Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I Have GOT to Get a Grip (or My Obsession with Grips)

I have several revolvers and I've been through the all rubber all the time stage of my life. First it was just available (the S&W M629), then it was needed to avoid the sting of recoil (the S&W M13 3" .357 Mag), and then it was to make all the grips the same (the S&W M36) or to make them big enough and "tacky" enough to hold on to (the Ruger SpeedSix and Colt Combat Commander). I even forced Dad into this with Pachmayr grip set for his Ruger MK II 10". Yikes. What is really embarassing is that, over time, I've probably spent enough on grips to buy a couple of good handguns and all these grips were unsatisfactory. I must note the following...

The good things about rubber.

#1 Rubber is available everywhere. If you need a grip you can likely find somebody somewhere who makes a set for your gun.

#2 Rubber is cheap. Relatively. Oh, you might spend $30 for rubber grips but wood will most often cost more.

#3 Rubber is durable. It lasts. It can take a beating and even protect your gun without showing the wear and tear that wood will show under similar circumstances. Unlike some wood finishes, it is unfazed by exposure to the elements.

#4 Rubber is quiet. If you are one of those folks who's constantly bumping into things this might help you avoid embarrassing noises.

The bad things about rubber.

#1 Rubber is ugly, butt ugly (pun intended). Ok, so I'm not so wrapped up in beauty that I'll spend $250+ for stag or fossilized mastodon ivory or some such thing. Wood, even plain old walnut is good enough.

#2 Rubber is too tacky. No, I'm not referring to looks again. I'm referring to how it grabs at my clothing. Let's face facts. Most of my handguns are intended to be at least part time concealed carry pieces. Grips which grab clothing and make it hang funny, ie noticeably different from the norm, are not a good thing.

#3 Rubber grips inevitably seem to be too big or at least bigger than necessary. For my 629, no rubber grip was really usable for my hands. I just could not shoot that gun double action comfortably with any rubber grip. For other guns they bulk up the gun reducing concealability.

So, as you can see, I've figured out that the minuses exceed the positives and I've made some changes. You might also notice some other similarities. Pictured here is a S&W 629 (center), S&W M34 (center bottom) and from there clockwise an S&W M13, S&W M36, and finally my recently oft mentioned Colt Detective Special.

Yes, I've gone back to the factory grips with the addition of a Tyler-T grip adapter. At about $25 each these are not much less than a Pachmayr grip but oh the feeling!

I've done the same to most of my autopistols as well such as with this Colt. No, I've never noticed a lack of control with one exception. The Hogue grips on the 629. That grip is slick. DA shooting is fine but when I change my grip to cock the gun it will slide about. Perhaps I haven't learned the trick to the task. But for every other gun, handling has been improved and I think appearance and the pleasure of ownership has increased as well.

Now I just need to correct my poor Speed-Six's grip and get that MK II a good set of wood. More money I know, but look on eBay for some real deals if you want rubber grips. All mine will be going there soon!

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