I don’t bother with tip jars or Amazon wish lists, but if you’re looking for ideas about what to buy me for Christmas, this will do nicely:
The PGF isn’t just a fancy scope on top of a rifle. All together, the PGF is made up of a firearm, a modified trigger mechanism with variable weighting, the computerized digital tracking scope, and hand-loaded match grade rounds (which you need to purchase from TrackingPoint). This is a little like selling both the razor and the razor blades, but the rounds must be manufactured to tight tolerances since precise guidance of a round to a target by the rifle’s computer requires that the round perform within known boundaries.
The image displayed on the scope isn’t a direct visual, but rather a video image taken through the scope’s objective lens. The Linux-powered scope produces a display that looks something like the heads-up display you’d see sitting in the cockpit of a fighter jet, showing the weapon’s compass orientation, cant, and incline. To shoot at something, you first “mark” it using a button near the trigger. Marking a target illuminates it with the tracking scope’s built-in laser, and the target gains a pip in the scope’s display. When a target is marked, the tracking scope takes into account the range of the target, the ambient temperature and humidity, the age of the barrel, and a whole boatload of other parameters. It quickly reorients the display so the crosshairs in the center accurately show where the round will go.
Image recognition routines keep the pip stuck to the marked target in the scope’s field of view, and at that point, you squeeze the trigger. This doesn’t fire the weapon; rather, the reticle goes from blue to red, and while keeping the trigger held down, you position the reticle over the marked target’s pip. As soon as they coincide, the rifle fires.
People occasionally accuse me of being envious of this or that. But if I’m envious of something, I’ll admit it. And yes, to be honest, I am totally envious of the guy who thought of software-corrected personal firearms. Because it essentially defines awesome. I mean, an 18-button mouse with a joystick, that’s cool. But a Linux-powered rifle? How do you top that, with a freaking Death Star?
Of course, being Linux-based, there will probably be annoying package update requests popping up right when you’re busy trying to shoot something. Or someone. On the plus side, you can probably play Battle for Wesnoth on it while you’re waiting for the target to present itself.