Barrett Celebrates Four Decades of Iconic Firearms

Iconic Barrett Firearms Manufacturing celebrates 40 years in business.

posted on February 15, 2022
Barrett 40 year logo

Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, a name that has become synonymous with precision long-range, large-caliber firearms, is celebrating its 40th anniversary of manufacturing some of the world’s most iconic firearms. The company was established in 1982 when founder and CEO Ronnie Barrett set out to build something no one thought possible—a shoulder-fired .50 BMG rifle. From sketching his designs at the dining room table to working with a local tool and die maker to create parts that didn’t yet exist, every aspect was the direct result of his passion for the ultimate firearm.

“When I took those drawings to machine shops for help, instead of getting encouragement, they laughed at my ideas,” Barrett said. “Not to be discouraged, I just did it anyway. The original Barrett rifle concept has turned into a world-class manufacturing company doing business around the globe.”

The obsession with firearm excellence runs deep in the Barrett family. Ronnie’s son, Chris Barrett, also served as lead designer and company president. He improved on his father’s M82 design to create the MRAD MK22 ordered by USSOCOM in March of 2019. The innovative rifle can be readily configured for a .300 Norma Mag., .338 Norma Mag. or 7.62 NATO chambering, depending on mission.

U.S. Army Contracting Command ordered 3,000 MK22s in March of 2021 to serve as its Precision Sniper Rifle. By November of last year the company had manufactured and shipped 1,000 of the firearms to our military.

From humble beginnings, to now having products used by more than 70 State Department approved countries, Barrett is also the first father/son team to have each designed a rifle that adopted by the U.S. Military, the M107 and MK22 respectively. The legacy continues as it has for the last 40 years by meticulously designing, innovating, and manufacturing the most highly sought-after rifles in the world.


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For me, one of the many bonuses of this gunwriter business has been the opportunity to meet and become friends with a number of the firearm enthusiasts of an earlier generation; legendary figures such as Frank Hamer Jr., Bill Jordan, Bill Toney, Col Walter Walsh and the subject of this column: COL Rex Applegate.


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