Meet the U.S. Military’s Most Deadly Sniper Rifle

The Barret M82 is a deadly rifle that inspired new generations of extremely powerful sniper rifles.
Sniper with troop

The Barrett M82 sniper rifle basically created the category of large-caliber rifles and is now operated by many U.S. military branches and armies worldwide.

The M82 is a high-powered sniper rifle designed by the Barrett Firearms Company. It employs .50 caliber bullets that can efficiently penetrate bulletproof vests, concrete, and even light tanks. This makes it one of the most effective rifles in the world.

This rifle was finished just in time for the Gulf War, where it made its war debut with the Marine Corps. Since then, the M82 and equivalent versions have been put into service by many NATO and non-NATO countries.

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The Barrett M82 Rifle

M82 rifle
Barrett-M82A1 by Zachi Evenor. Licensed under CC by 4.0.

With the giant .50 BMG caliber (or the 12.7×99 mm NATO cartridge), the M82 delivers impeccable accuracy. It can reliably hit targets at roughly 2,000 yards (1829 meters) away and has a muzzle velocity of 2,799 feet per second (853 m/s).

However, this rifle is very large and weighs approximately 30 pounds (13.60 kilograms), so it’s not especially lightweight and produces a strong recoil, which makes it hard to manage.

Barrett rifles in service with the U.S. Army are called the M107 and are slightly different from the earliest version.

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Specifications

M82A1 barrett
M82A1 Barrett, Heavennearth. Licensed under CC by 3.0.

The Barret rifle ammo is created to penetrate almost any target, including armored vehicles and walls.

  • Weight: 29.76 pounds (13.5 kilograms)
  • Ammunition: 12,7 x 99 mm OTAN (.50 BMG) .416 Barrett (10,6 x 83 mm)
  • Effective reach: 1,969 yards (1,800 meters)
  • Maximum speed: 0.53 miles/s

Anti-materiel vs Sniper rifle

Sniper with a Barrett M82
Barrett M82A1 by US ARMY. Public Domain.

Although the M82 is referred to as a sniper rifle, it’s more an accuracy anti-materiel rifle (materiel – military materials and equipment) because it is useful against lightly armored vehicles or large static targets.

So, the Barrett M82 is mostly used as an anti-materiel weapon. This rifle was planned to knock out enemy supplies at a very long range, which ordinarily would have required rocket launchers, anti-tank missiles,  or even artillery.

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Even though it has an anti-materiel nature, the Barrett M82 is also appropriate for use as a long-range sniper rifle since it can virtually eliminate enemy troops from a long distance. Its high-powered ammunition can penetrate through walls and it can reach enemies in cover behind walls.

Barrett M82 and its main variants

M82A1
M82A1 by Own work. Licensed under CC by 4.0.

The rifle has multiple variants that are usually comparable but contain some modifications to boost the range and reliability. Some of its variants are:

Barrett M82A1

The Barrett M82A1 is semi-automatic. An enhanced model that has a redesigned muzzle brake for less recoil.

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  • Ammunition: .50 BMG (12,7 x 99 OTAN)
  • Weight: 28.5 pounds (12,9 Kilograms)
  • Length: 57 inches (144,7 centimeters)

Barrett M82A2

The Barrett M82A2 is a semiautomatic rifle bullpup enhanced based on the M82A1 design.

  • Ammunition: .50 BMG (12,7 x 99 OTAN)
  • Length: 48 inches (122 centimeters)
  • Barrel length: 737 mm
  • Weight: 29.7 pounds (13,5 kilograms)
  • Action: Recoil-operated, rotating bolt.
  • Feed system: 10-round detachable box magazine.

Wrapping up

The Barrett M82 is a legendary rifle for the Marines and Army. Since its introduction, subsequent rifles have tried to reproduce the successful legacy of the M82.

Even if it’s mostly used to detonate explosive devices and not used in actual combat because of its length and weight, today, multiple new versions of Barrett’s rifles are inspired by the M82 – and even if they have better capacities, the M82 is still the rifle that paved their way for latest generations of sniper rifles.

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Feature image credit: Sniper with Troop by Richard Farrachi, Public Domain.