Barrett Firearms Multi-Role Adaptive Design (MRAD) bolt-action sniper rifle

The US military's sniper rifle of choice appears to be the Multi-Role Adaptive Design (MRAD) bolt-action rifle from Barrett Firearms, Task & Purpose first reported, citing budget documents. The rifle, a US Army lethality subject matter expert told Insider, "gives more flexibility to the sniper as to what configuration to put it in and what targets they are going after" because the weapon can be chambered in three different calibres.

The Army, as part of its Precision Sniper Rifle program, and the Marines, as part of the Advanced Sniper Rifle program, requested a total of 786 MRAD rifles for roughly $14 million in the latest budget requests.

The rifle is the same weapon that US Special Operations Command awarded Barrett a nearly $50 million contract for last March.

US military snipers in the Army, Marines, and the special operations community are getting new bolt-action sniper rifles, and they all want this one rifle from Barrett Firearms.

The preferred choice is the Barrett Multi-Role Adaptive Design (MRAD) rifle, as Task & Purpose first reported, citing budget documents and previous contracting information.

Rather than force snipers to choose between weapons capable of firing different rounds for different purposes, the multi-calibre rifle can be chambered in 7.62×51 mm NATO, .300 Norma Magnum, and .338 Norma Magnum.

"There are three ranges associated with the three calibres, and there are different target sets that we are trying for at those ranges," Army Lt. Col. Chris Kennedy, lethality branch chief, told Insider.

"It gives more flexibility to the sniper as to what configuration to put it in and what targets they are going after," he added.

In its FY 2021 budget request, the Army asked for 536 MRAD sniper rifles for a little over $10 million for the Precision Sniper Rifle (PSR) program. The Corps, which is also buying MRAD rifles, estimated that each costs roughly $16,000.

Described in the budget request as "a multi-calibre, bolt-action sniper rifle, which is effective against personnel and material targets at extreme ranges," the PSR is expected to replace the M2010 and the M107 sniper rifles.

"What we are trying to achieve is to collapse those two systems into one instead of having the sniper choose one or the other," Kennedy told Insider.

The PSR, known as the Advanced Sniper Rifle (ASR) among Marines and special operators, is expected to be lighter, be more accurate, and have a greater range than legacy systems.

The PSR, the budget request says, also "includes a sound suppressor and direct view optics (with fire control capabilities), which allows snipers, when supplemented with a clip-on image intensifier or thermal sensor system, to effectively engage enemy snipers, as well as crew served and indirect fire weapons virtually undetected in any light condition."

The aim, Kennedy explained, is to offer a passive sighting system that is not emitting anything that could give away a sniper's position.

The PSR is the same rifle Special Operations Command (SOCOM) offered Barrett a nearly $50 million contract for last year. The MRAD was selected for SOCOM's ASR program, Military Times reported last March.

In the Department of the Navy's FY 2021 budget proposal, the Marine Corps included a $4 million request for 250 Barrett MRAD sniper rifles. The service wants the rifle to "replace all current bolt-action sniper rifles in the Marine Corps."

The recent budget request describes the rifle, part of the ASR program, as a "multi-calibre system featuring extended range, greater lethality and a wider variety of special purpose ammunition than current systems."

The purpose of the military's PSR and ASR programs, as the budget documents make clear, is to provide US military snipers with modern rifles that will allow them to achieve standoff and maintain overmatch against near-peer competitors.