Special operations snipers are about to get this 'awesome' new rifle of choice for US military sharpshooters
- US Special Operations Command has ordered its first Multi-Role Adaptive Design (MRAD) Mk 22 sniper rifles, which are expected to be delivered in January 2021.
- The Army and the Marines have also said they want to acquire the modular, multi-caliber weapon.
- "It's an awesome gun," a seasoned Army sniper told Insider earlier this year, adding that he never saw anything he didn't like on the gun.
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US special-operations snipers will soon be receiving the new sniper rifle that everyone in the military wants to get their hands on.
Barrett Firearms Manufacturing has received an initial production order for the new Mk 22 Multi-Role Adaptive Design (MRAD) sniper rifle from US Special Operations Command, the company announced Friday, as Task & Purpose first reported.
Barrett reports that its rifle has met the requirements of the Department of Defense and has completed production qualification testing and operational testing.
"We are pleased to have reached this milestone with the project and look forward to providing our warfighters with this highly capable platform," Joel Miller, Barrett's director of global military sales, said in a statement.
SOCOM first started looking for a new modular, multi-caliber sniper rifle in 2016, and in March 2019, the command awarded Barrett a $49.9 million contract for the MRAD rifle under its Advanced Sniper Rifle (ASR) program. Fielding is expected to start in January 2021.
What makes the MRAD different from other rifles is that it can be chambered in 7.62 x 51 mm NATO, .300 Norma Magnum, and .338 Norma Magnum ammunition, each of which has a different purpose on the battlefield.
"It gives more flexibility to the sniper as to what configuration to put it in and what targets they are going after," US Army Lt. Col. Chris Kennedy, chief of lethality in the soldier requirements division of the Maneuver Center of Excellence, previously told Insider.
Both the Army and the Marines also want the Mk 22 MRAD rifle for their snipers.
In their respective Fiscal Year 2021 budget requests, the Army asked for 536 MRAD sniper rifles for a little over $10 million under its Precision Sniper Rifle (PSR) program to replace the M2010 and M107 rifles, and the Marines asked for 250 rifles for $4 million under SOCOM's ASR program.
The Marines expect the new rifle to "replace all current bolt-action sniper rifles in the Marine Corps," according to the latest budget request.
In the budget documents, the Marines wrote that the new rifles offer "extended range, greater lethality, and a wider variety of special purpose ammunition." The Army argued that the weapon "increases stand-off distances ensuring overmatch against enemy counter sniper engagements and increases sniper capability."
The new sniper rifle, which is also lighter than some legacy systems, "will become the primary anti-personnel Sniper Weapon System (SWS) in all Army Sniper Teams," the Army added.
"It's an awesome gun," 1st Sgt. Kevin Sipes, a seasoned Army sniper, told Insider earlier this year.
"I can tell you I never saw anything on that gun that I didn't like," he said. "It shoots phenomenally well. What it does, as far as barrel changes and things like that go, is pretty exceptional."
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