Oregon Trail Defense Stippling Kit Makes For Better Grip Of Polymer-Frame Sidearms

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You’ve all seen images of polymer-framed pistols with aftermarket stippling on the grip surface. There’s an outfit based in Baker City, Oregon, with a kit allowing professional gunsmiths and even home gunsmiths to do it easily. Oregon Trail Defense’s Professional Firearms Stippling Kit is one of those products that, upon examination, you’ll lean back and silently tell yourself, “Wish I’d have thought of that.”

GUNS chatted with OT Defense proprietor Micah Huyett, who explained he began by stippling his own guns with a checkering file and decided to find an easier way to accomplish the task. And, he did!

He developed small tool-heads that thread into a woodburner tool. There were different designs and it turned out they sold “super well.” These little heads heat up and by gently pressing them into the polymer material of a handgun, the stippling pattern is created to replace whatever molded checkering or textured surface is produced at the factory.

“A lot of gunsmiths buy my kits, and also a lot of do-it-yourselfers,” Huyett said.

What’s more, he added, this stippling pattern can be restored as the gun’s surface wears through the years of service.

This technology may seem elementary to some folks, but look at this with the perspective of a Florida law enforcement officer whose hands are frequently sweaty due to the prevailing climate. The same goes for the Gulf States from Alabama to the mouth of the Rio Grande. Let’s not forget about lawmen and private, legally armed citizens in the Great Lakes States, the rainy Pacific Northwest and along the Eastern Seaboard.

The advantage of stippling a surface should be obvious: Grip retention under nasty conditions.

Everything in the kit, which comes in a plastic case, is made in the USA, Huyett noted. And just what comes in this kit? You will find a short-shaft woodburner; every tip OT Defense makes; a tip adapter “for those hard-to-reach spots;” two sample key chains; two nylon and two plastic “practice sheets;” a brass brush for cleaning the tips; two large vials and a tip box that can be organized by the user. There’s also a small metal stand that allows the user to put the burner down after use while it cools.

Using one of these kits requires a bit of practice. Take your time, learn not to press too hard so you don’t penetrate into the plastic surface too deeply and ruin your work. Don’t actually work on a firearm until you’ve got this down pat, because you can only screw a gun up once!

OT Defense recommends using a 25-watt woodburner, because it gets hot enough.

According to the company’s website, different polymer frames will react (“melt”) differently. OT Defense has found GLOCK frames appear to be made of slightly harder material than Springfield XD, and the Smith &Wesson M&P model’s removable backstraps are, the company says, “super soft and require a gentle touch.”
About as deep as one needs to sink a tip is 0.040", roughly the same depth as three business cards stacked on top of one another. In other words: not very deep.

There is one caution, and it’s about colored polymer frames.

“Most colored gun frames will not retain the factory color,” OT Defense warns, “as the waffle tips will leave a small amount of material on the tip, resulting in your frame having a black tint to it in spots. You can mitigate this by keeping the tip VERY clean with a brass/copper wire brush.”

“Most of my customers want to do it themselves,” Huyett stated. “I would say it is going to become more popular.”

The OT Defense Professional Firearms Stippling Kit retails for $189.99.

For more info: www.otdefense.com, Ph: (541) 566-6908, [email protected]