The addition of a synthetic grip to a defensive-style handgun…

The addition of a synthetic grip to a defensive-style handgun can make all the difference in regards to handling, controllability and performance.

In my earlier years, I always preferred to carry my revolvers equipped with wooden grips. I preferred the way that revolvers looked, and since I had no problem with recoil at the time I had no reason to transition to rubber grips when they became more widely used. The fact that I carried them for self defense also motivated me to carry my handguns equipped with the smallest set of grips possible. I also field-tested enough handguns equipped with rubber grips to know that not all rubber grips are alike. However, in later years I transitioned to using rubber grips due to the presence of arthritis in my hands. As a result, I am a firm believer in the old adage that “necessity is the mother of invention.”

Some synthetic grips add generous finger grooves on the frontstrap, such as the grip on this 9mm Colt Defender compact 1911 pistol.

Transitionary Phase
The first handgun that I permanently equipped with Pachmayr brand rubber replacement grips was a 5-shot J-frame Smith & Wesson .38 Special revolver. Later on I tried using a pair of Hogue rubber grips on the same wheelgun. I also equipped my Smith & Wesson Model 67 (4-inch barrel) with a pair of Uncle Mike’s Square Butt Rubber Grips, my S&W Model 64 (2-inch barrel) with a pair Pachmayr Compac Professional Grips and my S&W Model 66 (2.5-inch barrel) with a pair of Uncle Mike’s Square Butt Rubber Grips.

As comfortable as these grips felt, the real test came when I fired these revolvers with modern .38 Special +P-rated hollowpoint ammunition and was able to do so without feeling the harsh effects of recoil. Furthermore, I also had absolutely no problem with recoil when I field tested a S&W Model 686 with a 2.5-inch barrel and a S&W 686 with a 4-inch barrel using .38 Special Plus and .357 Magnum ammunition while these revolvers were equipped with a pair of Hogue Bantam rubber grips and a pair of Pachmayr Decelerator Grips. I am now an avid user of rubber replacement grips on all of my revolvers and on my Sig P229 pistol.

The author found that the addition of the Uncle Mike’s Square Butt Rubber Grips made managing the recoil of this Smith and Wesson Model 67 with +P ammunition very easy.

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