Umarex on the birth of the Komplete NitroAir System


Rimfire-like velocity’ now tangible for any level of shooter

For Stephen Lamboy, director of strategic development, the launch of the Umarex Komplete NCR and NitroAir is the culmination of years of design work, testing and quite a bit of dealing with red tape.

“Well, we’ve been working on the energy for this rifle for a long time. The rifle we’ve been working on for just a few years,” Lamboy said. “But the energy for it – which is really the reason for the rifle – really started as an idea back in around 2007. (The idea was) ‘how do we create a PCP air gun that doesn’t need to have a compressor or, you know, or $800 carbon tank or a SCUBA bottle or a hand pump?’”


Looking at the history of the airgun industry in the United States showed Lamboy there was an opportunity between traditional break barrel and CO2 airguns and the pre-charged pneumatic versions.

“There were a couple of ‘A-ha!’ moments. The first was when through research we discovered one reason why break barrel airguns had become so popular was that it coincided with the expansion of housing in the United States,” Lamboy said. “Every time you had a new development and new homeowners association, you could no longer shoot your .22 rimfire rifle in the backyard.”

Unlike break barrels, PCP rifles offered airgunners extremely accurate and powerful alternatives. But the need for a high-pressure air compressor limited the reach of PCP airgunning as customers didn’t want to spend the hundreds of dollars to get back the “barrier to air.”

“It was very expensive to get into shooting PCP airguns, but we know people want them because they have good triggers, they are very accurate and they are quiet – and you can add accessories to make them very, very quiet – plus they are powerful,” Lamboy said. “So we had a crazy thought of ‘how can we create an energy form where you don’t need to have all this gadgetry – you don’t need a high-pressure compressor, you don’t need a big carbon fiber bottle or SCUBA tank?’”

Then it was time to develop a pre-filled cartridge. Once the NitroAir cartridge – charged with 3,600 PSI of dry, stable nitrogen – was conceived and proven, it was time to design a rifle around that power source. Rather than retrofitting an existing rifle to work with NitroAir, the R&D team started with a blank slate as it designed the Komplete.

“Everything was done with the nitrogen in mind and to achieve a price that the average American could afford” Lamboy said.

After many years of working on what is now the NitroAir system and then the Komplete rifle, Lamboy is excited to see airgunners getting their hands on them.

“We want them to enjoy the freedom they will get from using the NitroAir cartridges and the rimfire-like energy and velocity of the Komplete,” he said.

“It feels just so fantastic. Yeah, it feels fantastic because the whole team gave us the privilege, you know, in our R&D department of taking it seriously,” Lamboy said. “It is a wonderful feeling as it has really just taken so long to get to this. It’s incredibly rewarding and I’m extremely proud of everyone here.”

But the R&D isn’t done with creating innovative new products.

“One of the rules in the company for this lab is that we’ll work on anything we want to work on in that lab that can create a quantum leap in performance,” Lamboy said. “There are no restrictions on what we’re going to work on. We’re going to work on dreams and just see if it’ll work. It takes a lot of failure and my motto is ‘fail faster so we can get something that works.’”

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