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Exclusive: Custom Stocks

Exclusive: Custom Stocks
Do They Help You Shoot Better?

Some people, like Glock, solved the “problem” of needing grips on your handgun — by not having grips on his guns. Yet, many shooters, following a centuries old trend, like to adorn this particular area of their handgun. Any implement of combat can see adornments. Think: blades, shields, battle horses, spears and, well, you get it.

But sometimes makers get it wrong when it comes to grips on their handguns. Look at your hand. Go ahead, do it now as you read. Close your hand. Is the smaller part of your hand the lower area where your little finger closes on the butt, or the bigger area up above were your thumb and first finger meet?

For years Smith & Wesson and Colt revolver stocks were fat at the bottom and little at the top, hence they were built incorrectly. Exceptions were the short era of the “Coke bottle” stocks made by S&W. Originals are rare today and bring big money if found on the market.

To enforce the point, in today’s world ROBAR and some other companies, have made good money making grip reductions to Glock pistols in an effort to make the gripping area smaller, smaller — smaller. And it needs it. Wanna’ know how I know this? The Perfect Pistol people now make interchangeable grip reduction back straps for the Perfect Pistol. Not surprisingly, Smith & Wesson M&P’s and the Springfield XDs and XDm’s also offer options. We could say this stock reduction gig is because more women are shooting today and the gun companies are addressing women shooters, but in reality many men can use the smaller grips offered. I hope they keep doing it.

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Good options today for revolver users (top to bottom): Spegel boot grip
on a Lanyard Hamilton Bowen custom. Original S&W “Coke Bottles” on an
N-frame .44 Special. Blu Magnums on another N-frame. Spegel full grip
on a Power Custom PPC gun.

Ivory

Grip panels often reflect personal tastes first and then can reflect the mindset of the carrier. Ivory — real ivory — is a class act and always has been. And damn it, it is not pearl Earl, it is ivory we speak of! As stated by Patton, himself, when talking about the grips on his carry gun: “They’re ivory. Only a pimp from a cheap New Orleans whorehouse would carry a pearl-handled pistol.”

Should you feel the need for Mother of Pearl talk to Raj at Eagle grips. He has this one nailed. And even I will confess, “real” mother of pearl can be handsome, and looks particularly swell on classic pistols and revolvers.

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(Left to Right) Original S&W Coke Bottle grips, Blu Magnum and Spegel
full grip to give you an idea of relative sizes.

Men of Wood

Two solid killers of this medium are Craig Spegel and Ted Adamovich. Yes there are others, but these two I know well. And even though it’s all wood, these guys are often working on addressing different forms.

Spegel is known for his boot grip designs and smoking wood stocks. The only thing more famous than his work are the number of clowns who stole his designs and said they created them. The statement “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” being the case, if flattery is a compliment, Craig Spegel should be buried, flattery-wise, under a pile of it the size of a Giza pyramid.

Ted Adamovich’s Blu Magnum stocks carry on the correct lineage of the wood stock makers of the past. The likes of well-known gunmen like Skeeter Skelton and Bill Jordan used Blu Magnum, with real gunmen still taking these stocks downrange. Blu Magnum makes good on the designs of John Taffin and Jim Wilson too. Mr. Ted has even made me a version(s) of revolver stocks for my double action revolvers specifically to address the “big at the top, skinny at the bottom” issue.

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Jason Burton built 1911’s with Ivory and VZ grip at opposite ends
of the spectrum in appearance and durability. Wicked Grips wood
are about as fancy as it gets (lower left).

Men of Metal

Wicked Grips owns this department with the help of Alumagrips. These are some badass rock star dudes working with some heavy metal handgun grip designs, as well some flat cool stuff for AR’s.

The trick stuff belongs to Wicked’s Ed Strange, who is the master of metal, but his bride Lisa does the awesome artwork. In the big picture of metal stocks, we need to include Chris Lynch’s, Alumagrips and their always-quality gear.

I can’t think of anything in metal these two guys cannot or do not master. What impresses me most is how they come up with new ideas.

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The ultimate goal of “how thin can you go?” Blu Magnum Model CSII stocks.
These can really turn a S&W into something feeling much more comfortable in the hand.

VZ’s For the “Savages”

When a weapon is carried by a savage, like privates and employees who can break a bowling ball, there is VZ. VZ panels are damn hard to break, scratch or even mark. They are as close to bomb proof as you’re going to get. Having a solid grasping surface, they were pretty ugly in the past. And yet they provided a rock solid grasping area. They are starting to make pretty ones now, as well as ones for the savage in us all. I can’t even start to do these iron-man versions of stocks justice here. You simply need to go to their site. Prepare to buy stuff.

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Probably the ultimate in durability without being metal — VZ grips.

VZ’s For the “Savages”

When a weapon is carried by a savage, like privates and employees who can break a bowling ball, there is VZ. VZ panels are damn hard to break, scratch or even mark. They are as close to bomb proof as you’re going to get. Having a solid grasping surface, they were pretty ugly in the past. And yet they provided a rock solid grasping area. They are starting to make pretty ones now, as well as ones for the savage in us all. I can’t even start to do these iron-man versions of stocks justice here. You simply need to go to their site. Prepare to buy stuff.

stock6

Probably the most copied stocks around are Craig Spegel Boot Grips.
His thin full size grip are hard to beat too
.

Help You Shoot Better?

After a while stocks are like scopes. A scope doesn’t help you shoot better but it does help you see better. Sometimes you can hit what you’re shooting at if you can see it better. Lasers, if installed correctly, show where the gun is pointed — then you can jerk the trigger or not. Lasers and scopes do not help you shoot better. They do other things that can help you get the results you are looking for.

The same goes for grips, stocks and panels. They may not always be a direct help, but they make it more fun or more serious depending on your life’s work. Personally speaking, my remaining life’s work is to not carry ugly guns or ugly stocks.

Story By Clint Smith
Photos: Heidi Smith

For more info, here’s a list of ideas:
Awesome 1911 pistols and Ivory: Jason Burton: www.hp1911.com
G10 stuff, woodpecker-lip tuff: www.vzgrips.com
Spegel the magnificent: www.craigspegel.com
Wood, cool old school: www.blu-magnum.com
Mother of pearl (and most other things too): www.eaglegrips.com
Metal everything and rockin’ wood: www.wickedgrips.com
Metal: www.alumagrips.com (an industry leader)
Grip reductions and cool gunwork and finishing: www.robarguns.com

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  1. Tom R. Sloan says:

    If a gun fits your hand better with these stock, then it point more naturally and therefore shoots more accurately. I’ve had to make my own grip’s forever because of my hands shape long palm short fingers.

  2. Enjoyed the read,& some great photos.I really like the idea of the offset style grip. Thanks, Rickochet

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