Monthly Archives: February 2013

You can’t quit, you’re fired (at)

godfatherAn Atlanta youth gang has watched too many Mafia movies: you know the scene, where the reluctant Mafioso has the organization’s retirement plan, or rather, lack of one, explained to him. Usually in the back of the head.

“Never since I’ve been in law enforcement have I seen someone shot 15 times and live,” U.S. Marshal Eric Heinz said. “(He) told the other members of the gang, ‘Hey, look, I want to go straight, be law-abiding,’ and they weren’t happy with it.”

The 19-year-old was shot and started crawling and moaning, MyFoxAtlanta.com reported. The people who aided him are now in protective custody. The gang’s motto is reportedly: You’re in until you die.

Well, apparently they failed at that, because despite absorbing 15 hits, the young man is going to live. We suppose he’s unlucky he wasn’t in Cuomostan, where he could only have been shot with 7 rounds, except by criminals (oh. wait, what?) or by the police, who of course could have fired 15 shots but would probably have hit him and nine bystanders again.

We’re not joking about the Mafia movie connection to these jokers. These yout’s call themselves the Young Mob, a subset of a street gang that calls themselves the Goodfellas, according the US Marshal quoted by Fox 5 Atlanta (warning: site is infected with Undertone malware).

But seriously, what kind of person would do such a thing?

Agents with the U.S. Marshals Counter Gang Unit and Atlanta Police arrested two people in the shooting, including a 16-year-old and 19-year-old Farrakmad Muhammad Price, who they say was found Tuesday hiding in Tennessee.

via Atlanta teen survives being shot 15 times after telling gang he wants out | Fox News.

We’re shocked, shocked, that a dude named Muhammad is in the bag for this one. That hardly ever happens!

ABB: Agents Behaving Badly

500px-US-FBI-ShadedSeal.svgFirst, we’ll warm up with the FBI. Then, we’ll single out a couple of recent disciplinary cases from ICE. From the Telegraph (UK):

One male agent was sacked after police were called to his mistress’s house following reports of domestic incident. When officers arrived they found the agent “drunk and uncooperative” and eventually had to physically subdue him and wrestle away his loaded gun.

A woman e-mailed a “nude photograph of herself to her ex-boyfriend’s wife” and then continued to harass the couple despite two warnings from senior officials. The Bureau concluded she was suffering from depression related to the break-up and allowed her to return to work after 10 days.

But the sexually explicit picture was only one of what FBI assistant director Candice Will described to CNN as a “rash of sexting cases”. The network was the first to obtain the logs.

Two other employees, whose genders were not specified, sent sexually explicit messages to fellow members of the Bureau, one a work Blackberry during office hours.
The second employee included a nude photograph which “created office gossip and negatively impacted office operations”.

via FBI agents caught sexting and dating drug dealers – Telegraph.

OK, but when ICE screws up, they really screw up. Here’s a couple from the Naughty Boys and Girls roundup that they send out to the troops now and again:

Anybody find one of these?

Anybody find one of these?

Misuse of Official Passport; Lost Credentials, Badge and Cell Phone: An employee used a government-issued passport for a personal vacation after being denied permission by their supervisor. The employee subsequently lost their government-issued credentials, badge and cell phone while on vacation. In aggravation, the employee used poor judgment by disobeying a supervisor, bringing government-issued equipment on vacation, and failing to safeguard the equipment. PENALTY: 14-day suspension. OFFENSE: Lost Credentials and Badge.

Lost Firearm: An employee placed their service-issued firearm on the roof of a government owned vehicle (GOV) and drove away forgetting about the firearm. After a brief search, the employee was unable to locate the firearm. In aggravation, the employee is a law enforcement officer and held to a higher standard of conduct. The employee demonstrated complacency with respect to accounting for a service-issued firearm and the incident created a safety hazard that could have serious repercussions for the community and agency. PENALTY: 5-day suspension. OFFENSE: Loss of Government Property (Firearm).

And then there was this guy:

Thirty-nine year old loser Vincent Diantonio called the police around 10:50 to complain of a foul odor that was coming from a business nearby. This business apparently stockpiles animal fat/grease and Mr. Diantonio did not like it. Instead of closing his windows or going somewhere else, Mr Diantonio decided to do what ever rational thinking adult would do: he lit the 55-gallon drums of animal fat/grease on fire!

But wait…there’s more!

Diantonio (who goes by the nickname of “Boy Genius”) decides to call back the police forty minutes later to complain about the smell except this time he’s riding a tractor. Officers then notice beer cans, butane lighters, and smoke. As it would turn out, Diantonio was extremely drunk and decided he was going to set the animal fat on fire. Now he’s in jail for arson. Worst drinking story, ever.

Yes, he was a special agent in ICE’s Philadelphia office. A first-year, probationary SA. So he’s gone, right? Errr…. We should say, is a special agent because when the Reaper came for his career, he threw the “I can’t he’p mysseff, I gots a problem” card and checked into a drying-out academy, then bugged out to active duty (the assclown is a warrant officer in the Marine Reserves…) and the combination has tied the ICE personnel system in knots (not hard to do, it’s not like the agency’s best gravitate to HR). It gets better, though: this was his second disciplinary rodeo in a few short months with the agency. He also totaled a G-ride (a brand new one!) and he had so many different stories about the single-car accident — which was never reported to local LE — that his supervisors finally figured out that he must have been so drunk at the time that he doesn’t remember the accident at all. By that time, there was no way for them to discipline him without looking bad, themselves, so they let the totaled-Charger incident blow over.

Since the FBI was firing all those people for sexting and stuff, surely that’ what the ICE did to the careless badge losers and gun scatterers, right? Er, no. Look at the excerpts again. The agent that lost the credentials got a fourteen day suspension. The agent that lost his sidearm got seven days.

Obviously, if you’re going to be a crummy agent, the consequences for your crumminess are a lot less, well, consequential in ICE than down the hall at FBI.

ATF BadgeYou might ask, why no discipline information from BATFE? Well, once an ATF agent gets to the supervisor level, he never gets disciplined. They can do all this stuff that the FBI SA gets the sack for, and that even ICE gets suspended for, and raise that to providing Mexican drug cartels with three thousand plus guns, and they get promoted. So that’s where you want to go if you’re a bozo: you’ll fit right in, and rise rapidly in the ranks.

Our personal favorite was the guy who was prostituting himself in a hotel room. He brought his own door and replaced the hotel bathroom door — his had a hole in it, which in gay prostitution (and ATF senior management, but do we repeat ourselves?) circles is called a “glory hole.” Caught by local police, he’s still employed at a decent six-figure salary and benefits at ATF HQ.

On the other hand, while you have to admire his resilience as a payroll patriot, this is one case where it truly sucks to be him.

Six reasons “practical” competition isn’t

USMC sight picture illustrationThe various pistol, rifle, and multi-gun competitions are often billed as good training for self-defense and even for police and military operations, but they aren’t for a number of reasons:

Too much emphasis on the quick draw

Perhaps the generations of Hollywood westerns that dominated the American cultural mindscape from circa 1950 to 1970 are to blame: the vast majority of the founders and rulemakers of these sports are Baby Boomers, whose cultural formation took place in the Cowboys and Indians period.

The quickest draw, of course, is the one where the gun is already in your hand, and people know this even if event organizers don’t. In an actual defensive situation, it may well be more important to draw the gun with stealth than with speed. But “practical” shooting goes for quick-draw flash every time.

This complaint could actually be more generalized: these sports overemphasize speed in general, leading to risk-taking in the interests of speed. This is an incentive badly aligned with the needs of military and police forces. The quick draw and the snap shot are advanced skills to be pursued only when aimed deliberate fire is not possible.

Not enough emphasis on good judgment

When there are lasting consequences from a shooting in the military or police, it’s seldom because the shooter wasn’t quick enough. It’s almost always because the shooter could have exercised better judgment. Speed pressure is, of course, corrosive of judgment. When to shoot is almost always a decision of subordinate importance to whether to shoot. Exercises that test that judgment don’t fit into the speed/accuracy/penalty scoring paradigm of most events.

For decades, aviation safety experts pursued better pilot skills, but in the last 20 years of wo they’ve fully internalized the idea that most mishap involve, in some way, a pilot of perfectly adequate stick and rudder skills being tested in his judgment and found wanting. This has led to an air safety revolution, as the training and evaluation base has added judgment analytics, scenario-based-training, desicision-making exercises and counteraction of hazardous attitudes to its toolbox. Combat weaponscraft is ready for a similar revolution.

Almost every tragic combat shooting story we cover here is a tale of judgment. Why isn’t this part of practical shooting events?

Optimizing vs Satisficing

Those are two approaches economists and decision-theory wonks see as alternative decision modes.  Optimizing is well understood. It is done by evaluating the possibilities and getting the absolute optimum one. Satisficing is a much less frequently encountered word, even though it’s a much more commonly used decision strategy — one that recognizes that time spent optimizing is itself a steep opportunity cost.

Satisficing means, essentially, setting a bar (threshold) and accepting any outcome that crosses that bar. Real gunfights are like that: if you’re alive, your opponent(s) dead, and no friendly fire or collateral damge has taken place, that’s a win. So in the real world every disabling shot into a human target has equal value: there is no x-ring. In the competitions, there’s great weight on very minute variations in speed and accuracy. It’s probably impossible to design a “practical” competition that’s weighted the way combat is.

Encouraging gimmicky weapons and holsters

Screen shot 2013-02-25 at 9.55.21 PMHow practical are these rigs, really? In some events you see 6″ barreled 1911s with trigger jobs that are not safe off the range and mounted optics, dangling in gimmicky mid-thigh holsters. Carry that for a week and let us know how it’s working for you.

Adding a real field-oriented test or two to the stages might bring some reality back. Like thrust the gun in a 55-gallon drum of mud before a stage. How you like your red dot now?

Unimaginative targets

ipsctargReal enemies don’t stand still, and don’t make straight line, linear moves as if they’re on rails. Most of the targets presented in competition do one or the other of these.

The scoring rings on the IPSC target, also, are somewhat unrealistic. But there’s no really realistic way to render the way that the human organism absorbs shots — because there’s so much individual variation and chance involved. The IPSC rings are a trade-off, and while we have to think there has to be a better trade-off, we don’t have one to suggest right now.

Wrong penalties on the wrong things

The penalties assessed for time are probably too high, and those assessed for missing the target are too low. Particularly shooting a “hostage” or “bystander” — that should be not just a stage forfeit, but a tournament misconduct. Pushing speed and going mild on collateral negligence is not practical. In the real world, there are no backstops: solid hits are at a premium.

The bottom line

The bottom line on these sports is that they are, well, sports. They’re not without value — nothing motivates like competition, and speed and accuracy are things that are worth pursuing. But you should never mistake these stylized sports for actual preparation for combat. Two different animals.

There’s an irony in that, of course: the ATF recognizes none of these sports as sports, just as it is blind to game hunting with modern sporting rifles. Its idea of what is “sporting” is frozen in 1968.

In the end, competitive “practical” shooting is about as useful preparing you for a combat or defensive gun use as the Daytona 500 is to prepare you for your morning commute. So why do it?

The only reason we can come up with is: it’s a blast. There is that.

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: New York Boycott List

NY Boycott screen shot

NY Boycott screen shot — closing in on 100 firms boycotting bad PDs.

Many of you have read long-time gun blogger Sean D. Sorrentino before. But this week we salute him for making the New York Boycott List, a curated and growing list of gun and accessory firms that are telling New York law enforcement agencies and individual officers.

I’ll be using this page to keep track of the companies that join the boycott of anti-gun states such as New York, along with links to the press releases. Remember, it’s called the New York Boycott, but it applies to all states that have anti-gun laws. The minimum standard to be included is a pledge not to sell anything to a State or local government agency that can’t be sold to a resident of that state or locality.

via New York Boycott (UPDATED: No more Naughty List) – An NC Gun Blog.

His list is so successful that somebody set up a knock-off of it at www.thepoliceloophole.com. Perhaps there’s original content there now, but all we ever saw was a knock-off of Sean’s list, without giving him (and his readers, who’ve been sending the links in) any credit whatsoever.

At one time, Sean was also maintaining a “naughty list,” which he has dropped. It was negative and subjective. Without his list to copy from, his sincerest flatterer at police loophole has had to drop the naughty list also.

There are a number of pretty big names on the list: American Spirit Arms, Spike’s Tactical, Olympic Arms, Franklin Armory, Bravo Company USA, Barrett. It reads like a who’s who of the top tier AR industry. Unfortunately the list is still missing some names that we’d like to see there: Noveske, for example, and especially the makers of NYPD’s authorized handguns: Glock, SIG and Smith & Wesson. S&W, for instance, did the right thing with reference to the anti-gun gun show in Harrisburg, PA, recently, so they may do the right thing here also.

This policy, or course, is a collective punishment, which is never ideal. It harms the individual officer who seeks to buy an off-duty gun, without giving any weight to what his personal beliefs or position may be. The line officer can seldom influence the policies of the politically-appointed chief or commissioner, and this policy brings the pain to Officer Friendly instead of where it really ought to go, to Chief Unconstitutional and his political playmates. But sometimes you just have to send a message, and this message is slowly breaking through into the major media.

Not many firms have said, “Hell yeah, we’ll sell to New York agencies that are trampling the Constitution.” (One of them is Armalite, which just goes to show you can buy the trademark with the highest bid, but you can’t just right write a check for the reputation that used to go with it).

Explorer off mighty trek for the simplest reason

map_of_route_-_october_2012_685x685The expedition is one worthy of Shackleton or Scott: to cross Antarctica. On foot (well, with skis and snowshoes). In winter. But Sir Ranulph Fiennes, certainly the marquee name among the explorers, has had to withdraw.

It was the simplest thing. He took his gloves off to repair a ski binding. But the ambient temperature was -30C (about -20F). In those temperatures, frostbite, freezing of the tissues, can happen very quickly. Frostbite is also quite insidious, as having experienced it, you never fully recover; you have a permanently elevated risk of frostbite in the same area, on exposure to low temperatures.

The Guardian reports:  

A statement released by the organisers of the expedition, dubbed the Coldest Journey, said: “We regret to announce that Sir Ranulph Fiennes has developed a case of frostbite.

“The condition is such that he has very reluctantly decided with the support of the team doctor and in the interests of the success of the expedition and its associated aims, to withdraw from Antarctica while the possibility to do so still exists, before the onset of the Antarctic winter. This decision has not been taken lightly and it is, naturally, a huge disappointment to Fiennes and his colleagues.

“The five other team members will begin the trek on 21 March, the autumn equinox in the southern hemisphere. Two expedition members at a time on skis will lead a pair of tracked vehicles pulling sledges carrying modified shipping containers used for accommodation as well as fuel and supplies.

Yes, that’s a quote-within-a-quote.

Frostbite schematic and image -- © WebMD.

Frostbite schematic and image — © WebMD.

Since the Guardian story, the expedition has updated its website. Rotten weather has kept them from medevacing Sir Ranulph from their ice station. They plan to snowmobile him to a Belgian scientific station, where he can get further medical treatment and whence he can be flown to the Russian station and then to Cape Town, South Africa and home. More on his condition and the circumstances of his injury:

Regarding Fiennes’ injury, Dr Robert Lambert, the Ice Team doctor, said: “Ran has frostbite injuries to four fingers of his left hand, sustained during his usual ski training regime in Antarctica. As with all frostbite, it is still too early to determine the full extent of the injury; however treatment is progressing well, and Ran is bearing up with his usual fortitude and good cheer. Ran himself has made the very difficult decision not to continue with his attempt to ski across Antarctica in winter, a decision with which I concur. In the circumstances I think this is very wise. To continue skiing with this injury in these conditions would be to invite much more severe damage.”

As a point of detail, we would like to clarify that the frostbite was sustained whilst Fiennes was making adjustments to one of his ski bindings which had become loose, and there was no failure of the binding. It was whilst making these adjustments that he briefly removed his glove.”

We can sympathize. It’s hard to work a ski binding, whether it’s a modern ski-mountaineering/-expedition binding, a standard cross-country toe binding, or the old-style wire “bear traps” on our Norwegian military åsnes skis, with any kind of protective gloves on. And when you get moving, your fingers warm up and you may not need a really thick glove — then. Just something to keep the wind off.

But -30 is really, really cold. And cold numbs your nerves so that you don’t know that your blood vessels are contracting — the technical term is peripheral vasoconstriction, and it’s how the body defends its vital core against hypothermia — until it’s too late, the tissue is frozen, and the damage is done. (Even then, you can make it worse by continuing to use the frostbitten hands, walk on the frostbitten feet, etc… but you might have to do those things to stay alive). There have been a few cases of frostbite in Afghanistan (more frequently among ill-equipped Afghans than among NATO troops), but the last real war experience the US had with frostbite was in Korea, and it’s a vivid memory among Korean vets, especially those who were engaged in the first year to 18 months of the war.

For more credible information on frostbite, including photographs of what 2nd and 3rd degree frostbite of the hands looks like, on this site. The images may be disturbing (the 3rd degree guy probably lost those fingers).

You can follow the Coldest Journey at the expedition website. Best of luck to these adventurers and a speedy, and as complete as possible, recovery to Sir Ranulph.

Something special over at Forgotten Weapons

Thanks to a reader tip, Forgotten Weapons has something really cool:

we found a couple minutes of video of John Garand talking about the development of US small arms. It was buried in an episode of “The Big Picture”; a syndicated TV program produced by the US Army from 1951 through 1964 (I’m not sure exactly when this particular clip was filmed).

via John Garand on US Weapons Development (Video).

Rather than embed it, we’d rather send you guys over there to watch it; they found it, after all, let them have the hits and the credit. Like them, we were surprised by his accent, but of course he was an immigrant from Montreal, “where the house she doan’ grow side by each, anyway!”

If you’re a gun geek, even to see a few minutes of John Garand speaking is a pretty big deal.

Osama had documents from Bradley Manning

Bradley Manning Support NetworkIf you’re a big-P Patriot, you might not like Manning — neither Eli nor Peyton. But if you’re a small-p patriot, the Manning that gets up your nose is ickle Bradley, the toy-poodle-sized traitor with the rottweiler-sized ego. PFC Bradley Manning released hundreds of thousands of classified documents in an ill-advised attempt to conduct his own foreign policy.

The latest revelation is that the documents not only might have been of interest to US enemies, they definitely were  — as evidenced by the fact that Osama bin Laden had them in his Abbotabad hangout. The information was teased out by the UK’s Telegraph.

Today, prosecutors argued they should be allowed to call a military “operator” – a common term for a US commando – as a witness, saying he could offer testimony about evidence collected from the 2011 raid in Pakistan.

The potential witness was named only as “John Doe” and referred to him as “the operator who actually collected the evidence in Abbottabad and handed it to an FBI agent in Afghanistan”.

Major Ashden Fein, the lead prosecutor, said Doe would describe “how he went into a room, how he picked up the three pieces of information and what he did with them”.

Military authorities have consistently refused to release documents associated with Private First Class Mannings court martial, making it impossible to confirm Does exact role or his relation to the case.

Prosecutors also requested that Doe be allowed to give his testimony in an “offsite location”, away from the military courtroom where the case is being heard.

The secrecy surrounding his testimony makes it seem likely that he was among the members of Seal Team 6 who killed the al-Qaeda leader two years ago.

The government is also seeking to call eight other “chain of custody witnesses” who would describe how the files were transported from bin Ladens compound back to the US for analysis.

Among the requested witnesses is a translator who examined “letters to and from bin Laden”.

via WikiLeaks: US to call bin Laden raid Navy Seal to testify against Bradley Manning – Telegraph.

Naturally, Manning’s al-Qaeda lawyer is arguing vociferously against this evidence being presented in his charge’s trial. It’s not that it might have some relevance to the accusation that Manning released classified information that aided an enemy; oh no! The lawyer says, in that uniquely mealy-mouthed way in which a paid, amoral mouthpiece can utter the most baldly counterfactual rubbish, that Osama winding up with the files “has no bearing” on the case. See, he’s simply concerned that presenting evidence against his client will cause “undue delay.” He’s just trying to save the taxpayers money! It just looks like he’s a slimeball for the ages.

Manning does want to read a 24-page statement more-or-less confessing, while bashing the Army and whining about how he’s being picked on.

Hundreds of criminals released — 34,000 to follow

Open wide!

Open wide! Here they come.

You might want to arm yourself. In an attempt to use the coming budget sequester to force yet another tax hike, the Department of Homeland Security has released hundreds of illegal immigrants held for a variety of crimes — and is threatening to release 34,000 more. While most of the criminals have been charged with nonviolent offenses, some of the 34k are truly bad actors, up to and including murderers and kiddie diddlers.

The sequester is officially still three days away, but the Obama administration already is making the first cuts, with officials confirming that the Homeland Security Department already has released several hundred illegal immigrants from detention in order to save money.

“Over the last week, ICE has reviewed several hundred cases and placed these individuals on methods of supervision less costly than detention,” ICE said in a statement. “All of these individuals remain in removal proceedings. Priority for detention remains on serious criminal offenders and other individuals who pose a significant threat to public safety.”

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Monday told reporters at the White House that she would be forced to furlough Border Patrol agents, pulling them from their rounds along the U.S.-Mexico border.

She also hinted at the decision to release illegal immigrants, saying she would not be able to maintain the full slate of 34,000 detention beds mandated by Congress.

via Illegal immigrants set free from detention centers as sequester approaches – Washington Times.

To put this in perspective, the cut is about a sixteenth of a percent 1.6 percent (edited for bad math) of DHS’s bloated budget, and doesn’t even cut it back to 2012 levels — so it’s a cut in DHS’s 2013 budget hike only. But Napolitano is not serious about the border — she never was — and she’s not serious about deporting serious criminals — she never was. Instead, her focus, and the Administration’s, is to speed these bad actors towards citizenship.

Like we said, you might want to arm yourself. These guys aren’t in jail for jaywalking, and they’re going to take being released as a sign that they’re free to return to the behaviors that landed them in durance vile in the first place, with the blessings of Secretary Napolitano and her sponsors.

So the only way we’re getting them off the streets is feet first.

Note

This post has been edited to correct a rather embarrassing arithmetic error–Ed.

Cuomo’s gun ban prevents all crimes

Meat_cleaverLike this one, in Manhattan’s Chinatown. The victim was saved by fast-thinking and -acting firefighters from FDNY Engine Company 9:

Ming Guang Haung, 28, was arrested on Sunday after he allegedly used a meat cleaver to hack and slash at his wife.

“He pulls a cleaver out of his waistband and starts hacking at this woman. I rush him, I try to grab the cleaver, but he’s swinging six, eight, maybe ten times,” firefighter Jose Ortiz said.

Ortiz, ran outside and grabbed the man, sending his weapon flying.

“We finally get him down on the ground. The lady that was hurt, she bolts. (Fellow firefighter) Shane (Clark) follows her, because I told him, ‘You’ve got to follow the lady, because she’s hurt,’” Ortiz said.

Firefighter Shane Clarke chased the woman to a restaurant nearby on East Broadway.

“I ran up to the commotion, and I could see that she was bleeding heavily all over her body, and so I ran back, I grabbed a trauma bag, and at that point, she was sprinting down the block,” Clarke said. “I think she was panicked, more than anything else.”

The 23-year-old woman was taken to Bellevue Hospital. She was initially reported in critical, but stable condition, and later in serious condition, with lacerations to her face, back and hip.

via Police: Man Attacked, Critically Injured Wife With Meat Cleaver « CBS New York.

What do people like Cuomo think? When guns are outlawed, or just not handy in the moment, criminals will magically transform into blithe, lotus-eating spirits? The evidence of our experience is that the individual who opts for crime will use any weapon available to him that meets his threshold of lethality.

You know, like a meat cleaver.

TrackingPoint: Reliability Testing

As gadget-minded gun guys, we’ve followed the development of TrackingPoint’s precision-guided firearms with great interest. We received an email from TP today with some of their latest, including a video with a little bit about their testing procedures, and a slight tease about their development process. They don’t appear to use published or ammo-manufacturer ballistic data, but develop their own experimentally by measuring actual achieved trajectories with pulse-doppler radar. Good stuff, but one implication is that their computer will be optimized for a particular load or a finite set of loads in each gun.

One expects that a well-trained and experienced long-distance shot, using a weapon and load data he’s personally worked up, would outperform the Tracking Point  system in most circumstances. Where TrackingPoint offers real advantages, it’s in the case where the shooter does not have that level of experience and familiarity with the weapon and load; in climactic extremes; and in non-level shots, where the computer can compensate for an angled trajectory in ways that a human cannot, at least not in real time.

And, let’s face it, it’s really cool.

In addition, Tracking Point tells us:

  • They’re going on the road in February and March. Purpose of this road show? To get prospective customers behind the gun, ideally in hunting situations, to show them in real applications what’s much harder to tell them convincingly at a trade show or in an indoor presentation. 
  • They are not sold out yet for 2013, but they would like to be. Here’s what they say:

We are still on track to ship our first PGFs this Spring. Our final refinement and testing of ballistic lead for engaging moving targets, our testing of the auto-zeroing capability over time, and an extensive field stress test are all necessary to ensure field proven reliability of the first Precision Guided Firearms prior to shipment.

If you are still deciding on which PGF is right for you, understand that if you purchase right now, we will be shipping your PGF in the Summer. We will have a limited supply in the hundreds of units for 2013 and operate on a first come, first served basis.

  • Finally, they’re looking for people as they’re planning to grow. TrackingPoint is based in Austin, Texas (so it’s a good fit both for Texans and for out-of-staters).

In our view this is a historic, even radical development that right now gives the shooter an advantage, and one day will be an NRA Museum level heirloom, as significant as an early AR10 or a 1905 Colt .45 ACP. We believe this because we think that one day, “smart” scopes will be extremely common, even standard.

Scopes themselves have been a slow, hard sell over the last 50 years, but now the superiority of optical to iron sights is universally accepted. We think a computing scope will be a revolution on a similar scale, although as technical revolutions tend to do, it will likely take place faster than its predecessor. We might be wrong — as Yogi Berra said, “prediction is hard, especially about the future” — but we’re pretty confident about this. It provides a capability that was lacking before.