A surefire way to jazz up the look of your gun is to replace those boring wooden or plastic stock grip panels. With many different styles, it's easy to forget that aftermarket grips do far more than dress up your handgun. Depending on your preference and needs, you can find a set of grips that give you just the right traction on the gun and set off its visual appeal.
If you own a 1911 or a Beretta SF92, I am sure you have looked at many companies that make replacement grips. You likely will find a majority of companies using a fiberglass, resin material called G10 in their grips. The G10 material is highly customizable in texture and color and is more durable than the classic wooden grips found on many 1911's. There isn't anything wrong with G10 grips. In fact, I own some and really like them.
However, if you want something different, and ultra-durable, you're going to want to see these grips I tested out from Alumagrips.
Not Your Typical G10 Grip:
Alumagrips produces grips for full-sized and compact 1911's, Beretta M9's, Sig P238 and several other guns. Where many companies are using a G10 material, Alumagrips uses … yes you guessed it, aluminum.
I got in contact with Chris Lynch of Alumagrips, and he told me the company just released a new super aggressive checkering pattern. And asked if I could field test them and give some honest feedback. So the grips I ordered were their new ‘grater' (yes like a cheese grater) pattern, in the gray-olive color. For the evaluation, I used my full-sized .45 RIA 1911 which was already fitted with some nice VZ grips. To be honest, I like the look and feel of my VZ grips, so I was curious if these new grips would be equally impressive.
The first thing I noticed when I held the grips in my hands was the weighty feel of them. In comparison to G10 grips the anodized aluminum just feels solid. I know many of you are concerned with adding weight to your gun, so I weighed the Alumagrips and G10. My aluminum grips weighed in at 1.4 ounces apiece, compared to the G10 grips which weighed .9 ounces apiece. Even when you add the two grips together, you get an increase of about 1 ounce, which is negligible. However, if adding an extra ounce of weight to your gun is something you can't accept, Alumagrips allows you to customize the grip with a hollow back, which reduces the weight.
Like other companies, these guys produce grips with different checkering patterns and cuts to change the appearance and aggressiveness of the texture. With a name like Grater, and being listed as ‘very aggressive' I imagined these aluminum grips were going to shred my bare hands. These are certainly much more ‘grippy' than my other grips, but I was surprised that they felt great in my ungloved hands. While I like the feeling, aggressive texture has pros and cons.
Obviously, the rougher the texture, the more grip and control of the gun you will have. At the same time, lots of shooting without gloves can irritate the skin on your hands. Additionally, for an everyday carry (EDC) gun an overly aggressive grip can wear against your skin or ruin cover garments.
I found the grips were machined really well. They fit precisely, and while I could see some machine marks on the backside, the smooth parts on the exposed side looked really smooth and finished. I loved the color and the overall appearance of the checkering.
Now, making grips from aluminum reduces the number of colors you have to choose from. The standard Alumagrips come in the Olive-Gray Anodized color that I tested, Black Anodized, and Clear-Anodized colors. There are additional custom colors if you want something different. Speaking of custom colors, Alumagrips allows you to fully customize your grip. You can select a host of options, like checkering pattern, color, weight, thickness, and if you would like a custom engraved logo or monogram. And of course, the grips can be ordered for magwell flairs, ambidextrous safeties, and thumb groves etc.
What Do I Think?
I live in Ohio, and it gets pretty cold here this time of year. I was out shooting at low 40 degree temperatures and noticed that the aluminum felt colder than the G10 material. Not surprising because they are metal. It didn't affect my shooting because in these conditions my hands were already cold. Conversely, I would imagine that they probably would feel warmer in the sun. Unfortunately, I have about 6 more months of cold weather before I can test this.
After running my 1911 with these grips, I can say that they are going to stay on my gun. I absolutely love the feel and I even have come around to like the very aggressive checkering. It gives me a really positive grip on the gun and helps mitigate that .45 recoil. In my opinion, they look awesome on their own and really class up my Rock Island.
These grips are not the cheapest you will find on the internet, however, that are right in line with their higher-end G10 and aluminum counterparts. A monogrammed set of Alumagrips could make a sweet Christmas present for someone.