Almost anyone with a few hours of basic marksmanship training and a $100 rifle can make aimed shots into standard target at 100-yards. If you add a better rifle and some more training and practice, 200-400 yard shots are not a big issue. Once you get past this level, you need some skill, a good rifle, and an accurate round to be able to pull off consistent hits. Some shooters, even after hundreds of hours of practice will never be able to make 1000-yard shots with a rifle until they master ballistics tables, dope charts, and the finer points of on the fly mil corrections. This is where the Tracking Point company comes in.
They have a product that, with about twenty minutes of instruction on, will turn a novice into a 1000-yard-plus shooter.
The Tracking Point System
The Texas based company specializes in a computerized digital scope that is more akin to targeting a 'smart bomb' from an F-22 than shooting out of more traditional optics. Their Networked Tracking Scope (NTS) offers 35x zoom with an integral laser rangefinder, ballistics computer, low-light filter, and tracking engine. Yes, that's right, tracking engine. By following along on the Heads Up Display (HUD), simply mark the target with the trigger tag button, line up the sights on the screen, and engage. The system does all the math, meteorology, ballistics dope, etc. in milliseconds to provide you with a visual shooting solution that is point-and-click easy. The images through the HUD can be streamed via Wi-Fi or USB cable to other devices in real time.
What It Comes with
Tracking Point currently offers their PGFs (Precision Guided Firearm) in three varieties. These are the XS1 (based on an Accuracy International rifle in .338 Lapua Magnum), XS2 (a 300 Win Mag 19.04 lbs rifle), and XS3 (a .300 Win Mag 16.35 lbs rifle). The 300s are built around a bolt-action Surgeon long action and Krieger barrel with a McMillian stock. To this is added the proprietary Networked Tracking Scope system with Heads Up Display (HUD), Guided Trigger, and Tag Button, Harris bipod, AAC muzzle break, 200-rounds of ballistically matched ammo, custom Pelican case, and even (on some models) an iPad preloaded with the companies software.
XS3 PGF by Tracking Point.
What's it Cost?
According to Tracking Point's website, you can get a fully equipped kit from $17,000 for the entry level XS3 to the super long range XS1 at $22,500. Now when you compare this to other things in life, that is about the same as a low-end new Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck. Granted that is the kind with the 6-cyliner, cheapo seats, and roll up windows, but it's still a new truck.
XS1 PGF by Tracking Point.
When you compare it to a modern sniper system though, $22K isn't really that expensive. In 2010, the US Army awarded a $28.2-million contract for 3600 XM2010 Sniper Weapons Systems. Each one of these is a much-modified M24/Remington 700 rifle in .300 Win Mag with a Leupold Mark 4 6.5-20x50mm extended range/tactical riflescope with advanced scalable ranging and targeting reticle. The system is also fielded with the AN/PVS-29 clip-on sniper night sight and a Quick detach AAC muzzlebrake and suppressor. At a cost of $7900 a piece this sounds like a bargain until you take into account that the Army is giving Remington its current M24 sniper rifles to use as a basis for this rebuild process and that Remington is selling a number of these 'obsolete guns' off at $3500 a pop to screened collectors.
Of course, instead of taking the top 1% of military marksmen and having to train them over weeks, months, and years, to be designated marksmen and snipers, you can purchase a product as the PGF and save thousands.
When you take it all into account, if the technology works in the field, the Tracking Point may soon be a player.