Over the course of past few years, I have used Eagle
Grips in Carol Stream, Illinois on several occasions to
outfit a particular revolver with a set of custom grips. Eagle
offers a wide variety of materials and styles to dress up a nice
handgun, or to make the handgun better fit the user, and usually
their grips improve both the beauty and the handling of a
sixgun. While Eagle also offers grips for many semi-automatic
handguns, the focus here is on their revolver grips. The reason
for writing this piece about Eagle Grips is that almost
everyday, I direct folks to the Eagle Grip website, as I often
get requests for direction from shooters in making a handgun fit
better, or to dress up an otherwise plain gun. Just today, I
received an email from a lady wanting to “girl up” her
handgun a bit, so I also sent her to Eagle Grips to look at
their mother-of-pearl grips for a J-frame Smith & Wesson.
Usually on my single action revolvers, I prefer Sambar
Stag or American Elk,
and Eagle has come through for me in the past with excellent
specimens of both. Eagle makes some handsome grips from American
Elk antler, and also has a limited supply of genuine Sambar
Stag. At least they do at the time of this writing. Both Stag
and Elk are good, natural products that feel warm, have good
color, and a good texture to better grip a sixgun. Also, Stag
and Elk antler are very durable, and hold up well on a
hard-kicking handgun. Large animals use this stuff for fighting,
so it is made to be durable. It also just looks right on a
single action revolver. I love the stuff.
On a double action revolver, Eagle offers many
choices of styles and materials, but my favorite style for a
double action that will be carried concealed is their Secret
Service style, pictured here on a big N-frame S&W Model
610. The Secret Service grip offers a good hold on the gun, but
is very concealable. The butt of a handgun is the part that is
the hardest to hide, and the style and size of the Secret
Service is just perfect for my hand. I have a large hand, but
huge gun grips do not suit me at all.
Several months ago, I purchased a new John
Wayne Commemorative Ruger New Vaquero .45 Colt revolver.
I have always been a John Wayne fan. While the parts that
he played in the old Western movies may or may not have been a
true depiction of the Old West, his characters represented the
West the way that it should have been, and John Wayne
displayed a sense of patriotism that is sorely lacking today.
Anyway, the Ruger came with a beautiful set of checkered wood
grips that look good, but on a John Wayne revolver, did not look
like the grips that Mr. Wayne had on his favorite sixgun. His
had ivory, and that presented a problem for me. Ivory is a
beautiful substance for a sixgun grip, and the cost of the real
stuff didn’t really bother me, but the durability did. My John
Wayne Ruger doesn’t just sit in a safe waiting to appreciate
in value. I buy guns to shoot, and that Ruger gets shot.
Shooting a lot of heavy loads through a sixgun can be hard on a
set of genuine ivory grips, as they can crack and chip. Many old
sets of ivory grips have been glued back together after a few
years of hard use. I wanted something that looked like ivory,
but was much more durable. For that, I again turned to Eagle for
a set of Ultra Ivory grips. Ultra Ivory is a substitute
ivory that has the warmth and color of the real thing, but is
much more durable. Don’t confuse Ultra Ivory with the cheap
molded plastic that is sometimes sold as an ivory substitute.
Ultra Ivory is cut and polished just like ivory from a blank,
not poured into a mold. It is also not cheap, but the look and
quality offers good value, and it should age like ivory, but
never crack, shrink, or split. When the Ultra Ivory arrived for
the New Vaquero, it was already relieved on the inside to clear
the Ruger lock, but I thought that a bit of fitting would be
needed. It wasn’t. The Eagle Ultra Ivory grips fit perfectly,
just like Eagle had my gun in hand when making them. I was
pleasantly surprised. There were no overhangs nor gaps, just a
perfect fit. The grips for the John Wayne Vaquero are Eagle’s
Gunfighter style, which is my favorite for a single action
revolver with a Colt-style grip. The Gunfighter is thinner than
most single action grips; much thinner. This makes the sixgun
point better, and easier to control under recoil. The Gunfighter
does not have the pronounced flare at the bottom of the grip,
and measures just at one and one-eighth inches wide at the
bottom. They also look great on the John Wayne gun, and the
color and smoothness of the Ultra Ivory Gunfighter completes the
look of a sixgun that is a tribute to the man. Perfect.
Pictured here are a few grips from Eagle, with
some shown next to factory grips as a comparison. To change the
way a gun feels and handles, or to really dress up a sixgun, I
highly recommend Eagle Grips. They are quality products made and
marketed by good folks.
Check out the extensive line of materials and
styles of Eagle handgun grips online at www.eaglegrips.com.
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