U.S. Army Contracting Command announced an agreement on March 31 to purchase nearly 3,000 MK22 Multi-Role Adaptive Design (MRAD) rifles from Barrett Firearms in the next five years. Value of the contract is $49,977,196. The Leupold 5HD 5-25x56 mm was selected for use as a day optic last July.
The procurements are part of the branch’s Precision Sniper Rifle Program, an effort to improve effectiveness of our military’s marksmen in long-distance engagements. The latest move also better aligns the firearms shouldered by more conventional forces with those already in use by U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) troops.
USSOCOM entered into a separate agreement for MK22 MRADs in 2019, a contract also valued at roughly $50 million. The first were delivered late last year, ending the search for a new precision, bolt-action rifle for Special Forces that began in 2016.
Civilian versions of the rifle and optic are available, although military variants and even chamberings may not quite be the same. Late in 2018, for example, the U.S. Department of Defense purchased an undisclosed number of MRADs chambered in .300 PRC, which is not commercially available at this time. There was no official word on the latest chambering or chamberings ordered by the U.S. military.
USSOCOM’s original call for test submissions sheds little light on the question because it included a requirement that the rifle have the ability to run .338 Norma Mag., .300 Win. Mag. and 7.62 NATO by simply changing barrels. Models that digest those cartridges, however, are available to enthusiasts today. Elite members of New Zealand’s Defence Force are also using MRADs.
The military version of the Leupold 5HD 5-25x56 mm is flat dark earth and features a U.S. Army patented mil-grid reticle. It’s also commercially available, although not with that reticle or in that color.