SHOT Show 2016: Crimson Trace offers solution to problem of light and laser activation on long guns

If you shoot an AR-pattern rifle (and who doesn't, these days?) it's worth your attention

Anybody who has ever mounted a laser or light to the fore end of their long gun that relied upon a wired switch for activation has experienced the frustration of getting the wire snagged on something, or worse yet, torn away and damaged. Similarly, those who have dumped the wired switch in favor of directly activating the light or laser using controls on the unit have experienced the frustration of missing or fumbling the switch, or having to skip it entirely because there was no time to activate it.

The folks at Crimson Trace recognized these problems and set their minds to developing a solution. Their remarkable answer to the problem of light and laser activation on a long gun is the LiNQ, and if you shoot an AR-pattern rifle (and who doesn't, these days?) it's worth your attention.

The LiNQ pairs an AR-compatible grip module and a separate rail-mounted, laser/light module that communicate to each other via a secure wireless connection. There are no wires or cables to be routed between the pistol grip and the light/laser module, making for a clean and snag-free installation.

The replacement pistol grip has a switch on the front strap that is naturally activated by your middle finger when you achieve a firing grip on the gun. The switch can be programmed via a side button on the grip module to provide one of four modes:  laser and light; laser only; light only, or; laser and light strobe. There is also a recessed master on/off switch at the bottom of the pistol grip. The pistol grip on the demonstration model at SHOT offers an improved feel over the standard mil-spec A2 pistol grip and lacks a middle finger groove, but Crimson Trace advises they are still tweaking the design and they may have further improvements to the design before production starts. My recommendation was a replaceable back strap system that would allow the user to custom fit the pistol grip to their hand, like we're increasingly seeing on service pistols these days.

The laser/light module is compact and trim, and fits on any M1913 Picatinny or similar accessory rails. You'll need at least 2 3/4" of rail space to fit the unit on the fore end. The unit has windage and elevation adjustments for the green laser, and it incorporates a 300 lumen LED white light with a good pattern that offers a bright center and a lesser intensity peripheral beam. The laser/light module also incorporates an independent switch on the rear of the unit that allows you to operate the unit manually if that's your preference or if damage or some other kind of malfunction prohibits normal wireless operation.

The wireless communication system is a "secure, singular, closed system" that is designed to prevent interference from other wireless signals, to include other LiNQ units in the proximity. Because the wireless connection between the grip and the laser/light module is secure and individually unique, your laser should not turn on when your partner activates the grip switch on his similarly-equipped rifle.

Crimson Trace advertises a two hour battery life on the LiNQ. While the LiNQ is initially being offered only for AR-pattern rifles (part number LNQ-100G), I'm sure that they will expand the product line to offer similar technology for other platforms, such as shotguns or other rifle patterns. If the SHOT Show response is any indication, they're going to have their hands full meeting demand for the AR-pattern introductory model for quite some time.

About the author

Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Mike Wood is an NRA Law Enforcement Division-certified Firearms Instructor and the author of Newhall Shooting: A Tactical Analysis, available in paper and electronic formats through ,, Apple ITunes and . Please visit the official website for this book at for more information.

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