Replacement Pistol Grips Can Make You A Better Shot
Handgun as sort of like cars… for some reason we feel like we just cannot use them straight from the factory with applying our own custom upgrades. Personally, I like to use a pistol straight out of the box and not have to spend more money on it, yet the reality is more and more that I find I need something like replacement pistol grips so that I can shoot better.
One handgun I have NOT seen a need to modify yet, though, is the S&W Governor that I have. It comes with a great set of rubber grips and a front night-sight.
The revolver pictured above is a Smith & Wesson Performance Center Model 627-5, 8 shot .357 Magnum. That it came with smooth wooden grips does not surprise me too much, at least they have finger grooves; it was the sights that I find not really up to what I consider performance shop standards. My replacement sights, however, will be the topic of a different post.
Why You Need Replacement Pistol Grips
When opening up your wallet or credit card to buy something, it usually comes down to a “want” or a “need”. Sometimes there is crossover but typically one is more prevalent than the other. At one point I though Pachmayr grips were just “more cool”, but more recently as I discovered how to really “dial in” my shooting I noticed the “need” side of new pistol grips.
On none of my handguns was the “need” more resounding than with the S&W Model 627, .357 Magnum. With a five inch barrel and 8 rounds of ammo in the cylinder there is a bit of weight in front of the grip.
Try as I might I had 2 problems with the factory installed smooth wood grips:
- There were a bit too small for my hand, not extending down into the heel of my hand as far as I would like
- Being smooth, it really seemed the like gun was slipping and barrel falling towards the ground and a challenge to “get a grip” on it
On any handgun, you want a good, firm grip. On a magnum, it’s just not an option in my opinion.
Any time you do not feel like that pistol is an extension of your arm, but instead something you are struggling to control, it’s time to look at what replacement grip options you have.
Revolvers Have More Options Than Semi-Autos?
When I saw the S&W 627 in the used rack of the gun store, I had not done much revolver shooting in a long time. For over a decade I had been somewhat “Glock-smitten” and feasting on high-capacity magazines. So what drew me to this particular revolver, even though I knew when I first grabbed it that the grips were too small and too smooth?
- It’s a magnum. Something about that
- 8 round cylinder, oh yeah!
- Stainless – I had seen the downside of bluing
- Performance Series – I knew it would be S&W’s finest
I was not as troubled about the grips because I knew with revolvers that the grips are usually easily interchangeable. It’s not like a polymer gun like a Glock where you are really limited what you can do.
There are two well-known replacement pistol grip companies that I have used the products of and would recommend:
And that is in no particular order.
When I have a firearm I want different grips for, I check out all that are available. That’s one really nice thing about shopping at Amazon.com is that your satisfaction is pretty much assured. Many brick & mortar stores operate the same way; take advantage of that if you need to.
Bottom line: Get what works for YOU to get a grip on that handgun!
What About Semi-Autos?
Semi-Autos are not necessarily restricted in grip selection; it’s more the polymer variety. Personally I have not been all that impressed with changing out backstraps and such, though S&W’s M&P does more than that.
There are some tactical grip gloves (over-wrap) for the older 1st & 2nd generation Glocks without the finger grips (which never seem to fit me quite right anyway), but that can end up making the grip bigger when that may not be what you want. They may even fit the newer generation too, Pachmayr has kind of a crappy website.
One thing I did see on their site, though, was a grip glove for the Springfield XDS that could accomplish 3 things for me on my XDS .45:
- Increase the size of the grip
- Decrease the “cheese grater” feel of the grip, which can bite with recoil
- Reduce felt recoil on that powerful .45 round
Something I will consider.
It was actually on Colt 1911’s that I first saw nice replacement Pachmayr’s and they were a big improvement to the wood grips, IMHO. Argue which might look better but the Pachmayr’s really fit my hand well and gave a positive feel to the grip on the pistol.
Don’t just take a salesman’s word for it or the manufacturer’s fancy brochure or website. Try out those backstrap or grip options before trusting that “one gun can fit anyone”.
Remember, you are better off with a .38 revolver or .380 semi-auto that hits the target than a magnum or bad boy looking polymer that you can’t keep them on the paper with.
I explain this in more detail in the IFR4X Pistol Shooting Accurizer System™