Barrett Firearms Manufacturing
|Headquarters||Christiana, Tennessee, U.S.|
|Ronnie Barrett (founder CEO)|
Barrett Firearms Manufacturing is an American manufacturer of firearms and ammunition located in the unincorporated town of Christiana, Tennessee. It was founded in 1982 by Ronnie G. Barrett for the single purpose of building semi-automatic rifles chambered for the powerful .50 BMG (12.7×99mm NATO) 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 sniper campaign against the British Armed Forces in Northern Ireland. 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."
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. 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.
Barrett also manufacturers the REC7 upper receiver for the AR-15 style rifle, chambered in 6.8 mm Remington SPC, which was one of the weapons the U.S. Army reviewed in 2008 while drafting requirements for a potential M4 carbine replacement.
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. 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. On February 26, 2016, Tennessee named the Barrett M82 the official rifle of the State of Tennessee.
- Sniper rifles: Barrett M82/M107; Barrett M90; Barrett M95; Barrett M98B; Barrett M99; Barrett XM109; Barrett XM500; Barrett MRAD
- Semi-automatic rifles: Barrett M468 and Barrett REC7
- Machine guns: Barrett M240LW
- Optics: Barrett Optical Ranging System (BORS)
- Ammunition: .50 BMG M33 Ball; .416 Barrett; 6.8 SPC; .338 Lapua Magnum
- Pauza P-50, a rifle designed as a competitor to Barrett in the 1990s.
- "Barrett Rifles". Archived from the original on 2 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-21.
- https://tnbear.tn.gov/Ecommerce/FilingDetail.aspx?CN=058167132188221009207101085227080021191179228216 Tennessee Secretary of State Business Entity Detail - BARRETT FIREARMS MANUFACTURING, INC.
- O'Brien, pp. 354-355
- Harnden, pp. 406-407
- Harnden, page 405.
- Harnden, page 401
- "The Gun Zone RKBA -- Ronnie Barrett". Archived from the original on 2007-04-23. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
- "98Bravo.com". Archived from the original on 20 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
- Van Huss, James (Micah) (February 26, 2016). "HJR0231" (PDF). Tennessee General Assembly.