TrackingPoint, a Texas based firearms company begins shipping their XactSystem Precision Guided Firearms. It seems that already the anti-gun fanatics are crying that the sky is falling.
We took a look at the XactSystem at the 2013 SHOT Show and got some trigger time on their .338LM version. The system uses a sighting system with built in laser rangefinder and ballistic computer. You simply “tag” the target with a control button mounted near the trigger. This places an icon on the target in the field of view and calculates a firing solution. When the operator is ready to fire, he depresses the trigger and then placed the center of the crosshair over the “tag”. When the two coincide, the system commands the rifle to fire.
In a story by ABC News gun control proponents are already whipping their public into a frenzy with untruths and exaggeration.
Elliot Fineman, chief executive officer of National Gun Victims Action Council, said “this product gives shooters a better accuracy than, on average, most cops,” Fineman stated that the average accuracy for police is “three out of ten”. He continues with “To think that private citizens that are not trained could shoot better than 3 out of 10, it’s scary,”
As a Police Firearms Instructor I find this figure somewhat interesting. I can only imagine he is quoting some obscure statistic from police gunfights. It would be more accurate to state statistics from LE Sniper engagements, where accuracy hovers in the high 90% range. This would not be sensational enough for a good sound bite.
I find Fineman’s statements amusing when I consider the number of precision rifle matches I have attended. Most of the competitors at these matches are capable of amazing feats of accuracy. The majority have had no formal marksmanship training and compete as a hobby.
David Chipman, with Mayors Against Illegal Guns, took the fear-mongering approach. “This technology potentially enables any two bit criminal to operate with the skills of a highly trained sniper,” Chipman said.
Of course Chipman neglected to consider that the complete system from TrackinPoint will set you back about $22,500.00 and of course require you to place your order. Wait. Then take delivery through a federally licensed dealer. This is not exactly a process that a criminal is going to follow. It is much easier to buy a stolen handgun for a couple hundred dollars on the street. He also neglects to mention criminal scenarios where this type of system would actually be used. I can only imagine a couple and they do not utilize the advantages that this system offers.
Josh Horwitz is the Executive Director of the Education Fund to Stop Gun Violence. It seems that he has not taken the time to educate himself on the role of this new system. Horowitz opined “If this type of technology is transferred into semi automatic and automatic weapons, it would make it even more lethal.”
His statements demonstrate a distinct lack of understanding of how a fully automatic system is used in a long range capacity, and why the XactSystem would be of little use on a M240 machine-gun. I am sure that Horwitz has nightmares about gang-bangers with 1000 yard capable AK-47s, but that just isn’t reality.
The TrackingPoint XactSystem does represent innovation in the long range precision firearms field. I enjoyed a long conversation with Jason Schauble at the SHOT Show. The XactSystem is currently designed with long range hunting in mind. The TrackingPoint team is working on updates to the system that would make it suitable for long range precision rifle matches. I don’t see this as a threat in competition due to the rules most match directors put in place to limit the use of laser rangefinders. Additionally courses of fire can be setup to reduce the time available to tag and engage targets.
In the Military and Law Enforcement field, this system is still a long ways away from mission ready. Law Enforcement rarely needs a system capable of long range engagements and the .300WM and .338LM cartridges pose some penetration issues downrange. I do see some Military roles where this system could be advantageous. The hardware just isn’t robust enough at this time.
The TrackingPoint system is an advancement to what is currently available. There is no question that it makes some portions of the firing task easier. I have no doubt that at some time in the future we will see the military adopt systems like this for Snipers. I also have no doubt that even at half this price, we will not see street gangs sniping each other from the rooftops.
Please check out our video interview with TrackingPoint from the 2013 SHOT Show.