Robert Nioa with Barrett rifle
Expanding into the US market: NIOA CEO Robert Nioa with a Barrett rifle

Australia’s NIOA buys US rifle maker Barrett Firearms

Famed US rifle maker Barrett Firearms is now under Australian ownership, following its purchase by Queensland-based firearms distributor and defence contractor NIOA.

The purchase represents NIOA’s entry into the US market, where it is understood to have ambitious plans as the company expands.

Barrett will become its own division within the NIOA Group, which is made up of NIOA Australia, NIOA NZ, the Australian Missile Corporation and Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions.   

Barrett is famous for its large-calibre long-range precision rifles, used by military and sporting shooters around the world. 

Its rifles have established many world records for accurate long-distance shots, including the second-longest sniper kill currently credited, a 2815m shot achieved by an Australian commando using a .50-cal Barrett M82A1 in Afghanistan in 2012. 

NIOA has long distributed Barrett products in Australia and says it plans to expand Barrett’s capacity at its Tennessee factory.

Ronnie and Chris Barrett, the former family owners of Barrett Firearms, will be retained in advisory roles and there will be some shuffling of roles at the top of the company, but otherwise it is expected to be business as usual at the factory. 

“NIOA’s association with Barrett dates back to 2008,” NIOA Group CEO Robert Nioa said. 

“We share the same mission — combining our expertise and family business values will ensure Barrett carries on building the finest products in the world.

“We have been inspired by the story of Barrett and admire what Ronnie, Chris and the family have built over more than four decades … 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.”

Ronnie Barrett said he was pleased that Barrett Firearms would be “in good hands with a family-owned company”.

“Rob and the NIOA team have great respect for the legacy Barrett has created as the leader in long-range precision rifles,” he said.

The price of the purchase has not been made public.




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Mick Matheson

Mick grew up with guns and journalism, and has included both in his career. A life-long hunter, he has long-distant military experience and holds licence categories A, B and H. In the glory days of print media, he edited six national magazines in total, and has written about, photographed and filmed firearms and hunting for more than 15 years.