Special operators will soon have the Advanced Sniper Rifle with three different calibers to choose from on the same platform built by Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, a company well known for its .50 caliber sniper rifles.
U.S. Special Operations Command announced this week that they have awarded a nearly $50 million contract to Barrett to produce their Multi-Role Adaptive Design for the ASR over the next five years.
The ASR replaces the Precision Sniper Rifle for special ops snipers. It is a bolt action rifle that can be converted to fire .338 Norma Mag, .300 NM and 7.62 mm calibers.
“The United States Department of Defense announced today that Barrett has been selected to provide their MRAD as the U.S. Special Operations Command Advanced Sniper Rifle system, designated as Mk21,” the company said in a statement.
“This marks the first time in history that a father and son have had rifle designs adopted by the US military: Ronnie Barrett with M107 and Chris Barrett with Mk21.”
The company also makes the M107, designated as the M82A3, using the .50 caliber round for busting barriers and penetrating vehicle protection.
In February the Defense Department also announced the purchase of the MRAD in .300 PRC, a different caliber than what was requested for the ASR.
Last year SOCOM officials announced that they would replace their 7.62 mm sniper rifles with the 6.5 mm Creedmoor. That round, according to officials, doubles their hit probability at the 1,000-meter range, increases the effective range by half, reduces wind drift and has less recoil.
That rifle is expected to be fielded by 2022.
In 2017, SOCOM took eight to 10 shooters from three of the special operations components to fire three sniper platforms over a three-day period, Patrick Fisher, the acquisition program manager for ammunition for Special Operations Command, said at an armaments systems forum last year.
Shooters fired Knight’s Armament’s SR-25, the M110A1 Semi-Automatic Sniper System (based on Heckler & Koch’s G28) and the Mk20 Sniper Support Rifle, made by Fabrique Nationale or FN, in three cartridges — 7.62mm NATO, .260 Remington and 6.5mm Creedmoor.
Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.