[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.
Posted in Gear Tagged with: crimson trace, Laser, Light, sights, Tom Claycomb
The Scattergun Trail
Story and photos by Larry Case
“It takes hundreds of decoys and a thousand is even better”
I used to get tired hearing about the good old days. Older hunters and fishermen are the world’s worst when it comes to relating how great it was in the “good old days.” I don’t hear this so much anymore; maybe because I have become one of the old guys that talk about how great it used to be.
As far as wildlife and game populations go, in many respects we are better off now than 50 years ago. With deer and turkey there is no question but our smaller game, that is a story for another time.
In one area of waterfowl hunting however, we are completely off the charts and that is with snow geese. Known as “light geese” in the waterfowl identification world, this group includes the greater and lesser snow goose, Ross’s goose and some variations including hybrids of these.
Josh Dahlke with a Mossberg 935 shotgun
Snow geese, especially the greater snow goose, can cause great damage to the habitat they feed in. Geese are grazers and pull different grasses and plants out of the ground while feeding; they will also dig into the soil with their powerful beaks to extract more of the roots. This may not sound like a big deal until you think about oh let’s say, 10 thousand geese descending onto one field. Those are the kinds of numbers these geese may travel in.The arctic tundra, where these birds nest,is very fragile with a short growing season. The snow goose was literally eating himself, as well as other birds and wildlife, out of house and home – something had to give.
Long story short, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was able to change some rules to allow for a much greater harvest of light geese. This meant longer seasons (107 days in some states) extending into March and restrictions on things like plugged shotguns and electronic callers were removed. They clearly wanted hunters to knock down some geese!
“the damage they can do to crops, well, you just have to see it to believe it”
What has emerged in the past 15 years or so is a new genre of waterfowl hunting. Even though this is February, it is considered spring hunting as the season often runs into March and April depending on what state you are in. Hunters who are obsessed with this (believe me, these guys are out there) basically start in the south around Texas to Arkansas and follow the white geese on their northern migration.
I wanted to talk to someone on the snow goose trail and I found Josh Dahlke lying in a muddy field in Arkansas. Josh runs the popular website ScoutLook.com. This site is the cat’s meow for keeping hunters and fisherman updated on the latest weather and conditions for your area. There is a ton of information and articles on whatever kind of hook and bullet arena you play in.
Josh was hunting for snow geese with Eaglehead Outdoors outfitters; these guys are the real deal and chase them as they move north from February to April. “I know these geese cause damage to the tundra when they get to their breeding grounds,” Josh told me “but here in the states, the damage they can do to crops, … well, you just have to see it to believe it. We found a huge flock of snows staged next to a 40-acre winter wheat field, here in Arkansas, and by the next day, that field was totally obliterated – nothing left but mud.”
13 year old Kyle Gambil with his first snow goose.
Even though the snow geese flocks can number in the thousands, Josh Dahlke was quick to point out that this is not always an easy game. “These birds get shot at all the way to Canada,” he said, “They have seen decoy spreads all along the route and can be “dang” smart. To be successful at this it takes a lot of work, driving (hundreds of miles) and scouting, finding the geese and then setting up massive decoy spreads. A few dozen decoys just won’t do it. It takes hundreds of decoys and a thousand is even better. The average hunter can’t do it,” Josh explained, “that’s why if you want to try this, you may want to give an outfitter a call.”
Even though we are talking millions of geese here, there are no guarantees. When conditions are right however, you can stack up a lot of snow geese. Josh told me about a time when his party took 64 geese and sometimes the numbers can go much higher than that. The daily limit in some states is as high as 25 with an unlimited possession rate.
I may not make it on a snow goose hunt this year – but then again I might. I still have some squirrel hunting to do and then spring turkey to think about. If you want to go, you might give the guys at Eaglehead Outdoors a call, 320-224-3614, www.eagleheadoutdoors.com. I hope you get to shoot so much that you burn the barrel off that shotgun.
Josh Dahlke used the Winchester Blindside ammo on this snow goose hunt. If you are a waterfowler and have not tried it, you need to check it out.
The basic premise for why these shotgun shells are so deadly lies in Winchesters revolutionary HEX™ shot technology. The shot is shaped like a hexagon – they look like tiny dice. When fired from a shotgun shell, this shape is devastating to anything it hits; Imagine hundreds of miniature tumbling bricks. This means bigger wound channels than with a conventional round shot. Also, because of the hex shape, the shot is actually stacked neatly within the shell casing. More shot can be placed into the shell, up to 15% more. Is this going to help you take more ducks and geese? You can bet your sweet Benelli it is.
Winchester Blindside Shotgun Ammunition
Winchesters revolutionary HEX™ shot technology.
Blindside ammo also has a really wicked diamond cut wad that delivers a beautiful pattern and what is really interesting, Winchester introduced a high velocity version of Blindside last year. These shells offer 12-gauge loads of #5’s and BB’s moving at 1675-fps. That is screamin’ my friend.
Josh Dahlke told me the consensus on his hunt was that those using the Blindside ammo experienced less cripples and the high velocity loads helped with snow geese as you often have long shots. If you are a duck and goose hunter you just might want to take a look.
Posted in Shotgun Tagged with: Blind Side Ammo, Geese, HEX, Hunting, Josh Dahlke, Larry Case, Light, Shotgun, Snow Goose, winchester