Barrett Firearms Celebrates 40th Anniversary

posted on March 10, 2022
Barrett Firearms Celebrates 40th Anniversary logo

Ronnie Barrett has a passion for extreme long-distance shooting and genius for design that spilled onto his dining room table. It was there that he came up with early drawings for his first, shoulder-fired .50 BMG-chambered rifle that, ultimately, led to Barrett Firearms Manufacturing officially opening in 1982.

The company has built an enviable reputation among precision shooters, law enforcement and militaries across the globe in four short decades, but not everyone was convinced at first. “When I took those drawings to machine shops for help, instead of getting encouragement, they laughed at my ideas,” Barrett said. “Not to be discouraged, I just did it anyway. The original Barrett rifle concept has turned into a world-class manufacturing company doing business around the globe.”

The firm’s first commercially available model appeared in 1983. It was named the M82 Light Fifty and sales were brisk on the civilian side, but most militaries didn’t see the role it could play. Norway’s army was the first to purchase, harnessing the safety advantage of ordnance disposal from distances made possible by the rifle.

The Marine Corps ordered 100 for use in Desert Storm, the M82A1, then the Army ordered. A semi-auto version was subsequently fielded for precision shooting duty. Today Barrett firearms are in use my American troops across the globe, and not just those chambered in .50 BMG.

When Ronnie Barrett’s son, Chris, served as lead designer and company president, he led an initiative to improve on his father’s M82 design. The result was the MRAD MK22. USSOCOM ordered a number of the rifles in March of 2019. U.S. Army Contracting Command followed suit in early 2021. It serves as the Precision Sniper Rifle and the innovative design allows troops to easily swap chamberings to .300 Norma Mag., .338 Norma Mag. or 7.62 NATO to address each mission’s demands.

From humble dining-room beginnings, Barret now has products in use by more than 70 State Department-approved countries. It’s also home of the first father/son team to have each designed a rifle adopted by the U.S. Military—the M107 and MK22, respectively.


academy sports + outdoors logo bass pro shops cabelas store front building
academy sports + outdoors logo bass pro shops cabelas store front building

Academy, Bass Pro Announce Expansions

Two of the largest outdoor retailers, Academy Sports + Outdoors and Bass Pro Shops announced east- and west-coast expansion.

Preview: Galco COP 3 Slot Holster

Designed for those who enjoy outside-the-waistband carry with a traditional pancake-style holster, Galco offers its COP 3 Slot made of premium cowhide that fits belts up to 1¾" wide.

Rifleman Report: Industrial Innovations

Just when it seems the firearm industry has exhausted itself by way of striving to keep up with demand for existing models, it’s a pleasant surprise to learn that, behind the scenes, engineers and marketing folks have been working on new offerings that have either been created from whole cloth, are significantly revised or are unfamiliar to the American market.

Preview: TactaLoad Flash-5 Gunstock

TactaLoad developed a buttstock for Mossberg and Remington pump-action shotguns in 12 gauge that allows fast access to additional rounds stored in its internal cavity.

Loading Bench: The Berger Juggernaut At 1,000 Yards

Although frequently used in 1,000-yard engagements, the .308 Winchester is often regarded as a “900-yard cartridge.” It gets this reputation because most bullets fired from .308 Win. rifles fall below the speed of sound slightly before they reach 1,000 yards.

2022 Ammunition Product Of The Year: Hornady Subsonic

American Rifleman is pleased to announce the 2022 Ammunition Product Of The Year Award goes to Hornady.


Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.