Grips

There is no shortage of companies in the AR game producing their own grip and each promise improved ergonomics, control, comfort, handjobs, etc. I’ve fallen for the marketing hype a few times and tried most of them over the years in an attempt to find the one grip “to rule them all.” Each initially showed promise but all have been discarded over time for one reason or another.

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A Hogue grip circa 2005.  I grew tired of the finger groves and didn’t like the texture of the rubber.

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Ergo grip also circa 2005.  Too narrow and oddly shaped.

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Magpul MOE grips.  Too/large bulky, they feel like a 2×4 in comparison to some.  I’ve come to feel the same about their front grips.

Most recently I’ve been flirting with the straighter angle grips such as the Magpul K-grip and the BCM Gunfighter.

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Magpul K-grip.  Too narrow and small.  I don’t think they allow for very good control of the weapon.

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I thought I had a winner in the BCM Gunfighter Mod 0, but as time went on I found I did not like how the straighter angle seemed to give me less leverage on the weapon when maneuvering it strong hand only.

So what have I settled on as the best solution in a world of no perfect solution?

The A1.

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In another case of the guys that designed the AR15 getting more right than aftermarket parts peddlers (cough piston AR’s cough) would give them credit for, the A1 is still an excellent choice for a grip. While this is completely subjective, to me the A1 strikes an excellent balance of width and angle, and lacks the finger grove of the A2 that many, including myself, despise. Recently I’ve been using a hybrid A1/A2 grip sourced from Accurate Armory that takes the fingergroveless body of an A1 and combines it with the texturing of an A2.  It will be my go to grip for the foreseeable future.

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Like M, I have played around with newer “improved” after market grips for the last few years.  I have never had a problem with the A1/A2 grip that a lot of people say, or claim they do, but I am always one to take a look at newer innovation whether it is worthwhile or not.  In the past decade I have tried many of the same grips M has spoken about as well and found them lacking or jus plain hype and marketing.   I despise the Magpul  MIAD and the cheaper MOE grip.  I also found the rubber Hogue to be more of a pain then any real use  and the ergo variants have never held much  for me. 

When the BCM Gunfighter came out, I took a long look and bought one.  BCM has had some real winners with some incremental ( if not necessary ) improvements lately with the obviously nice  charging handles.  The new grip and its new trendy angle got my interest up so I bought one.

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Before  I tried this grip, I was using the Tango Down Battle grip.   Now the TD grip was something I really did  live up to what I wanted.  So, to stop using it was not something I did lightly.  After months of using the BCM grip and its new angle that is in such high regard I found out I simply did not like it.   Yes it does put the trigger finger behind the trigger at a straighter angle. Yes, it does help tuck in the arm a little better. Did it help control recoil or some such?  Not that I could tell.  But, the major problem with the grip for me was just what M touched on.  When I operated the carbine with one hand, I had no leverage.  This was not a small problem either. Without the traditional A1/A2 angle , I could not use the leverage of the grip on the rear of my hand, to support the gun as well.

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This was greatly exaggerated when I used my alternate killing hand as seen in the picture above.  With the BCM grip, the carbine felt very, very muzzle heavy. It was like it wanted to flip out of my hand, go muzzle down into the dirt while flipping the stock end over end. No joke. That really was what it felt like I was fighting the gun against.   Now I admit this is a training issue, but why get used to it, or fight it when I already had what I needed in the TD grip or the plain old A2 grip.  I have always liked the finger bump on the A2 grip unlike a lot of people so that’s not an issue for me. But the TD does not have any finger grove anyway.  The TD gives me storage as well so there is not real advantage there either in my mind.   

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I gave the BCM grip all the attention and effort that it deserves if for no other reason then the popularity and attention it is getting.  It just did not pan out. The grip angle could be over come with training I am sure. But the same can be said about those who think ( thanks to marketing and high profile trainers) that the old grip is some how a hindrance to proper technique.  The AR15 pattern can have some tweaks to make it easier to use there is not doubt, but they are small tweaks.  Despite gun magazines advert, there is not a lot about the AR15 that the inventors did not get right already and Colt Firearms did not damn near perfect.

Shawn

A few years back I did the whole grip roulette thing my self.  Went from the A2 to the A1 to rid my self of the finger bump.  Then went from the A1 to the Tango Down grip.  The TD is very nice, but I wish it were it bit wider.  Then went to Magpul, I used the slick front strap and smallest back strap.  When I ended up buying my first suppressor I found that holding up a muzzle heavy firearm with the firing hand was easier with a grip that had that finger bump, so I went back to the A2.  So I went full circle.  Other grips I tried and didn’t like included the Ergo (too narrow), Hogue (too many finger bumps), and CAA (functional, but ugly, felt cheap).

-Howard

9 thoughts on “Grips”

  1. I like the mod 1 GFG, but I recently modified an A2 grip, and honestly, I think it’s just as good. Cut the nub off, grip tape + super glue over certain areas, and, for the money it cost (Basically free…15 cent worth of grip tape and glue? And A2 grips are like Halloween candy.) it’s awesome. I’ll probably use it for the next ARs I get.

  2. Thank you for a evaluation on my grip design. I have always thought it was the best grip for the AR in my opinion. Crane, The Naval Surface Warfare Center still uses them on builds for navy seal teams.Old school may out preform all newcomers to a crowded grip market.

  3. Great info with the grips, a subject that doesn’t come up too often, except in advertisements.
    Strange though, you thought the Magpul MOE’s were too big “felt like a 2 X 4”. I have smallish hands and have the Magpul MOE+ overmolded on two of mine and the fit like a glove. However, I do see a lot on hanguns, as far as one person thinking the grips on their pistol felt huge vs. a (you know the story). I suppose, until one reaches the physical limits it’s like anything else, subjective.
    Again, an interesting read. Thanks.

    J.

  4. I love how your guy’s opinion of the straighter grip angles mirrored my thoughts. It makes handling the gun more difficult.

    I found it highly humorous when one of the “pros” of the K grip was that it was more comfortable in the muzzle down position. Stupid. A bit like saying this car looks great parked, but driving it sucks. The solution to the “uncomfortable” standard angle is to not have your grip completely closed and locked in (when in a sul or muzzle down position). Lefties do it all the time. Holding muzzle down like a lefty (with your thumb on the outside) takes away the strain on the wrist.

    Anyway, it’s nice to see the same opinion on the grip handles when used and not when it is just pointed at the dirt!

  5. WOW lol same exact experience here. My colt came with the magpul stuff on it and like Shawn said in an earlier post I really did not know to not like it. I recently went with a kac ras, grip and A2 grip and man oh man, yes the designers knew what they were doing. Even the RAS is extremely well thought out and still underrated IMO. With mechanix gloves on…..this rifle feels perfect in hand.

    For my next build I’m thinking a colt 6921 upper with an aimpoint t2, m4 handguards, simple 2 point sling and basic surefire 6p mounted up on the guard. Maybe add a geissele or larue trigger and call that bad boy finished.

  6. I like to “clean up” (remove/recontour finger bump) and stipple plain A2 grips and some of the kind of off-kilter A2’s that come with some of the cheaper parts kits. I started as a way to learn stippling, but wound up making a few I really liked, and a few I was even able to sell for a few bucks. Depending on the stippling though (even smoothed), they don’t cross over from bare hands to gloved hands well, so as with many other things, knowing your specific intended usage is very helpful to coming up with something that works well for you.

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