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A TTAG reader writes:

Given the cornucopia of gun parts and accessories (not to mention one-off, custom firearms). Where does the equipment end, and the shooter start? Can a rifle or handgun be constructed in such a way that “Joe Schmuckenheimer” can simply show-up and pull the trigger for a zero, or near-zero, hit on a target? If so, when do we begin to see human influence on accuracy all but disappear? With tricked-out guns, does the marksperson need to really be any good at shooting?

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  1. With rifles, this can be achieved to a certain extent via a light trigger, a red dot sight, and proper VFG usage. (At least from CQB ranges out to 100 meters or so.) Precision rifles and pistols are much more subject to improper technique due to either their lack of support, or the inherent precision with which they are designed to be used. I’ve gotten to the point where I can ring a 1/2 size IPSC steel plate without even shouldering my SBR out to 200 meters or so. My 14.5″ SPR has a 241 trigger system for the exact reason that when I crank the power from 1x to 8x and try to engage targets out to 500 meters or so, a two stage trigger comes in awfully handy.

  2. Wow, that’s almost like saying a gun fires itself, of course we shooters influence the accuracy of the arms we use, still have to aim and pull a trigger, doesn’t matter how “tricked” the boomstick is.

    • As for aiming, you mean put the dot on the target, as for pulling the trigger, in this case, not so much. You are just giving the rifle permission to fire. You do still have to move the rifle around, so I guess the shooter is helping with something.

    • Not that it fires itself – you still need a meat puppet to do that. You also need the meat puppet to point the arm in the right direction.

      The question is one of skill vs. machine. When Manhattan Joe, who has never seen a gun can walk up to a rifle and ring steel at 600 yards, the weapon is doing the heavy lifting in getting lead to where it needs to be. Compare that to 10, 20, or 200 years ago, where you needed practice to reach that point. Of course the same could be said for those fancy auto-loading cartridge rounds when compared to a muzzleloader. It’s just a question of when the gun removes all skill from the process.

      It’s like doing math. For years, you used pencil/paper, but now you can do almost everything on a computer. The level of skill needed for most equations has changed from knowledge to pushing buttons.

    • Well, the last Tracking Point I played with, you did not really pull the trigger, except to designate the desired target. IOW, nothing went bang. When the sight finished its computations, you returned the reticle to the target and the gun went off. ie, trigger technique was removed from the shooting equation.

      I thought the gizmo was fascinating, but did not find it to be fun. And out beyond 800 yards, I contend that automated sights like this will never manage to dope the winds adequately to even be useful.

  3. Short of guided bullets, it is my experience that the “tricking” out only really helps the experienced move to the next level. This is true of many sports, not just shooting. Sure a red dot at close range makes accuracy easier for novices but only to a point. But what exactly is a near zero anyway? Target shooting a silhouette at 25 feet leaves quite a large margin for functional hits. The human torso is a really big target. If you are looking for consistent dime sized target hits then practice and proper tooling will play equal parts. Not to mention good eyesight!

    • I am still learning about all this, but “zero” to me is dead center on the target. “near zero, I take to mean right next to the dead center, like an inch or half-inch.

      • I’m generally not on top of gun things, but I also concluded that’s what “zero” meant.

  4. “With tricked-out guns, does the marksperson need to really be any good at shooting?”

    Yes, but only if he wants to hit his target.

    • The point missing from this discussion is “What is he shooting?”

      I read once that computers would one day be smarter than people. In response a technician said that it would never happen because no matter how quickly or accurately a computer calculated the answer, a computer did not come up with the question.

      Same thing with high-tech sighting systems on top of super accurate rifles. No matter how accurate the machine, you need a human to tell it what (or who) to shoot.

  5. Technology will help to make an okay shooter a good shooter. A great shooter will always be a great shooter, with or without the tech.

    Tech is a useful tool, but it becomes a handicap when you don’t have access to the fancy gadgets.

    I am still in the camp that believes the gun is only as good as its shooter.

    That being said, I still want a HUD installed in my shades, because halo yo!

  6. We’re not there yet, and when it comes down to technology being more important than the shooter, count me out. I’ll stick to low tech, where the shooter matters more than the technology.

  7. That’s some pretty cool technology. Did anyone catch what kind of action that was on the rifle? Looked like a Defiance Machine action in an Accuracy International chassis.

  8. Well, let’s not forget that the act of shooting is only a small part of the overall defensive (or offensive) picture…

  9. It’s never about the gun…its about the shooter being able to pick up ANY armament, rock, bow, knife spear, nurf gun, AT4….in any configuration…gritty trigger, bugger bolt, missing stock, shanked shaft and within minutes be able to hit what they aim at.

    I belong to the temple of body alignment, breath control, relaxation and trigger squeeze, master the mind you’re a master at arms. Everything else is separating you from your coin.

  10. There are certainly some extremely high dollar innovations that might allow an average shooter to out shoot the experts; witness Tara Kyle winning a sniper competition against a world class shooter with a TrackingPoint rifle, but they are few and far between. For the average person on the street, all the ‘Gee Whiz’ accessories will never replace plain old sighting and trigger control skills.

  11. Just because the shooter was not looking down the scope doesn’t mean he wasn’t looking at the target. He was lining up the shot from a video feed. FYI submarine slippers have been doing this for over a decade. They no longervlook through an eyepiece. They watch a monitor.

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