The Camera Bag: Killshot Rifle Shoots Photos Instead of Bullets


posted Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 12:55 PM EST

Like the thrill of the hunt but don't want to actually fire a gun? Brothers Randy and Michael Gregg have created a digital camera that looks like a high-powered rifle to let you aim and shoot photos instead of bullets.

Randy and Michael, who are hunters themselves, got the idea for their invention when they spotted a large deer bedding down for the night. Since hunting season had ended the day before though, they knew that shooting the deer was strictly off limits. Then in a moment of inspiration, one of the brothers held his mobile phone to his rifle’s high-powered spotting scope and took a shot -- a digital shot, that is -- of the magnificent animal.

On the way home, the Greggs realized they were onto something big. They had photographic proof that they had stalked and gotten close to a fine deer and they didn’t need its illegally shot, out-of-season carcass to prove it.

What, they thought, if every hunter could do the same and even stalk game any time of the year? What if they built a digital camera that looked like a high powered rifle and called it something like, “The KillShot?”

The link between cameras and guns isn’t surprising as the language of both overlap. Both are for shooting things and both take shots. Even the idea of a camera rifle is not new.

Back in the 1880s, Frenchman Etienne-Jules Marey built a multi-shot camera rifle that was used in early stop motion photography experiments. In the 1930s, Leica built a rifle that used one of their rangefinder cameras in a unique rifle stock and scope combination.

During the Cold War, in the 1960s, the Russian camera company, KMZ, produced the aptly named “Photosniper’ which like the Leica was a barrel stock that required a, in this case, SLR camera.

The KillShot name is tentative and the brothers are looking for something catchier, perhaps a little less death-oriented for their invention. As shown in the photo, the KillShot incorporates a camera, trigger-like shutter release, USB port and memory card port and it will even have video capability too.

Randy and Michael see uses for the KillShot beyond a foray into the woods. They imagine it can be a powerful educational tool, allowing novice hunters to hone their skills without filling the hillsides with lead. If nothing else, it will certainly be cheaper and safer than using live ammunition.

According to the Harmless Hunter website, the brothers Gregg are taking a shot at finding commercial underwriting and support so they can produce the KillShot. They think that a KillShot or whatever it is finally called, will sell for about $150 and they hope to make a, ahem, killing with it.