bio-kevin-brittingham

Kevin Brittingham doesn’t play well with others. But he does play exceeding well on his own. Which is where the once and future firearms industry entrepreneur finds himself after leaving SIG SAUER for greener, less bureaucratic pastures. Kevin’s new, independent venture is a stone’s throw away from SIG in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I spent an hour talking to Kevin about “Q” and his vision for the future. First, a potted history . . .

Kevin started AAC silencers before silencers were cool. He grew the company from a backyard operation into a multi-million dollar business making industry leading suppressors. He sold AAC to what was then called The Freedom Group (now Remington Outdoors) — only to find himself fired from the company he founded.

Kevin eventually landed at SIG SAUER, bringing SIG’s silencer line to market and assisting in the development of several projects. Earlier this year he decided SIG wasn’t a good fit and left to form his own company. He’s back where we started: at the helm of his own small startup firearms company.

“Back in October I was approached by a Texas oil billionaire,” Kevin told TTAG. “He wanted a majority ownership of the new company, but some of the people I wanted to bring over didn’t want that.”

And for good reason. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, Kevin tends to become agitated when working for anyone other than himself. His collaborators know this.

“Ethan Lessard [good friend, head of AAC R&D, and the driving force behind the most innovative designs of the last few years] said he’d follow me so long as I had control over the company. I had to ask myself, do I really believe in my ability to execute? If so, then I should put up my own cash.”

Kevin did exactly that, funding the majority of the new company from his personal, post-AAC fortune.

His vision for this new venture: produce the world’s best firearms and accessories focusing on quality, not quantity or making money.

“To me, money doesn’t really motivate me” Kevin remarked.

No surprise there. Following his breakup with AAC Kevin had enough money to live comfortably for the rest of his life.

“All I really want at this point is a plane, and for that I need like $20 million. To me, the difference between $20 million and $90 million doesn’t matter. If I can be the best making the best stuff and make $20 million, or make something ‘good enough’ and make $90 million, I’ll choose to do it right every time.”

Custom sign completed…

A post shared by Kevin Brittingham (@kevinbrittingham) on

The first products slated for production: a set of firearms accessories, followed by a line of silencers for SHOT Show 2017.

“I want to build the best silencers in the world,” Kevin said. “The SIG SAUER silencers are the very best on the market right now, and it’s gunna be really hard to top them. That 762Ti-QD is the best silencer for civilians, period.”

I asked what specifically he would want to focus on improving. The locking mechanism was Kevin’s reply. “SIG SAUER’s locking system is great — people shouldn’t think that this means it has problems. I just think there’s ways to improve it.”

Most companies with that kind of focus would want to immediately invest in manufacturing. Kevin sees it differently.

“Manufacturing in house isn’t interesting to me,” he said. “You lack the ability to be agile. My goal is to make the best products. You can spend money buying machines and hiring people to run them, or you can spend money hiring the best engineers, the best QC team, and the best final assembly team.”

Kevin was spoilt for choice in terms of staff. Once the ground work was in place, resumes started flowing in. Dozens of top industry experts want to be a part of Kevin’s mission to provide the highest quality firearms to American soldiers and civilians. And doing so profitably.

Q’s core group shifted from SIG SAUER. Robby Johnson is the overall VP, Ethan Lessard is in charge of engineering, Lindsay Bunch is VP of operations, and Jessica Gauvin is leading the business development section.

Kevin attributes the strong following to his management style. “You gotta have a team, and you gotta believe in them. My job is to create an environment for these people to excel, and to do it as a team. Not to manage them into the ground.”

As far as the new company’s name in concerned, Kevin’s been thinking about it since the early days of AAC.

“When I started AAC, it was early enough that the domain name ‘aac.com’ was actually available but I wanted something descriptive and powerful, so I went with ‘Advanced Armament’ and bought ‘Advanced-Armament.com.’ It was a pain in the ass to type out, and engraving that whole thing on firearm receivers was annoying.

“This time I wanted something short and simple. I wanted the company to be professional, but I also want it to be young and cool. Something that I could easily stylize and wouldn’t take up much space when engraved on a receiver.”

I pressed Kevin on what the Q stands for, asking if it had anything to do with fictional British spy James Bond’s clever clogs quartermaster. He wouldn’t budge.

“I haven’t told anyone what it stands for, and I don’t think I ever will.”

Ultimately, what Q “stand for” depends on the products it produces. Watch this space.

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30 Responses to Kevin Brittingham Launches ‘Q,’ New Firearms R&D Shop

  1. Kind of the Steve Jobs of the firearms world. Can’t wait for my iRifle, iSupress and iSBR. er, make that Q everything

  2. Good for Kevin. The firearms industry is very staid. What other industry would focus so much money, time and energy on a 100 year old pistol platform and call it “new?” There’s been very little innovation since polymer pistols were first introduced. The industry needs mavericks. I think Kevin is one.

  3. yeah, I don’t believe for one minute he’s not interested in making money. It’s like all the Pro-ball players that just do it for the love of the game or musicians who do it for the love of music and the Doctors who just want to help people. That’s fine. I hope he does well. Make ‘Merica Great Again!

  4. Obviously In his statements You kept referring to quality control And building the best Firearms and Firearms accessories in the world! In my opinion the Q stands for quality.

    • I think it stands for his goal of designing suppressors that make a shot as quiet as a *ueef.

      Why? Because he will never, ever confirm this. If it was ‘Q-as-in-quality’ or a Bond reference, there isn’t much reason to not admit it.

  5. I was so mad when he joined Sig Sauer, I’m not a big big fan. Mass produce Firearms using the West German name sour And turning out junk. I can’t say that for their silencers though they seem to be right on.Let’s hope is Company goes well I might be tempted to purchase some parts from him do some quality control Shooting myself and see what is turning out. Can’t wait to see the first items.

    • Yep the American SIG doesn’t hold a candle to the German made stuff. My 1996 German made p228 is hand over fist in quality better than anything SIG has turned out in years.

  6. “That 762Ti-QD is the best silencer for civilians, period.”

    So what’s better for the more specialer animals?

  7. I think he plays fine with others. It’s playing FOR others where the others get their feelings hurt, cause Kevin’s ideas are usually better.

  8. Take the mounting latch away and I’ll be interested. I want to be able to put at least some length of it under the handguard and remove with one hand. This is the same thing that I feel gives Dead Air the edge over Rugged.

  9. Big talk, has a good track record from an outsiders view, maybe he can facilitate a cultural shift in the firearms world, from how much money we can make to how can we make this product last generations.

  10. “Best silencer for civilians, period”

    So what suppressor is available only to mil/leo? Are we missing out on a super secret squirrel $5k sure fire model?

  11. I wonder if his foray into firearms R&D is going to include some truly unique and interesting designs, or if it’s going to be that same, tired old trope of doing AR15’s a little differently and packaging it as “new and revolutionary” that 80% of the firearms world seems to be doing.

    • Like pimping out a Beretta 92, charging two to three times what it’s worth, and telling you you’re not operator enough to roll with it? OK, maybe I exaggerate a bit…

  12. “But he does play exceeding well on his own.”

    I disagree. He wouldn’t have to steal four employees if that were true.

  13. Kevin is just another industry whore, looking for a payday. He ruined AAC, and bailed on SIG when things didn’t go his way. Maybe another lawsuit is all he needs, to figure things out.

    • I’m glad it isn’t just me. This guy sounds like the most egotistical, know it all in the firearms industry. It is one thing to be confident, but this guy takes it to another level. Can anyone this pompous possibly play well with others?

      I’ve decided NOT to buy anything this guy ever produces based on principle alone.

      • ” This guy sounds like the most egotistical, know it all in the firearms industry.”

        I wish there were a few guys who understood, cryo, coatings, testing, FEA, CFD in the industry. But there just aren’t – not that I’ve ever met anyway (not saying I’ve met everyone).

        The most I’ve heard about this cat is that he does do some empirical testing, has some instinct for designing an ok can, and that’s more effort than anyone else puts in, so he gets paid. Most of selling silencer is making sure you have an image, and he has one.

        • I wish there were a few guys who understood, cryo, coatings, testing, FEA, CFD in the industry. But there just aren’t – not that I’ve ever met anyway (not saying I’ve met everyone).

          Talk to Bob Chalue he owns Hardline Heat Treating Inc and Thermal Dynamic Services Inc. He has solved many of the firearm industries issues with Cryo, Teflon Coatings, Melonite, Isonite, Heat Treating and Materials selection

    • A man is free to think anything he desires. The truth rarely matters, and from my standpoint I could usually care less about those thoughts. This is how I feel about your statement. I have never bought one of his products, but came to know him through the silencer shoots that he started while he he owned his previous company. What you think about him could not be farther from the truth. He is a personable man, easy to talk to, and ready and willing to hear or do anything a different/better way. This is conditional on your way being better. Those who choose to think someone is a particular way with no facts, are doomed to hit a wall called reality. The answer to, when you hit that wall called reality, is time. Remington took a great company , AAC, and drove it over a cliff. The gun world is better with people like Kevin, making quality products. Keep talking, and posting. Don’t let a little thing like truth, slow you down.

  14. I’m always surprised to see how many firearms enthusiasts also like aviation, Nutnfancy and his son TacticalDoodle are good example and so is Nick Leghorn…
    I’m still aspiring to become a pilot myself and ultimately I’d like to fly commercially or for an airline…But I’d have to get off some of my meds which make my life more bearable…

    • Kevin, is a down to earth guy and good peeps who knows his gun-fu-ology. He built AAC from a garage business up to a silencer empire. At the same time he brought silencers out of the dark, made them mainstream, and perfected their manufacture. He was screwed by Remington(Freedom Group) who fired him from his own company AAC and then failed to pay him for the company they acquired from him. After he sued Remington(Freedom Group) he won his court case and a well deserved settlement. So his gig at Sig wasn’t for him, he needs to be the captain of his own ship. Why the hate? I say good on you Kevin keep changing the industry for the better. The Honey Badger can and will bite if necessary.

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