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The Special Relationship Between the Israeli Special Forces & Barrett Firearms

Over the past decade the Israeli Special Forces (SF) and Barrett Firearms have developed a special relationship leading to early adoption of Barrett models as well as the introduction of unique variants.

Barrett weapons first entered service in Israel in the early 1990’s when the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) SF procured few M82A1 samples for remote EOD work. Few years later in the mid-1990’s the weapon was mass issued to both regular and special units as an anti-material weapon. A decade later in 2008, the IDF adopted the H-S Precision Pro Series 2000 0.338LM as its first standard large caliber sniping platform, and most M82A1 was taken out of service.


IDF sniping platforms on display. Left – a Barrett M82A1, right – an H-S Precision Pro Series 2000 HTR (photo: IDF).

In the early 2010’s, YAMAM, Israel’s Tier 1 domestic counter terrorism and hostage rescue unit, was seeking a standard multi-caliber platform to replace a wide variety of sniping rifles used at the time, including PGM 7.62mm and 0.338LM rifles. With European manufactures’ continuous reluctance to provide small arms and subsequent parts support to Israel due to political reasons, the preference was to procure a U.S. made weapon. Eventually, in 2013 YAMAM selected the MRAD, making YAMAM one of the first units in the world to adopt it, alongside the Norwegian Special Forces, and years before its adoption by the U.S. military as the MK22.


YAMAM sniper armed with a Barrett MRAD during training (photo: IDF)

Few years later, the IDF SF were looking to replace both the H-S Precision Pro Series 2000 0.338LM, which was found to be less than ideal for hard military usage as well as the aging M24, which entered service in 1996 as the IDF standard issue 7.62mm sniper platform and was worn out after 20 years of intense service. Informed by the YAMAM successful experience MRAD, the IDF selected it, with the first rifles entering service in 2017.


IDF SF sniper armed with a Barrett MRAD during training (photo: IDF)

At the same time, the IDF SF had a unique need for a new integrally suppressed sniping platform. The platforms used at the time such as the PGM, were aging and lacking in parts support due to their European origin. The IDF SF approached Barrett with the problem, and within a short period of time Barrett provided a unique integrally suppressed variant.


IDF integrally suppressed Barrett MRAD on display (photo: Israeli MOD).

Finally, in recent years the IDF SF were looking to replace the KAC SR25 that entered service in the early 2000’s as a short-medium sniping / DMR type rifle, and were worn out after 20 years of intense service. Again Barrett proved to be a responsive partner and fast tracked its yet to be released REC10 7.62mm platform for trials. The IDF indeed ending up selecting the REC10 with the first SF units being issued the platform in 2020.  


IDF Counter Terror School Instructor armed with a Barrett REC10 during training (photo: IDF).

With the adoption of the MRAD and the REC10, which are currently gradually replacing the H-S Precision Pro Series 2000, the M24 and the SR25 in service with the IDF SF, Barrett-made rifles are well positioned be the primary sniping platforms used by the IDF SF for years to come. It is still to be seen if either platform will be adopted and issued to regular IDF units, but as common with many militaries, weapons and gear initially used exclusively by SF units are sometimes cascaded to regular units few years later.

Daniel is the editor of www.isayeret.com, a website dedicated to the Israeli Special Forces community, including units, weapons and gear.

17 Responses to “The Special Relationship Between the Israeli Special Forces & Barrett Firearms”

  1. Joe_K says:

    Wait a second? Ronnie Barrett won’t sell .50BMG’s to American Law Enforcement in less than 2A friendly States, but he has no qualms outfitting the anti gun, anti freedom Socialist state of Israel?

    • Vet says:

      Dude, what does Ronnie Barrett’s views on gun control in the U.S. have anything to do with suppling sniper riles to the military of the only democracy in the Middle East and one of the U.S. biggest allies? Also, have you been to Israel? Do you know that IDF combat soldiers carry their issued weapons anywhere including to/from base/home? At any given point there are thousands of soldiers with their fully decked out M4 and Tavor in major cities, not to mention armed police and border guards. Anti-gun they are certainly not, nor socialist, unless you considered Europe and Canada to be socialist as well.

    • Iggy says:

      It’d be reciprocal. Few countries have less scruples about where their produced arms end up.

    • Wrong! says:

      Um… Ronnie Barrett won’t sell to LE in states that try to restrict citizen’s rights… 2 or 3 states maybe? He would rather ensure citizens are equally armed with LE. Not sure how you’ve confused a position like that.

      • Joe_K says:

        That’s my understanding of the policy as well, no confusion at all, we’re both on the same page.

  2. Joe_K says:

    @Vet
    I’m as anti Democracy as it gets. Every American should be. Democracy = Socialism, which last I checked is pretty rotten.
    Israel isn’t Anti-Gun, they’re just anti-freedom, so while some people in Israel can get permission to own, or even carry guns, they have nothing remotely similar to America’s 2nd Amendment and do not view private ownership of weapons as an innate, God given Human right. Israel was founded by Communists and Socialists. And yes, Europe and Canada are largely Socialist as well.

    • WarBro says:

      We’ll put Joe! Lol, I can’t believe that guy thinks Canuck a da and most of Europa aren’t socialist, it’s astounding!

      • Ipkiss says:

        Hi, it’s Europe here.
        Your black&white view of what you believe is socialism here is pretty funny, but mostly dumb. Most EU countries are currently on the right side of the democracy spectrum.

        • Joe_K says:

          Fabian Democracy = Socialism.

          • SSD says:

            Apparently, you don’t take directions well.

            • Joe_K says:

              My apologies for speaking my mind, I’ll post my fratricidal musings elsewhere on the Enter-Net. Semper Fi.

              • SSD says:

                Please do. Facebook will love you. All the anti-Israel folks hang out there: Nazis, Hamas, Democrats. You’ll have a ball.

    • SSD says:

      If you guys want to commit cultural war fratricide feel free to do it elsewhere on the Internet. Don’t do it here.

      • Joe_K says:

        @SSD
        What do you mean Eric? Fratricide = killing friendlies.

        • SSD says:

          Precisely.

          • Joe_K says:

            @ SSD
            Eric, I like Barrett, and agree wholeheartedly with their policy of not supplying firearms to law enforcement agencies in American states that have terrible track records of violating basic human civil rights, and who ban their citizens from purchasing firearms from Barrett.

            I’m stating I’m curious why a foreign nation gets an exception from that policy. I understand the SSD article comment section isn’t Barrett’s direct line, and will reach out to them for official comment on this question.

            I believe our allies in this country should support each other, and that support extends to asking the hard and uncomfortable questions.

            And to the possibility that you are suggesting that the giant American taxpayer funded welfare sinkhole state of Israel is in fact an Ally of the United States, I suggest you, and other good Americans consider and research the Lavon Affair, the USS Liberty “incident”, Jonathan Pollard, the DEA’s report on Israeli Art Students circa 2000-2001, along with the “Art Projects” on the 91st floor of WTC-1, the United States, Israel, and China Triangle, and the other numerous Israeli spying operations against the United States. If Israel is America’s Ally, we certainly don’t need enemiese.

      • Jason says:

        Thanks for this. Hasn’t been a single comment so far discussing the actual merits (or demerits) of the Barrett products showcased in the article.

        Personally, the integrally suppressed solution that Barrett came up with for the IDF’s PGM’s is kinda interesting. Sounds a bit like the M240LW they came up with earlier in that they didn’t design the original but they came up with a solution for an existing product in inventory.