The Department of Defense (DoD) awarded a contract to Barrett Firearms to supply the company’s MRAD (Multi-Role Adaptive Design) rifle to serve as Special Operations Command’s new Advanced Sniper Rifle. The fixed-price, indefinite-quantity/indefinite-delivery agreement is for a five-year period, ending in 2024, and total value is $49,936,300.
Six companies vied for the honor in a solicitation from Special Operation Command, issued in late 2017, that explained the U.S. military was searching for a modular, precision bolt-action capable of engaging beyond 1,500 meters. The rifle had to allow an operator to easily change chamberings without the intervention of a qualified armorer. The required cartridges named in the request for submissions were the 7.62 NATO, .300 Norma Mag. and .338 Norma Mag. The competition was trimmed down to three for final testing, with Sako and Accuracy International rounding out the remaining trio.
The MRAD is based on the company’s 98 Bravo, but the MRAD itself is a truly distinct and cutting-edge design from Chris Barrett, son of company founder and Ronnie Barrett—who created the firm’s .50-BMG M82 that served so well in Operation Desert Storm and beyond. It’s the first time two firearms designed by a father and son, respectively, have been fielded by the U.S. military.
The MRAD is available commercially in a variety of chamberings, although enthusiasts won’t see some of the slightly different specifications typically required in military contracts. Civilians already have a variety of chamberings from which to choose and can enjoy similar cartridge versatility. Barrett has posted its manual [PDF] online, and it provides full details on barrel conversion kits and ease of making the change.
The bolt-action rifle features a fully adjustable folding stock, reversable safety, AR-style fire controls and pistol grip, extruded aluminum receiver, 30 moa Picatinny rail and accessory rails on the sides and bottom. In December 2018, the DoD entered into a contract with Barrett for MRADs chambered in Hornady’s new .300 PRC cartridge.