By John Connor
From The July/August 2008 Issue Of American Handgunner
You wrote some drivel about the importance of a good grip,” the bored voice sneered. “You’re a grip freak. So get freaky about grips — due yesterday. You tell ’em what you like, and I’ll tell ’em why that’s stupid.” Click. I didn’t have to ask who it was. There’s only one Caller ID that shows up as “RESTRICTED from YOU, Connor.” Yes; His Imperial Editorial Immenseness, Roy-Boy. But that’s okay; he’s right. I am a grip-freak, and we’re living in The Golden Age of Gun Grips, so …
When it comes to hard-buckin’ shot-a-lot handguns, most shooters’ needs could be handily met with high-quality stippled or subtly checkered rubber grips, but beware: “rubber” is a broad term, and takes in a world of junk. Hogue uses a superior shock-cushioning formula, and strengthens both their Monogrips and grip panels with rigid underlying inserts. ERGO Grips XTR’s use a hard rubber compound with a uniquely tactile “skateboard tape” surface, and they’re a “best buy for the bucks.” Beretta 92/M9 shooters take note: Slim-profile XTRs attach with standard screws, and team up with ERGO’s Gripits front strap panel for a sure hold on that fat Beretta butt.
Want “rubber-plus-performance?” Crimson Trace LaserGrips offer too many models in far too many finishes to list — just have a look — and I like the way LaserMax’s J-Max positions its laser close to boreline, and retains its zero through battery changes. The lasers get you on target; the grips keep you there.
If rubber leaves you cold, you can warm up with some beautiful and durable wood from Herrett’s Stocks, made-to-measure from a tracing of your hand. Besides their exclusive offering of Jordan Trooper and Roper stocks, they’ve got drop-dead gorgeous grip panels in cocobolo, goncalo alves, walnut and other fine woods.
If you love the Glock, but don’t like the new-style humpy-bumpy finger-groovy frames, Robbie Barrkman at RoBar Guns and my pal Frank Duren at Duren Custom in Nixa, Missouri, do the best re-contouring and stipple-grip finishing around. They can make your stock Glock a rock star.
I ain’t no cowboy shooter, but I’ve shot with some and admired their fine and fancy grips. I asked, and lots of ’em chewed, spit and drawled “Eagle Grips — their Gunfighters.” Available in rosewood, ebony, buffalo horn or aged ivory polymer, Eagle Gunfighters cleave to classic lines while enormously improving the ergonomics. Eagle also offers some of the best, handsomest sambar stag grips anywhere at any price.
“Machined aluminum grips?” I didn’t think so either, but AlumaGrips are impressive; light, tough, pretty and precise. You can interactively “build your own grip” on their web site, and custom grips only take two to four weeks. Check out their “1911 Tactical Style” panels, which feature a smooth area high in the rear to facilitate an easy grasp, and checkering low and forward for the fingers, where you need more positive purchase.
And Esmeralda’s? Can you say “Dang?” The pretty lady has some of the finest custom grips out there … period.
Outta word-count, but not outta grips! There’s lots more out there, so check out our on-line Web blast for more pics and makers. So now it’s your turn: Get a grip, will ya?
Got a Thunder Ranch Special pistol? Get some Thunder Ranch
custom AlumaGrips to make it complete.
Crimson Trace makes more than black rubber Lasergrips —
some real beauties, in fact,like these burlwood grips
The J-Max from LaserMax.
Slimprofile ERGO Grips with a front strap Gripit strip can
improve the handling of your Beretta 92 or M9.
These lovelies are for S&W sixguns from Ahrends.
Hogue’s rubber Monogrips make this Ruger GP-100 .357 Mag more controllable.
Mostly of buffalo horn, Kim Son grips offer an unusual
Asian flair in color, materials and design.
If cowboys shoot it, Eagle Grips can dress it up
right proper, in an amazing array of materials like
elk antler, buffalo horn, sambar stag,and mother of pearl.
Esmeralda’s Macassar Ebony beauties for a 1911.
These are real stunners and really ramp up the cool factor in any pistol.
Their 21st. Century look stands alone!
These happen to be full-sized 1911 grips in Becotte, but Esmeralda does more
stunning work than you can imagine. Check out her Web site for sure!
Crimson Trace LaserGrips are sort of a “two-for-one” deal. You not only get
good quality grips but a laseraimer too! What a deal!
Long known for their magazine extensions, Pearce also makes solidly
constructed “rubber” grips for many handgun models.
And if you’re a patriot who owns a 1911, Eagle has your Patriot grips!
Tombstone specializes in a faux ivory that is a dead-ringer for the real thing.
And, the color selection is stunning. Check out these purple ones!
Trausch is a European company and while the grips
may have that “European look” going on, the Beretta
grips are the thinnest possible for the Model 92 and
their revolver grips offer a new feel to them.
Wicked grips are, well, wicked. This is one of those
“gotta check out the Web site” makers. Turn on your
imagination and let it go once you click that mouse!
The non-reflective flat black of Rock River Arms “Basic Carry”
model is nicely complemented by Herrett’s smooth cocobolo grips;
tandard thickness on the gun, thin profile at left.
AlumaGrips’ “1911 Tactical” style sit pretty on an Ed Brown Kobra Carry .45.
There’s a whole world of handling difference between
a stock Glock and one with a recontoured and stipple-
surfaced grip from Duren Custom.
Frank Duren topped off a masterful make-over of Connor’s battered old
HK PSP with these fine Nill walnut grips – the piece de resistance
OEM plastic grips from Taurus and Hogue’s Double
Diamond checkered rubber grips look almost identical.
There the similarity ends, and Hogue’s firm but cushioned
construction really performs on this PT1911.
Rarely, a manufacturer gets the whole grip-and-front-
strap thing right: A “service melt,” subdued checkered
rubber grips, and fine front strap cross-hatching grace
this Kimber Pro TLE RL II – and it handles like a dream.
For more info:
Hogue Grips: www.getgrip.com
Nill Grips: www.nill-griffe.com
Duren Custom: (417) 725-8937