Product Tests : WOODGRIPS.COM personalized checkered grips

M1911.ORG's relation to various grip makers has given me the opportunity to try out several different grips. 1911 grips are so common these days, that it is impossible not to find a set you like. Materials from plain wood to aluminum and to composites are used by various manufacturers, to satisfy the 1911 shooter needs. And due to the above mentionned relationship, I am lucky enough to be able to switch between various grips I like , depending on my mood.

I must admit that I am partial to wood, nothing feels better on my 1911 than a set of nice wooden grips. My personal preference is cocobolo, which I believe is the nicest wood for grips, its colors being vivid and strond. I have tried all sort of wooden grips, initially I liked the checkered ones, but my preferences soon shifted to the smooth ones, since these allow my hand to slide over them smoothly, as I grasp the pistol from its holster. The luck of checkering didn't affect my grip too much, except only when my hands are really sweating, but this does not happen often, so the advantage of the smooth grips made me use these on my 1911.

As most of you are aware, WOODGRIPS.COM has long been a sponsor of M1911.ORG. Some of the most beautiful grips I have, are made by these people. Actually, the ones I had until now, on my pistols were the smooth, cocobolo grips WOODGRIPS.COM made for me, engraved with my initials. Then, one day, I received an email, from Patrick Nee, the commercial person of WOODGRIPS.COM, informing me that he had send me a package, with their latest grips. These were supposed to be engraved with my initials (a nice, personalizing touch), but they were also checkered! Last time I had talked with Pat, he had told me that if I wanted my initials on an engraved set of woods, they would have to be done inside a 1" circle. I told him I didn't like circles on my grips, so I would stick with the smooth ones I've got. This time, Pat said that the grips would have both my initials, and they were checkered, but without the circle. Hmmm, I wanted to see that.

The Fedex person delivered me a small package, a few days after Pat's email. I hurried in the office to open it up. And there, right in front of me, in a small plastic envelop, where the most fantastic grips, I've ever seen.

What caught my attention, the moment I took the grips out of the small plastic bag, was the way my initials were engraved. On the smooth grips I have from WOODGRIPS.COM, the letters were engraved on the wood, so they were deeper than the wood surface. On these grips, the letters were not cut into the wood, they were protruding on the wood, just like the pyramids of the checkering. Amazingly enough, Pat figured out a way to let the letters show, on the wood surface, while in the same time creating a checkering on the wood.

What was also quite interesting, was that the checkering used on these grips, was not your normal, pointing-top pyramids, found in most checkered grips. As you can see at the pictures above (and below), the checkering is done so that the top of the pyramids is flat.

I immediately installed these grips on my .45 ACP 1911, and tried them out. Well, the new checkering pattern not only allowed you the best possible grip of the pistol, but it was doing so, without being rough on your hand. I deliberately tried to let the pistol loose in my hand, while in the same time pulling the pistol away from it. The checkering was giving me a very good purchase, enough to make the pistol really stick into my palm. I then tried some quick presentations from the holster, to an imaginary target inside my wife's full length mirror. Usually I prefer the smooth grips, because the allow your hand to slide up to the pistol grip, as high as possible, allowing you a good grip, while in the same time putting the pistol low in your palm, to allow better recoil control. With some checkered grips, such a secure purchase, was slowed by the checkering, which didn't allow my hand to move as swiftly as with the smooth grips. With these grips the pistol was acquired easily from the holster, allowing my hand to slide smoothly over their surfave, as if they were smooth grips, but as soon as the hand was tightened over the frame of the pistol, then my palm and the pistol locked together. I found the 1911 was pointed easily to the target, in one swift motion, without requiring any small corrective movements of my hand, just like it did with the smooth grips. Only this time, the grip felt more secure.

Needless to say, I was very impressed with these grips. The new checkering is offering the best of both worlds. It allows your hand to slide smoothly over the grips surface, to offer you a good purchase of the gun, while as soon as your fingers are tight around the pistol's grip, they totally immobilize it in your palm, offering you a very secure hold.

The fact that this set was also personalized with my initials, made them the perfect set for me. Care to guess which grips my 1911 wears since that day the Fedex man came to my house? I just love these grips. So much so, that I asked Pat to personally select some special cocobolo for me, and build me another set! Just so that I have my favorite, reddish, cocobolo wood with this checkering and my initials on these grips. Pat, thanks, this is a really great product!

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