Crimson Trace LinQ: Gear Test

Crimson Trace Linq
The Crimson Trace LinQ light and laster unit attached to the rail of a JP Enterprises GMR-13 9mm carbine. No wires connect the forward light and laser unit to the grip control.

If you’re as old as I am, you might remember The Clapper. This amazing piece of technology had to be an offshoot of the NASA space program because it was so advanced for its time. By simply clapping your hands, magical sound beams would circumnavigate your coffee table and make their way to a lamp – and then either turn it on or off. I know! It’s mind boggling, right?

The folks at Crimson Trace have taken Clapper technology to stratospheric heights. It doesn’t rely on magic sound beams, but it does allow you to do very cool things without the need for wires.

The new LinQ System is a high-tech wireless system that lets you control a light and laser mounted on the front of your rifle from an instinctive activation button on the grip. Why? That's easy.

Crimson Trace Linq
The LinQ replacement pistol grip has a master on/off switch, front instinctive activation button, and matching side buttons that are used to change modes of operation.

For a home or other defensive application, the button located on the front of the grip turns on the light and laser just by holding the gun. In the heat of the moment, there are no controls to remember and no switches with which you might fumble. It just works. Why wireless? On a rifle, loose wires are a bad thing. The fewer things on your rifle that can get tangled up, the better.

The unit goes on and off with grip pressure, so if you want to “go dark” just ease up on the pressure of your hold. There are four modes of operation, which you set in advance with additional buttons on the grip module: constant light and laser, laser only, light only, and a strobe light with laser.

The LinQ technology is similar to Bluetooth except that it’s entirely secure. It’s not visible or controllable by other Bluetooth devices. The link between the control and the light and laser module is a private 1:1 pairing only. Also, the forward-mounted light and laser module has a backup button that activates the unit, if for some reason the wireless link fails.

With that said, I have to wonder about future possibilities for this type of technology. While the folks at Crimson Trace aren’t talking yet, it’s conceivable that LinQ could be used to do other sensible things like turn on a home light, activate a security system, or notify family members in other rooms with some compatible alarm device. There are certainly interesting possibilities to consider.

Crimson Trace Linq
The light and laser unit has a backup button for manual operation.

I had the opportunity to shoot the LinQ system in a darkened shooting bay at the Blackstone Shooting Center outside of Charlotte recently. Since we were shooting at an indoor pistol range, we used the JP Enterprises GMR-13 9mm carbine. It looks and acts like a standard AR rifle, but is modified to shoot 9mm pistol cartridges. When shooting indoors, not only does that prevent wear and tear on the range backstop, but the blast, noise, and concussion is also much more indoor-friendly. The operation was flawless, and I appreciated the clean lines of the gun. Normally, any kind of light or laser mounted up front with a remote activation switch elsewhere will require wires. I also really liked the ability to control light and laser with my firing hand as opposed to my support hand. Not only was it more intuitive, but it also allowed for more flexible use of the support hand. For example, if you need to open a door, move someone out of the way, or dial a phone, your light can stay active.

You should see the LinQ units available for purchase in early August 2016. MSRP is expected to be $649.

Crimson Trace Linq
While plenty bright, the weapon light didn’t “wash out” the laser at all. We used these carbines on targets 25 yards down range in dark conditions.