Since the day I fully immersed myself in the police sharpshooter world, there has been a controversy as to the value of the .50 BMG in the hands of law enforcement. The attacks on 9/11 as well as incidents involving armored vehicles changed the discussion but the argument is still in play. There are plenty of choices out there for long-range bullets against soft targets, but the .50 is still the king when it comes to going through cars, buildings, fences and other structures.
There are things a 600- to 750-grain bullet will do that not much else will. It is used today in the Middle East for detonating IEDs (improvised explosive device) and car bombs, and other Ordnance Disposal units are seeing its values as well. There is simply nothing like a .50 BMG for shooting through fortified targets pretty much regardless of the range.
Many agencies are implementing a “heavy sniper rifle” program. One problem many agencies face is a location to learn the system. These systems are unique and many ranges won’t even allow them on their property. Many police ranges are limited to 400 yards or less. If you do not intend to use a .50 BMG at extremely long ranges, a range is needed to fire it enough to master the system and the cartridge.
There is also a need in the law enforcement world for Certified Armorers to keep the system “certified,” and further certification on the use of the rifle. The Barrett’s program addresses these issues very well.