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.”
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.