Looking to make your AR as compact as possible while still retaining reliability and a barrel length thats not absurdly short? In that case, the Cry Havoc Tactical QRB kit might just be the solution you are looking for. The kit is currently used by the United States Air Force on their the GAU-5A Aircrew Self Defense Weapon, which serves as a survival rifle for downed pilots. To learn more about the Cry Havoc QRB kit, its background, and why it’s a product worth considering, we reached out to Cry Havoc Tactical president Jim Lane.
Q: Jim, thanks for your time. Can we start with how th e Cry Havoc Tactical QRB kit came about?
Jim Lane, Cry Havoc Tactical – Michael Selvetti thought the Cry Havoc Tactical QRB kit up and patented it about five years ago. About three years ago, they allowed me to become a partner. Two years ago this June, I left my design engineering position at Harris Corporation, which is now L3/Harris. I decided I didn’t want to play with L3, so I retired the Friday before their Monday morning merger. I was also four months from turning 65, and I had planned to retire then anyway.
For three years before that, I had an 07 and a SOT. I was building SBRs, one-stamp uppers, and things like that. I found myself sharing a workspace with Ralph Seifert, Michael Selvetti’s partner, who is still a 34 percent silent partner in the company.
It was Ralph Seifert who convinced Michael Selvetti that he had a brilliant idea. While Michael had already started the patent process, I think he was content that he had simply built one for himself (laughs). He was not thinking of mass-producing what he had created.
Ralph strongly encouraged Michael to build 100 units. Through my connection with Ralph, I jumped on the chance to buy a few for myself, and I saw immediately how truly ingenious it was. This device’s ability to reduce the size of an AR as much as it did honestly floored me.
I was so intrigued by the concept that I approached them and told them I wanted to invest in it myself. Realizing I was serious, they each sold me 15 percent of the company. Later on, I had the opportunity to buy the patent. I had worked decades of 70-hour weeks to be able to afford it (laughs).
Q: That was a bold step. You believed in what you saw that much?
Jim Lane, Cry Havoc Tactical – It was, and I did. I knew just how special of a product this was. It worked flawlessly. It was rock solid, it did something truly game-changing, and it did so in a way that nothing else on the market could do.
I took what I saw as a calculated risk and put most of my 401k into this business. I’ll be honest; I am “in it to win it,” as they say. I’m all in. Today, I own 66 percent of the company, and I personally own the Cry Havoc Tactical QRB kit patent. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m a workaholic, and I’m passionate about what I do and the products that we sell.
Q: After you took over the reins, were there things that you decided to do differently?
Jim Lane, Cry Havoc Tactical – After I owned the company, we started doing things a bit differently. Prior, we had never really sold the two-pin, military model. As I was revamping the website, one of the first things I decided was to sell the two-pin military units on the open market. This turned out to be a good idea, since I now sell them at a 10:1 ratio.
I also brought out a Gen 3 model, which has a few refinements, which were mine. I took the design that was there and made it better where I could, especially when it came to ease-of-manufacturing. Owning the patent, I no longer had to ask anyone’s permission. It was mine to do with as I pleased (laughs). I may be an electrical engineer, but I’ve owned a lathe and a mill for over 25 years, and I’m as mechanical as I am electrical. As such, I have no qualms about making improvements.
Another thing I did from a customer service perspective was to ensure that I ship our products the same day that they are purchased. If you are buying a Cry Havoc Tactical QRB kit at 7 am, by 8 am, you’ll have a receipt and a tracking number. It will then ship priority mail that day. If something is out of stock, I immediately take the “add to cart” option off the website. I then create a waiting list. I never want to hold anybody’s money hostage. If I don’t have a product, I don’t take your money.
Q: I’ve chatted with you a few times now, I’m always amazed at just how available you are. Every time, we’ve talked you’ve been helping someone prior to our call.
Jim Lane, Cry Havoc Tactical – I’d stress to anyone who may be considering purchasing the Cry Havoc Tactical QRB kit that I also answer my phone number 12-hours a day, seven days a week. I’ve helped literally hundreds of customers build rifles over the telephone and FaceTime. I’ve spent a lot of time with customers walking them through what they need to do and how to do it. I love to help. I think anyone who talks to me can tell within seconds that I’m not faking my love or enthusiasm for what we offer.
In the long-term, my thinking this sort of personal attention pays dividends that are not always apparent right away. I can tell by the geographic location of orders that friends tell friends and that good information about our product is being shared via word-of-mouth. There were many articles when the Air Force’s GAU-5A was adopted, which gave us a boost. Still, I think it’s people sharing info and their personal experiences with the Cry Havoc Tactical QRB kit that is most beneficial to us as a company.
Q: The Air Force has put a lot of trust in your Cry Havoc Tactical QRB kit. I know it’s been detailed elsewhere, but can you talk briefly about that?
Jim Lane, Cry Havoc Tactical – The Air Force was trying to put an aircrew survival rifle in an ejection seat. With their size limits, the only thing that would meet their requirement was an 5.56 AR upper with a 7.5″ barrel. Frankly, that won’t shoot its way out of a phone booth. It’s a complete waste of time.
Long story short, a few influential guys did a lot of research, learned about the Cry Havoc Tactical QRB kit, and told the Air Force about us. We met up with the Air Force at a range in Las Vegas, Nevada, with a 10″ 5.56 that beat their size requirement. In short order, they were shooting and hitting steel at 300 meters with iron sights. I can vividly recall them high-fiving at the results.
They ended up building 12 test rifles. They fired 1,500 rounds apiece through those rifles, repeatedly putting them together and pulling them apart during testing. On the final scoring day, they shot .72 to .79 inches at 100…sub-MOA…with removable barrels. It was this success that led to our product being selected. It’s a great honor, but it’s also a testament to our quality, reliability, and repeatability.
Q: In your opinion, what makes the Cry Havoc Tactical QRB kit worth purchasing over other options on the market?
Jim Lane, Cry Havoc Tactical – I ended up trademarking the phrase “Success is Measured in MOA.” I did that because I don’t think any other company replicating what we do is shooting as accurately as what our system does. Other solutions out there also take more complex motor skills to put it together. Ours takes very simple, gross motor skills because we have the patent on two-piece gas systems and levers and latches on AR platform rifles.
I’d also note that competing designs can end up with long gas tubes protruding from the upper, which is not ideal if rapid and accurate assembly is a concern. I’d challenge you to take their offering and put it together in a hurry, in the dark.
I have a video that your readers can watch on just how simple the Cry Havoc Tactical QRB kit is to put together. In the dark, in the rain…it just doesn’t matter. It works, it retains zero, and it creates an AR that is in the smallest possible form factor it can be in.
Q: I think the issue of retaining zero is a big question mark our readers will have about the Cry Havoc Tactical QRB. Is there anything more you can say about that?
Jim Lane, Cry Havoc Tactical – I get many questions about that, and the bottom line is that the Cry Havoc Tactical QRB kit does retain zero. I’d invite your readers to do the research and read the feedback and comments on our product. I have thousands of happy people out there right now that can attest that the product does what we say it will do.
I firmly believe we’re the best removable barrel system for AR pattern rifles, and I think if you research the Cry Havoc Tactical QRB, you’ll find the facts to back it up. The Air Force did 18 months of testing with every removable barrel kit out there. What they found with ours is zero repeatability. Meaning, once you set the zero of your rifles, remove the barrel and later put it back on, it’s going to be very, very close to the same place it shot before, sub-MOA.
There are some additional benefits to the Cry Havoc Tactical QRB kit. With the patented two-piece gas system, you can drop the barrel, and it does not destroy it. One of the challenges I put out to other companies is to take their barrel assembly, hold it over your head, and drop it onto your driveway. Mine can bounce off the concrete and be put right back into the gun, and be fully functional. There’s no other kit that can say that. It would land on their gas tube, bend it, and it would be finished.
With the military two-pin setup, you can put the barrel in completely upside down, or anywhere on the clock surface, and rotate that barrel, and the only place where it locks in place is when it’s correct. Again, that is gross motor skills, not fine motor skills.
On anyone else’s system, you have to thread that gas tube through a small hole in an upper receiver. If you do that in a hurry, you’d bend the gas tube. Again, guess what happens when you bend a gas tube? You’ve just turned your AR into a club. You no longer have a rifle…not even a single-shot, as the gun will no longer fit together.
Q: Why would you want the single-pin QRB kit vs the two-pin?
Jim Lane, Cry Havoc Tactical – They are exactly the same except for that second pin. In short terms, the second pin makes it idiot-proof. You cannot possibly do it wrong. That said, if you are someone who practices, you don’t need a two-pin. When I took over, I decided that everyone deserves to have the two-pin system. Prior, it was something only offered to the military. However, some people have gotten used to having the single pin on previous builds, so I’ve kept offering it. To be honest, I probably should just make the two-pin.
Q: You can use a variety of hand guards, but there are some proprietary parts involved, correct?
Jim Lane, Cry Havoc Tactical – Gas tubes come with the system and are proprietary to the patent. We have the gas tubes built to our specifications. They are made to mate with the gas tube extension, which is the part that stays in the upper receiver. That is the magic of why the barrel portion is so short and makes such a small package.
You can remove the barrel at the barrel extension. If you have a 10″ barrel, that’s how long your upper is going to be….from length of the barrel, to the extension out to the muzzle. In total, with a 10″ barrel, you’d be looking at an overall length of 11.5″ or 11.75″, as the barrel extension is added to the barrel, and usually the barrel length is measured from the chamber forward. In the end, it gives you the most compact barrel assembly you can possibly have.
Q: Who do you envision this product to be for other than folks sitting in ejection seats?
Jim Lane, Cry Havoc Tactical – I think the Cry Havoc Tactical QRB should be considered by anyone that wants an everyday carry rifle. You can get a 16″ AR with full-sized stock in a standard briefcase if you position it correctly.
I also have another company, and I designed an insert that is perfectly made for a Harley-Davidson saddlebag. It can hold a 16″ rifle with a 20-round magazine and a red dot optic. There are people who like to hike and camp and be armed, but don’t want to be seen as “aggressive” carrying a rifle. With our system, they can carry their firearm in a backpack and assemble it quickly. With practice, I’d say 10 seconds is a long time.
As for other uses, I’d also note that with our .308 kit, I have many customers that backpack in the western mountains. They’ll hunt with a .308, but then have an extra barrel with them chambered in something like 6.5 Creedmoor. If they need to, they can do a barrel swap right then and there.
We also have a pistol carbine kit, but more than that, with the AR platform having so many caliber choices, using the Cry Havoc Tactical QRB can allow you to have barrels in 5.56, 300 Blackout, .224 Valkyrie, .204 Ruger, .350 Legend, and more…
I know an Alaskan bush pilot that built a 10.5″ .458 SOCOM pistol for his go-down bag in his plane. I think it only holds three rounds, but he might end up fighting a grizzly bear, so he wanted something that really packed a punch. (laughs).
In summary, I’d stress that what we offer is very versatile. You can imagine a situation where you have a lower that you’ve SBR’d. Well, with that one lower, you can now swap out quickly and easily should you want to. There’s just a lot of reasons why this product is special.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add that you think is important?
Jim Lane, Cry Havoc Tactical – I can understand someone’s initial hesitation, but I’d invite your readers to search the internet for anything bad about the Cry Havoc kit. Do the research and then decide if its something that’s right for you. I know that when you see the engineering, put it together, and go out and use it, I think you’ll be completely astounded at how well it works. It certainly happened to me. I know I can sound kind of cocky, and that’s certainly not my intention. I’m just so proud of what we have, and I want others to be able to share in that.
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Has an idea, believes in idea, invests in idea, and a solution is birthed. Text book steps to becoming a successful entrepreneur. I appreciate his clarification as to not being cocky but rather proud of his design.
Well done Sir!