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Is TrackingPoint “Legitimate” For Civilians?

John B. Snow Avatar

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When I first used and hunted with the TrackPoint system I knew that it would spark a great deal of controversy. The high-tech system has the ability to range the target, tag it with an aiming mark and then automatically adjust the scope’s reticle to hit the mark while compensating for iffy form on the part of the shooter. The one thing the scope doesn’t do on its own is adjust for the wind. The shooter needs to input that himself.

It’s a pretty remarkable bit of technology (though it does have some not-minor drawbacks) that raises some interesting questions about its applicability for hunting.

The advantages of it, however, are real. For one, it is a great way to get people with significant physical challenges hunting. Because the system helps compensate for tremors and because it allows a spotter to view what the shooter sees on an iPad, it can allow folks who have impaired vision or muscular control to shoot and hunt. It can also serve as a conservation tool by helping guide an inexperienced hunter so that they make a good shot and pick out the correct animal.

The questions it raises about Fair Chase are legitimate, however. Personally, it doesn’t fit my definition. But I still think it is a legitimate option for some types of hunting and any type of target shooting you care to do.

Not everyone shares my perspective.

In the eyes of the National Gun Victims Action Council, TrackingPoint’s rifles would only appeal to the worst type of civilians. According to a statement put out by the group urging a ban:
“NGVAC believes that there are three groups who will buy these rifles—insurrectionists, terrorists and hate groups. Given the Sniper Rifle’s deadly accuracy, no one is safe—this cannot be allowed.”

This, no doubt, will come as a surprise to the well-heeled Safari Club types who have been the primary purchasers of TrackingPoint’s products in the civilian world. In case you were wondering, these rifles cost more than a nice new car, so the idea of hordes of “insurrectionists” taking up arms with them is an amusing red herring.

But this is exactly the type of tactic that anti-gun groups will employ with any new shooting technology that comes on the scene. Getting frothed up about “deadly accuracy” and issues of “legitimacy” are the fallback position of those who seek to take our guns. And, believe me, if they could they would take them all. What gun, after all, would satisfy their definition as acceptable? Even brightly colored Airsoft products are too mortifying for this crowd.

So while the NGVAC’s position is — to put it charitably — a joke, the underlying sentiment is one we need to counter and take seriously.