint's demo at SXSW gaming expo
I know we're not really arguing against anyone in our audience here on Bullshido, but on some fundamental level of my consciousness I object to the idea that companies like TrackingPoint shouldn't be pushing the frontiers of technology because they happen to be operating in an area that involves taking life. That ship has long since sailed, unless you consider a rifle to be more of a threat than nuclear weapons, climate change, man-made earthquakes, and Canadian teen pop idols.
Not to mention that these puppies aren't cheap --$10,000 for the AR-15 model -- so you're not going to see these in the hands of your local gang banger or disgruntled postal employee, if that's your favorite flavor of paranoia.
You can find out more about these rifles on the company's website.