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'Smart' AR-15 sure to give gun prohibitionist lobby a case of the vapors

There is not a gun they do NOT want to ban
There is not a gun they do NOT want to ban
Photo © Oleg Volk. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

One of the gun haters' fondest fantasies is a mandate for "smart guns," designed to be impossible to fire except by the authorized user. Various Gun Rights Examiners have discussed this technology--and the threat its mandatory use represents--fairly often, including just over a week ago.

As we have also discussed, though, there is another kind of "smart gun"--a rifle so "smart" it can hardly miss (assuming the technology performs as advertised, an admittedly huge assumption)--that the forcible citizen disarmament jihadists are not nearly as enthusiastic about. Very briefly, TrackingPoint's "XactSystem Precision Guided Firearms" use various sensors and sophisticated computing technology to compensate for nearly every variable that might upset accuracy, adjusting the aiming point accordingly--and then not allowing the gun to fire, even when the trigger is pulled, until the computer judges the shot is perfectly lined up.

Supposedly, this gives even neophyte shooters (wealthy ones, with the guns costing over $20,000) the ability to out-shoot elite snipers at long range--an intolerable affront to advocates of a "government monopoly on force." The Oregon Herald quoted Coalition to Stop Gun Violence executive director Josh Horwitz's fear and loathing:

"This is an industry hell bent on making weapons more lethal and taking no measures to extend safety," [CSGV executive director Josh] Horwitz said. "If this type of technology is transferred into semi automatic and automatic weapons [explain how that "guided trigger" would work on a fully-automatic weapon, Josh] weapons, it would make it even more lethal."

Let's set aside for now the question of what Horwitz means by "measures to extend safety." Since he seems to equate increased accuracy with decreased "safety," is he proposing that gun companies work to make their guns less accurate?

The guns in question then were bolt-action rifles, rather than semi-automatic, hence Horwtiz's fear of the technology being adapted to semi-automatic firearms. Well, that shoe has now dropped, with TrackingPoint's introduction of the 500 Series AR rifles. Although the promised "can't miss" range is only half the 1,000 yards of the new rifles' big brothers, the greater firepower and reduced expense (still quite pricey, at almost $10,000) should draw real interest in the shooting community--again, assuming the technology works as advertised.

One amusing question to ponder is how will the gun ban zealots characterize these guns? So-called "assault weapons" are unacceptable, we're told, because they have sacrificed accuracy for the ability to "kill large numbers of people quickly," at short ranges (although that didn't stop them from referring to the "Beltway sniper," despite the fact that the weapon in question was a Bushmaster AR-15 platform). Will they need a new term? Will these be "assault sniper rifles"?

Speaking personally, I'd rather rely on training and long practice than on complex, presumably somewhat delicate (and expensive) electronics (although I admittedly do not have anything approaching that level of proficiency at the moment), but if the double evil of "assault weapons" that are also "sniper rifles" scares the forcible citizen disarmament extremists, I'm glad it exists. Now if someone could figure out how to 3-D print them . . .

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