One of the main factors that have a high impact on our gun/replica effectiveness is a stable grip. Appropriate texture of our grip surface makes our shooting stance firmer and, by extension – our accuracy more repeatable. Many producers are trying to make the most firm and secure holding texture with some cuts and molding patterns. Some of them does that better, and some of them – a little worse. If we want to have something that fulfills our requirements in 100% – it’s time to get cracking. I will introduce you some of the DIY ways of improving our grips.
It’s one of the most popular, but also most invasive form of modifying gun, because it’s irreversible. It’s all about using the soldering iron to melt gun polymer in requested pattern. By using different ends of that tool and experimenting with pressure of stippling you can get different effects. So, how to do it?
One thing is certain – you’ll need your replica and soldering iron. To make the whole process easier, you can dismount the part of the gun you’re going to modify, but it’s not necessary. To gain more comfortable access I’ve decided to dismount my Kimber grips.
Depending of our pattern of choice, there would be a need of gridding the surface with sandpaper in order to make it flat. When the object is ready to get modified, we can turn our soldering iron on.
Before we modify our replica in an irreversible way, it is worth to try out our soldering tool on similar polymer. By doing that, we’ll protect our love from unneeded mistakes. I suggest you to start by making the outlines of our pattern. They require most focus and high precision, to keep the whole initiative aesthetic.
After marking the outlines, we can start to fill the rest of the pattern. It’s the most boring part of the work, but everything is worthwhile.
Before turning soldering iron off, check your piece of work for missing stipples and make corrections.
The next step is optional. Personally, I always skip it, because I prefer to have an aggressive grip texture. If you don’t like it, just polish it a little with sandpaper.
Stippling can be also used on other polymer elements of weapon, for example RIS covers or AFG grip:
Not everyone likes to make some irreversible changes to his gun. If you keep asking yourself questions like “What if something goes wrong? What if I get bored? What if I’ll want to sell it?”, you will prefer the two other ways.
One of the methods is using rubber tape or bicycle air chamber. The first one definitely takes less effort to do. I recommend using the stretch insulating tape. It cheap as dirt and can be easily used for like 2 or 3 pistol grips. The application of it is pretty easy – just wrap it up tightly on your object. This tape greatly cooperates with gloves and doesn’t tear them up as much as stippled surface.
It’s not that attractive to the eye, but frankly – when you’re holding your rifle no one can see it 😉
It has very aggressive surface (more than stippled one), so I recommend to use just few stripes of it, instead of wrapping things with it. However, this material performs great on pistol slides, by making the power-stroking of slide a lot easier. The directions of use are simple – just cut it to the measure and put on your slide. The tape easily forms its shape to the surface.
All of that methods are being successfully used by many competition shooters and (of course) airsofters. They not only make your gun more individual, but also make them a little more ergonomic.