Barrett Firearms… is now Australian

Tennessee-based Barrett Firearms, an icon among American rifle makers since 1982, has been 100 percent acquired by an Australian company. 

The Brisbane-based NIOA Group, a family-owned Australian defense contractor whose name is derived from founder Robert Nioa, jointly announced the acquisition alongside Barrett on Jan. 16. 

Ronnie Barrett and Chris Barrett will “provide ongoing support as executive advisers” to Barrett and the NIOA Group while current Barrett President Sam Shallenberger will take over as Chief Executive Officer and long-serving Barrett Chief Operating Officer Bryan James becomes President. Otherwise, “All management and staff at the Murfreesboro manufacturing facility in Tennessee have been retained and production will continue as normal,” says the companies. “Over time it is expected that manufacturing activities in Murfreesboro will be further expanded.”

The two companies have been working together for years. 

“NIOA’s association with Barrett dates back to 2008,” said Robert Nioa. “We have been inspired by the story of Barrett and admire what Ronnie, Chris, and the family have built over more than four decades.”

Barrett Firearms was founded by Ronnie Barrett in 1982 and moved into the category of legend with its “Light Fifty” system which spawned a series of follow-on big-bore rifles.

The company recently moved into AR10 production as well and is the current sole contractor for the Army’s new MK22 Advanced Sniper Rifles, based on Barrett’s popular MRAD platform. According to the latest available statistics from federal regulators, Barrett manufactured 6,815 rifles in 2020. 

One comment

  • Actually the founder was Bill (William) Nioa who started a small gun shop in Gladstone, Queensland. I used to shot clays against him every couple of months.

    Robert is is son.

    In about 1980 on Bill brought a truck load of gear and ammunition to events. Unfortunately died of heart attack fairly young just as the business was expanding.

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