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The AR-15 is probably the most versatile firearm in the world: easily configurable to meet any situation, lightweight, accurate, and reliable. It would be the ideal backpack rifle…if you could fit one in a backpack. Thanks to the National Firearms Act you need a 16-inch barrel (unless you’ve completed an annoyingly time-consuming amount of paperwork).

With a standard length barrel, that usually means the shortest you can make your rifle is roughly 25 inches, the length of the barrel and upper receiver assembly together. That might not seem like a lot until you try and shove that into a bag. That lead Ralph, the proprietor of Cry Havoc Tactical to come up with a solution: instead of disassembling the upper and lower receiver for travel, why not just take the barrel off?

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There have been a couple designs that have tried something similar in the past, such as the MGI Hydra which I reviewed back in 2014 (now made by Windham Weaponry). Their mechanisms have always seemed a bit overly complicated which makes Cry Havoc’s design a breath of fresh air. Its simplicity is what makes it so good.

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In this design the adapter fits where the barrel nut would usually secure the barrel in the upper receiver. There’s a fixed plate mounted on the threads of the upper and a matching assembly on the barrel extension that mates to the receiver, locking in place using two latches on the sides of the assembly.

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The design simplicity extends to the alignment mechanism, too. One of the major issues you get when you remove the barrel from the upper receiver is that you lose positive alignment between your (receiver-mounted) optic and barrel. That means there’s a chance that when you reassemble the gun your point of aim and point of impact might not be in the same place any more. In other words, your could lose your zero.

To work around the problem, I suppose you could rely only on the index pin from the barrel extension and the gas tube to align the barrel and upper receiver, but Cry Havoc has gone a step further. They’ve included an index pin on the assembly itself. This solid pin is located above the gas tube to ensure that you don’t kink your tube when re-installing the barrel. It also provides a great landmark to keep everything aligned. At least that’s the idea.

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The end result of all these machinations is that you can reduce the size of your AR-15 rifle drastically for transportation. This example that we saw at SHOT Show. It’s a 14.5-inch barrel (with pinned and welded flash hider) that can fit in the space of a 3-ring binder (with the help of a collapsing stock) — something you definitely can’t do with a standard barrel to upper receiver connection. Your mileage may vary, but in general the buffer tube on your lower receiver is going to quickly become the limiting factor of how small you can ultimately go.

So far I’m loving this. It allows you to make your gun much smaller for transportation and storage without adding much weight to the rifle…even without a tax stamp. The real question, though, is whether the rifle can maintain its accuracy.

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To test the gun I took it to the range with a couple boxes of Eagle Eye Ammunition and put it through its paces. I zeroed the gun, shot a five-round group, then disassembled and reassembled the rifle before shooting another five round group.

There was some variation between the two groups. The center wandered between 1/2 and 3/4 of an inch at 100 yards but no further. It definitely isn’t going to give you pinpoint precision after a hasty reassembly but it’s definitely combat effective.

One thing to point out here. Sometimes with these takedown systems the lockup between the barrel and upper is so wobbly that the overall accuracy of the rifle drops precipitously from minute of angle to minute of pie plate. With the QRB kit the accuracy of the rifle wasn’t hardly impacted at all — I was still cranking out 1 MoA groups with ease.

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Making an AR-15 rifle as small as possible while still being actually useful is a difficult task. Many have tried, but few have come to market with a solution as slick and useful as this one. For some, the extra seven inches of the upper receiver doesn’t make much of a difference. For those who want their gun as small as possible while needing every last inch of barrel length this is a great solution.

Specifications: Cry Havoc QRB Kit
Price: $349

Ratings (out of five stars):

Reliability:   * * * *
The adapter is built like a brick outhouse. Comes back to within 1 MoA of zero, usually less than 3/4 MoA in my testing.

Overall:   * * * *
The price is probably what will scare some away. This is a new product from a small shop in Florida so you don’t have the economies of scale working for you. But considering the time and money you save on a tax stamp, it justifies itself pretty quickly if transport in a discreet, small package is what you need. The QRB kit works great. If you need a compact rifle for transportation but a longer barrel in the field, this is your ticket.

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29 Responses to Gear Review: Cry Havoc QRB Kit

    • I’ve long wondered how the repeatability of zero is with the kit from buds. Can you do a review?

      Love the idea of both of these kits; nervous about accuracy and scared of the price.

    • Spent over six grand with buds over the years, and when I finally had an issue with an incorrect accessory (>$1 plastic stripper clip that was 9mm instead of 45acp), they blew me off and told me to go deal with the manufacturer.

  1. Honestly, I don’t think the price is all THAT terrible. People drop $200 for SBR tax stamps without really blinking an eye, so another $150 on top of that probably isn’t too much of a stretch if this is something that solves a quandary you’ve got in terms of breaking the gun down. I mean, there are people willing to drop $400 on binary triggers, $300+ on drop-in triggers, so the sticker shock really isn’t nearly that harsh. The thing that gives me pause is how… BIG it looks. for something that helps you break your AR down into smaller sizes than what you’d get just unpinning it, it’s rather turgid.

  2. The price doesn’t bother me. I guess I just don’t see the point in this. Covert carry of a rifle… to what end? So you can carry it on your motorcycle to and from the range?

    Look, I guess I could see some limited application for people who have limited space in/on a vehicle. However, what’s the point in concealing a rifle like this? If you find yourself in a situation where you actually need a rifle you need that rifle up and running NOW not a minute from now after you put it together.

    Cool idea but I don’t really see the practical application.

    • Being able to take it on my motorcycle to the range is EXACTLY why I want one. That and. 10/22 takedown. My bike is my daily driver, so I have to borrow my wife’s car or only bring pistols on range day, so I get long gun trigger time once a month at best.

  3. Man, I don’t know. I still haven’t bought in to this, or the Law folding stock adapter honestly. The complexity/drawbacks/cost and weight still seem to outweigh the one benefit of saving maybe 4 seconds just putting the AR back together the old fashioned way. Is there some reason why people are hesitant to take their AR’s down and put them back together using the pins? Am I missing something? Sure, I get it… if you think you’re going to deploy your AR almost as you would a pistol in some ‘hasty defensive fashion’… but that’s still much slower than just pulling your pistol. And if you’re going to ‘take cover’ for a few seconds to pull this out of your bag, slap it together, load a mag and charge the weapon anyway, is the extra few seconds to just put the halves together instead going to make a huge difference? and if it were, wouldn’t you just pull your pistol in the first place? The AR already IS a takedown. Why add another mechanism/weight/complexity/etc to a machine that you want to be as simple, reliable and durable as possible? Oh well, maybe I’m just getting old and boring.

  4. “For some, the extra seven inches of the upper receiver doesn’t make much of a difference”

    Unless you have a folding stock adapter or one of those shortie collapsible SBR stock chumpies as shown above (which I’ve seen someone have cycling issues with. Short gas systems are already finicky enough as it is without effing with the buffer length) — the difference is really more like 2-3 inches at most. Example: My 9″ 300 AAC lower with MOE stock fully collapsed is about 2.5 inches shorter than the upper at 18″

    • + 1. The difference isn’t 7 inches, but probably more like 3, because unless you’re doing something funky with your lower, it isn’t getting much shorter than 15 inches with stock collapsed. Maybe that LWRC stock might take you another inch or so shorter than that… I guess it all adds up, but it’s still a compromise removing the barrel from the upper.

  5. One practical aspect not mentioned is that you can store your AR in a much smaller safe or hidden secure storage location. If you live in smaller quarters, a rifle-sized gun safe is a mighty big and heavy lump to decorate and furnish around.

  6. I don’t own an AR yet and didn’t know that that Cry Havoc or Bud’s kit existed.

    For me, this is important because I want to be able to carry a self-defense rifle in a largish computer case or messenger bag. And either one of these would do it.

    So they’ve moved me a little closer to buying an AR.

    • Well..

      a) you better buy it soon bro 🙂
      b) a setup like that’ll cost you an extra $200 for the stamp, and a new relationship with the ATF
      c) It’s not going to ‘build’ itself. This isn’t a factory-made kit.
      d) I’m not sure that’s what I’d recommend for a first AR. Shorties can be finicky, not to mention loud. One like this maybe even more so, and especially with the zero thing. And the terminal ballistics of anything below 11.5″ really starts to take you down to shouting distance, unless you want to start dropping some major jing on 77 gr SMK’s.

      …but, if you got the cash and want to start out with more advanced ‘niche’ of an AR, then you better get started sooner rather than later.

      Or you could save a buttload of money and just go with a Sub2000 gen2 in 9mm. Folds in half and fits in a laptop bag. A lot cheaper to shoot at the range too…

      • Sub2k in .40
        Just gives ya a lil more thump over the 9.
        Plus Sub2k accessories are really starting to show up in the market so you can customize to your liking.

      • Why would he need to file a $200 Tax stamp? It’s not an SBR… “It’s a 14.5-inch barrel (with pinned and welded flash hider)”

        No need to file for an SBR if the total barrel length is at least 16inches. The overall length of a rifle that is in an unusable state (ie: disassembled, which is what this system does – disassemble your rifle quickly) is a moot point and not restricted AFAIK.

      • Jay Hu… What are you talking about?

        a) What’s the rush? Is there some deadline on filing with the ATF?
        b) Unless he wants to make an SBR there’s no reason to deal with the ATF. And if he did, see above.
        c) This comment baffles me because it actually is a factory made kit. These parts aren’t hacked up in some guy’s garage. Why did you say this isn’t a factory made kit?
        d) Once again you seem to be stuck on the SBR thing. This is a quick detach system for a barrel. It is not a short barrel system. This system can be used for any length of barrel.

        Hope this helps.

    • That’s very slick too. Hmmmm change bolt, swap barrel,,mag and boom! caliber change, interesting. Too late for me though I already have two uppers/bolts. 5.56 (10.5 CHF) and 7.62×39 (7) love em both!

  7. I’m surprised they went with the flash hider pinned-welded.

    That thing just *screams* for a 300 BLK barrel threaded for a suppressor…

    • Threaded, hell! Pinned and welded, giving a total length just what it is now! I dunno what length that makes the barrel, depends on the suppressor selected, but now you would really have something in that case!

  8. I’m still holding out for the MDR-C in .300 Blackout… should be about 20″ ready to fire but still getting good velocity through a 10″ barrel.

  9. I would love to see an accuracy comparison between this and the Dolos systems for 16″ barrels. At fist I was thinking, not just compact storage/carry but also caliber change twist off/on, change mags…
    But then I sobered up and realized for most you have to futz with the BCG and you might want different sights/optics and certainly they won’t be zeroed for another caliber. Better to jsut change uppers.
    But for close in shooting, it won’t matter.
    Still a neat idea for storage uses.

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