Nearly everyone who owns a firearm has heard of Crimson Trace and many of those firearm owners have also heard of the man behind the iconic company and brand — Crimson Trace’s founder Lew Danielson. After more than two decades as a leader in the company and the industry, Danielson has announced his retirement.

“I am very proud of what Crimson Trace has become and what we have accomplished in the laser sighting industry with the many innovations we’ve introduced to the market place,” Danielson said in a press release. “I’m also proud of the team of employees who have worked hard to make our company the industry leader that it is today.”

Danielson, a trained engineer, co-founded Crimson Trace in the backroom of an Oregon machine shop in 1994. Many news features, magazine articles and television shows have reported on Danielson’s simple 18-point business plan — handwritten on a piece of standard yellow notepad paper — for the fledgling company.

“Lew is a one-of-a-kind guy who believed in an idea and had the tenacity and foresight to take risks and follow his dream,” Lane Tobiassen, President of Crimson Trace, said in a press release. “Everyone at Crimson Trace wishes Lew well in this new chapter of his life, and we thank him for the opportunity the company has provided the more than 120 employees who work here.”

Among Danielson’s many recognitions and awards is receiving the National Rifle Association’s prestigious Golden Bullseye Pioneer Award. That award noted that Danielson was “fundamentally responsible for the invention, development, marketing and/or promotion of products that gained widespread use and which fundamentally changed some aspect of shooting sports equipment or related products for the better.” Those words referenced Danielson’s establishment of America’s premium brand of laser sighting systems for firearms — Crimson Trace.

The company is widely recognized for bringing more than 250 laser sighting products to market, including the new LiNQ wireless light and laser sight for modern sporting rifles. Crimson Trace is also widely recognized for supplying sighting systems to military and law enforcement units in America and around the globe.

The first Crimson Trace laser sights were designed for GLOCK handguns. A customer would send their pistol to Oregon for machining and installation of the laser sight. Today, Crimson Trace offers more than a half dozen distinct product lines. The company offers products to consumers directly, through numerous retailers, and it works with more than a dozen firearms manufacturers to provide laser sights as pre-installed systems direct from those manufacturers.

Danielson was inducted into the Oregon State University Engineering Hall of Fame in 2013. His name is on many of the patents held in Crimson Trace’s product portfolio.