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Barrett Firearms Manufacturing
Type Private
Industry Firearms
Founded 1982[1]
Headquarters Murfreesboro, Tennessee, United States
Key people Ronnie Barrett (founder & CEO)

Barrett Firearms Manufacturing is an American manufacturer of firearms and ammunition. It was founded in 1982 by Ronnie Barrett for the single purpose of building semi-automatic rifles chambered for the powerful 12.7×99mm NATO (.50 BMG) ammunition, originally developed for and used in M2 Browning machine guns. Barrett began his work in the early 1980s and the first working rifles were available in 1982, hence the designation M82. Barrett designed every single part of the weapon personally and then went on to market the weapon and mass produce it out of his own pocket. He continued to develop his rifle through the 1980s, and developed the improved M82A1 rifle by 1986.


Barrett introduced the M82 in 1982 but did not make any significant sales until 1989. These first large sales were to Sweden. Soon afterward, the M82 was purchased by the United States armed forces, and it was deployed in the Gulf War. Today the company has contracts with dozens of countries to supply sniper rifles.

The success of the M82A1 has led the company to develop several other models of .50 BMG rifles, including the M95, M99, and M99-1. These are lighter and lower cost bolt-action rifles.

An early customer of the M82 (or 'Barrett Light Fifty') was the IRA, which conducted a successful sniper campaign against the British Armed Forces in the North of Ireland.[2] An unidentified IRA volunteer, quoted by author Toby Harnden, said that:

"What's special about the Barrett is the huge kinetic energy... The bullet can just walk through a flak jacket. South Armagh was the prime place to use such weapon because of the availability of Brits. They came to dread it and that was part of its effectiveness."[3]
By 1997, troops were being issued with body armour containing a ceramic plate made from boron carbide, which could protect the trunk from a .50 calibre round; Kevlar flak jacket had proved useless against such a bullet. But a set of boron carbide body armour not only cost £4,000 but weighed 32 lb (15 kg), making it too heavy to be worn on patrol; even soldiers at static checkpoints could only wear it for two hours at a time.[4] The morale of the troops was so low that some servicemen had to be disciplined for remaining in shelter while under orders to check vehicles.[5] A British major said that:
"That meant that to some extent the IRA had succeeded in forcing troops off the ground and it made helicopters more vulnerable so we had to guard against using them too much."[6]


A U.S. Army sniper with Bravo Company, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division stands ready to engage targets during a mission on the outskirts of Baghdad, Iraq.

In current US military use is the M82A3, as well as a new updated version, the M107. It is described as an anti-materiel rifle. While the M107 is highly effective against soft targets, and is used by explosive ordnance disposal teams with special military HEIAP ammunition, its power is not required for anti-personnel use: the heavy recoil and weight are an unnecessary penalty.

In January 2011, Barrett announced the M107's successor, the M107A1 was available for commercial release. M107A1 enhancements include a reduction in overall weight of 4 pounds, increased accuracy, the ability to accept a Barrett suppressor via its modified cylindrical titanium muzzle brake, and additional modifications to improve overall durability and operator utility.

The M82A1 has been purchased by over 40 military organizations worldwide. It became popular during the first Gulf War for its use in disabling Iraqi armored personnel carriers from a mile away. Fighters in the Bosnian Army used just one .50 caliber rifle to great effect in fending off Serb forces in Srebrenica during the Bosnian War of the early 1990s. Florin Krasniqi and his associates acquired dozens of the rifles in the late '90s for use in the Kosovo War.

More recently, Barrett has developed the REC7 upper receiver for the AR-15 platform, chambered in 6.8 mm Remington SPC, which was one of the weapons the Army reviewed in 2008 while drafting requirements for a potential M4 carbine replacement. Barrett is also developing the XM109, a variant of the M82A1 designed to fire a 25 mm munition.

In response to California's ban of civilian ownership of .50 BMG rifles, Barrett suspended sales and service to all law enforcement agencies in California.[7]

Barrett has also developed the .416 Barrett, a rifle round based on the .50 BMG. The purpose of this round is to allow first round hits out to 2,500 metres (2,730 yd) from a cold bore and is not prohibited for sale to civilians in California.

In October 2008, Barrett introduced the new M98B. The M98B is a bolt-action rifle chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum. It went on sale in 2009.[8]


Sniper riflesEdit

Assault riflesEdit

Machine gunsEdit



See alsoEdit

  • Pauza P-50, a rifle designed as a competitor to Barrett in the 1990s.


  1. "Barrett Rifles". Archived from the original on 2 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-21. 
  2. O'Brien, pp. 354-355
  3. Harnden, pp. 406-407
  4. Harnden, page 405.
  5. Harnden, page 401
  6. Harnden, page 406"
  7. "The Gun Zone RKBA -- Ronnie Barrett". Retrieved 2008-09-28. 
  8. "". Archived from the original on 20 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-15. 

External linksEdit

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