Barrett Firearms Manufacturing is an American manufacturer of firearms and ammunition located in the unincorporated town of Christiana, Tennessee. It was founded in 1982 by Ronnie G. Barrett for the single purpose of building semi-automatic rifles chambered for the powerful .50 BMG (12.7Ã—99mm NATO) ammunition, originally developed for and used in M2 Browning machine guns. Barrett began his work in the early 1980s and the first working rifles were available in 1982, hence the designation M82. Barrett designed every single part of the weapon personally and then went on to market the weapon and mass-produce it out of his own pocket. He continued to develop his rifle through the 1980s, and developed the improved M82A1 rifle by 1986. Barrett introduced the M82 in 1982 but did not make any significant sales until 1989. These first large sales were to Sweden. Soon afterward, the M82 was purchased by the United States armed forces, and it was deployed in the Gulf War. Today the company has contracts with dozens of countries to supply sniper rifles. On February 26, 2016, Tennessee named the Barrett M82 the official rifle of the State of Tennessee.