Decided that I finally learned something I should have realized; I’m not Jerry Miculek. Jerry uses a smooth grip on his guns and I’ve been trying it on my pistol and AR because who wouldn’t want to shoot like Jerry?
Trouble is, Jerry spent years working in a factory, has tough, hard hands, a grip like iron and forearms that would make Popeye envious. I haven’t worked with my hands since my auto mechanic days more than 40 years, I exercise too little and sit behind a desk and the arthritis seems to be getting worse.
After blowing the pistol portion of several stages at the recent Brownells U.S. Amateur 3-Gun Nationals I finally accepted the fact that I can’t grip my pistol as hard as he can and I need some artificial help.
Those grippy, stippled Glocks and STIs always felt pretty good to me so I thought I’d give it a try. One of the other shooters here at Brownells, Mike, had just done his gun and had a wood burning tool – he loaned it to me and told me what he had done.
Mike told me he basically poked straight down with the pointed tip of the wood burner. The resulting stipple looked too small to me, and didn’t feel very “grabby”. By tipping the tool back a bit and lightly digging and pushing the tool forward I was able to slightly extend each “divot”. I just did a random pattern, sometimes going vertically, sometimes horizontally, sometimes just skipping around.
You can see the end result in the photos. I’d like to say the black “highlights” were intentional, they weren’t. Those popped up when I got the plastic too hot. If I were selling my work, I couldn’t do that. This is for me and it is a working gun, not for show. It’s scratched, the bluing is worn and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The goofy look to the bluing is caused by the way the light hit the oil that was on the gun. You could avoid the problem with a high-tech wood burner, but those will set you back around $200. Mike’s wood burning tool cost him less than $20.
The tool included a couple of other tips with square ends. If you rounded them, you could make a wider pattern. If the result is too sharp, simply sand it lightly. A coat of paint will also soften the grippiness.
This is just something I wanted to try, it’s far from perfect but it works for me. I went ahead and attacked my Benelli shotgun, going over the existing checkering with the stippling, added stippling where there wasn’t any checkering, made some mistakes, covered them up and made some more. Again, nothing I’d charge for but it will help me.
I shot the Benelli in a side match at a local zombie shoot and it really felt good and didn’t move around in my hands as it had in the past. I’ve only shot one plate rack with the STI but I liked it. I did some draw-and- one-shot drills on the plate rack and I was hitting that first plate much more frequently than in the past.
Give it a try. A tool isn’t doing you the most good if it doesn’t fit you, don’t be afraid to try some of these little things. Experiment on some old plastic, grind some tips and play around. If you aren’t a tinkerer, find a gunsmith who does this kind of work, it will no doubt look better than mine.