Barrett .50-caliber rifles
Barrett .50-caliber rifles

Australian Munitions Company NIOA Acquires US Rifle Maker Barrett Firearms

Australian defense contractor and munitions company NIOA has expanded its global reach with the 100 per cent acquisition of the industry-leading rifle design and manufacturing company, Barrett Firearms. The two family-owned companies came together out of a shared commitment to quality, innovation, loyalty, and mission. the company would continue to operate under the Barrett brand as a separate division within the NIOA Group alongside NIOA Australia, NIOA New Zealand, the Australian Missile Corporation and the group’s investment in joint venture company Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions. All management and staff at the Murfreesboro manufacturing facility in Tennessee have been retained and production will continue as normal. Over time it is expected that manufacturing activities in Murfreesboro will be further expanded.

Barrett founder Ronnie Barrett said: “Today marks the beginning of a new chapter in the Barrett story. Rob and the NIOA team have great respect for the legacy Barrett has created as the leader in long range precision rifles. It’s reassuring to know Barrett will be in good hands with a family-owned company that is focussed on manufacturing and delivering world-class firearms and munitions to a global network.”

“NIOA’s association with Barrett dates back to 2008. We have been inspired by the story of Barrett and admire what Ronnie, Chris and the family have built over more than four decades. It’s been a story of hard work, perseverance, and purpose culminating in the delivery of critical capability for the men and women of the US military and its allies around the world as well as exceptional products to law enforcement agencies and civilian markets,” Mr Nioa said.

NIOA Group CEO Robert Nioa has announced the company’s acquisition of US rifle maker Barrett Firearms.
NIOA Group CEO Robert Nioa has announced the company’s acquisition of US Barrett Firearms. (Photo by Barrett)

Barrett Firearms Manufacturing is an American manufacturer of firearms and ammunition located in Christiana, Tennessee. It was founded in 1982 by Ronnie G. Barrett for the purpose of building semi-automatic rifles chambered for the .50 BMG (12.7×99mm NATO) ammunition, originally developed for and used in M2 Browning machine guns. Barrett began this work in the early 1980s, and the first working rifles were available in 1982, hence the designation M82. Barrett personally designed every part of the weapon. He marketed the weapon and mass-produced it utilizing personal funds. He continued to develop the rifle through the 1980s, and developed the improved M82A1 rifle by 1986.

The company also announced two key leadership appointments – current Barrett President Sam Shallenberger has been promoted to the role of Chief Executive Officer while long-serving Barrett Chief Operating Officer Bryan James becomes President. Ronnie and Chris Barrett will provide ongoing support as executive advisers to Barrett and the NIOA Group. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The Barrett acquisition marks an exciting next chapter for NIOA as the company’s entry to the US market where it has long-standing trusted relationships with American companies such as Vista Outdoors, Leupold, General Dynamics, Northrup Grumman, and the Winchester-operated Lake City ammunition plant.

Rifle Lineups made by Barrett Firearms Manufacturing.
Rifle Lineups made by Barrett Firearms Manufacturing. (Photo by Barrett)


  1. As much as I respect and like our Australian Allies, this is another example of our US Defense Officials and Dept of Commerce/SEC doing a questionable job protecting our USA Manufacturing Base and especially our Defense Industrial Base. We are seeing a good number of USA gun manufactures being bought out by foreign corporations, and even if the buyers are allies it contributes to a serious issue with our USA Manufacturing Base over the long-term.

  2. Yes, globalism sucks in many ways but Barrett coming to Australia is not something I’m unhappy about. So long as they don’t sell it on to some other rising young power.

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