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Shooting Industry January 2013 - Page 30
Defense Personal Defense Market Get A Firmer Grip On Grip Sales Massad Ayoob or longer than any of us in the about improving performance. The industry have been alive, resame holds true today. placement grips have been an From the very beginning of enimportant element in auxiliary sales. hanced grips, terminology varied, Before I was born, handgun connoisand even became a matter of deseurs outfitted their favorite sidearms bate. If the shooter’s gun hand was with custom stocks by Lew Sanderwrapped around wood, he probably son and Walter Roper. had “stocks” on his pistol or revolvBy the time I was active in hander, but if his fingers and palm were in gunning, the big names were Steve contact with non-skid neoprene, they Herrett, Guy Hogue and Fuzzy Farwere probably “grips.” rant for custom wooden stocks. Ajax Any gun enthusiast would laugh and even Franzite made pearl and stag at someone who complimented him handles, often more for show than on his wooden “handles.” But “pearlgo. Pachmayr and later Hogue rubber handled,” “bone-handled” and “staggrips were — and still are — standard handled” were still common figures of gun shop staples, as was the long-lost speech, and as acceptable among seMershon brand before them. rious gun people as among drugstore Customers were looking for two Hogue offers a nice variety of fancy grips in its Exotic cowboys. And there were those who things. For some clients, it was all Hardwood line. insisted that revolvers had “stocks” about looks. For others, it was strictly and pistols had “grips.” Sigh. F Plenty Of Options For Today’s Market n the personal defense market, the semiauto pistol clearly rules — and the ruling models are made of polymer. However, grip adaptation is still very much an issue for these types of handguns. Almost as soon as the Glock hit the USA, a little more than a quarter century ago, some shooters figured out they could benefit from more traction between “hand and handle.” The original homemade fix was a short piece of bicycle inner tube. Soon Hogue, Uncle Mike’s and others were making grip sleeves, not just for Glocks, but for all manner of semiautos. One brand that has recently hit the market seems a step ahead of the others. TUFF1 grips are offered with a variety of textures and looks. Among those is the Thin Blue Line model, for which the manufacturer makes a donation to C.O.P.S. for each one sold. C.O.P.S. stands for Concerns of Police Survivors, a support group for families of police officers killed in the line of duty. There’s a TUFF1 Thin Blue Line sleeve on one of my Glocks. Sales and safety tip: All grip manufacturers will tell you and you must tell your customers: Do not use grip sleeves on pistols with grip safeties — this will deactivate the safety. Do not use them on guns whose grips have activator buttons for laser sights or front-mounted flashlights — the laser and lights will be turned on all the 30 I time. And, of course, be careful the sleeves don’t block magazine channels or apply pressure to magazine release buttons. There is another modern feature, which has to do with grip shape and fit: interchangeable backstraps. This feature is one of the cores of the Glock Gen4 concept. It is one of the big selling points for the Smith & Wesson M&P semiautos in the law enforcement market, where one standard- issue pistol must often be adapted to hands of all sizes. You even see it in the ingenious little “reversible” backstrap on the economy-priced Ruger SR9. Sales tip: Ask your Smith & Wesson rep to provide you with one of the company’s neat little displays of dummy M&P grip frames sized small, medium and large. It will save you and your sales staff a huge amount of time in fitting guns to customers, and helping them to decide what pistol they want to buy in the first place. SIG SAUER has a similar display available with the different-sized grip shells for their P250 line, which allows one ingenious internal chassis to take on different frame configurations, barrel/slide lengths and even calibers. Continued on page 32 Smith & Wesson’s M&P display gives customers a feel for the gun’s interchangeable grips. www.shootingindustry.com • NEW BUSINESS YEAR EXTRA 2013 Subscribe to SI DIGITAL