SHOT Show 2022 - The collaboration between MagPul and Maztech Industries brings us the X4 electro-optical system: a future suite of accessories that will turn any standard low-power variable optical sight in a true fire control system, integrating informations concerning magazine capacity, target, communications, and much more!
Not exactly an optical sight – not really just an optical sight – is what MagPul and Maztech Industries jointly unveiled at the Sands Expo & Conventions Center, in Las Vegas, during the 2022 edition of SHOT Show: the MagPul Maztech X4 system is designed to be integrable on any individual military, law enforcement, and even commercial firearm, with a suite of electronic components that will allow the shooter to maintain constant awareness on a plethora of aspects such as surrounding environment, status of his or her firearm, communications, and a whole lot more.
Similarly ambitious projects have been around for decades – at least since the early 1990s, with well-known examples such as the projected Fire Control Systems of the XM29 and XM25 programs – with very little results in terms of practicality. Skyrocketing costs and similarly excessive dimensions and weight doomed such predecessors to failure and caused their demise.
But times have changed, electronics have vastly evolved in the past years, and such solutions are now, at least potentially, entirely practical – so much so that Vortex Optics was awarded a contract in early January to provide the U.S. Armed Forces with the fire control system component of the NGSW program, with a submission that was very similar in concept.
At the core of the MagPul-Maztech X4 system is the Maztech Industries X4 FCS ballistic calculator: a Picatinny rail-compatible mounting bracket for low-power variable optical sights (LPVOs) with a frontally-integrated system that combines environmental parameters – such as temperature, pressure, humidity, altitude, pitch, roll, and heading – with user-set values such as bullet and firearm data.
Maztech's X4-FCS then provides real time ballistic calculations and generates a precision ballistic-compensated offset reticle, projecting it through the objective lens of the LPVO for the shooter to see through the eyepiece.
This solution – which, by the way, has a big advantage as it doesn't require shooters to change from their prefered optical sight, allowing them to keep using the LPVO of their choice – will be integrated with other systems, currently being developed jointly by MagPul and Maztech.
These include a brand new grip and trigger guard assembly – potentially a quasi-lower receiver – that will receive and project data pertaining to the number of rounds left in the magazine.
Other components of the system – all consisting in separate accessories to be directly installed on the firearm – will be aimed to turn the MagPul Maztech X4 system into a truly integrated FCS that will allow the shooter to maintain complete situational awareness on factors such as the surrounding environment, status of his or her firearm, communications, position and informations concerning friendly units and targets, and a whole lot more.
While both MagPul and Maztech have a substantial background and experience in the development and manufacturing of high-tech mounted solutions for firearms, and despite the current state of electronic technologies and the apparent straightforward simplicity of the concept, the development and manufacturing of such a system is by no mwans an easy task. Not only it would need to be actually functional, it would need to be lightweight and unobtrusive, energy-efficient, easy to use to the point of being foolproof, and of course sturdy enough to remain dependable on the field.
That's why, while Maztech Industries estimates the X4 FCS to be available by the 4th quarter of 2022, there is still no clear projected availability for the other components of the MagPul Maztech X4 system