The Barrett M82A1 Sniper Rifle

The Barrett M82A1 Sniper Rifle is one of the most powerful and famous sniper rifles in the world. It is known for its incredible shooting power and accuracy over extremely long distances. This makes it a favorite weapon for military forces, police units, and expert marksmen.

Massive Ammunition

The Barrett M82A1 Sniper Rifle

The M82A1 fires the massive .50 caliber BMG (Browning Machine Gun) ammunition. This is a 12.7x99mm round, one of the largest ammunition calibers used in firearms. The .50 BMG cartridge is renowned for its ability to pierce thick armor and maintain lethal force at long ranges over 1,500 meters (1,640 yards).

The huge .50 caliber bullets allow the M82A1 to effectively destroy targets like vehicles, radar systems, and aircraft on the ground. This versatility leads to the rifle being categorized as an anti-materiel weapon in addition to its sniper role.

Semi-Automatic Operation

The Barrett M82A1 Sniper Rifle

Despite firing such heavy ammunition, the M82A1 operates as a semi-automatic rifle. This means it fires one round each time the trigger is pulled, unlike fully automatic machine guns.

The semi-auto operation gives the shooter better control over their rate of fire. It allows them to make precise, deliberate shots while managing the immense recoil of the .50 BMG rounds.

Recoil Management System

The Barrett M82A1 Sniper Rifle

The M82A1 has a unique recoil reduction system to handle massive recoil forces. This includes a heavy buttstock that absorbs much of the rearward recoil impulse. Additionally, the rifle’s short recoil stroke helps slow down the expanding gases from the fired cartridge.

These recoil management features are critical for enabling accurate follow-up shots at long ranges by keeping the rifle’s sights stable after each firing.

Adjustable for Precision

The Barrett M82A1 Sniper Rifle

The M82A1 has an adjustable buttstock to fit shooters of different statures. It also features adjustable iron sights and a removable scope rail for mounting various optical sights and scopes.

This adjustability allows the rifle to be customized for optimal accuracy based on the shooter’s physique and the specific shooting scenario. Quality optics like the Leupold Mark 4 riflescope are commonly used to leverage the M82’s extreme long-range capabilities.

Range and Piercing Power Barrett M82A1 Sniper Rifle

The Barrett M82A1 Sniper Rifle

With its .50 BMG ammunition, the M82A1 has an effective range exceeding 1,500 meters (1,640 yards). Some skilled shooters have even achieved confirmed hits out to 2,500 meters (2,730 yards) in ideal conditions.

When using specialized armor-piercing incendiary (API) ammunition, the M82 can penetrate lightly armored vehicles, demolish concrete structures, and disable components on aircraft. Few man-portable weapons can match its combination of range, accuracy, and destructive power.


  • Caliber: .50 BMG (12.7x99mm)
  • Overall Length: 57 inches (1,448mm)
  • Barrel Length: 29 inches (737mm)
  • Weight: 30 lbs (13.6 kg)
  • Effective Range: Over 1,640 yards (1,500m)
  • Maximum Range: 1.5 miles (2,500m)
  • Magazine Capacity: 10 rounds
  • Unit Cost: Approx. $12,000 USD
  • Features: Adjustable stock, removable scope rail, iron sights

Compared to Competitors:

Rifle Caliber Weight Eff. Range Mag Capacity
M82A1 .50 BMG 30 lbs 1,640 yards 10 rounds
M107 .50 BMG 28 lbs 1,800 yards 10 rounds
CheyTac M200 .408 CT 29 lbs 2,500 yards 7 rounds
ASMR .50 BMG 39 lbs 1,900 yards 5 rounds
Steyr IWS 2000 .50 BMG 35 lbs 1,500 yards 5 rounds


Combat Proven

Barrett M82A1 Sniper Rifle

First adopted by the U.S. military in 1982, the M82A1 quickly proved its worth on battlefields around the world. It saw extensive action in the Gulf War, Afghanistan, and the Iraq War, developing a reputation for long-range precision fire.

The rifle’s excellent performance led to exports to over 30 countries for use by their armed forces and special operations units. Its combination of range, accuracy, and terminal performance made it ideal for snipers, anti-materiel teams, and vehicle crews.

Beyond the Battlefield

While extremely lethal, the M82A1 also found use in civilian sporting competitions like long-range benchrest shooting. The immense power and accuracy challenges of the .50 BMG cartridge attracted firearms enthusiasts.

The rifle’s fearsome reputation was further boosted by appearances in movies, TV shows, and video games as the iconic long-range weapon of elite snipers and sharpshooters. This pop culture fame added to the M82A1’s mythic status.

Barrett continues evolving the basic M82 design with improved variants like the M107. However, the original M82A1 remains an industry benchmark for power and range in a man-portable package. After 40 years of service, it has cemented its legacy as one of the most capable sniper systems ever produced.