April 10, 2019
How many times in history has one man's vision changed the course of warfare? As short as that list may be, there is no more unlikely story than Ronnie Barrett - a photographer with no background in building firearms who dreamed of a shoulder-fired rifle that could handle the awesome .50 Caliber Browning Machine Gun cartridge. The Barrett M82 semi-auto .50 caliber BMG rifle did indeed change the battlefield, but its birth was anything but easy.
In a time of think tanks and corporate development in firearms, Ronnie Barrett managed to produce the big boy of the battlefield all by himself: The M82A1 .50 caliber rifle. With Desert Shield and Desert Storm, America went to war in the Middle East and faced the problems of fighting over vast expanses of desert. The military quickly needed a rifle with the capability and power to reach out and destroy trucks, aircraft on the ground, and other materials. Ronnie Barrett was there with his M82A1 semi-auto rifle.
Like Thompson or Gatling, the single word “Barrett” conjures up the image not of the man, but of the gun. Not only the U.S. military, but some sixty-three allied foreign militaries have adopted the big Barrett - a testament to not only the rifles quality, but to one man's vision.
Enjoy articles like this?
Subscribe to the magazine.
Get access to everything Guns & Ammo has to offer.
Subscribe to the Magazine