Gun Review: Barrett MRAD

The Barrett Multi-Role Adaptive Design (MRAD) rifle.

The Barrett Multi-Role Adaptive Design (MRAD) rifle.

Nine companies stepped up to the challenge to design their versions of the Precision Sniper Rifle when the United States Special Operations Command published Performance Specifications for the PSR back in late 2009. Barrett’s Multi-Role Adaptive Design (MRAD) quickly joined the competition for the coveted government contract.

Even though the MRAD was a runner-up in the final competition, it still served as a strong performer that continues to find acceptance with serious long-range accuracy hounds, foreign militaries and domestic SWAT teams.

MRAD was specifically designed to meet the needs of the Precision Sniper Rifle (PSR) program, which includes a set of requirements by the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) that states the current system mission of the PSR is to enable USSOCOM snipers to use one or more shots to interdict enemy personnel, positions and nontechnical vehicles mounted with crew served weapons out to 1,500 meters or further, and to defeat NIJ Level III body armor out to 900 meters in its .338 Lapua Magnum configuration. Other PSR parameters encompass length, weight, magazine capacity, penetration of the projectile, the ability to mount night vision devices and other accessories.

Goal of the MRAD

With superior accuracy, low recoil and a utilitarian design, the MRAD is a do-it-all rifle.

With superior accuracy, low recoil and a utilitarian design, the MRAD is a do-it-all rifle.

To get an idea of what the MRAD is all about, a review of the USSOCOM Performance Specifications for the PSR tells the story. A PSR was specified to be no longer than 50 inches fully extended without suppressor, with the ideal set at 40 inches overall length.

With the stock folded, the maximum length is 40 inches, with 36 set as the objective of USSOCOM. The threshold weight for the weapon with a M1913 rail and a 10-round unloaded magazine is 18 pounds, and the objective weight is no greater than 13 pounds. The MRAD submitted for the PSR trial was fitted with a 24.5-inch barrel and weighed 14.8 pounds without an optic.

The MRAD submitted for the PSR was a 24.5-inch fluted version. So was the one tested for this article. Barrel lengths between 20 and 27 inches are available in .338 Lapua Magnum.

The MRAD features a monolithic chassis with a 30 MOA taper MIL STD 1913 rail that measures 21.75 inches and offers plenty of space for in-line night vision devices. Side and bottom rails allow for mounting a number of other accessories.

It includes two configurable 4-inch Picatinny rails and an 8-inch rail, all of which can be mounted along the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock surfaces on the forward part of the upper receiver. The bottom of the buttstock also has a M1913 rail for mounting a monopod.

The MRAD’s stock is foldable for enhanced portability, yet locks in as solid as a fixed-stock rifle.

When folded, the stock latches around the bolt handle for added security during transport. Made of a temperature-resistant polymer, the adjustable cheek piece also offers a consistent rifle-to-user contact point. Length of pull can be set to five different positions with the push of a single button.

One of the objectives of the PSR is caliber modularity. The .338 Lapua Magnum is one of the most widely used cartridges by militaries around the world that meet the PSR’s cartridge ballistic requirements.

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