Laser Focused

[su_heading size=”30″]A Tour Of The Crimson Trace Facility Reveals A Commitment To Quality, Attention To Detail[/su_heading]

STORY BY TOM CLAYCOMB * PHOTOGRAPHS BY CRIMSON TRACE

 

[su_dropcap style=”light” size=”5″]I[/su_dropcap]’ve worked in several high-capacity plant settings, so I am familiar with that environment. Most of my career was spent as a high-speed production man, but at one time I was a quality control director for ConAgra Foods and oversaw five beef plants. I share that bit of history because, in my experience, if you know what to look for, you can get a feel of how a plant actually runs.

I recently had the opportunity to join a tour of the Crimson Trace plant just outside Portland, Ore. As a former production man, I liked the environment. People worked in sync and production flowed smoothly. I was especially impressed with their quality control system. They not only do 100 percent checks but also conduct an audit system. In my day this was called statistical process control, where you randomly pulled a certain percentage of product and audited it for defects. The audit determines if an entire lot passes or must be reworked.

The production area is one of the busiest parts of the plant.

Our group was able to see how Crimson Trace actually produces its products from start to finish, and we were also able to test the goods in a specially designed indoor shooting range in both lighted and blacked-out environments with the company’s night-lighting systems and lasers.

This may not be as newsworthy, but I loved the advertising posters that lined the walls in the company lobby. One depicted a mature housewife pulling out her pistol with the caption, “The beam says there’s no victim at this address.” Another one with a young woman read, “He thought I wouldn’t be prepared. The dot on his chest proved him wrong.” A third depicted a mom and stated, “The laser confirms my overprotective nature.”

As a dad of two daughters, I appreciated the posters.

The posters and slogans may have been created for advertising purposes, but they are as descriptive as they are accurate. Few words in any language are more universal than a red dot on your chest. In that moment of illumination, even a gangbanger knows it’s time to find another customer to prey on. So a laser sight may prevent you from having to shoot someone.

Laser sights are extremely popular for self-protection weapons, but I purchased my first one for another use. I do a lot of solo bear hunting and backpacking, and I wanted to mount one on my .44 Magnum for tracking a wounded bruin in the dark, or for when bears pay my camp a visit in the middle of the night.

Crimson Trace is widely recognized as a world leader in not only establishing laser sights as standard equipment on concealed-carry and personal-defense firearms, but for helping to create the market in the first place. The company has been manufacturing laser sights and lights for firearms for more than 20 years.

With more than 200 SKUs and products there’s no way that I can cover all of Crimson Trace’s products in this brief article, so instead I’ll offer a quick rundown from a 30,000-foot view:
GREEN LASERS: Crimson Trace is now producing numerous laser sights in green. The greens can be found in the Lasergrips, Laserguard, Rail Master, Rail Master Pros and MVF series. These products fit firearms ranging from 1911s to models by Glock, Smith & Wesson, Ruger and others.

Two Crimson Trace employees build Rail Masters, a top-selling product in the company’s line.

LINQ: When it hits the market later this year, Crimson Trace’s LiNQ will be the world’s first wireless laser and white-light system. The replaceable control grip pairs with the remote module that houses the laser sight and 300-lumen LED white light. A few advantages include no wires to tangle or disconnect and no activation pads to search for. This ease of operation makes it simple to use, and the two components can be quickly transferred to another firearm. The product easily installs onto nearly any standard AR/MSR platform rifle.

The CMR-205 mounted on a Smith & Wesson M&P series handgun.

RAIL MASTER AND RAIL MASTER PRO: These compact units quickly install on any firearm equipped with a M1913/Picatinny or Weaver rail system. The Rail Master features tap-on/off activation, and the new Rail Master PRO features a laser and light combo in one small unit. You can select to use laser only, light only, light and laser, or disorienting strobe light with either a red or green laser.

MASTER SERIES: These replacement grips fit many pistols. Available wood grips include rosewood, walnut, cocobolo, and G10 green, black and gray. This series incorporates Instinctive Activation, so the laser activates when the firearm is gripped normally.

LIGHTGUARD: A series of powerful lights that snuggly fit onto a handgun’s trigger guard. All have Instinctive Activation, so when you pick up the firearm and hold it normally, you have a light – no searching for a flashlight or holding a light in one hand and the firearm in another hand. Lightguards offer a distinct advantage in the dark. You can also install a Lasergrip on the handgun for a combo system.

The Crimson Trace product line is put on full display at every major trade show.

INFRARED LASERS: Observable only through night-vision equipment, these laser sights offer the ability to mark a target invisibly, or without alerting it. This military technology on the civilian market is popular with predator-control specialists and security personnel. These lasers are offered as a Rail Master, grips for the 1911 full-sized handguns, and also
for Glock full-size and compact pistols. IR can also be found in the Crimson Trace MVF-515 system.

LASERGRIPS: The largest product line at Crimson Trace, these laser-emitting grips are designed to fit a wide range of pistols. Holsters are also available from Crimson Trace for several of these handguns with Lasergrips.

LASERGUARD: Laserguards are designed to fit over the trigger guard on specific handgun models and keep the profile and sleek form of compact semiauto pistols. These products emit a single red laser beam.

LASERGUARD PRO: Continues the popular Laserguard line with a combined 150-lumen white light and red or green laser in lightweight unit to securely attach to a handgun’s trigger guard.

Each Crimson Trace laser product is tested in lighted and blackout environments in a specially designed shooting range at the factory.

MODULAR VERTICAL FOREGRIP (MVF): Designed for rail-equipped long guns, including the AR (or MSR) platform rifles, this red or green laser and white light combo vertical foregrip is crafted of 6061-T6 aircraft aluminum. This unit is adjustable for windage and elevation, and will fit M1913/Picatinny or similar accessory rails measuring at least 4 inches in length. The MVF is also offered in an IR (infrared) version. Military units and law enforcement groups around the globe use these.

DEFENDER SERIES: This series sets a new standard in laser sighting systems with cutting edge design and superior technology in an affordable product. Popular features include the Bean Lock adjustments, N-Gage activation with a large easy-to-find activation button along with a powerful red aiming laser. The Defender Series products are offered in red laser beams only.

Crimson Trace headquarters in Wilsonville, Ore., which is just outside Portland.

BASED ON MY FAMILIARITY with production and if my tour of Crimson Trace’s facility is any indication, I’d say that the Oregon company will remain a leader in laser sights and more for a long time to come – and that we just might see a few more cool posters hung up on the factory’s walls. ASJ

Editor’s note: For more information about Crimson Trace products, visit crimsontrace.com

August 19th, 2016 by