Do me a favor?
Remind me to do something the next time I’m feeling down about myself I start acting insecure about my work, I want you to tell me to go re-read the Wikipedia page on Ronnie Barrett.
You may not recognize his name, but you know his work. In 1982, Barrett began work on what would eventually become the .50 cal M82 sniper rifle. What’s interesting is that Barrett was a photographer with no background in manufacturing or engineering. However, he had an interest in making a semi-automatic .50 rifle and set to work.
Since no commercially available .50 caliber rifle existed at that time, he decided to make a semi-automatic weapon. With no background in manufacturing or engineering, Barrett sketched a cross-sectioned, full-size rifle, adding different components to it. Once he decided on the concept, he approached some machine shops with his drawings. They told him that if his idea were any good, someone smarter would have already designed it.However, this did not diminish his ideas.
Using his hand-drawing of the new rifle, he placed an advertisement in Shotgun News and soon sold-out the first batch. Barrett was contacted by the CIA who purchased a number of rifles for the Afghan Mujahideen for use in their war against the Soviet Union.
Today, Barrett is one of seven people in the past hundred years that has successfully engineered a piece of weaponry for the US Military. That puts him alongside other gunsmiths like John Browning, John C. Garand, Eugene Stoner, and John Taliaferro Thompson. Now, if guns aren’t your thing, that’s perfectly fine. I just think Barrett’s willingness to innovate, to be misunderstood, to start small and to perservere is inspirational for me and anyone else out there trying to make their dream come to life.
Dare. Dream. Do.