USSOCOM orders Barrett Mk 22 sniper rifles

Barrett has announced it has received the first MK22 precision sniper rifle delivery order from USSOCOM (U.S. Special Operations Command). The submission of its initial production MRAD MK22 (Multi-Role Adaptive Design Mark 22) rifles have met all requirements for the U.S. Department of Defense contract for ASR (Advanced Sniper Rifle) in support of USSOCOM.
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Barrett MRAD chambered in .300 PRC, specially designed for the U.S. Special Operations Command's Advanced Sniper Rifle program (Picture source: Barrett)

Since being awarded the contract in March 2019, as reported again on Army Recognition last 19 February, the MK22 has completed all aspects of the Production Qualification Testing and Operational Testing phases, Defense Blog reports. As a result, Barrett has received the initial production order and deliveries will commence in January 2021.

The Barrett MRAD or Multi-role Adaptive Design is a bolt-action sniper rifle that was designed by Barrett to meet the requirements of the SOCOM PSR. The MRAD is based on the Barrett 98B with a number of modifications and improvements. The Barrett MRAD was named the 2012 Rifle of the Year by the NRA. The particular model of the MRAD that was submitted for the US SOCOM's Mk 21 PSR (Precision Sniper Rifle) trial was fitted with a 24.5 in (62 cm) barrel, and weighed 14.8 lb (6.7 kg) (without an optic). In 2013 the Remington Modular Sniper Rifle was selected as the winner of the PSR competition. However, in 2018 that was decided that the Mk 21 did not conform to SOCOM requirements at the time, and the program was re-competed as Mk 22 ASR (Advanced Sniper Rifle).

In 2019, the U.S. Special Operations Command awarded Barrett Manufacturing a $50,000,000 contract, ordering the Barrett MRAD chambered in .338 Norma Magnum for the Advanced Sniper Rifle project as the Mk 22 ASR. The issued rifle kit includes swappable barrels and bolts chambered in .308 Winchester, .300 Norma Magnum and .338 Norma Magnum. As part of their fiscal year 2021 budget requests, both the Army and Marine Corps included requests to adopt the MRAD themselves as their primary sniper systems of choice. The Army wants to purchase 536 MRAD sniper systems for roughly $10.13 million. The Marine Corps wants to purchase 250 MRAD sniper systems under SOCOM’s ASR program for roughly $4 million to “replace all current bolt-action sniper rifles” currently used by the service. The Mk22 ASR will replace the M2010 Enhanced Sniper Rifle, Barrett M107, and MK 13 rifle.

Milled from a single block of 7075 Aluminum, the Barrett Mark 22 Advanced Sniper Rifle’s receiver more resembles the lower receiver of an AR platform rifle – housing the fire control group and magazine well, as well as attachment points for the pistol grip and folding buttstock. The upper receiver of the Barrett Mark 22 Advanced Sniper Rifle System also shares visual and functional similarities with the AR platform, with the bolt riding within a completely enclosed upper aided by a polymer bolt guide. What helped secure USSOCOM’s contract for Barrett is intuitive the caliber changing functionality of Mark 22 Advanced Sniper Rifle System (and MRAD). In order to change calibers on the Barrett Mark 22 only two parts need to be swapped: the barrel, held in place by two torx screws and the bolt head.

The Barrett Mark 22 Rifles differs from the MRAD in a few small but important areas. The first being the handguard, the Mark 22 features the M-LOK attachment system with attachment points at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions and full length picatinny top rail. The Mark 22 features a single stage trigger fixed at just 2.5 lbs. and finished with protective black coating. The buttstock of the Mark 22 includes a incremental mechanical lock for adjusting comb height, an adjustable recoil pad, and a bag rider covering a picatinny rail that allows for the mounting of a monopod. The Barrett Mark 22 Advanced Sniper Rifle System is coated in an exclusive SOCOM Coyote Brown finish.