Half of the fun, not to mention functionality, of an AR-type rifle is the way you deck it out. So, when a Rock River Arms NM A4 20” CMP Rifle a Crimson Trace LiNQ both showed up in the same week, a couple of reviews and whole lot of range time was in my future. Oh! The sacrifices I make…
The Crimson Trace LiNQ was released in August 2016 and is just reaching the shelves of many retailers. The LiNQ was designed for AR-type platforms, including the AR-15, AR-10, M4, and HK416 variants. The LiNQ is made up of two primary components. The front module comprises the laser sight and light. The rear portion is the grip unit that replaces your AR’s handgrip. The two units communicate through an encoded radio signal. Beyond general ease of operation, the system offers wireless operation. The encoding ensures an entire tactical group can operate together without fear one person turning multiple units on or off by accident.
The encryption also provides a layer of protection against hacking. In fact, the grip and module are paired at the factory. The unique code is loaded into the memory units of both units. This ensures the two pieces will work with each other, but not interfere with similar units or be visible to other wireless devices.
The Crimson Trace LiNQ is built for duty use. The laser and light unit is fitted into a rugged, water-resistant (IP58), hard-anodized aluminum housing designed to handle a good deal of (ab)use. The LiNQ also features a glass lens to ensure a crisp, bright, focused, laser dot downrange.
The integral rail mount makes mounting the module to an M-1913 Picatinny or similar accessory rail that is at least 2.75 inches in length. The three LED, 300-lumen flashlight is paired with a green laser diode that operates in four modes, including laser and light, laser, light, or laser and strobe light. Tools are provided to adjust the laser for both height and windage. The included wrenches handle installation on the front module and grip.
Trace provides the first set of batteries with the package, but the LiNQ is eligible for Crimson Trace’s Free Batteries for Life program after that. The front module features a cover, which is easily removed using a coin as a wrench and without the need to remove the unit from the rail. The rear of the module features a large rubberized switch that provides a secondary method to activate the laser/light.
The AR-type pistol grip module is constructed from a high-impact resistant polymer and powered by a single CR2 battery. The unit is certified as waterproof (IP67). Mimicking the standard A2-type pistol grip, it should fit any standard AR lower. The grip features ridges front and back and aggressive texturing on the sides for solid hand purchase.
On the front of the grip, there is a fairly sensitive activation button—you do not need a death grip to activate it. A light press with the middle finger will do the trick. As soon as you release the button, the unit will deactivate. Just below the activation button is a raised ridge to easily index the activation switch index without looking and when wearing gloves.
On the right and left side, the LiNQ features ambidextrous mode selector switches to accommodate right- and left-handed shooting. Below the mode selector switches are green LEDs. These LEDs will flash when the batteries get low or during the pairing process. There is also a master on/off switch located near the bottom left side of the grip.
As with all weapon systems, first, ensure the firearm is unloaded and no live ammunition is in the working area. Remove the rubber plug from the bottom of the grip, and access the grip screw with the provided Allen wrench. Carefully separate the grip from your AR, paying attention to ensure you do not lose the safety selector indent spring. Attach the LiNQ Grip using the included MIL-SPEC screw and the safety indent spring harvested when you removed the old grip. Next, replace the rubber plug. While the firearm is still unloaded, test the safety selector for proper operation and reinstall the grip and spring if necessary. You can also view the setup video below.
Ensure the on/off switch is in the on position (toward the muzzle). While pressing and holding the mode selector button on the side of the grip, press and hold the activation button on the front of the grip to cycle through the modes. Release both buttons when the desired mode is reached. After a quick sight in period at the range to fine-tune the laser, I used a Rock River Arms NM A4 20” CMP Rifle for fieldwork. I wanted to focus on the LiNQ, so I ran the RRA AR sans any other sight.
The Shooter’s Log recently featured an article about the advantages of lasers that received a fair amount of feedback from the readers. Most of it was positive, some was well… misinformed. A laser is not a magic bullet. Lasers excel under certain conditions and are not intended for others. I tested the LiNQ outdoors during full daylight—with the sun both in my eyes and behind me. I was able to pick up the green laser dot in all lighting conditions out to 15 yards against all backgrounds. However, the LiNQ is equipped with a laser and a light for a reason.
Lasers were designed to be used at shorter ranges during full, daylight outdoor operations, but primarily for low-light outdoor operations or indoor conditions. Blaming a product for not performing under a condition is was not designed for is ridiculous. I have a laser or laser light combo on several of my firearms, but I match the sighting system to the platform and shooting condition; you should as well. At times that means the laser will be my primary sighting system, during others, it is simply along for the ride while I employ the irons, red dot or other co-witness sight.
My first runs were on a series of Birchwood Casey Orange and Black revealing targets. The colors provided plenty of contrast for the laser. Next, I moved to a series of green Champion Duraseal targets. I found success on both in the bright outdoor lighting. On the orange and black target, I could make out the laser at 25 yards, but not as well as I would have liked. During dusktime shooting, spotting the laser at 50 yards was not a problem on either target type—even the green on green.
|Crimson Trace||LNQ-100G LiNQ|
|Module||Polymer with Instinctive Activation Switch, Waterproof (IP67)|
|Activation Mode||Pressure Activated|
|Light||300-lumen Three LED White Light|
|Laser||Green, User Adjustable for Windage and Elevation|
|Activation Location||Front Unit or Grip|
|Dot Size||Approx. 0.50″ at 50′|
|Free Batteries For Life||Yes|
|Finish||Polymer Grip with Rubber Overmold Activation Pad|
|Laser Battery Life||2+ Hours|
|Activation Mode||Pressure Activated|
|Sighting||Factory Sighted at 50′|
|User Adjustable||Windage and Elevation|
|Warranty||Three Year Full Warranty|
The LiNQ follows the tradition of other quality Crimson Trace offerings in that it is built to withstand the rigors of the firearm and harsh duty use—law enforcement, military, home defense. If anything happens to the forward module or the grip, replacements are available and can be paired with the remaining unit. The LiNQ comes with Crimson Trace’s three-year warranty and qualifies for the company’s exclusive Free Batteries for Life program. Just register the unit in the Free Batteries for Life program at www.crimsontrace.com or 800.442.2406. Typical users should see one year or more of service life from a single set of batteries.
Is your AR equipped with a light or laser? Share the brand and model in the comment section.