We’ll be having our turn with TrackingPoint’s new AR-based rifles at SHOT Show next week, but Casey Johnston, Lee Hutchinson and Ron Amadeo of technology site Ars Technica have already had a chance to look at what they view as a “Linux-powered AR-15 hunting rifle” at this week’s Computer Electronics Show (CES), and they discussed the ethical implications of such a firearm in the video above.
Obviously, Johnston finds the thought of hunting distasteful, while Hutchinson has a great deal of respect for the technical aspects of what TrackingPoint has been able to accomplish and Amadeo is just sort of there.
Hutchinson states that the price of the AR-based system is going to run around $10,000. That’s still a ton of coin for an AR-based rifle, but is thousands cheaper than their long-ranged .300 Win Mag and .338 Lapua bolt-guns.
Towards the end of the video the Ars Technica staff, in my opinion, veers off into unsupported conjecture when they start claiming that these are sporting only weapons for the taking of game animals… or maybe they are taking TrackingPoint marketing claims made to them at face value.
What we do know is that the TrackingPoint bolt-action rifles are offered (just coincidentally) in two of the most popular long-range military sniping calibers, and that TrackingPoint is not commercially viable, as there are very few long-range dilettantes that would plot down close to $20,000 for a long-range rifle, and yet take no joy in the art and science of long-range shooting.
Those long-range bolt-action rifles are, however, potentially a good investment if a military wants to turn out a bunch of long-range designated marksmen without spending the training time and associated costs that a real scout-sniper requires.
Likewise with the new rifles, if TrackingPoint was aiming for a civilian hunting rifle in the AR-15 or AR-10 platforms, they would have chosen much more efficient cartridges towards those ends, instead of the 5.56 NATO, 300 BLK, and “762” (they don’t get any more specific) military calibers we’re seeing them introduce. I’ve been saying from the beginning that TrackingPoint is a military company in hipster clothing. These AR-based rifles seem aimed squarely at the military market of the squad-level or platoon-level designated marksman, as even their own marketing suggests.
What I’m still not understanding is why TrackingPoint continues to portray themselves as a hunting rifle company to some audiences, while clearly building products designed from the ground up for the military market.