Eli Crane is fed up. The former Navy SEAL and Bottle Breacher founder is tired of two-faced politicians and power-hungry legislators, and he’s decided to do something about it.
He’s setting his sights on Arizona’s First Congressional District, and he could be part of a cohort that flips the U.S. House to the Republicans in 2022.
“I decided to run because I was so tired of feeling let down and betrayed by those we send to Capitol Hill. Our government was supposed to be of, by, and for the people. It was supposed to be a limited government. And it’s become anything but,” he said in an interview with GunsAmerica.
Crane has a pretty good track record of succeeding at new endeavors. He joined the Navy after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and became a SEAL sniper on his second attempt through the grueling BUDS training.
After finishing five wartime deployments, Crane returned to the U.S. and started Bottle Breacher, a military-themed gift company that prioritizes hiring veterans. He hadn’t had any previous business experience, but thanks to a successful appearance on Shark Tank and tons of hard work, he’s built his company into a multimillion-dollar enterprise.
He’s already having success at his latest venture. Crane told us he’s raised more money for his campaign in this quarter than any other challenger in Arizona history, and most of his money has come from small, grassroots-level donations. He’s also been endorsed by the Border Patrol Union and conservative radio host Mark Levin.
The Arizona state legislature is currently redrawing district maps, so he’s unsure who his opponents will be or which district he’ll be running in. But he’s running on a clear-cut set of issues, and he’s confident his message will resonate with voters who are just as fed up with Washington as he is.
“Our government is getting more and more bloated. The bureaucracy swells, and I don’t believe our government thinks that our rights are God-given. I think they believe they give us our rights, and I want to be a part of trying to change that,” he said.
Crane doesn’t list the Second Amendment on his campaign platform, but that doesn’t mean he’s indifferent to the gun rights threat posed by the anti-gun lobby. Crane has been a representative for SIG Sauer for four years, and he encourages voters to follow him on social media to get a sense of his stance on gun rights.
“I know what the Left is trying to do when it comes to the Second Amendment—they’re trying to take our firearms away,” he said. “When I vote regarding the Second Amendment, I’m going to continue to support the Constitution and what it says: our rights shall not be infringed.”
“I’m not going to support red flag laws,” he continued. “I know what’s going to happen. Anything and everything that the Left is allowed to get a foothold in will be weaponized to take away rights and freedoms from Americans. I’m never going to be a part of that.”
Crane’s Five Favorite Guns
A guy’s favorite guns say a lot about him, so we asked Crane to list his top-five choices. He used several of these firearms during his deployments, and he owns all except the Mark 48 machinegun.
- Mark 48 Machinegun
Crane carried the Mark 48 machinegun from 2006 to 2008 during his time in the Middle East, and he explained how the beefy, belt-fed 7.62×51-chambered rifle once stopped a truck without ever hitting it.
“We were doing a sniper overwatch in 2006, and there was a bongo truck parked outside the house we were watching. He just stopped right in the middle of the street. A bunch of guys put lasers on him, and I was on the roof with my Mark 48 machinegun. This guy, he wasn’t moving even though he had visible lasers all over his truck, all over him, which usually gets someone to move. We sent out an interdiction squad to see what he was up to. As they were walking out, he took off. My lieutenant yells at me, ‘Eli, stop that truck!’ I just opened up with my Mark 48 about 20 yards in front of him and smoked the road, maybe a 30 or 40 round belt. He stopped immediately, and the guys searched his vehicle. It was cool seeing the power of that gun and how you could get vehicles to stop with just a quick burst.”
2. SIG Sauer Cross in 6.5 Creedmoor
SIG’s new lightweight bolt-action rifle is designed for the field and the range, and Crane explained how he would have used it during his time as a SEAL sniper.
“I wish we would have had that gun. It’s so lightweight, and it fits in a backpack because it folds down. It’s a flatter-shooting gun than even a .308, which I used as a SEAL. It also has an adjustable buttstock, which I learned as a sniper is so important for long-range accuracy. I love the fact that it has a two-stage trigger, which is my favorite for precision shooting. Plus, once you put a suppressor on it, you can shoot it all day long. It doesn’t buck much at all. It’s become one of my favorite weapons.”
Crane also explained the benefits of a detachable box magazine–a standard feature of all SIG Cross rifles.
“A lot of people will have a Remington 700 with an internal box magazine, and I’ve found those to jam and double-feed. It’s so much easier if you have a couple external box mags, so you can insert a new one instead of having to jam new rounds in individually.”
3. SIG Sauer MCX Rattler Canebrake in 300 Blackout
SIG Sauer’s Rattler Canebrake is the newest iteration of the company’s super-popular MCX line of pistols and rifles, and Crane likes that it’s versatile enough to target pigs from a helicopter and be used by his kids at the range.
“I love that gun. I love how quiet it is. And I like the 300 Blackout. I got to take it pig and coyote hunting, and helicopter hunting this year in Texas. It’s such a fun gun to shoot. I also like letting my kids shoot it because it’s so quiet and doesn’t kick at all. It’s such a good training platform. Also, because it doesn’t recoil much at all, it gives you really good stability in taking follow up shots.”
4. SIG Sauer XFIVE Legion
The XFIVE Legion is the new flagship of SIG’s P320 platform. Crane told us his XFIVE got him hooked on red dot pistol shooting.
“I really like the trigger on it, and I like that it has the tungsten grip, so it doesn’t recoil a ton. I also fell in love with shooting red dots over the last few years. It’s a really cool setup. You can remove the plate on the back and easily mount a red dot without having to get the slide milled or anything.”
Crane pointed out that pistol red dots allow for greater accuracy and range, and they’re an excellent training tool. They give shooters instant feedback on their point of aim, and even new shooters can hit shots at 25 yards with a red dot.
5. FN SCAR-H (“Heavy”)
Chambered in 7.62x51mm NATO, the SCAR-H is a powerhouse automatic rifle first introduced in the early 2000s. Crane appreciates its modularity and versatility.
“I think it’s such a good platform. It’s modular, and for what it gives you, it’s a pretty light weapon. The stock folds and the cheek piece is adjustable. I love that you can take a 700 or 800-yard shot with it or you can clear a room with it, and you have the power of the .308 Win.”
Crane also prefers the full-length Picatinny rails over the M-Lok or other accessory mounting system.
Crane isn’t alone among veterans, and especially special forces veterans, running for Congress. He told us there are at least five other former SEALS running for seats around the country, and he believes these vets could help flip the House in 2022.
“These guys recognize that the biggest threats to our country right now are not external, they’re internal. I think that’s why you have so many vets stepping up, and I really like seeing that,” Crane said.
Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats hold a slim five-seat majority, and political analysts have identified 19 Democrat-held seats that could go either way next year.
For Arizona residents interested in voting, the primary election will be in August of 2022 and the general election will be in November. Crane hopes the legislature will be done re-drawing district maps by January at the latest.