January 23rd, 2015

TrackingPoint Rifle Systems Employ Cutting-Edge Technology

technology Optics tracking point, laser rangefinder PGF

Gear Report by Kip Staton
TrackingPoint’s innovative technology has been on the market for a number of years now, and has proven to be a valuable long-range shooting tool. TrackingPoint is a Texas-based, Austin-area applied technology company that developed a unique, precision-guided firearm (PGF) system in 2011. TrackingPoint’s ordinary rifles in common calibers, designated with the XS prefix, are equipped with high-tech “networked tracking” rifle scopes.

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technology Optics tracking point, laser rangefinder PGF

These advanced optics are the heart of the company’s tag-and-shoot technology, and the entire setup is remarkably similar to the systems found in cutting-edge fighter jets. So, how does it work in the real world?

Pretty darn well, as it turns out. The shooter simply finds his or her target, centers his “X” reticle on it, and presses a “tag” button, which is usually integrated into the firearm’s trigger guard. This puts a digital “mark” on the target, and the optic remembers where that particular tag was placed for the duration of the shot. At this point, the system has already automatically performed all necessary distance and environmental calculations. The only other manual inputs needed on the shooter’s part are to enter the wind call, and press the trigger. And, the rifle even helps out with that part.

technology Optics tracking point laser rangefinder PGF

Because the tag was placed on a unique target, and is remembered by the system, the rifle won’t actually let the shot break until the shooter has lined up the crosshairs with the original tag. So the user may press the trigger, and nothing will happen… until the reticle is placed on the original tag. The rifle will then fire. For each Tracking Point shot, the elevation should be dead on. However the wind can still come into play — the TrackingPoint system does not sense the wind speed or direction. Wind values must be detected by the shooter and entered manually. Once wind speed/angle are entered, the TrackingPoint automatically calculates the needed windage correction (left or right).

technology Optics tracking point laser rangefinder PGF

The firing process (with the rifle’s brain doing the elevation calculation) can be somewhat disconcerting for shooters new to a PGF. But, this system holds promise, and can help shooters make difficult shots with greater confidence. In particular, the built-in ballistics solver means the trigger-puller no longer needs to worry about elevation clicks and/or hold-overs at any distance. The system calculates bullet drop at any rangeable distance and plots the correct point of aim. “X marks the spot”:
technology Optics tracking point laser rangefinder PGF

The TrackingPoint system does much more than make long range shots easier to accomplish. The networked tracking scope is also a WiFi server. This means that the image seen through the ocular lens (by the shooter) can be beamed to an Apple iPad, which is included with the rifle. Hunting guides can then see exactly what their clients are viewing through the optic, and make suggestions or provide pertinent advice to the shooter.

If that wasn’t enough, TrackingPoint recently integrated the high-tech Google Glass hardware into their shooting system. By using eyewear with built-in displays linked to the TrackingPoint optic, shooters can make successful shots without looking directly through a rifle-mounted scope. The eyewear has a small display that shows the target(s) “seen” by the rifle’s optic. The operator can then take the shot from any position. You can shoot around a corner, or keep your head and torso out of view. The possibilities for hunters, competitors and real-world tactical shooters are nearly endless.

technology Optics tracking point laser rangefinder PGF

TrackingPoint’s unique rifle systems are available in both semi-automatic and bolt-action formats, ranging in calibers from .223 (5.56 NATO) to a proprietary .338 of the company’s own design. What do these systems cost? Well high technology does not come cheap. Rifle systems range in price from $7,495 to a staggering $49,995. But, for the right client and the right mission, perhaps no price for this technology is too high. That’s what Tracking Point is counting on….

technology Optics tracking point laser rangefinder PGF

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January 23rd, 2015

Amazing 3D Video Demonstrates Human Hearing Process

hearing protectionAll shooters, even rimfire enthusiasts, should always wear ear protection when at the range. A typical rifle gunshot is very loud — in the region of 140 to 170 decibels (the pain threshold is 130-140 db). Without ear protection, you can permanently damage your hearing during a single shooting session. We all know older shooters who are partially deaf, or who suffer from Tinnitus, because they didn’t use earplugs or muffs when they were younger.

How Humans Hear Sounds — Amazing Video Reveals All
The human sense of hearing involves multiple delicate internal membranes, bones, organs, and nerves. Shooters understand the importance of protecting their hearing, but they may not understand the bio-mechanics of human hearing. We hear sounds through Auditory Transduction. Sound waves vibrate the ear drum (tympanic membrane), but that is only the beginning. These vibrations are passed along via tiny rocker-arm-like bones to be “processed” in a spiral chamber, the cochlea. Vibrations moving through the cochlea are separated into frequencies and then sent as neural messages to the brain. It is an astonishingly complex process, one that truly seems miraculous when you examine the bio-engineering involved. In the Video below, the process of human Auditory Transduction is explained and illustrated with 3D animation. You really should watch this amazing video. By the end you will have a new-found appreciation for your ability to hear.

This remarkable VIDEO explains how humans hear sounds. We strongly recommend you take the time to watch and learn. The hearing you save may be your own!
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Ear diagram courtesy Siemens Medical Solutions.

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