Recently, there has been a debate over the implications of allowing 'Smart Gun' technology into the marketplace. The NRA argues that this indirectly allows for the government to implement their draconian gun control policies on its citizens, while others argue that this could make it easier for criminals to act on their impulses. All politics aside, TrackingPoint has done something other companies haven't dared to try; rather than improve upon dated technology, they have gone on to innovate it. But at what cost to the sport of hunting? With all of the impressive new features, should you care?
This isn't you father's rifle; integrated video and Wi-Fi connectivity are just a few of the new features. Not only do you have the ability to stream live video feeds to a corresponding Ipad or phone, it allows you to post videos onto various social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. It's like a 'selfie' for your gunshot.
In addition, the network tracking scope houses a compass, a microphone, an inertia measuring unit, a ballistic calculator, a tracking engine and a laser rangefinder that all fits into a compact package. Quite a mouthful, but that only scratches the surface. The complex inner-workings of this device allows the rifle to take into consideration not only the range and wind resistance, but barometric pressure, as well. Taking into consideration all the major advances in technology over the past 10 years, it's hardly a surprise it would finally creep into the weapons sector. The technology is so advanced that it doesn't actually fire when you pull the trigger. Only when the gun has been properly targeted and locked on, will it allow for the shot to be fired.
A demonstration video showed an amateur rifleman imperiously hit a target from 1000 yards away with the naivety of a boy on his first hunt. However, he did strike the target with the marksmanship of a seasoned sniper – like one imagines Hemingway or Micheal from “The Dear Hunter,” if he had just taken that shot (admittedly, it would have contradicted the message of the film). The bottom line is that while it does take much of the marksmanship from the hunt, it won't rob you of the necessary skills involved with physical tracking and the importance of camouflage. The thrill of the hunt is still alive and well, but the game is highly favored for you to win.
The TrackingPoint 750 series rifle weighs approximately 12 lbs., which isn't far off from the average weight of a rifle (8-10 lbs.), so when traveling with camping gear, it won't add any significant changes to what you're already used to carrying. A Pelican case, Ipad mini and 200 rounds of ammunition come along with each purchase. With a 100% hit rate, ammunition can be conserved for longer periods of time.
It goes without saying that the advanced targeting functions makes this a near-perfect rifle, no matter how rough the terrain may be. Human error is completely eliminated from the equation and replaces a team of novices with a team of sharpshooters. Ideal for a camper who relies on a self-sufficient method of hunting and gathering for their food source.
During a few of the live-fire trials, the issue of water resistance came up and while the term 'waterproof' might be considered a stretch, it still has adequate storm protection (they claimed that this would be addressed before its official release). More importantly, this grants the individuals of a hunting party an equal success rate across the board. With the Ipad mini attachment, the spotter can sit comfortably and watch the progression of the shot through a live video feed.
Time for the bad news. After a team of 70 invested the last 3 year into its development, there will be a very limited release and the lower-end model costs an estimated $10,000 ($22,000 for the high-end). So, you can either buy a brand new Ford or or a high-end rifle. The company also sells directly to the consumers and have their own strict guidelines in who they determine as eligible. Professional hunters and marksman, who are asked to provide feedback on their weapon, will comprise the cadre of consumers allowed to purchase this new weapon.
As the battle rages on between the NRA and government legislation, it is doubtful the policy will change anytime soon – it's just another item you can add to the ole' wish list.