From the beginning, TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia has complained that TrackingPoint’s automated firing technology’s not worth the considerable stack of cash needed to own it. For the same price as a TP rifle package you can buy a gun that’s just as accurate, and enough training to shoot it well. Their new M400 XHDR might be priced low enough to finally give skeptical consumers a reason to stop complaining about the price, and the size of the optic.

Now, though, TrackingPoint has upped their game. The new “killer app”: night vision capability. With the M400XHDR, you can swap optics between day and night hunting or buy an expensive intensifier tube for your existing scope. The TrackingPoint targeting system switches seamlessly from the standard optical system to an infrared based system for the night vision.

But first, a little on the specs . . .

Included in the box is their latest AR-15 based rifle. It checks all the usual boxes for a high-end AR: free floating handguard, solid stock and plenty of space for MLOK attachments. There’s also a full length top rail, making it easier to attach things like IR flashlights for extra illumination on the targets downrange.

Out on the front of the M400XHDR’s barrel, TrackingPoint fit a muzzle brake designed to fit Crux silencers. The system can be tuned to account for the point of impact shift that occurs when adding extra weight to the end of your barrel. The barrel itself is threaded in the usual 5/8ths thread pitch. You can remove the muzzle brake and fit whatever you want to the end.

There’s a reflector on the end of the M400XHDR’s barrel (the thing that looks like a front sight block, but isn’t). The reflector gives the system feedback on the location of the barrel as it moves when the barrel heats up, keeping the rounds precisely on target through sustained strings of fire. There’s a low profile gas block located much further under the handguard.

The system ships with four batteries, two of which can be slotted into the stock of the rifle to provide power for the scope and system. The gun will fire even without the scope attached and powered on — in case you need to shoot something after the batteries have been drained.

[Note: two of the batteries included in my package didn’t hold a charge. But given that this is a well used test kit I wouldn’t say that’s indicative of how they come from the factory. And if they die, TrackingPoint will help you replace them.]

So, does it work?

On the usual fixed distance range the rifle works as advertised. The TrackingPoint system accurately predicts the path of each projectile and hits the intended target. As with the previous versions you need to dial in the wind. With a little practice smacking the 250-yard steel targets gets boring, even though the M400XHDR’s chambered in.300 BLK. The maximum lock range is 400 yards, so the 500 yard targets are just out of range.

 

TrackingPoint recommends using their proprietary ammunition for the best performance, but those paying attention will note that their ammo is a flavor of the popular Barnes bullets. As such while the provided ammo gets the best results, standard off-the-shelf Barnes ammunition works just as well. I tested it myself and I couldn’t notice a difference so long as the bullet weight remains the same.

The system has a couple different functions.

There’s a “simple” version that throws up some crosshairs on the optic and lets you do all your own corrections. In “suppression” mode the scope will adjust for distance and let you engage targets as you see them. In precision mode, the shooter designates a target. The “guided trigger” will fire the firearm when the gun is on target. All of those work, and work well in daylight.

When the lights go out things get wonky.

The M400XHDR is equipped with a flip-down cover over the main sensor. It blocks out just enough light to be usable in the daylight, without frying the night vision sensors. Flipping that out of the way gives you the night vision functionality. Forget to do that and you’d need more IR lights and lasers to illuminate your target than exist in the state of Texas.

Once properly set up, the scope works about as well as any other Gen 2 night vision device. In other words, poorly.

The industry has moved on about two generations since this method was “state of the art” and for good reason. All the M400XHDR’s sensor does is read the IR light coming back into the scope, using built-in software to enhance the image. It doesn’t have an intensifier tube to increase the light coming into the sensor. As a result, the target appears fuzzy with a lot of noise distortion.

I took the rifle out to a local ranch and set it against a 100-yard target. I had significant problems tracking a stationary white steel plate. The image was too fuzzy for the scope to reliably track the target, and the precision fire mode didn’t reliably “lock on” and allow me to fire. More often than I’d like it threw up the “TARGET LOST” error message and gave up.

That’s a stationary solid target, illuminated with about two extra IR lights. I’d hate to think how it would work on a much darker, irregularly shaped and moving target like a hog. In short, the Gen 2 night vision implementation has too much noise to be useful.

Is theM400XHDR worth nearly $7,000?

If you were to buy a similarly accurized .300 BLK rifle with a good scope and a clip-on night vision scope you’d be looking at roughly the same amount of cash: $2k for the rifle, $2k for the night vision, and $1k for the scope for roughly $5k to $6k depending on how nice you want your gear.

At the moment I don’t see the value in spending the extra cash for TrackingPoint’s setup, but they are definitely getting closer to that magical intersection of price and technology.

Specifications: TrackingPoint M400 XHDR

Length: 36.25″
Barrel: 16″ light contour
Weight: 11.4 pounds
Capacity: 30 rounds (standard AR magazines)
Caliber: 300 AAC Blackout
MSRP: $6,995

 

Ratings (out of five stars):

Reliability * * * * *
The gun functions as well as any other AR pattern rifle I’ve ever tested.

Accuracy * * * * *
No matter what you say about the TrackingPoint gun, their accuracy is beyond reproach. They guarantee 0.047 MoA out of the box and I believe it.

Utility * *
In daylight the gun works as advertised, but when the lights go out the night vision doesn’t live up to expectations.

Overall * *
We’re getting closer to the point where I could recommend buying a TrackingPoint rifle, but the technology isn’t there yet. A little better night vision technology would go a long way towards helping the system lock onto targets and track them in the dark.

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36 Responses to Gun Review: TrackingPoint M400XHDR

  1. Never been interested in Tracking Point, seems pretty pointless to me. Always fun to see a 7000 dollar gun get two stars, though.

    • Their “tracking precision” is guaranteed to be 0.047 MOA, not their overall accuracy, or even their mechanical accuracy. Tracking precision is simply limited by the pixel density of the sensor that is doing the tracking, and the lens focusing light onto the sensor.

      With my binoculars, my “tracking precision” is also 0.047 MOA. But that doesn’t mean that I can throw a marbles at a target at 100 yards and put them all in the same hole.

    • There is a reason why most of the enemies of the United States are scared shitless of fighting our troops at night. The force multiplier effect of good night fighting doctrine and equipment has to be seen to be believed. Now that they are looking at standard issuing suppressors to front line infantry units, I expect that math to only get more spectacular.

      • I’m aware of what night vision is and what it is for. But for most of us, a flash light takes care of the problem.

        • If you don’t particularly care about your night vision, sure. I prefer to be able to see things besides what I’m shooting at.

        • The display on the NV optic 2″ inches away from your eyeball will kill your night vision same as a flash light…. NV just has a wider field of view than a narrow projected cone of light (unless its a flood light) and passive mode wont give away your possition.

    • NV means all the difference in the world when hunting pigs or predators in the dark. With flashlights, if you can spot a pig fast enough to shoot them in the light, the group runs away from you. With NV and a suppressed AR, they may run just a bit, but they don’t know where to. Half they time they run at you. They rarely run far at all. With flashlights, you take out a pig. With NV, you take a pigs.
      It’s the same way with coyotes and foxes. With the cats, if you miss, they often just sit there or only run a few feet. With flashlights, they keep running.

  2. To be fair, a good gen III+ unfilmed tube will run you ~$4k by itself. If they used such a tube on this gun, I’d expect it to run in the $10k-$12k range. Honestly, I’d rather have something like this with an option to interface your own tube to it. I’d even pay ~$5k for the novelty provided it’s a decent rifle otherwise.

  3. has a 12 o’clock rail but has a reflector mounted low where the FSP should be, meaning you can’t mount anything on the 12 o’clock rail?

  4. Uh… I find shooting 250 yard plates boring using an AR– with an Eotech red-dot. You don’t even magnification at that distance, never mind $7000 gimcrackery.

    Really though– the effective range of the cartridge is 600 yards. Who can’t hit 600 with even a 4X adjustable scope?

    If this thing can’t compensate for the wind, what precisely does it compensate for, that my $7 copy of “Shooter” on my phone does not?

    • To be fair, it compensates for things like barrel heating automates ballistics calculations. It’s a novel idea that I would love to see integrated into the next generation of DMR if they could make it reliable enough for field use. I can think of a few situations where a “smart” targeting system could be useful for letting your DM engage targets reliably at 800 meters or so. That being said, including a gen 2 tube is retarded. It’s like making a corvette with a fourbanger.

    • My DPMS Oracle carbine with a $29.00 no name that you’d recognize red dot and Tula whatever is cheapest ammo can apparently do what this does, for way less than $1k. What’s this for again?

      • Your DPMS shoots .047 MOA? I’m having a hard time believing that on the Tracking Point rifle, and just impossible to believe on an off the rack DPMS.

        • Of course not, and I stated that poorly. I was taking a shot at the articles mention of routinely ringing the 250 yard gong…something even the admittedly lacking Oracle also does. I have no doubt the base rifle destroys the accuracy of the Oracle, and that the sighting system has it’s advantages. I was engaging in hyperbole, mocking the lack luster performance for it’s cost. At those prices, this needs to do much more.

    • The cartridge is 300 Blackout, not 5.56. Wikipedia says maximum effective range is 460 meters, but I think even that is a stretch.

      • LOL, 300 meters is a stretch. Most ballistic charts for 300 blk don’t go past 250. This round was meant for close in work on the AR platform with just a barrel change, not for distance.

  5. “0.047 MoA out of the box…”

    Um… that calculates to 0.049 inches at 100 yards. In other words, after you shoot the first shot on paper, the rest of them will go through the same hole, hardly making it bigger.

    My guess is someone has their decimal point in the wrong place.

      • Well then I would love to see Mr. Leghorn’s data confirming said claim. Otherwise his statement, “… and I believe it” undermines his credibility as a reviewer.

      • Not quite. Their “tracking precision” is 0.047 MOA, not their overall accuracy, or even their mechanical accuracy. Tracking precision is simply limited by the pixel density of the sensor that is doing the tracking, and the lens focusing light onto the sensor.

        With my binoculars, my “tracking precision” is also 0.047 MOA. But that doesn’t mean that I can throw a marbles at a target at 100 yards and put them all in the same hole.

  6. Ringing steel at 200 yards (the max on my range) with my el-cheapo $400 300BLK build and a $250 scope is ALSO boringly consistent, even with no real training and precious little practice. Why not build this for someone thing some decent range where it actually does require training and practice to make the hit consistently. Then, at least, people could feel like they are trading money for time (spent training and/or practicing + ammo costs)… of course, since it doesn’t compensate for wind at all, they would still need practice to get used to that factor, but handling one variable rather than a whole bunch does have its merit. It seems like, though, they would have an input for wind speed; maybe even a sensor (for wind speed at shooting position) that gets you most of the way there, then the ability to manually adjust that based on the shooter’s understanding of the actual wind conditions. Night vision might be a good gimmick, I suppose, though.

    • Heck, wind is the ONLY factor that matters for known-range shooting, beyond about 600 yards. And with rangefinders today, it’s always known-range. Everything else is completely deterministic. Well, unless you don’t know how to shoot.

      So… this is a crutch for someone in need of two hours of precision shooting instruction, in the basics of say trigger and breath control. I think the instruction would be a little cheaper, and a heck of a lot more versatile.

      If these things are so great, take one to Camp Perry or some other windy 1000 yard competition, and let a novice shoot a better score than the winner. Or whatever. AFAIK, that has not been done. And I have to wonder “why not?”.

      • Hmm, well if this works for standing no bipod shots at moving targets (which it supposedly does), then I think it makes up for more than 2 hours in the basics; and there is a lot more that is not deterministic in that equation than just wind. But… even with this one would need some decent practice and/or training time to account for the wind, so they’re still gonna need to practice anyhow. And if they need to, why not practice the other stuff anyhow?

        • The way that I understand it, wind is the only variable that cannot be reliably measured for by a civilian shooter using non-highly specialized tools.

          I am saying I can walk into most shooting sports shops and buy a tool to measure everything else. The only tool I would be lacking is one that measures wind where I am at, at the target, and everywhere in-between.

          So, I think you are wrong. Wind is the only non deterministic factor.

        • What tool can you get that measures how you jerk the firearm off aim when you slap the trigger or anticipate the recoil? How about how your body sways with your breathing, heartbeat, etc? I mean, sure, technically both of those can be measured by civilian available equipment; the tracking point system IS civilian available, so I guess, technically, you’re right… but what other tools are available for all this kind of stuff? And do they work quickly enough to utilize them for every single shot? On moving targets?

          I get it, with practice/training, and experienced shooter can minimize all of these essentially unmeasurable variables from the equation and get down to just the truly deterministic stuff, though I would argue that even THOSE calculations are pretty tough when you start dealing with moving targets that are moving at some angle other than 90, 0, or 180 degrees relative to the shooter’s facing. Still, with enough experience (ie time, time, time) the hooter can mentally compensate for all of this. Thus, this system is trading money for time, since it can already compensate for all that, except wind.

    • At that price perhaps they physically come to wherever you are and put the things in for you…I mean, a 7k rig limited to daylight use at not more than 400yards…you must be paying for something.

  7. So does that Precision Mode operate like the fire control on an M1 Abrams where it locks out the firing until the optics and barrel align? I understand it’s not the exact same since the rangefinder in the tank can move independently from the gun.

  8. “With a little practice smacking the 250-yard steel targets gets boring”

    “Boring” and “shooting” should never appear in the same sentence. I hate TrackingPoint and everything it stands for.

    • But could you shoot the wings off a mosquito at 100 yards with your truck?

      No, but you can’t shoot the wings off a mosquito at 100 yards with this rifle either. It’s probably good for 1/2 to 1 MOA, despite the manufacturers claim of 0.047 MOA “Tracking Accuracy”.

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