By: Daniel Xu
Taya Kyle, the widow of legendary Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, shocked onlookers at the American Sniper Shootout when she beat champion marksman Bruce Piatt, one of the top professional shooters in the world, with a perfect score. The competition not only marked Kyle’s first foray into professional shooting, but also pitted TrackingPoint’s Precision-guided Firearm (PGF) technology against the skill and experience of an expert shooter. The result was noticeably one-sided.
“Congratulations to Taya Kyle—American Wife on winning the American Sniper Shootout on Saturday!” TrackingPoint wrote on Facebook. “Armed with TrackingPoint precision-guided firearms, she nailed the competition and made 100% of her shots for a total of 10,140 points! We also raised $500,000 for the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation! Special shoutout to Bruce Piatt for being such a gracious competitor. This would not have been possible without you!”
Fox News reported that Kyle used TrackingPoint’s new M600 and M800 firearms during the competition, along with the TrackingPoint XS1. Piatt used current military rifles such as the M4A1, M110, and M2010. The firearms were chambered in the same calibers—5.56x45mm, 7.62x51mm, and .338 Lapua Magnum—but TrackingPoint says its firearms had a huge advantage over traditional rifles due to its targeting system. TrackingPoint firearms allow their user to designate a target and let computers inside the weapon to calculate the best firing solution based on factors such as wind, temperature, and bullet drop.
This has led some to view the competition as a match between machine and human. Comparisons were drawn to the 1997 chess match between world champion Garry Kasparov and the computer Deep Blue, which marked the first instance when a computer was able to defeat a chess Grandmaster. Likewise, with the aid of TrackingPoint rifles Kyle was able to score significantly higher than Piatt, who netted only 3,040 points by the competition’s end. Piatt made 58.4 percent of his shots.
The American Sniper Shootout was unlike most other competitions. The environment was built to imitate the layout of Sadr City, the location where Chris Kyle made his famous 2,100-yard shot on an enemy insurgent. The competition itself reflected war-like conditions instead of traditional shooting competitions and both shooters were tasked with making difficult shots. The most difficult part of the shootout was when Kyle and her opponent had to make blind shots from cover, simulating a scenario in which soldiers had to shoot while under enemy fire. Kyle shot all her targets with the TrackingPoint rifle but Piatt was unable to score any. Toward the end of the day, the amateur shooter also replicated her husband’s 2,100-yard shot on a target.