Aimhack for the real world: a rifle with digital targetting

Xact is a digitally targetted rifle: using a heads-up scope, the user tells the rifle what she wants to shoot. The rifle then helps you hit that target, only firing when it's in the crosshairs.

It's aimhack for real life.

The Future Is Now: Tracking Point Precision Guided Firearms (via Kottke)


  1. I think we’ll see the mirrored disco blazer making a comeback as a fashion item in some of the closets of the worlds nastier dictators.

  2. “the user tells the rifle what SHE wants to shoot.”

    It honestly never occurred to me before what gender a rifle might be…
    …but I can’t think of any object less feminine.

    1. You do realize that “she” refers to the user of the rifle, right? Unless these rifles have also become sentient and have opinions about their targets, in which case, I’m moving to Antarctica.

    2.  “You will give your rifle a girl’s name because this is the only pussy you people are going to get.”

  3. WTF Cory, no comment on this? Just reporting (for duty)? 1:16, shooting the head of a bust, tied to something, around the neck? Heck, is this UnrealTournament gone crazy? Hell, only in my cold dead hands. /

  4. From the way that last target exploded into smithereens, I’d bet they loaded that gun with Hornady’s Zombie Max bullets.

  5. Removing the need for the shooter to actually time the trigger release so that it corresponds to the exact moment the sights are on the target is something that tinkerers have tried to achieve for a long time.  Aiming isn’t hard.  Making the gun go bang isn’t hard.  Doing both at the same time is the central problem in all shooting sports.

    Back in the 1950s, some 50m target pistols were made with electric triggers connected by a long wire.  Holding and aiming the pistol with one hand and pressing the trigger with the other enabled shooters to do much better keeping the pistol exactly on target at the moment of firing since there was no trigger finger muscle movement to disturb the hold.

    A system such as shown in the video, if it were smaller/lighter/cheaper, would work well for target sports where the target is always the exact same shape against a plain backdrop.  Believe it or not, in anticipation of technology like this the rulebooks of several of the big shooting sports have long specified that the firearm must discharge when the shooter pulls the trigger using the hand holding the firearm and not by any other means.

    For example, the International Shooting Sport Federation rulebook repeatedly states (at for rifles and at for pistols) that “Any aiming device programmed to activate the firing mechanism is prohibited;…”

    (If you want something to read to bore yourself to sleep at night, the rather large PDF of the ISSF rules, all 460 pages of it, is here: )

    Tanks and ships have used systems like this for a long time.  It was only a matter of time until the technology trickled down to small arms.  Forward-thinking folks realized that and even made rules to cover the situation a long, long time ago.

  6. A lot of modern, hi-tech aided weaponary, seems to distance the person from the physical act of killing another human being. The idea that it looks and feels no different from a video game. and the feeling of simply painting a target, as opposed to actually pulling the trigger yourself. I’m sure this is not accidental. It takes courage in ones convictions to take a life. and the kind of power structure who feels the need to partially automate the process of killing to facilitate a more cowardly, spineless, distant kind of soldier, has a lot to answer for in my opinion.

    Personally I would be insulted to be killed in such a cowardly way.
    If you disagree with me, say it to my god-damned face,
    if you wanna fight me, fight me hand to hand like a f**kin’ man.

    1. I don’t think I’d feel insulted if I was killed in such a way. I don’t think I’d feel much of anything.

    2. In college, a teaching assistant once waxed poetic about archery, “the bow and arrow is the only weapon with which you can shoot someone in the back honorably.”  His reasoning was that the time it takes to nock the arrow draw and aim put you in enough peril from an adversary to even the field.

  7. This video answers one of the questions that I had when I first heard of this system, which is: if you can accurately “tag” the target, why don’t you just shoot it in the first place? The ability to re-tag the target without committing to a shot is a real advantage. The first shot may spook the game. The stakes are even higher in a combat situation.

    As others have pointed out, however, it seems like this system will really fall down with moving targets. By the time you have gotten an accurate tag, the target may no longer be there. In the “bear” example in the video, the shooter seems to tag the “heart zone” of the bear, but by the time the shot goes off, it looks to me like the tag is closer to the bear’s hindquarters. In cases like that, I don’t know if there is any substitute for good old marksmanship.

    There’s no denying that having the scope automatically calculate and enter the hold-over/ under is valuable. I’m not sure whether it compensates for wind, and if it does, what kind of technological magic they’re pulling to accomplish that. It says that it can handle shots out to something like 1200 yards. At that distance, I believe that even more subtle effects, like atmospheric pressure, come into play.

    1. I think the answer is, as mentioned above, pulling the (mechanical) trigger while tagging the target without disturbing the aim is the hard part.

    2. Once you have the hardware to ensure accurate firing on the target tag, managing that tag is open to upgrades, and computer vision systems just keep getting better. Even today it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to add a feature to identify the silhouette of the target you’ve tagged, suggest optimal placement on the target (center, heart zone, head, etc) and track that target area as it moves across the field of view. A bit more computing power and it can predicatively lead a moving target for you. DARPA’s working on LIDAR sights that allow accurate shooting at 2000 yards in 40mph winds. Add in target-specific image recognition systems and it’ll highlight potential targets as they come up so you can just toggle between them with the push of a button.

  8. I swear I imagined something like this, right down to the tagging of the target and the button on the triggerguard.  It appears that the crosshair is automatically compensating for ballistics which would be pretty cool if it works

  9. This reminds me of the fire control systems used in Shadowrun. I want one! I guess that might make shooting a little boring hitting your target every time. But I think it’s also exciting to use the new technology.

  10. One more thing, see how wiggly the crosshairs are? I have been waiting for a FPS that mimics this, and makes it less wiggly the more experienced the player becomes.

    1. But it’s required for a well-regulated militia!

      If this gets regulated, then only criminals and police will have auto-aiming guns. The crazies will have do it themselves! That isn’t AMERICA.

  11. I wonder how long it will be before there’s some scary name for this system that politicians will use ala “cop killer bullets”.

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