MY ADVENTURE AT CRIMSON TRACE

This article is purely about my trip to CTC, I will be following it up with more articles about lasers as they are my latest fascination. In follow up articles I will go into more detail about the pros and cons of the laserguards vs. the lasergrips, tactics for using a laser, etc.

When I realized that Crimson Trace is located in my own backyard (Wilsonville, OR), I was determined to find out more. I am a fan of the Crimson Trace products, so naturally I was curious about work that goes into making their products.

Crimson Trace is the leading company in lasers guards, laser grips and rail mount lasers for your firearms. What sets them apart from the rest? Their “instinctive action” activation. In simpler words, to activate their lasers, all you have to do is hold your gun in a firing grip.  They boast superior quality, durability and dependability. As if that isn’t enough, 100% of Crimson Trace’s lasers are made here in the USA.

Upon arrival I had the pleasure and honor of meeting Iain Harrison. For those of you who don’t know who Iain is, here’s a quick rundown: Iain is a former officer in the British Army, Backcountry and Wilderness leadership training, first ever champion of the History Channel’s “Top Shot” shooting competition, and has written for various publications. (Did I mention he’s kind-of a big deal?) He is now the media relations manager for Crimson Trace, which is the prefect job for him because he’s very friendly and easy to talk to.


While meeting Iain was definitely a highlight of the day, his tour of Crimson Trace’s factory had me absolutely enthralled.

I was the only person who heard the harp music and saw the fairy dust as we entered the factory…

I would like to start by showing you the difference between lasergrips, laser guards and rail mount lasers:

Lasergrips attach to gun and mount on the grip of the gun (go figure). This configuration is a popular design because the customer does not need a special holster to accommodate the laser grips.

 

 

The Laser guard attaches to the front of the trigger guard. This one will need a specific holster to accommodate the laser. (Don’t worry, several holster manufacturers work closely with CTC to make sure holsters for guns sporting laserguards are easily obtainable).

 

 

The rail laser is for installment on a standard picatinny or weaver rail.

 

 

 

This laser grip attaches to a forward grip on your AR-15, or basically any rifle with a tactical rail on it.

 

 

 

The first Crimson Trace laser guards were actually a GLS system for a Glock, and the frame of the gun itself had to be modified. The problem with this system was that in order to get Crimson Trace lasers on your guns, you had to actually send the gun to the CT factory to have the modifications made and the grips installed.

Over the years, CTC has made huge improvements on the grips and guards, including reducing the size of the laser diode (they just keep getting smaller and smaller) and creating designs that can actually be sent to the customer who can install them in minuets. No more frame modifications, the magic is all in an easy to use package.

One thing that I found very interesting was that CTC has to develop a unique rig for each type of gun. Because each type of handgun is a little different, figuring out how to anchor the laser is a process.  This is why you will see so many different looking laser grips at the range. For example: the lasers are attached to 1911s by the grip panels. For the XD(m), because the back strap is interchangeable, CTC decided to design the laser grips attached to a medium-sized back strap which anchors the laser to the gun.

A handful of prototypes are made up and tested for durability and general function. Have no fear, the CTC really pushes the limits when they test these prototypes, so you can be sure that you are getting a durable and reliable product when you purchase from them.

Although Crimson Trace sends out their plastic and rubber pieces to be molded, the rest of each laser assembly happens here at the factory… by hand. According to Iain, it takes about twenty minuets to assemble the product.

Each laser is zeroed in at 50 feet in the factory. This means that you can literally buy one, put it on your gun and be confident that the laser will hit where you need it to without ever making a trip to the range. If it were me, I’d still check it before using it for concealed carry, but then again I’m a control freak and a perfectionist.

On a super exciting note for those who love pink (like Yours Truely), CT came out with some new pink products:

LG-431 Pink Laserguard® for Ruger LCP

LG-105 Pink Lasergrips® for Smith & Wesson J-Frame Round Butt (Polymer Grip)

What I consider even more exciting is that  CTC is currently working on getting some green lasers made up. They should be available this fall for the XD, XD(m), M&P, and 1911.  Now THAT is reason to celebrate! The bad news is, the green diodes are quite a bit larger then the red ones because of how the laser has to be filtered in order to turn it green. Yup, green lasers are red lasers with filters. Hopefully they can figure out how to shrink the green lasers down in next few years as well.

I’ll be the first to admit that no shooter should depend on a laser; but having a laser sure beats not having a laser. Besides, there are tons of great uses for lasers, including training. More on that in another article.

Hanging out with the friendly CTC Zombies in the lunchroom. And yes, the Peanutbutter is the most important part of this picture.