The Science of Killing: wiggling a gun

An American marksman looks for enemy activity along the hilltops near Dur Baba District, Afghanistan (2006). image from wikipedia

TrackingPoint, a Texan firm has a system that collects and crunches almost all the variables (distance to target; air temperature and pressure; compass bearing, to allow for the Earth’s spin; and even the size of the area on the target that will produce a kill) which might cause a dumb round to miss. The sniper has only to add wind speed and direction, and then pull the trigger. The gun waits until its calculations suggest all is well before firing the bullet. According to John McHale, TrackingPoint’s boss, a marksman can “close his eyes at this point and just wiggle his gun” until it fires….TrackingPoint’s system is now available—and more than 45 of the world’s defence ministries would, indeed, like to avail themselves of it. At the moment, unless their address is in Arlington, Virginia, they cannot; the American government has forbidden the system’s export. This, though, has not stopped people trying. TrackingPoint has suffered so many cyber attacks that details are now kept strictly offline. Yet sooner or later, the secret will out. When it does, the mystique of the sniper may simply evaporate, as every infantry grunt in an army that can afford it becomes a sharpshooter in his own right.

Excerpt, The Future of Sniping: Enemy at the Gates, Economist, Nov. 21, 2015 at 73

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