So, What Use is TrackingPoint?

Here’s the deal that’s currently on. Tuesday they let us know that they’re down to 50 of them left, so they might be gone by now.

And here’s what it can do. Duel 1: 350 Yards, Off Hand, on a windy Texas day. Bruce Piatt is a National Champion — dude can shoot. But he gets one miss and one on the edge. (He’s using decent combat gear, including what looks like an FN carbine, and a 4×32 ACOG). Taya Kyle was at the time a novice shooter. She puts two in center of mass, using the Precision Guided Weapon.

Here’s a capability that you just don’t have without the PGM. Duel 2: Blind Shots, 200 Yards. Being able to engage the target without exposing yourself to enemy observation and fire is a completely novel thing. Sure, we’ve seen Talibs shoot at our guys like this, but these “Blind Shots” are aimed shots.

Yes, this is a completely unfair test, because it asks Bruce Piatt to do the impossible. With the ShotGlass, for Taya Kyle it’s possible.

Several of you have asked, why not spend the money on training and improve your skills? Bruce did that. He’s world-class good. (Yeah, soldiers and Marines shoot at this distance, but we’re shooting larger targets, and from a prone or foxhole supported position.

Taya didn’t do that, and yet, by exploiting the technology, she outshot Bruce. That is not to say Bruce’s skill acquisition was wasted time! After all, he’s lethal without all the gear. And he’d just be even better (more accurate and faster) if he was using the technology.

What use is Tracking Point? When we first started writing about it, we reminded you all of something Ben Franklin said. During his residence in Paris, one morning he was on his way to see an ascent of the pioneering French aeronauts, the Montgolfier brothers. And an intelligent lady, bemused by the American’s enthusiasm for this novel applied science, asked the great man, “What use is it?”

“My dear lady,” the prescient Philadelphian replied, “what use is a newborn baby?”

A century from now, weapons that don’t range and track targets for you, whether you’re a soldier or a hunter, will be nostalgia items, like muzzleloaders today.

Update:

Here’s the Shooter’s Calculator, a way to work your dope (at least initially) if you’re still doing the math somewhere other than inside your Tracking Point Precision Guided Weapon. Sent in by a reader who prefers to remain anonymous.

Update II:

If the embeds do not work (at least one Eurostani reports they are blocked at his location) then these raw HTML links to Vimeo might work.

https://vimeo.com/193109385/

https://vimeo.com/193110497/193109385

https://vimeo.com/193394792/

If the raw links don’t work, we don’t know what to try next.

18 thoughts on “So, What Use is TrackingPoint?

  1. John Distai

    Is the announcer a famous guy? He seems familiar for some reason. Was he on a show on Discovery or one of the similar channels?

  2. jim h

    to date, when it comes to these auto-tracking digital wonders, the concept seems very nice. the main fault ive seen in almost all of them seemed to be the glass. it’s almost as though in making the latest greatest laser range finder, hunting scope, golf yardage scope, whatever, they felt that there was a boundary on the materials, and that by putting better tech into the device they had to skimp on the glass or the housing material. over the last couple of years though, things have really been getting better, and the edge in abilities these devices give you are incredible. what I think we’ll see more is the eventual complacency that will be developed when the latest whiz-bang does all the work for you. a remnant of the disposable culture, I guess.

    nostalgia or no, the ability to put aimed fire onto a target from a good distance using a scope, a brain housing group, and a mark 1 mod 0 eyeball are is still a very worthy skill to have. eventually, all tech breaks. I think it’s important to still be good at the task at hand, when it does.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Yeah. I see this as similar in kind, if not degree, to putting mil-dots on the reticle. It extends the power of the trained soldier or sniper by reducing the time it takes for those mental calculations. All the stalk, concealment, egress, security planning is all still on him.

    2. John M.

      “eventually, all tech breaks.”

      Does that apply to the scope also? Or the rifle? After all, anything that you can shoot with a rifle can be jabbed with a sharp stick, if you can get close enough.

      -John M.

  3. TRX

    I acknowledge the effectiveness of the system, but you could get a lot of use out of a simpler system. I’m still wondering why there’s only one scope out there with a built-in rangefinder… and while it’s not in the TrackingPoint price range, it’s a lot more expensive than buying a decent scope and rangefinder separately.

    I know my drop tables for the .45-70, but I suck at estimating range…

    1. jim h

      yeah, and in that caliber, range does matter a lot. that .45-70 drops like a rock once its starting to run out of steam. be one with your reticle, brother. I like first focal plane scopes most for this. avoid the really complicated stuff that looks really super high tech and go KISS….simple math later, you have the range AND your knowledge of a really nice, nostalgic round.

      using the lever action or going really old school?

      1. TRX

        Homebuilt Enfield No.4 conversion. Pretty easy to do; the No.4 is a direct descendant of the 1885 Remington-Lee in .45-70.

  4. PBAR

    I wonder how land warfare is going to change after the Chinese copy this and sell it so cheaply, every jackass thug in the Third World has one…

  5. Bert

    Yep, I can’t respect this younger generation and their new fangled ways. When I was their age, I had to shoot at the school uphill in the snow, both ways. Damn lazy young punks, grumble grumble.

    Such systems are going to be getting cheaper, better, easier to use and more widely released.

    How long after some country issues a system like this until pointing a LASER rangefinder at vehicles or personnel belonging to a first world level military force prompts an automated detection and location system to fire a missile/direct a gun ship’s attention/send a mortar shell towards the origin point?

    Prairie dogs and low tech humans would still be safe targets.

    Passive target acquisition has certain advantages. How about designing the range finder and target acquisition element so it is well shielded from emmiting any detectable EM and uses only ambient light/target and background IR?

    Optical comparators for rangeing used to need a pretty wide stance, how much smaller COULD we make them if we really tried? I remember 1960’s golfers carrying about 8″ wide versions of these, and have seen WWII artillery rangefinders that were 6′ wide or more. Modern materials and manufacturing have not been applied to shrinking and improving this class of passive range finder?

  6. Silence DoGood

    You can’t hold back progress any more than you can turn back the tide.

    Thirty-five years ago, the US’s first laser rangefinder-equipped main battle tank had an electronic ballistic solution computer that point-by-point had almost identical functionality to the TrackingPoint (the biggest differences being that this hi-zoot scope lacks an integral wind data sensor and the tank had no target-following “tagging” function). Automating all that sensing and ciphering not only increased the tank’s practical rate of fire, it also dramatically increased the gunner’s first-round hit probability, all the way to the 105mm gun’s maximum effective range, even with a minimally-trained novice gunner.

    The first time I sat in the gunner’s seat of an M60A3, I recognized that all that technology eventually would trickle down to the grunts, if for no other reason than because that’s what technology does. It was just a matter of figuring a way to trim the hardware’s weight by about 99% and reducing its power demands to something that a modest sized battery pack could supply. That future is here and, astonishingly, someone completely outside of the defense industrial complex developed it.

    The scientists and engineers have done the heavy lifting, so now it comes down to whether the target market finds the technology suits its needs at a cost that they can budget for. But you could no more expect the military not to at least examine its potential than you could ask a tanker to give up his LRF and ballistic computer and go back to using the ranging and aiming methods employed by Napoleon’s cannoneers.

    As for the “all tech breaks” argument, I’m afraid that ship has sailed. Militaries largely had been holding the line on that point ever since Cain killed Abel, but then came the U.S.-led 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. From the proliferation of everything from NODs to kneepads to CamelBaks (on rank-and-file grunts, mind you, not “operators”), you could tell they’d begun consciously turning Admiral Gorshkov’s picture to the wall. Even marginal gains no longer are to be dismissed out of hand. But Afghanistan was only the camel’s nose under the tent. For better or worse, tech is the new paradigm. Even our “asymmetric” enemies are keen to use all the “tech” they can against us, to include cellphones and drones and assorted battery-powered kid’s toys they can buy at Radio Shack. It’s the battery as force multiplier.

    It might not be wearing this brand name but I have no doubt but that sooner rather than later a similar device will be part of the infantryman’s standard issue kit in the military of most every industrialized nation on the planet. At least the ones who value being on the side of the victor.

    1. 11B-Mailclerk

      More lightweight gear to carry!

      At some point, our Infantry will be so well equipped that they cannot move 100 meters unassisted. At some point, we have to re-think the overall mix, and the total weight.

      Or the max effective life of a grunt will be 5-10 years max, and 50-100% disability will be a norm at discharge. Not to mention the whole “third-world-barbarians running circles around us” thing.

  7. Aesop

    A century from now, weapons that don’t range and track targets for you, whether you’re a soldier or a hunter, will be nostalgia items, like muzzleloaders today.

    Perhaps, but only if the entry-level price-point is vastly reduced from around half the average median individual’s yearly salary, down to somewhere closer to the cost of a PC or laptop.

    $10 grand is a novelty, despite its potential value, and far beyond what most folks not engaged professionally in whacking other people will spend. Night vision is a vastly better and more useful acquisition, at half to one-fifth that amount, and yet the widespread dearth of possession of that boon among us hoi polloi shooters is yet notable.

    But the PR efforts to document its utility are well noted.

  8. GQ

    It’s not Technology verses Ludditeoligy. We have battled sandaled warriors for generations and are no further ahead for all our cool shit. A weapon is only as handy as its ability to get employed on the battlefield; carried, armed, emplaced, employed. If you reel this argument in just a bit and remove the distractions, its all about the delivery of accurate fire, from a stand-off, which cover and concealment and maneuver seem to beat every time.

    Anyway, ole Hognose is just messing with the troops here; the Ben Franklin quote is a real chestnut.

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