As solders on the ground — like the U.S. special forces operating in Syria and Iraq right now — engage more with insurgent groups instead of traditional armies, the role of a sniper becomes a bigger part of a military strategy.
Now a Austin-based gun company claims its technology will allow a shooter to be two to three times as far away from their target as before, thanks to a live-stream of whatever appears in the scope that can be beamed to a phone, tablet, or computerized glasses.
Called TrackingPoint, the camera hookup also allows the user (shooter) to stay protected from behind a barricade, needing to expose only their arms to physically squeeze the trigger.
More than that, the firearm tracks the point of impact you set regardless of whether it’s a moving target or how still the gun remains. Once the target lines up with the impact point, the tracking optics automatically set the trigger off without the user even needing to fire.
“I feel like this is a life-saver really, you know they might lose a hand or something like that but it’s a lot better than getting shot through the face obviously,” said Taya Kyle, widow of Chris Kyle, whose story was told in the movie American Sniper, in an interview with Austin, Texas-based TV station KVUE.
As part of a promotion to advertise the weapon’s accuracy, Kyle took on the NRA World Shooting Champion Bruce Piatt in a sharpshooter contest Saturday using the TrackingPoint tech. She won, though it’s worth noting that the TrackingPoint-sponsored the contest and the $1 million prize money that eventually went to the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation.
It’s great if we can keep soldiers safer, but the future of sniping technology isn’t going to stop with the bullet leaving the gun. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is working on steerable bullets that can curve their trajectory to hit the intended target even when fired purposefully off course. Another kind of smart round being developed by Alliant Techsystems is designed for a sniper who doesn’t have a clear line of sight, so that when it gets above the target, it will explode into shrapnel. It’s already been combat tested in Afghanistan. So far, few of those have celebrity spokespersons.