Although most modern firearms have textured, checkered, or molded grips, or grip panels to ensure a better purchase under less than ideal conditions, they may not be comfortable, or sized properly for every shooter.

Grip sleeves, or skins, are an easy and inexpensive way to add a comfortable texture, and/or additional girth/length/width to an otherwise uncomfortable factory grip.

Gun designers spend a great deal of time on the grip design of their guns, but they have to adhere to the principle of producing a grip that will fit the broadest audience possible given the size and style of the gun.

Guns like 1911’s, revolvers, Sigs, and several others that are built with removable grip panels make it fairly easy to change out the panels to something more suitable for a wider variety of shooters. With the introduction, and wide spread use of molded polymer framed guns, that option became unavailable. As a result, and to their credit, most companies began utilizing an interchangeable back-strap system to allow the user to change the size (girth) of the grip in the hopes that it would make their guns more attractive, and suitable to/for a wider audience, and they have done so admirably. Most modern polymer frame guns now ship with small, medium, and large back-straps in the case, or available inexpensively, which can be easily and quickly changed out by the end user. But even with these innovative solutions in place, they still have not been able to find an acceptable way to fit every gun to every shooter.

And along came Jones...

Back in the day, people would wrap their grips with tape (usually to make it impossible to pick up fingerprints), but as an aid to fitment as well, for those with less nefarious motives. Now, wrapping duct tape around an expensive new gun doesn’t do a damn thing for the aesthetics, but does help with providing a better purchase, or increasing the girth of the grip (although you will quickly tire of being asked by everyone who sees you gun if you’re on your way to a murder). Several companies did not allow this practice to go unnoticed, and a result, there are a multitude of rubber grip sleeves and self-adhesive skins available in various sizes, shapes, and styles for virtually every gun out there from companies like Pachmayr, Hogue, Talon Grips, and others. These inexpensive grip sleeves and skins can literally transform your gun into something you never expected for very little money. There are dozens of shapes, sizes, and styles of slip on rubber grip sleeves offered by Pachmayr and Hogue, with or without finger grooves (or cutouts for same) for ten to fifteen dollars.  For a few dollars more, you can order a custom, laser cut, self adhesive grip skin from Talon Grips in either grippy rubber texture, or skateboard/sandpaper texture (trust me, you want the rubber).

I have most all of these sleeves and skins on many, if not most of my guns, and find them to be a vast improvement over what the factory thought was acceptable and appropriate.

There is nothing more important in regard to improving your shooting skills than a gun that both fits you well, and feels good in your hand while doing it. I cannot recommend these products highly enough, and must constantly remind my students that, “the gun feels that good because of that ten dollar grip sleeve.” If I remove the sleeve and hand them the gun, most of the time they don’t like it nearly as much. So they can, and do make a huge difference in the fit and feel of the weapon if they are correctly sized for it.

Should you just wish to increase traction, without increasing the size of the grip measurably, the beautifully made Talon Grip is the way to go. Just follow the well written, illustrated instructions that came with it and you won’t have any problems (you’ll need rubbing alcohol and a hair dryer). Additionally, they will not leave any sticky residue behind if you should decide to remove them, or replace them.

If you’re experiencing a Scrooge moment, but still need more traction on your gun’s grip, you can pick up a new bicycle inner tube at any bicycle shop, or Wally World for a few bucks, and sleeve about 10 or 15 guns with it. Just be sure to get the right diameter tube (or an assortment), and put the printed side facing in. Cut it to the proper length (trying to remember not to use the piece with the air valve on it), fight it on, and wipe it down with rubbing alcohol to remove any talc that may be on it. Instant tacky grip. Is it as attractive as any of the above? Not really, but it works great, looks decent, costs less than a dollar, and beats the hell out of duct tape. Bonus! You can cut 1/2” pieces to use as Ranger Bands and fire tinder as well.


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