This month a number of United States Army marksmen will likely be heading to the rifle range with brand new rifles. Murfreesboro, Tenn.-based Barrett Firearms Manufacturing Inc. announced earlier this week that it had completed its first shipment for the United States Army Precision Sniper Rifle program. The U.S. Army had awarded the company a $49.9 million five year contract in March.
“We are pleased to have passed all preliminary program requirements and to now begin delivery of the MK22 rifle system to the Army soldiers,” said Joel Miller, Barrett’s vice president of sales and marketing.
Per the terms of the contract, the Army will procure approximately 2,800 MK22 Multi-role Adaptive Design (MRAD) rifles, which will be used as the service’s new sniper weapons system. Barrett had previously produced the Army’s M107 .50 Caliber Long Range Sniper Rifle.
Enter the MK22
The MK22 is part of the Army’s Precision Sniper Rifle (PRS) Program, which also includes the Leupold & Stevens Mark 5 HD scope and sniper accessory kit. The scope is produced at its manufacturer’s Beaverton, Oregon facility.
Designed with precision and modularity in mind, the MK22 was developed to provide greater flexibility within the highly successful MRAD rifle platform. The multi-caliber bolt action sniper rifle is also capable of converting between 7.62x51mm, .300 Norma Magnum and .338 Norma Magnum calibers. According to the Army, its sniper teams will be able to conduct a barrel change and select calibers based on their mission operating environment.
The PSR program will further allow the Army an extreme range weapon system that is lighter than current sniper rifles and includes features that will mask the sniper signature for improved survivability.
In addition to the contract with the Army, U.S. SOCOM previously awarded a contract to Barrett to purchase the MRAD as part of their Advanced Sniper Rifle (ASR) program.
Barrett is a family-owned and operated company that was founded by Ronnie G. Barrett in 1982 to develop a semi-automatic rifle chambered for the powerful .50 BMG (12.7x99mm NATO) ammunition. Ronnie G. Barrett had designed every single part of the weapon personally. Since being adopted by the U.S. military, the company has become the world leader in large-caliber, long-distance, precision rifle design and manufacturing. Barrett products are used by civilians, sport shooters, law enforcement agencies, the United States military and more than 70 State Department approved countries around the world.
In August, Barrett was among the more than half a dozen firearms companies to be sued in U.S. federal court by the Mexican government, which has claimed that the weapons have contributed to the violence south of the border. The Tenn.-based gun maker is being represented by James Campbell of Campbell Conroy & O’Neil; and James Porter of Porter Porter & Hassinger.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.