Real Sambar Stag Grips are Back! Limited Supply from Eagle Grips

 

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn

November 17th, 2006

 

 

 

Genuine Sambar Stag has been used for many years as a rugged, durable, and beautiful way to adorn a handgun or knife. Sambar antler is very dense, and I believe that God put these animals on Earth for the purpose of providing the ideal grip material for our fine sixguns. In His infinite wisdom, He knew that most sixguns would leave the factory with rather plain wood or plastic grips, and that we would need something better, so He created the Sambar Stag. Why he put the largest of the Sambar in India and Sam Colt and the Wesson brothers in America, I do not know, but Sambar Stag antler has been imported into the United States for many years for the purpose of making knife and gun handles.  However, a little over ten years ago, the Indian government banned the export of Sambar antler, and it has become much more expensive and hard to find in this country. We have seen good stag grips command prices approaching that of quality elephant ivory, and the prices of both keep climbing. Still, to me, there is nothing as beautiful on a good single action sixgun as a good set of stags.

American Elk antler is another good grip material, and I like it very much, but it is not as dense nor as colorful as Sambar. I have a couple of sets of good elk grips that were made by Eagle Grips, and they have proven to be both beautiful and durable. Some elk antler grips on the market are not of very high quality, being somewhat porous or pithy, but good quality elk antler, properly sawn and shaped, is an excellent grip material. However, it is not as dense as true Sambar Stag. If real stag is what you want, there is no good substitute.

The good news is that the Indian government recently released for export a limited supply of genuine Sambar Stag, and it is available from Eagle Grips in Carol Stream, Illinois. Recently speaking with Raj Singh, the owner of Eagle Grips,  I learned that he had this limited supply of Sambar available. I had a new Colt Single Action Army revolver on the way, so as soon as it arrived, I boxed it up and sent it off to Eagle to be fitted with a set of genuine stag grips.

A couple of weeks later, the Big Brown Truck of Happiness delivered the Colt back to me. Upon opening the box, I beheld a sixgun wearing what is one of the most beautiful set of stags that I have ever seen, perfectly shaped, and wearing just the right amount of bark to make them interesting, but not so much as to hinder comfortable shooting. Raj is not just a grip maker, but a shooter as well, and he knows how to cut a set of stags for shooting.  These Eagle stags are very dense, weighing 3.4 ounces for the pair. The colors are rich, and look striking against the case-hardened colors of the Colt frame. All the way around the grip frame, the grip panels fit precisely, with no gaps or protrusions.  The set is very well-matched in both color and pattern. I love the feel of real stag grips. While smooth, they still offer good weapon control. They are smooth, but not slick. They are colorful, but not gaudy as some grip materials tend to be.  To me, a good set of Sambar stags dress up a rather plain handgun as no amount of fancy engraving can do.  In other words, when it comes to beauty, the grips make the gun, and in this case, Eagle made the grips.

Buyers need to beware however, as some grip makers are trying, successfully in some cases, to pass off European Red Deer grips as Sambar Stag. It ainít the same stuff, so donít be fooled.  Real Sambar is hard to find in new grips, so no matter where you buy yours, make sure that they come from a reputable grip maker. Whether it is genetics, minerals in the soil, the animalís diet, or a combination of these, there is nothing like real Indian Sambar Stag antler.

With material provided by God, and craftsmanship provided by Eagle, you canít go wrong with a set of genuine stag grips. Eagle tells me that after this supply is gone, that there will most likely be no more. Prices start at about $250, and for a bit more, Eagle can provide some true exhibition grade stags.  The folks at Eagle do good work, and are good people with which to do business. Give them a call toll free at: 800-323-6144 or order online at:  www.eaglegrips.com.

Jeff Quinn

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Author's new Colt Single Action Army, beautifully fitted with genuine Indian Sambar Stag grips by Eagle Grips.