There is little questioning the fact that the Barrett M82A1 rifle is one of the most fearsome weapons on any battlefield.
According to Ian D’Costa at We Are the Mighty, per Chris Martin in his book Modern American Snipers, “Sgt. Brian Kremer currently holds the American record for the longest sniper kill in Iraq, while serving with the 75th Ranger Regiment.”
Kremer’s shot was reportedly measured at a whopping 2,515 yards.
He continues: “The M82 SASR is every bit the beast it looks, firing a .50 Browning Machine Gun round at effective ranges up to nearly 2,000 yards. Weighing in 30 pounds, and measuring 48 to 57 inches long depending on the barrel used, the M82 is without a doubt one of the most fearsome small arms on the battlefield.”
Originally put into military service in 1990, the M82 has been utilized in every conflict since.
“Though smaller-caliber sniper rifles are typically unable to hit targets behind cover, American snipers have been able to use the M82 and the Raufoss Mk 211 .50 caliber round to simply shoot their way through obstacles at great distances to reach their marks,” D’Costa writes.
According to military-today.com, “the Barrett M82 is primarily used as anti-material weapon. This rifle was designed to destroy sensitive enemy equipment at long distances, which traditionally would have required rocket launchers, recoilless rifles, anti-tank missiles, mortars, or even artillery to engage. These include parked aircraft, radar units, lightly armored vehicles, trucks, pillboxes, fuel silos and various other important assets at long range. It is also used for remote destruction of explosive ordnance.”
As for the improved version called Barrett M82A1, it was first introduced in 1986. This particular model is fitted with flip-up iron sights for emergency use and boasts a larger muzzle brake.
“The M82A1 is a high-powered heavy sniper rifle used primarily against targets like radar cabins, trucks, and parked aircraft. It is known as the ‘Light Fifty’ for its .50 caliber BMG (12.7 mm) load. The U.S. Military purchased significant numbers of M82A1’s during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in Kuwait and Iraq. It’s known as the SASR—’Special Applications Scoped Rifle’, and is used as an anti-materiel weapon and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) tool,” Navyseals.com writes.
“This short-recoil, semi-automatic rifle has a long effective range, (record shot of 2,500 meters) and high energy. It also uses highly effective ammunition, and can easily penetrate Type IV body armor, almost all building materials, hard armors, and level 8 ballistic glass (the strongest available). The Navy SEALs used the M82A1 extensively in Somalia in 1993 against enemy ‘technical’ vehicles filled with armed outlaws,” it continues.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.