Sniper rifles chambered for the 12.7mm (.50 BMG) cartridge are among the most powerful and versatile weapons in the arsenal of modern military and law enforcement agencies. Their range, accuracy, and stopping power make them indispensable for various roles, including long-range targeting, anti-material operations, and counter-sniper missions. Here is a detailed overview of ten of the best 12.7mm sniper rifles in the world, including their origins, manufacturers, histories, and the countries that use them.

1. Barrett M82/M107

Origin and Manufacturer

  • Origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: Barrett Firearms Manufacturing

History and Usage

The Barrett M82, also known as the M107 in its modernized form, is a semi-automatic sniper rifle designed by Ronnie Barrett in the early 1980s. The rifle gained prominence during the Gulf War in 1991, where it demonstrated exceptional effectiveness in long-range targeting and disabling enemy equipment.

Countries Using It

The Barrett M82/M107 is widely used by military forces around the world, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and several NATO allies.

2. Accuracy International AS50

Origin and Manufacturer

  • Origin: United Kingdom
  • Manufacturer: Accuracy International

History and Usage

Introduced in 2007, the AS50 is renowned for its precision and reliability. The rifle is designed for rapid engagement and is capable of firing five rounds in under 1.6 seconds. Its modular design allows for quick disassembly and transport.

Countries Using It

The AS50 is used by special forces and military units in the United Kingdom, United States, and several other countries.

3. McMillan TAC-50

Origin and Manufacturer

  • Origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: McMillan Firearms Manufacturing

History and Usage

The McMillan TAC-50 has been in service since the 1980s and is celebrated for its extreme accuracy and range. It holds the record for the longest confirmed sniper kill, achieved by a Canadian sniper in Afghanistan in 2017 at a distance of 3,540 meters.

Countries Using It

The TAC-50 is used by military forces in Canada, the United States, France, and Israel, among others.

4. Denel NTW-20

Origin and Manufacturer

  • Origin: South Africa
  • Manufacturer: Denel Land Systems

History and Usage

The NTW-20 is a unique anti-material sniper rifle that can be chambered for both 20mm and 14.5mm rounds. Developed in the 1990s, it is designed to engage hard targets such as vehicles and equipment from long distances.

Countries Using It

The NTW-20 is in service with the South African National Defence Force and has been exported to various countries in Africa and the Middle East.

5. Steyr HS .50

Origin and Manufacturer

  • Origin: Austria
  • Manufacturer: Steyr Mannlicher

History and Usage

Introduced in 2004, the Steyr HS .50 is a single-shot, bolt-action sniper rifle known for its simplicity and effectiveness. It has seen use in various conflicts and is appreciated for its robustness and accuracy.

Countries Using It

The Steyr HS .50 is used by military and law enforcement agencies in Austria, Iran, and several other countries in the Middle East and Europe.

6. PGM Hécate II

Origin and Manufacturer

  • Origin: France
  • Manufacturer: PGM Précision

History and Usage

Named after the Greek goddess Hécate, this rifle has been in service since the late 1990s. It is designed for long-range precision shooting and anti-material roles. The Hécate II is known for its ergonomic design and accuracy.

Countries Using It

The Hécate II is used by the French military, as well as other countries in Europe and the Middle East.

7. Gepard M6 Lynx

Origin and Manufacturer

  • Origin: Hungary
  • Manufacturer: Sero International Ltd.

History and Usage

The Gepard M6 Lynx is part of the Gepard family of sniper rifles, which have been in development since the 1980s. The M6 is a semi-automatic rifle designed for long-range precision and anti-material purposes.

Countries Using It

The Gepard M6 Lynx is used by the Hungarian military and has been exported to various countries in Europe and Asia.

8. OSV-96

Origin and Manufacturer

  • Origin: Russia
  • Manufacturer: KBP Instrument Design Bureau

History and Usage

The OSV-96 is a semi-automatic sniper rifle designed for long-range engagements and anti-material roles. Developed in the 1990s, it is known for its large magazine capacity and reliability in harsh conditions.

Countries Using It

The OSV-96 is used by Russian military and special forces, and has been exported to countries in Asia and the Middle East.

9. Zastava M93 Black Arrow

Origin and Manufacturer

  • Origin: Serbia
  • Manufacturer: Zastava Arms

History and Usage

The M93 Black Arrow is a powerful bolt-action sniper rifle introduced in the 1990s. It is designed for long-range precision and anti-material roles. The rifle has seen extensive use in the Balkan conflicts and has proven to be highly reliable.

Countries Using It

The M93 is used by Serbian military forces and has been exported to various countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

10. Istiglal IST-14.5

Origin and Manufacturer

  • Origin: Azerbaijan
  • Manufacturer: Ministry of Defense Industry of Azerbaijan

History and Usage

The Istiglal IST-14.5 is a unique anti-material rifle chambered for the 14.5mm round, which is larger than the standard 12.7mm round. Introduced in the 2000s, it is designed to penetrate heavily armored targets.

Countries Using It

The Istiglal IST-14.5 is primarily used by the Azerbaijani military and has been exported to several countries in the Middle East and Central Asia.

These rifles represent the pinnacle of modern sniper rifle design, combining accuracy, power, and versatility. Their adoption by military and special forces around the world attests to their effectiveness in various operational roles. Whether used for long-range engagements, disabling enemy equipment, or counter-sniper operations, these 12.7mm sniper rifles are essential tools in the modern battlefield.

By 9M2PJU

An amateur radio operator, Royal Signals veteran, jack of all trades and master of none.

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