Custom Revolver Grips from Eagle Grips


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn

January 15th, 2008




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

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.


A selection of Eagle revolver grips. C.



Eagle American Elk grips on a Ruger Super Bearcat. Top picture shows a comparison to factory-issue Bearcat grips.



Ebony Secret Service grips, as compared to the factory original Hogue rubber grips.



A truly fine sixgun, the John Wayne New Vaquero, is made even finer with the addition of Eagle Ultra Ivory "Gunfighter" grips.



Sambar Stag on a Colt Single Action Army .45.



American Elk on a Colt New Frontier .44-40.