CES is packed with plenty of offbeat gadgets, but the Precision Guided Firearm that TrackingPoint brought to the show this year is the first lethal weapon I’ve ever seen at a tradeshow. Of course, the PGF isn’t just a rifle; it’s a system of devices designed to work together to make hunting safer and more enjoyable through technology.
A processor inside the rifle collects environmental data like temperature, barometric pressure, distance to target, the orientation of the barrel and even the Earth’s magnetic fields from sensors built into the networked digital tracking scope on top of the rifle. The user can then choose to input more data like wind direction and speed, then use the digital tracking display inside the scope to find a target and “lock on” by pressing a big red button. The scope will then display a big red dot that automatically compensates for environmental variables like wind, distance and intervening objects to show the user where they need to point the rifle in order to hit their intended target. It will even track the target if it moves by employing digital image processing techniques to determine what object the user is trying to target (elk, deer, a paper cutout, etc.) and updating the targeting reticle as the object moves relative to the rifle.
During our demonstration (which took place in a crowded Las Vegas convention center and thus did not involve any live ammunition) the PGF would not fire until the user held down the trigger to arm the system; at that point the rifle itself will fire automatically once it was lined up precisely with the tracking system. You can turn this feature off so the PGF works just like a normal “dumb” rifle, but hopefully this sort of computer-aided tracking cuts down on human error and helps make users more successful (and safer) hunters.