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.
A Hogue grip circa 2005. I grew tired of the finger groves and didn’t like the texture of the rubber.
Ergo grip also circa 2005. Too narrow and oddly shaped.
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.
Magpul K-grip. Too narrow and small. I don’t think they allow for very good control of the weapon.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).