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A TrackingPoint tipster writes:

I cannot give you my name as I was a former employee and still looking for employment and do not want this to bite me in the rear. But I wanted you to know first. As you know TrackingPoint went though a “corporate restructuring” at the end of February, where they laid off between 45 and 60 percent of the company. Fast forward ten weeks, and they had another board meeting on Friday . . .

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This morning the website was updated (as above). The owner – John McHale – pulled the four month CEO Frank Bruno’s name tag off the door walked in and shut the door.

The exact same scenario as what went down in February with the small groups of managers. It appears that likely everyone will be let go today as they will claim bankruptcy, so they don’t have to pay back that millions and millions that investors have dumped into this company.

It appears they may run a small skeleton crew of a few people to get everything wrapped up – normal for a bankrupt business. However, TrackingPoint is finished.

TTAG tried calling them. Sales and customer service went straight to voicemail. Emailed PR. No response. We’ll update you as we hear more info.

If TP does go belly-up, it’s a shame. Great technology that would sell like hotcakes if it were smaller and cheaper. But then if my grandmother had wheels she’d be a trolley car. As they say.

59 Responses to BREAKING: Tracking Point Going Bust?

  1. Perhaps a company ahead of its time? 50 years from now TrackingPoint scopes will be worth a fortune as collectibles, and the same technology will be integrated into standard sized optics. It’s sad to see companies like this go belly up, but that’s how the free market works.

    • Isnt this just the natural progression of the balistic CPU from that like the ChiTAC Intervention to marrying it to the gun with a delayed “fuse” of sorts?

  2. “Great technology that would sell like hotcakes if it were smaller and cheaper.”

    At some point someone will make it smaller and cheaper. It’s not like it’s a ground breaking idea or technology, scope+smart phone+software, it’ll happen.

    • Several folks are already pursuing the avenues of which you speak.

      Stay tuned, it’ll be out soonish.

    • Saw something like that at the NRA Convention in Nashville. You could clamp your phone to your scope and use the screen to aim.

  3. Time to release it openly and make the technology freely available. Someone else will take it and run with it. Otherwise it will just get swallowed up in bankruptcy and whoever buys it could trash it or keep it under wraps for a very long time.

    • Kirsten Weiss said it best. It teaches bad habits for long range shooting.

      Ultimately you could be dumbing down shooters by offering this crutch of a system.

        • actually that is totally correct. Go to a school where the new math is taught and calculators are used earlier in school than when you went though. They are math dumb and can’t do math in their head or on paper. That was totally on display at an IR 50/50 match I was at last year. The old school guys finished scoring their targets in under 2 minutes. The kids took 10 minutes before being helped.

          If you are taught to wiggle your way onto the target you will never be able to hit it without the crutch system again. Proper target acquisition is taking with patience and a smoothness learned by doing.

      • For me, the opposite is true.
        It takes a pic the instant the trigger breaks, so you can tell if you pulled off target. Idk about the electric trigger types, but the 20/20 teaches better trigger control. You still have to pull the trigger and stay on target with the 20/20. For me, it exposes more bad habits than grooving them in.
        Plus you can really dial in handloads since the target size can be dialed down to .1MOA (much better than most bullets can fly)

  4. The first movers in a market are often not around in the mature market, especially in high-tech.

    I wonder who will be Apple to TrackingPoint’s MPMan F10?

  5. So glad I went with my gut. Looks like by the skin of my teeth too.
    My 20/20 is on the truck- out for delivery as we speak. I talked to the guys at Tracking Point last week and didn’t hear a peep about this…
    They did offer me a super hot deal on bolt action 700, but even with a $5,000 discount, it was still out of my price range.
    At lest I can say I hve one though.
    Looks like I’ll be letting her sit in the vault for 10-15 years and see if I can get my money back out of it or maybe even make a little if the collector market remains.

    Of course after I verify it works
    🙂
    Sad to hear TP is going under.
    It’s a Shame DARPA hasn’t bailed them out since the TP scope is a better system by leaps and bounds than that BS million dollar “exacto” round..

    • “Looks like I’ll be letting her sit in the vault for 10-15 years and see if I can get my money back out of it or maybe even make a little if the collector market remains”

      Tell me, what’s the collector’s market value for an iPhone 1?

      I’ll give you a hint: Not much.

      In 10-20 years state-of-the-art on that technology will make what you have now laughable.

      Sell it now as fast as you can…

      • Oh, I don’t know… An Apple 1 computer sold last year for 365k at auction. Anything is possible with the right audience.

        • There are 63 known working Apple 1s.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_I

          Do you *seriously* think that thing is going to be collectable?

          Look, it’s your money. To me, something that costs that much considering Moore’s law on computer power’s exponential advancement doesn’t make sense.

          My pop bought the first IBM PC. The first. It has near zero value today.

        • My old GRID 1520 286 “laptop” is on my shelf right now as well as a Zenith 8080 with dueling 720K floppies and a whopping 8K on the board!

          Guess my retirement fund will be flush, eh?

        • I’ve still got my Motorola brick cell phone. With charger and battery eliminator!
          Checking online, it looks like it’s worth about what I paid for it.

    • It’s tough to say where the price will go years from now, as there really isn’t anything comparable to it at this point. If another company does pick up the mantle and make it better, lighter and cheaper, they probably will not appreciate in value. As a firearms related example, those huge, clunky laser sights from the 80’s are now worth less than what they cost back then, same goes for retro Aimpoints. But if the whole idea is abandoned and we never see something similar (which I doubt the way tech is rapidly evolving) they could be worth a fortune someday, if only because so few were made.

  6. I’m gonna put on my tinfoil hat and say this company was scuttled (or at least tipped on its side) by government forces – Forces that wanted the tech for themselves and not for civilian use at all. Ok, tinfoil off.

    • Tinfoil hat or no, that is certainly a plausible explanation. My thought, however, is that if the government doesn’t want mere mortal civilians to have something, they tend to be more overt, using either legislation or the ATF ban hammer.

  7. Engineering circle jerk. Value vs price point evades the masses. Call it Ahh technology…cool but WHY? Good scope, 5 weekends at a range, and a good book on long distance shooting…at most 1000 bucks.

    Note. Marines in WW1 regularly hit Germans at 1000 yards with open sights.

    • Germans? I think more probably Japanese, Europe was pretty much an Army and Air Force show, no?

      • Not in WWI my friend. The Marines were there front and center. They call them Devil Dog for a reason.

      • USMC was in the fight in WWI. Bellau Wood… The Huns are the ones that have them the “Devil Dog” nickname.

      • Well other Robert, be yea a student of history. Start with the Battle of Belleau Wood. Where untested Marines earn the nickname from the Germans…Devil Dogs and disbelief that their soldiers were getting killed at ranges not experienced from the English and French.

        Training trumps technology and iron sights last longer than batteries and iPads.

        • If you get the sights adjusted for range, anyone can shoot targets at 1000 yards with a bolt action. The problem is first getting the range right (I think the range to the trenches were well known) and the second is hitting with one shot. Even if the Marines were hitting one in ten, I would really want to keep my head down if I was a German. The problem is in a typical modem battlefield everything is moving so much that ranges are not known.

        • There are many tricks to estimate distance to target, including those specifically baked into firearm design. For example, with an AK, the width of the front sight post is roughly equal to the typical shoulder width of a standing silhouette at 300m (not precisely, but close enough for “battlesight zero” aiming purposes).

  8. This is fine. Trackingpoint tech isn’t dissapearing, it’s just going to come back cheaper. They had to dump millions and millions into R&D and apparently the market couldn’t sustain paying it back. If you think this technology and those patents are going to disappear, you’re mistaken. The intellectual property will be sold off to somebody else who can then offer it for cheaper in a way the market can respond to.

    • Yep, millions to develop it and that company succumbed to money flow problems that many new companies fall to. However now some new company will acquire all that expensive code for pennies on a dollar and be in a much better position to bring a lower cost product since all the pieces are there to just pick up. Only the original investors are the big losers.

  9. There is no question that TP was the best.

    But the problem was value. When I can buy a Burris eliminator that with a little calibration will match bullet drop out to what most hunters would call reasonable distances, for 1/10 the cost of a TP gun, its a hard sell. (Lets call reasonable 600 yards)

    Yes, tracking point figures pure ballistic drop like the eliminator. But it also takes into account
    1) Density altitude – which is a derived number based on barometric pressure, altitude, temperature, and relative humidity.
    2) Spin drift
    3) Coriolis effect.

    The problem with the value equation is that just like with any standard scope, the shooter still has to dope the wind. They never tell you that. And the 3 things I listed above don’t really start to change things much until you are out several hundred yards.

    For most of us, shooting at anything but paper beyond 300 yards is a rarity. I don’t need to hit the bulls eye with my first shot at 600 yards.

    The other fact is that its simply too big. I don’t know any “gun guy” who would hang such a device off his rifle unless his life depended on it. I’m not an operator operating operationally. I don’t want a $10,000 device that removes the beauty from my rifle and the satisfaction from my shooting. For most of us, its about the process of making a good shot. Its not actually about hitting what you are aiming at.

    Lets put away our tinfoil hats. This product failed because it was an idea that was not yet ready to be commercialized. In 5 years, when its no bigger than one of the enormous new 34 mm tube scopes flooding the market and can use some kind of laser or dopler shift radar to dope the wind, then it will sell. But for now, the technology just isn’t there.

    Don

    • Even then, it’s a small market. I wonder how many people in the U.S. shoot past 200 yards even once a year.

      • I’ve kind of wondered how that breaks down myself.

        The club where I shoot has several 100 yard bays, a 200 yard bay and a (just shy of) 1000 yard steel silhouette range.

        Over the course of a weekend day there might be a few hundred people shooting in the 100 yard bays, less than 10 shooting in the 200 yard bay (over the whole day), and between zero and 10 shooting at the steels range. Even when I am up there with others, often as not most are still shooting 400Y or less.

        Yes, there is a function of ‘gun’, but a .308 can reach out and ring steel at those ranges, and even a .223 can ring steel at 800 consistently (and doping wind makes it even that much more fun!).

        I think some folks are intimidated by either the thought of the ranges, or, think they lack the equipment ‘needed’. I love it when a new shooter or group of shooters comes up the steels range to try out some longer distances. And I am always glad to help out those that are open to it. Some of those folks are really quite surprised just how far out they can shoot with a bit of discipline.

      • TT,

        A lot of people shoot past 200 yards regularly. But it is precisely these people who are NOT interested in the TP. For most of them (us) its about refining a skill that includes marksmanship and also reloading. They / we have no interest in a product that hides all of the factors that make for good marksmanship.

        Like I said above, the majority of people who shoot beyond 2 or 300 yards with any regularity, do it for the challenge. Automating the process removes the main reason for engaging in such an activity.

        That leaves meat hunters, LEOs and military.

        Don

        • Don, I think that is why I have an issue classifying the TP.

          For serioius range shooters, skill (several skills) is the key. Both in enjoyment and effectiveness. From that standpoint, the TP is, to me, an expensive toy. I think it would be fun to ‘play’ with one, but I don’t think it is helping ME be a better long range shooter.

          For some applications, on the other hand, I think it could be leveraged to make an average marksman into a deadly shootist for whatever it is they are plying their trade it. Maybe the ability to leverage more DMs into long-range roles if needed? Mil/Police uses I am sure.

        • What’s a lot? I bet the majority of gun owners don’t own a centerfire rifle. I’m guessing the number of people in the U.S. who shoot beyond 200 yards more than once a year is less than 1,000,000. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s less than 500,000. In terms of the market for high-end optics, we’re talking about subsets, of subsets, of subsets. Even if you got the Tracking Point scope small, light, and cut the price by 90%, you’re still selling to a tiny market segment in an already crowded market. I bet you’d have maybe 100,000 potential customers. It’s kind of doomed from the get-go.

    • Or, if you know a bit of math and can multiply by 3.6, folks can always try their hand at Mil-Dot. Know your range, know your drop at that range, a bit of “3.6” math. (A bit more math if you are using a 2FP scope and not at the ‘set’ point for the mil-dot)

      Wind still has to be doped, and environmental variables certainly play into it, but it still a handy skill. It is quite teachable and fun to watch rifle shooters get a silly grin the first time they successfully use it at longer distances than they have previous shot at.

      It doesn’t take long before you can do the math in your head quite quickly, transitioning between targets at various ranges.

      I wouldn’t turn down a Tracking Point. I’d love to see how one works in person. If I were financially unlimited, I’d have ordered one up. Until then, my old TP Mark 1 will have to do. 😉

  10. The road to the future has always had pot holes and bumps. Think Gyro Jet, or Dardick trounds.

  11. It’s a shame. Tech like that should be worth its weight in gold. Instead Tracking Point added too many bells and whistles to it, and drove the price up to extreme levels. I don’t want an AR 15 that comes with an IPAD and can stream my shooting to it. I want an AR15 that never misses. Instead of selling that gold plated ar15 for 7.5k they should have been selling the never miss AR15’s at 2-3 k. What a waste. I just hope someone with a real business spirit buys their patients and markets them in the right way. It would be a shame to see tech like this go to waste.

  12. Tracking point was a gimmick pure and simple. DARPA had a better system already in the works so the military was never really interested and it never solved the biggest problem of long distance shooting. Calling wind. Great your scope could take out a hour of prep work of getting your DOPE. But it couldn’t solve the wind call problems.

    • The TP doesn’t take an hour of prep work out of the process. It takes about 20 seconds.

      Range the target
      read the density altitude off your Kestrel.
      Look up that range and density altitude on your range card
      dial the scope to the appropriate elevation.

      This is not rocket science once you learn it.

      Sig Sauer runs a course that can take you from never having shot a rifle beyond 50 ft to hitting at 1000 yards in 5 days.

      If you can score Rifleman at an Appleseed, their advanced course which is just the last 2 days of the 5 day course will get you hitting at 1000 yards in 2 days.

      Don

  13. Wow, works well “even at shorter distances of 0.05 to 0.11 miles”! They really knew how to communicate with their potential customers! Looks like that deer is 0.05 miles away! Better get the Tracking Point, we’re talking miles!

    0.05-0.11 miles = 88-193.6 yards.

  14. If some East Coast state had mandated that all hunting rifles had to carry an automated scope that collected meteorological data and computed shooting solutions so that poor Bambi wasn’t gut shot, EVERYONE would be claiming that the scope was a total gimmick in the same class as a Smart Gun. Fortunately, nobody was asinine enough to try to legislate that, but it really is sort of the same thing. All of the components are readily available to shoot accurately at distance – rangefinders, data tools, and add a bit of shooter skill. Just as all the components are available to hinder unauthorized use of handguns – safes, retention holsters, and a bit of firearms retention skill.

  15. I thought TP was onto something but this was just not developed enough for mass marketing. I really do not know many people really shooting past 200 to 400 yards. A fairly flat trajectory round will shoot close to the target at those distances. The TP really does not solve the problem of wind drift and maybe a later version of this technology will incorporate that into the scope. Of course what the wind is doing where the rifle is and what it is doing at the target can be a variable. I usually memorized the ballistic tables for my rifle calibers and could usually get the rounds close to the target.

  16. Personally, I think they they were hoping for US military contracts and didn’t get any because DARPA is designing their own smart scope for the military.

  17. Tracking point Priced it’s self out of the firearm markets.. I was getting emails in the beginning, Cost was a huge factor.. something like 10K per unit. Then I started getting Emails that emphasized sales, instead of the technology.. financing deals to get a person into one for the low, low price of 7500.00, they were offering to carry their own paper. I think they realized the domestic markets couldnt support their asking price..

    • Should have kept shopping.
      I found a .308 20/20 for about $2200 and a 30/06 for $2500 on gunbroker.
      Haven’t saw one recently at that price tho.

  18. Gross mismanagement. Plain and simple. Nothing more, no conspiracy. A fish rots from the head down. $80M and brilliant people and tech that people were begging for. Takes real talent to screw that up.

  19. I worked there for quite awhile. Bottom line………….complete mismanagement and leadership that refused to listen to the experts they hired. Certain folks pride, ego and arrogance is what killed TrackingPoint………egos so big that it would take a small nuke to deflate them.

  20. I disagree with most of the points here. TrackingPoint had failed leadership. They did not have a clear sales strategy and kept on axing all of their sales leadership.

    Technology can only take you so far, you must eventually have a vision on how to attack the market. They did not have sales leadership.

  21. So I bought a Tracking Point PGF AR 5.56 back in November and they promised me the ShotGlass (Oakley looking glasses) if I bought the rifle. So I was sold on the complete package. It’s now July and I have yet to receive the rest of my order. I only paid for about half of the gun up front because there were items with my order that I had to “wait” on and didnt feel comfortable paying for everything up front. Since I have yet to receive the rest of my order I am wondering what my options are at this point? I have canceled my automated payments and I am thinking about getting a lawyer since no one will contact me after 4 weeks of constant phone calls and emails. I have emails from the CEO stating that I will be receiving my Glasses soon, but never did, however I did get a shirt in the mean time…I ordered my AR back in November of 2014 with the ShotGlass Promotion and received the firearm on January 5th. I am wondering at this point what my options are….What happens when the batteries quit working in my firearm? What happens to my warranty? What happens if my gun needs a software update, etc…What legal ground do I have to stand on? I feel that since I bought the firearm with the understanding of getting the complete package that they should either A.) send me the Glasses and compensate me for having to wait over 6 months, B.) Issue me a full refund, or C) void out the remaining portion of my contract. Any thoughts?

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