The British Special Air Service, known as the SAS, is often compared to America’s Special Forces.
And when U.S. General Stanley McChrystal was asked about the importance of the SAS in fighting the Iraq war he said, “Essential. Could not have done it without them.”
The SAS carried out many daring missions in Iraq.
During one mission, a SAS Staff Sargent was embedded with the Iraqi Army. He was part of an elite sniper team that was advising Iraqi soldiers.
The Iraqi Unit learned that ISIS bombers were hiding out in a residential building.
The bombers were using civilians as human shields as they moved around the area. Military leaders explored conducting an airstrike but determined civilian casualties would be too high.
This is where the SAS came into play.
The Staff Sargent came up with the idea of shooting through the wall of the building where the enemy was hiding.
The SAS sniper set up in a building about 1,000 meters (about 1,100 yards) away from the target building.
He fired 30 armor-piercing rounds from his Barrett .50 caliber rifle through the 10-inch wall where the ISIS bombers hid.
Inside the building it was a scene of gore and carnage, and the destroyed bodies of ISIS fighters littered ground.
The mission succeeded in stopping the ISIS fighters without civilian casualties.
And it’s estimated at least 20 innocent lives were saved.
No doubt, the Barrett .50 cal sniper rifle packs a punch.
It has a 10-round magazine with a range up to 1,800 meters.
It can shoot through vehicles, armor, airplanes, and even military radar dishes.
And the most common .50 caliber rifle these days is the Barrett M82.
This rifle weighs about 30 pounds, so you won’t be running and gunning with it.
Plan on shooting it from a bench or prone with the bipod.
With these types of rifles, a .50 caliber round moves at about 2,700-3,000 feet per second.
And it hits with nearly 15,000-foot-pounds of energy depending on the round used.
The market for .50 caliber rifles is mostly military and law enforcement. But there are .50 caliber rifles that civilians can own.
While these rifles won’t be useful for home defense, there is no question shooting a .50 cal is unlike anything else.
And if you want a .50 caliber rifle, here are a few to check out.
Armalite is known for making AR-15’s. But, they also have a line of bolt-action rifles, including the .50 caliber AR-50.
The rifle is a single shot, bolt-action design.
Even though it isn’t magazine fed, it is still a fun weapon to shoot.
It’s equipped with a 30-inch chrome-moly barrel, and the entire gun weighs about 34 lbs.
The AR-50 sells for about $3,300.
The ULR stands for “Ultra Long Range.”
This is a basic .50 cal, single-shot design.
This rifle is shell-holder-style so you have to remove the bolt, slide in the round, and then put the bolt back on.
The rifle has an adjustable trigger from Timney Triggers and you can adjust the pull weight from 2 to 4 pounds.
To reduce recoil, the ULR has a muzzle brake and a spring-loaded buttstock.
The rifle weighs 32 lbs. and sells for $2,000.
Safety Harbor SHTF-50.
Safety Harbor Firearms is known for making AR compatible .50 cal upper receivers. But, they also sell a .50 cal rifle with a single-shot design.
The upper receiver is made with a 4140 chrome-moly steel barrel.
The barrel comes in lengths of 18, 22, and 29 inches.
All three barrels have a 1:15 twist rate and each receiver has a Picatinny optics rail.
And if you want a magazine-fed .50 caliber they sell one.
It has a 5-round detachable magazine that costs the same price as the single-shot rifle.
The SHTF-50 sells for around $2000.
Fifty-caliber rifles used by the military such as the ones from Barrett can cost well into the tens of thousands of dollars.
That sort of investment is steep for many civilians.
But, these three rifles are ones you can get your hands on and enjoy a shooting experience like never before.