Barrett MRAD SMR Rifle Review, right
Photo by Sean Utley
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Where does Barrett’s all-new MRAD SMR (Single Mission Rifle) fit in the realm of rifles? Let’s start with a point. You will never hear me lecture anyone on what they do or don’t need in a firearm. Ultimately, I don’t know what the individual will do with their guns, I don’t know how they’ll develop, the training and education they’ll seek, nor the practice they’ll put into it. That said, I will speak in general terms and say that often times people get more gun than they actually need, if not far more.

I think that’s fine in certain cases, especially in a quality precision rifle. A rifle that is without a doubt far better than the shooter, and one that is durable with consistent repeatable performance, will never be a detriment as long as it’s used in the proper context. A rifle like this always pushes you to become—and hopefully allows you to become—a better shooter.

Getting What You Need With the Barrett MRAD SMR

The Barrett MRAD is one such rifle. I’ve had the pleasure of shooting several different models, in several different locations; every single one of them has been an absolute hammer. I’ve shot in ways that surprised even me with the MRAD. That said, with it’s removable and interchangeable barrels, folding stock, and other high level Mil-inspired components, it may be more rifle than you want—especially when you consider the final price tag of more than $6,000.

But with the release of the new SMR or Single Mission Rifle, fans of the MRAD can get a rifle with many of the same components, same internals and benchmark precision performance, for a reduced price. Think of it as getting less of what you don’t need, but more of what you want.

Low Price, Cheap Rifle?

Let’s address the cost difference and why it is what it is. I’m sure many of you reading such a statement came to the conclusion that there is something wrong with the SMR in order for it to cost so much less. But I assure you that is not the case.

Barrett single mission rifle review, left
Photo by Sean Utley

It comes down to simple production economics: It’s less expensive to make. Barrett designed the MRAD to fulfill a solicitation from the military. They have certain wants in their weapons and those wants mean higher costs. When you can shed some of those, you can get something less cost prohibitive.

Do you remember the Barrett 98B? The SMR is basically that rifle with different internals. In fact, it shares a 90-percent parts compatibility with the MRAD, which is basically a redesigned 98B for the military.

The Differences

I could go down a list of the similarities, but the with the extensive parts compatibility of the SRM it’s simpler to tell you the differences. The SMR lacks the interchangeable barrel capability. Many shooters are fine adapting one caliber—say the .308 or 6.5 Creedmoor—and running it in exclusivity with a particular rifle. We’ve done it for decades, before interchangeable calibers became more popular and practical in their application. Needless to say, designing such an option into a rifle means more expense.

The folding stock of the MRAD is absent as well. Folding stocks seems to be one of those things that are nice to have, but not necessary. In my experience, for the average shooter the folding stock is a factor of coolness as opposed to necessity. True, a folding stock helps with transport since it makes the weapon shorter, but unless you’re parachuting with it or in and out of vehicles with said rifle attached to you, then it’s really a moot point. Folders also mean more part to break or malfunction. I also can’t recall the last time I’ve actually folded my rifles with folding stocks.

The safety selector on the SMR is a non-ambidextrous version as well.

The Good Stuff

As far as goodies that stay in the SMR, Barrett kept the excellent fluted barrel. It helps keep the platform so ridiculously accurate. Adding to the excellent accuracy is the same fully adjustable match-grade trigger module of the MRAD.

Barrett MRAD SMR Rifle Review, test
Photo by Sean Utley

The bolt rides in the polymer guide, making the SMR super fast when it comes to bolt manipulation. And somehow it’s a true pleasure to run even from a southpaw’s perspective. Meanwhile, the sleeve helps keep things slick even in adverse shooting conditions. The SMR also features the tool less stock adjustability. It can be shooter customized for comb height. Also, a buttstock spacer kit is available..

The Barrett MRAD SMR Does It Right

After shooting the MRAD extensively over the past year or so, I wondered if the SMR would be any different. Well, it isn’t. It’s equally accurate and comfortable as the MRAD. A brief shooting session at the 2020 Athlon Outdoors Rendezvous in Idaho revealed the ease at which you could take the SMR to distance and further galvanized this platform’s capabilities. The 500-, 700-, and 1,500-yard shots were a breeze with the SMR, even from a modified prone position from a portable shooting bench.

The SMR absolutely loved 140 gr 6.5 Creedmoor ammunition from Berger and somehow made sub-1,000-yard engagements boring. It’s safe to say that you won’t miss what may be missing from the SMR. And you’re gong to love the price at just more than $4,995; it’s a fair ask for such a capable rifle.

If you were looking to buy an MRAD, but found a roadblock in the pricing, then the SMR may be what you’ve been waiting for. For even more info, please visit Barrett.net.

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