Army and Marine optics researchers are looking for ways to remove as many variables from shooting as possible to improve accuracy. And at least one company is well on its way to advancing many of those goals.
TrackingPoint, a Texas-based company, has multiple configurations of semi-automatic rifles paired with computerized shooting technology to guide the shooter to center mass.
The company’s devices on display at the range day for this year’s Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade show, a commercial event aimed at retailers, industry and media professionals, showcased just how the system puts shooters on target.
A wireless video link displays what the shooter sees in the scope before firing, the shooter lines up the crosshairs on the target and then begins to squeeze the trigger. The system finds where the shooter should be aiming, based on more than 40 variables it measures and marks that area red.
The shooter re-aims, putting the crosshairs on the correct shot placement and continues to squeeze the trigger to send the round to the target.
In that mode, the weapon will not let the shooter fully depress the trigger to fire until he or she is on target.
A shooter can switch to suppressive fire mode and continue to use the sites to line up the target but will be able to fire the weapon as they squeeze the trigger, regardless of aiming point.
The system could address needs of both the Marines and the Army. Marine officials want live stream video on their rifles. The Army is looking for an optic that allows the shooter to gauge for multiple variables that mitigate shooter inaccuracy with computer aided tech.
A recent posting by the Marine Corps Rapid Capability Office sought, “technologies that increase individual and small unit situational awareness through the use of multi-media sensors to pass video, picture, and/or text with other personnel and units within close proximity.”
While that request sought a way to integrate the video option into existing shooter accessories, the TrackingPoint device includes video in its single targeting optic/device.
Army developers want to shrink down some of the advanced targeting and fire controls used for artillery and air systems to give dismounted soldiers the same accuracy.
These are expected to be a part of the Next Generation Squad Weapon and the ultimate individual rifle or carbine that the Army is developing to replace the M4 at some point in the next five years.
Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.