SK Custom Grips
by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn

 

 

 

Nothing adds the finishing touch to a nice custom sixgun like a good set of custom stocks. Whether you prefer to call them grips, stocks, or just plain handles, just about every shooter agrees that a fine looking set of gun-holders really makes a good gun better. Also, nothing effects the handling and recoil qualities of a handgun as much as the stocks. It is, after all, the part that you hang onto as you touch off that well-aimed shot, and the part that most effects the pointing abilities of a revolver.

Every sixgun comes from the factory with at least a serviceable set of stocks attached to the grip frame, but they are sized and shaped to fit the average hand, whatever that means. Just a subtle change in the shape or texture of the stocks can greatly effect the shooterís ability to accurately and comfortably place
the shot. Most factory stocks, I have found, are too thick near the bottom of the grip, adversely effecting the feel and recoil qualities of the sixgun. To my hand, stocks that are thinner than usual at the bottom greatly improve the pointing qualities of a sixgun, and aid in recoil control.

I suppose that for pure functionality, a shooter could rasp a set of serviceable and comfortable stocks from a piece of plywood sub floor, but we all know that stocks are much more than pure function. The fact is that a great looking set of stocks, no matter the material of choice, really adds substantially to the enjoyment and pride of owning and shooting a good sixgun. I like stocks made of horn, tusk, antler, and many different exotic and domestic woods. I like just about anything but plastic for the handle of a revolver. I canít tolerate anything fake on a good single-action revolver. On a double-action, I will accept a good set of Hogue rubber for function, but for anything that must also look good, Iíll take genuine stag or a nice piece of wood. Todayís shooters have many choices when it comes to purchasing a set of replacement stocks for a favorite handgun. Most off-the-shelf stocks will give a decent fit on the grip frame, but for a perfect fit that adds to both beauty and feel, a custom-fitted set is to be preferred.

One of the newest and best custom stock makers, SK Custom Grips, is the subject of this article. SK is the brand of custom stock maker Scott Kolar. He is a one-man shop in Pennsylvania that specializes in unusual and beautiful woods, but also works with stag and other materials. His stocks are truly custom, one-at-a-time propositions, carefully fitted to the customerís frame if so desired.

I recently sent to Scott the grip frame from an old .357 Ruger Flattop to be fitted with a set of stocks made from highly figured burl mesquite wood.  Most mesquite is rather plain, but Scott assured me that his material was highly figured and very unusual. When the package arrived, I was not disappointed to say the least. The mesquite that Scott used on the Ruger grip frame is the most beautiful piece of that wood that I have ever seen. The grain pattern has swirls and figure running in every direction, quite unlike any that I have seen before, with varying shades from tan to brown, and a couple of very dark spots that add greatly to the character of the stocks, and the beauty of the gun.

The stocks, besides being made from superior material, show expert care and craftsmanship in the execution of the finished product. They were carefully and precisely fitted to my grip frame, and finished with a subdued satin sheen that is both aesthetically pleasing and comfortable to hold. Scottís design dispenses with the customary bevel used by most stock makers at the bottom of the grips, resulting in a better feel and greater pointability in my hand. The stocks are also a bit thinner at the bottom than the factory stocks, again adding to the overall comfort of the grip. Viewing the photos shows these differences better than words can describe.

SK Custom Grips has many different woods from which Scott can execute a beautiful set of custom stocks. Scott will even use wood supplied by the customer, if desired. He will add custom touches to the stocks, such as recessed cartridge case heads, at the customerís request. His turn-around time is quick and the quality is first class. Check out SKís website at: http://www.skgrips.com/

Jeff Quinn

Got something to say about this article? Want to agree (or disagree) with it? Click the following link to go to the GUNBlast Feedback Page.

All content © 2002 GunBlast.com. All rights reserved.

Click pictures for a larger version

 

SK Custom Grips burl mesquite stocks fitted to the author's .357 Ruger Blackhawk "Flattop".

 

 

SK Custom Grips' logo is stamped on the inside of the grip panel.

 

 

The quality of the burl mesquite is the finest Jeff has seen. Scott Kolar's finishing techniques enhance the beauty of the grain while giving a smooth, even feel.

 

 

A comparison of the SK Custom Grips product to a set of original Old Model Ruger grips shows that the SK grips are more than just a beauty upgrade. The SK grips are thinner and subtly reshaped to significantly improve handling and better fit the hand, at least for the author.