Bob Owens

The saddest truth in politics is that people get the leaders they deserve

TrackingPoint: a military wolf in civilian sheep’s clothing?

Written By: Bob - Jun• 09•13

My latest post is up over at PJ Media, a review of the technology of the TrackingPoint shooting system. I’m not impressed. Well, that isn’t true. I’m very impressed with the technology.

Readers responding on the PJM post seem to think I’ve got sour grapes, but I guess I didn’t explain myself very well. The technology in the scope, rifle and ammunition already exists, as do ballistic computers, wind gauges, etc. I think they are cool, and I’ve seen some really neat things done with them. The only thing really new in the system is the integration of the technologies into a single unit. It is evolutionary, not revolutionary.

Further, I don’t think the company is being honest about their market.

I simply don’t see a viable long-term civilian market for such a system.

  1. Very few civilians can justify a highly specialized $22,000 rifle that comes in just two extremely specialized calibers with very specific loadings.
  2. Long range civilian shooters enjoy the process of shooting, and this system removes that joy.

So who would be the real market for such a system? Who has:

  • deep pockets
  • hires people who shoot for living
  • has an affinity for long-range precision accuracy with as little collateral damage as possible
  • a demonstrated need to ramp up a large number of long-range shooters
  • needs to do all that while drastically reducing the amount of training time, skill-building, and natural talent found in the current development of a sniper?

If TrackingPoint can substantially reduce the amount of time needed to train a company or squad-level designated marksman, and give each designated marksman legitimate sniper range and increased first-shot hit capability, then we’re looking at a very cost-effective military force projection option.  In my opinion, TrackingPoint was never really designed for civilian shooters. It was designed to increase use of precision small arms in the military.

.338 Lapua and .300 Winchester Magnum just so happen to be two of the three long-range anti-personnel sniping cartridges favored by the U.S. military (the third favored U.S. military sniping cartridge is the .50 BMG).

I think TrackingPoint is a military-focused shooting system, and speculate it was designed as such from the ground up. If you disagree, I’d really like to know why.

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  1. Cole says:

    I agree. At that price it isn’t for the commercial market. But putting that in the hands of an untrained Fed makes him an instant threat. I wouldn’t want it anyway. Technology breaks. Rather build up the marksmanship skills to make precise long range shots on my own.

  2. Parabellum says:

    Rather than “military-focused” I would suggest “mercenary-focused”.

  3. Comrade X says:

    Many good things have started with a military aim and ended up ultimately in civilian hands.

    Competition will cause the price to drop too over time.

    Anything they have we can get, one way or another!

    Death before slavery!

  4. Jeff Hoser says:

    I haven’t any objections ! In the long-range shooting games such systems will likely be disallowed. I suppose some will use it for ultra-long range hunting, but why ? Shooting game at a distance it takes the rest of the morning to get to the kill for the obligatory “successful hunter photo-op” seems a worthless endeavor to me.

    OTOH, such systems might just make the practice of political endeavor a more exacting task. IAC, having the disposable bucks to afford such a system generally mitigates against that sort of endeavor by most folks. Certainly well-funded terrorists could afford them. But with the price so high and production so low I suspect the many thousands of “G-Men” types could easily track these devices.

    IOW, IMO, its a “solution in searchn of a problem” . >Jeff

  5. WWHBD? says:

    All Arms are welcome developments—no matter the current $$$$$…which may just be $$$ in a year or a few months….with competition and innovation.

    Henry’s Solothurn was “advanced” for its time and currently brings a $11-18K price because of its “destructive ability restrictions”.

    Future Patriots will need to be brought up to speed as well—using this system—or an Iphone/Android App.

    Main Point is that Citizens are Free to possess, purchase and create whatever Arms they can…with no infringment whatsoever.

  6. Dan says:

    The more of these that end up in the hands of hastily trained
    mercenaries the more will be available as “spoils of war” when
    these hastily trained mercenaries get in over their heads.

  7. Right_2_Bear says:

    Well beyond my budget. But I sure wouldn’t mind taking one for a test drive!

  8. Big Country says:

    Tactically speaking, its a tool for assasination. The target can’t be moving… leastways from what I can tell. It’s designed to moderately update ranging and targeting data, but a ‘fast moving’ target is harder to hit. Its more lined up for hitting static targets. Or a target thats not moving -much-. Like someone at a desk, or a podium. Gives a neophyte a edge for hitting on the first shot… just my thoughts…

  9. Timmeehh says:

    DHS is going to LOVE this.

  10. PRISM-infidel says:

    Mil-Dot in .308 has worked well from me since the early 90s. I’m not a Sniper, just one motivated former Marine who’s done his homework & range time.
    Fundamentals gentlemen, and training. Get out there post haste.
    Semper Fi.

  11. Phelps says:

    I’m with Parabellum. This thing isn’t designed for our military — we would rather use snipers (or drone launched missiles.) This is designed for export to third world countries, where you can either spend $500K to send your “didn’t have shoes until last week” soldier to a real sniper school, or you can spend $22K on this.

  12. PubliusII says:

    Strikes me it’s for anybody (1) with the $$$, and who (2) wants to get rid of someone using minimal-training field talent. That fits any number of markets.

    Also, keep in mind that this system is probably not far out of beta. Think 1.0, and then guess what version 3.0 will be like.