AUSTIN, Texas -- As Hillman Bailey studied the flat, white target through his rifle's magnified scope, he spotted a brown, six-legged stinkbug, about the size of a dime, crawling across the target. He leaned into the rifle, hot from the sweltering Texas sun, and said to himself, "Let's see what happens." The target was 98 yards away. He steadied the gun, lined the crosshairs over the insect, and pulled the trigger.
The stinkbug was no more.
Bailey isn't a marksman, but he certainly knows his way around a high-powered firearm. He's an engineer for Tracking Point, the manufacturer of the tech-heavy gun responsible for the stinkbug's demise. For the last three-and-a-half years, Tracking Point's team has labored in a nondescript office park in the flats of north Austin, Texas, with one mission in mind: create a "smart rifle" that lets almost anyone hit targets up to 1,000 yards away with near 100 percent accuracy. That's right: Ten football fields.