Five of them burst into Hyperama in Richmond Street, West Bromwich, as it was being locked up for the night on April 9 last year.
Masked and armed with a gas-powered gun and baseball bat, the men entered the building through an insecure rear door and confronted the two members of staff still on duty, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.
Floor manager Dean Berrington and supervisor Darvinder Kang were bound hand and foot with Gaffer tape.
GALLERY: Armed robbery gang jailed
The latter was beaten and 'hog tied' for 45 minutes while the raiders ransacked the cigarette store and moved their haul to a large Mitsubishi van from the Hyperama fleet.
They knew the codes to unlock the store, safe and the vehicle ignition key cabinet because the robbery was an inside job and Berrington was the go-between.
The 42-year-old, who had worked his way up to the management and was responsible for security, plotted the crime with the gang's ring leader Jay Brownhill who has since been killed in a motorcycle accident.
Pretending to be a victim
Berrington tried to hide his involvement by alerting police after the two men freed themselves and "went through the farce of being a victim," said Ms Raj Punia, prosecuting.
Officers were told the company van used by the gang had a tracker which showed it went to the home of shopkeeper Satnam Singh in Jesson Road, Walsall.
They swooped on the address and found the 52-year-old father-of-three in the garage that was filled with a large portion of the £500,000 cigarettes stolen during the robbery with £18,000 from the safe.
Most of the cigarettes were recovered but only £4,000 of the stolen money was found.
It was discovered in Berrington's kitchen after it became clear he had double-crossed his boss.
Daine Major, aged 19, Jordan Warren, 20, and Paul Bardsley, 44, were arrested after being discovered outside the house in a VW Golf, owned by Brownhill who had left his wallet and was detained soon afterwards.
Meanwhile the gun was found in the Mitsubishi van.
More from the trial:
Berrington, from Crackhall Lane, Wednesbury, 22-year-old Brandon Morris, of Lellow Street, West Bromwich, and Singh were were convicted of conspiracy to rob after a trial earlier this year.
Inside man Berrington was jailed for 10 years while Morris and Singh were both locked up for nine years.
Meanwhile Bardsley, of Stoney Lane, Yardley, Warren, of Andrew Road, West Bromwich, and Major, of Juniper Drive, Walsall, all pleaded guilty.
Bardsley was jailed for nine years and Warren and Major were locked up for seven years and six years four months respectively.