Big-Bore Maintenance

Whenever LE ag­­­­­­e­­­­­­n­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­cies or U.S. military units purchase a weapon…

Whenever LE ag­­­­­­e­­­­­­n­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­cies or U.S. military units purchase a weapon system, a standard step in the pro­­­­curement process is for the specific manu­­facturer to pro­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­vide armorer training on their platform. That fact is no different for Barrett. However, Barrett is unique in the sense that the company not only provides armorer training for the U.S. Army but also carries out all the high-level maintenance for the very guns that see combat in the hands of U.S. soldiers. Civilians, law enforcement and military personnel can all benefit from this knowledge base as lessons learned over 25 years of manufacturing and decades of servicing the rifles of the U.S. Army are taken from the battlefield and delivered to the classroom.

The U.S. War on Terror is now in its eighth year—a mind-boggling statistic no one could have predicted after this country was ruthlessly attacked on September 11, 2001. With details only now beginning to emerge, some covert military units were operating in Afghanistan within weeks of the towers falling. As military troop presence and combat operations escalated in Afghanistan, so did the toll on personnel—not to mention the equipment utilized by our warfighters.

Add to that the ongoing operations in Iraq, the current inventory of U.S. military combat gear has gone through an incredible amount of field use. With some units making their sixth, seventh or eighth combat deployments since these wars began, U.S. personnel and equipment are seeing use not seen in decades–in some instances, possibly in history.

So in the last eight years, Barrett armorers have seen rifles that literally have gone to hell and back. From early engagements in the hills of Tora Bora, to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, to the nightmare of reclaiming Fallujah in 2004, to current redeployments in both theaters of war. While many of the soldiers seeing combat have changed over that time, one thing remains constant–the Barrett M107 keeps putting rounds downrange.
“We get a lot of feedback from the units that come and visit us on their garrison time, and of course, e-mail and phone calls,” said Don Cook, who is in charge of the service department at Barrett. “They love the weapon system for its capability. It’s probably the number one addition for the ground commander of the infantry units—the infantry squad or platoon—so that they have long-range capabilities.”

When these units do rotate back stateside, part of each unit’s standard operating procedure is to take inventory of all weapon systems. This includes certain maintenance steps, and with the M107, virtually anything beyond basic gunsmithing jobs requires the weapon to be sent back to Barrett in Murfreesboro, TN. That constant rotation of rifles into combat and back to the factory for maintenance has enabled Barrett to learn a tremendous amount about the M107, and that information is quickly processed in two ways: product improvement and armorer knowledge.

“The rifles are hanging in there pretty good,” Cook said. “We know that small, minute items have been tested over there, what worked and what didn’t, and we’ve learned from that.”

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