US military begins purchasing and testing smart rifles

Giuseppe Macri Tech Editor
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Reports coming out of the Las Vegas SHOT gun show this week indicate the U.S. military has purchased and is testing smart rifles for use in the field.

According to a interview with TrackingPoint, Inc., the Army bought six different smart rifles from the company for a price of $10,000 to $27,000, each of which includes a built-in Linux-based computer that uses sensors and scopes to maximize accuracy amidst a variety of conditions like terrain, weather and even the Earth’s rotation.

“The military has purchased several units for testing and evaluation purposes,” TrackingPoint marketing official Oren Schauble told Tuesday at the country’s largest annual gun show, where the startup company announced the technology in 2013.

According to Schauble, one of the rifles demonstrated at the show boasts a 70 percent first-shot success rate at 1,000 yards out — significantly better than the average for professional military snipers, with a high of 30 percent. The military plans to compare the success rate of average soldiers with smart rifles against that of traditional sharpshooters.

“Rifles can communicate with each other,” Schauble said. “We can enable a more information-driven combat in the sense that you can tag targets. You can pass off those targets to someone else with a scope. There’s a whole layer of communication that comes with having a rifle that can designate and track targets.” reports the company has sold about 500 rifles and has received requests for demonstrations from more than 30 law enforcement agencies. The company is only about a year old and employs 75 people, most of whom are engineers.

“We’re gun nerds. We’re video game nerds. We’re engineering nerds,” Schauble said. “Imagine where we’ll be in three to five years.”

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