Barrett built its .50-caliber rifle for long-range firing from a prone position.
In 1982 Barrett Firearms Manufacturing developed the M82 or “Model, 1982,” its first .50-caliber sniper rifle. The company developed this rifle for military and police force use. Barrett has reconfigured the weapon several times over the past three decades. It currently sells the M82A1 and M107A1 variants as its .50-caliber weapon to military and police forces in more than 30 countries. At the time of publication,, U.S. forces are using this long-range sniper weapon in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Barrett designed its .50-caliber rifle for long-range interdiction against personnel and vehicles. Both the M82A1 and M107A1 feature a 10-round box magazine that sits in front of the trigger mechanism. The company also manufactured a bullpup configuration .50-caliber rifle, the M82A2, which places the box magazine behind the trigger guard. Barrett intended to offer these bullpup models as a shoulder-fire anti-helicopter weapon, but discontinued production.
Barrett’s .50-caliber rifles use a semi-automatic rate of fire and a rotating-bolt recoil action to eject and load the next round. The company built the stock of each weapon from a composite material and both rifles feature a chrome-lined barrel. M107A1 models use an aluminum rail, aluminum receiver and a stock-mounted monopod for prone or seated firing. The M82A1 features a steel rail and receiver, and includes a removable receiver mounted bipod for prone or seated firing. Barrett installs a muzzle brake on each weapon that reduces the recoil to a manageable 36 foot-pounds, directed backward into the shooter’s shoulder.
Both of Barrett’s M82 variants feature two barrel lengths, 29-inch or 20-inch. This latter barrel gives the rifle greater versatility in urban deployment. Each rifle has an overall length of 57 inches with the 29-inch barrel or 48 inches with the 20-inch barrel.
Barrett bored the 29-inch barrels with one rifling twist at every 15 inches and the 20-inch barrels with one rifling twist every 12 inches. The long barrel variant weighs 30.9 lbs. while the shorter barreled rifle weighs 29.7 lbs.
Barrett also offers a model with a non-detachable magazine. This rifle has a 29-inch barrel, 55.75-inch overall length and 32.5-pound weight.
Both the M82A1 and the M107A1 fire the .50 BMG: a 12.7-by-99 mm .50-caliber round originally designed for the Browning Machine Gun. These rounds leave the barrel with a muzzle velocity of 2,800 feet-per-second and a muzzle energy of 11,500 foot-pounds. According to the company, a round from this weapon can pierce a concrete wall or an iron engine block to disable a vehicle. Barrett specifies the operational range at 2,000 yards with a maximum range of 7,450 yards.
Barrett installs a flip up front ring sight and flip up peep rear iron sight on both versions of the M82. Operators can adjust the rear sights for different wind conditions and elevation. Both variants include an M1913 Picatinny rail system for mounting a variety of optics or scopes.