Barrett M99: Chris Kyle’s Favorite Fifty Cal

Eric Sof

Barrett Sniper Rifles chambered in ,50 cal used as tactical advantage on the field

The Barrett M99 rifle was first introduced in 1999 and is the latest development of the Barrett Firearms Co. The Barrett M99 rifle is also dubbed as “Big Shot.” The Barrett company is well-known for producing .50 caliber rifles, especially semi-automatic Barrett M82A1 and bolt-action Barrett M95. The rifle was also a weapon of choice for famous American sniper Chris Kyle.


Being externally similar to the earlier Barrett M95 rifle (less magazine), the Barrett M99 differs in many aspects. First, it is a single-shot weapon. After each shot, a fresh cartridge must be manually loaded into the receiver opening (the spent case is ejected automatically when the bolt is opened). Second, the bolt has multiple lugs instead of three lugs on the M95 bolt. Third, the one-piece receiver is made from aluminum alloy instead of the two-part stamped steel receivers on Barrett M82 and M95.

SWAT sniper aiming with Barrett M99 sniper rifle
SWAT sniper aiming with Barrett M99 sniper rifle (Photo: XY)


The heavy fluted barrels are equipped with large and effective muzzle brakes. M99 rifles have no open sights installed by default. An M1913 Picatinny (modified Weaver) rail is formed as an integral part of the receiver, allowing for a wide variety of sighting devices to be easily installed.

The Barrett Model M99 and Barrett Model M99-1 feature a hard-core construction, 7000 series aluminum alloy extrusion, match-quality trigger design, heat-treated steel M1913 rail, match grade barrel, and S-7 tool steel bolt. It has three quick assembly pins, allowing it to be assembled or disassembled without using tools.

Barrett M99 sniper rifle chambered in .50 cal
Barrett M99 sniper rifle (Photo: XY)

To make the rifle very reliable and easy to maintain, the Barrett Model 99 has just three moving parts: the extractor, ejector, and firing pin assembly.

Barrett M99 rifles are equipped with a detachable folding bipod with adjustable legs. The trigger group and the pistol handle are attached to the receiver by the simple push-pins and could be quickly detached for cleaning and maintenance.


The Barrett Model 99 precision rifle comes in several caliber variations. The .416 Barrett is, in theory, more accurate than the .50 BMG because the round is of higher velocity and lower caliber (making it more aerodynamic). However, the drag-to-weight ratios of the respective bullets give the .50 BMG an advantage at ultra-long ranges. The .416 Barrett model is available with a 32″ barrel. The .50 BMG model is available with a 29″ or 32″ barrel. MSRP ranges from $3,800 to $4500 for field-stripped rifle.

It is often described as a rugged, reliable, uncomplicated weapon with its brilliantly simple design, hard-core construction, and surprisingly few moving parts; the Barrett Model 99 offers match-winning accuracy and dependable reliability, time and time again. It is in use in a dozen countries.


The Barrett M99 is positioned on the market as an inexpensive yet highly accurate .50 caliber sniper/special operations rifle. The Barrett M99 is available in two similar modifications, Barrett M99 and Barrett M99-1, fitted with a shorter barrel. The Barrett M99 is intended as a long-range target or sniper rifle for applications where the rate of fire is of less value than the accuracy.

Barrett M99-1

The Barrett M99-1 is better suited for urban operations (like counter-sniper operations or explosive ordnance disposal) where ranges are relatively shorter but powerful .50 caliber bullets are still required to do the job. Barrett M99 is also used for long-range competition, and it was used in 2001 to set a world record in 1000 yards .50BMG competition, with the smallest recorded group of 5 shots being only 4.09 inch (104 mm) small.

Barrett M95 .50 cal sniper rifle
The Barrett M95 in Afghanistan (Photo: XY)

Technical specifications

Barrett M99 Barrett M99-1
Caliber: .50 BMG (12.7x99mm)
Operation: manually operated, rotating bolt action
Overall Length: 1280 mm 1179 mm
Barrel Length: 838 mm (33″) 737 mm (29″)
Feed: single shot
Weight: 11.36 kg 9.53 kg
Expected accuracy: 1 MOA or better with match grade ammunition

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