Ever since men first began to form weapons from metal, we have adorned our weapons with some type of decoration. Several have come up with something that marks their style or gives them a unique trademark. Some of the great gunners of the past smoked a cigar, others wore a Stetson, and many favored ivory grips. I have always liked custom grips for the 1911. The plain plastic or wood grips are rather utilitarian. Recently, I came across a set of silver grips that were unrivaled.
Even the well-designed checkered wood grips often look plain. There is the iconic bar b que gun that some like. This is traditionally a nickel or chrome plates or increasingly a high polished stainless-steel handgun with fancy custom grips. General George S. Patton liked fancy ivory grips. Frank Hamer carried an engraved single action he called old lucky. Tom Threepersons had a custom front sight fitted to his handgun, and Bat Masterson ordered a special Colt with a 4 ¾-inch barrel, special tall front sight and a ‘light trigger.’ While vanity or a well-developed sense of pride is one reason for modifying the handgun, increasing the pistol’s efficiency is another. The custom 1911 handguns of Lone Wolf Gonzullas are another example.
When it comes to pistol grips, the revolver is much more troublesome than the automatic. The revolver grip must stabilize the hand to give the trigger finger a platform for manipulating the trigger. The top of the hand must be stabilized. Some of the early double-action handguns with curved grips were poorly designed to say the least. The plow handled single-action revolver is remarkably easy to stock and get a good fit. You must understand human anatomy.
The hand will form a hollow in the palm when it is closed around the handgun. As a result, the carved steer heads found on early custom grips were ideal as they offer some abrasion and kept the hand steady when firing heavy loads. All that is really needed is some type of belief as a base for the handgun. This makes for plenty of adhesion and abrasion when firing.
So, a grip that fills the hollow of the hand makes for a uniform grip, fills the bill. Beauty is one thing, but a consistent repeatable grip is another. A cornerstone of accuracy is that the grip is the same, consistent for each shot.
Sterling Silver Grips
The silver grips illustrated are presently available here at K-Var.com. They are a marvel of the artisan’s skill and handwork. The carving and jewelry work are beautiful, but the grips also make for better shooting for those who understand how to master the handgun. The grips feature utility but also a matching beauty of design that compliments the relief design for an excellent grip. They are heavier than production grips, and set off a stainless or blue steel handgun equally well. Fit is excellent.
Going Further With New Barrel
Sometimes we’re meet with a 1911 that has seen better days and is no longer accurate, but more often we find a handgun that has not been properly fitted from the factory. The three point lock up of the 1911 takes time and effort to achieve. A handgun made to sell cheaply doesn’t have this lock up. A solution is to purchase and fit a Bar Sto barrel.
Bar Sto offers barrels in two categories. The first is a gunsmith fit barrel. This one requires the barrel hood and locking lugs be fitted as they are delivered over size. That’s a good thing and when the gunsmith is done, there is no play, no eccentric slop. A barrel with less play will last much longer and deliver sterling accuracy.
The drop-in barrel delivers a good fit as well but with less gunsmithing. Sometimes, with modern Colt or Springfield 1911 handguns, there is no fitting at all with the drop-in barrel, but don’t count on it. 1911 handguns are too diverse. With the Bar Sto fitted barrel, prepare to see considerable improvement with good quality ammunition. Remember: junk in/junk out. Use Federal Match, Hornady XTP, or Fiocchi’s Extrema load, and you will enjoy good results.
What upgrades have you added to your 1911s? Would you consider a new barrel or Sterling Silver grips? Share your answers in the comment section.
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