Get A Grip

Put beauty on the beast
; .

Mil-Tac stocks are probably the steel anvil of pistol stocks.

Aluma Grips are hard-use stocks and can be made with a logo or family crest.

In my world, we have an old saying going something like, “It doesn’t matter how good of a shot you are, you can’t shoot until you get it out and you can’t get it out until you get a hold of it.” This of course deals with several things like hand contact with the handgun, availability of the gun to be drawn and, most of all, it stresses getting a good firing grip before the drawing stroke begins.

When we grasp the handgun, often the gripping area helps dictate how well we grasp the handgun on initial contact. In today’s plastic, polymer world, this grip is pretty well set in stone or, in this case, plastic. Most of the plastic stuff is serviceable, but there are those who still like the older materials like wood, horn, antler or more exotic stuff like ivory or pearl.

With several considerations like availability of ivory and the dangers of working with real pearl, these are rarely seen, except in the possession of old timers. Sambar stag (which is the best antler material) is now just about as rare as ivory.

So for the non-plastic folks among us, this leaves wood, and for the tactical among you, metal or the more exotic materials.

How and for what application the handgun is being used on a daily basis may guide us to shape, texture and materials used for our handgun stocks. On custom, Sunday-go-to-meetin’ or safe princesses, ivory and pearl may be a good choice. For competition I have seen everything from sticky tape wrapped around a frame to futuristic thumb-rest stocks. Range use or a handgun for fighting may be the simplest form both in features and materials in the quest for durability.

My personal choice is whatever provides the best firing grip, the smaller the better. I think of it as a baseball bat. Do I want to hold the big end or the little end of the bat to get the most out of it? Historically, the stocks on revolvers are almost always built wrong. The knowledgeable ones like Fuzzy Farrant,Walter Stark and John Hurst built stocks large at the top and tapered down at the bottom as
much as was possible with the metal frame taken into consideration (Fuzzy’s grips often required a bit be chopped off the frame). Simply look at your hand and close your fingers into a fist. It’s big at the top and smaller at the bottom … case closed.

So with these thoughts in mind and, since over the last two years I have received numerous requests or inquiries about handguns stocks I use and photographed for articles and columns, I listed some of my favorites and why.


Tedd Adamovich makes custom stocks like these favoring a Skeeter Skelton design.

Craig Spegel grips are wood, attractive and very functional stocks.


It is said Craig Spegel can be ornery, but this guy can really build wood stocks! He is hands down my favorite custom wood grip guy. Almost everything I have with Smith & Wesson on the side plate has Spegel grips on it. Craig makes several different versions of boot grips, some flush with the bottom of the frame as well as an extended version for those with larger hands. His wood material has names I can’t pronounce and I don’t even know which country it comes from. Since I am into stocks (and not spelling or geography), it works for me. It is important to remember he is a custom maker — not a mass production company so sometimes it takes awhile to get grips … and it is worth the wait.
These are hard-use stocks.

Tedd Adamovich likes building old style grips to include the design Skeeter Skelton favored. From his Colorado business he makes faithful reproductions of Skelton’s favorites and is truly a custom maker as he will work to build the type and style of grip the customer wants. He’s braver than me.

This is sometimes awkward, as many people do not know exactly what they want. So that said, the better you know what you want, the better Tedd can do at making you the custom stocks you are looking for. His fit and finish is excellent and his materials are top quality. These
are hard-use stocks.


Mike Poulin is the ivory wizard — this custom set is hand checkered.


This might be for a limited few who have interest in the truly exotic materials. I have many sets of ivory stocks made by Mike Poulin. A true craftsman, his production is limited by materials and by his desire to slow down a bit and service people who truly appreciate his work and ivory. Mike offers carved, checkered and old-style double diamonds and custom designs on his ivory stocks. His work is pretty much limited to 1911-style stocks, but that’s OK, because there seems to be a few of those around.

Buyers need to understand ivory needs to be treated with some care, as it can be susceptible to damage with daily use, but when you’re wearing ivory stocks you do look marvelous darrrling!


These stunners by Esmeralda O’Sheehan are of Spalted maple, custom-crafted for a 1911.

Range And Tactical

Aluma Grips

These Arizona-made stocks are somewhat of an anomaly as they are functional, look good and are tough to boot. Aluma Grips come in several versions and colors and they can bear about any logo you might want from a business to a family crest. The stocks are well made, fit well and can hold up to about anything you can dish out on the range or in a fight. Aluma Grips are excellent day-today stocks and look good to boot. These are hard-use stocks.


These stocks are probably to most people the least eye appealing, but these suckers are tougher than an anvil! If I was younger and inclined to jump from a helicopter or storm doorways, these are the stocks I would use … and in fact I do on some of my daily work guns. When I
first got them I thought they would rip the crap out of my hand but that in fact is not the case. Mil-Tac stocks are completely covered in deep checkering and they do not have the urge to move while firing the pistol as might be the case in slicked-up ivory or wood. Of all the stocks I have and use, these are the Conan the Destroyer ones. These are very hard-use serviceable stocks.

So these are some of the who, what and why of the best stock-makers in the business. Should you need to get a grip on your handgun to defend yourself, your family or just for fun at the range, these are some of the best stock people to consider.





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