Choosing A Pistol Grip for Your AR Rifle
When you build a custom AR, you will quickly discover that some parts are simply off the shelf and others provide a well thought out product with the user in mind. There are a huge range of grips available and you can make your custom AR not only more comfortable to use, but also easier to manipulate in fast or tight situations.
Right, Left, or Both?
Even standard grips are available as either left or right-handed variations and that can add a great deal of comfort to your shooting position, but there are a growing number of ambidextrous grips too. You might think that having a particular orientation is better, but suppose you are sharing your rifle – such as teaching someone to shoot, and they have a different preference to you, or you have gun that may be shared among friends while hunting? Suddenly, ambidextrous makes sense, and there are plenty of good examples out there.
Contours and Grooves
A handgrip does what it says – allows you to grip your weapon – so ideally your hand grip will won’t slip out of you hands during fast operation. And contoured grips also have another benefit too; hand sizes vary considerably and a highly contoured grip may allow different people to use your gun comfortably. There is a huge amount of styles available, ranging from textured and natural rubber inserts to give a good level of comfort while not letting them slip out of your hand. You can go for wider grips without too much surface relief, or highly contoured items with bigger finger sections, which can feel great regardless of hand size. You need to get comfortable with your AR, and choosing the right balance between what feels good in your hand together with what is practical is a worthwhile task to complete.
There’s plenty of them, and you can probably find something to match almost any theme that you have going with your AR. While grips are almost universally polymer-based, there are different variations of polymer that have different feels and comfort levels. It is still possible to get fiberglass hand grips too, if you really wanted one, but they tend not to have any real advantage over polymer ones. It’s now commonplace to have molded in rubber inserts for extra comfort, and even a mix of polymers to give support where you need it and comfort in other areas.
Again, there are plenty of different designs on the market with a growing number of skeleton handgrips that offer support in a lightweight package. One of the main design features that is subtly changing is the angle at which the hand grip lies. AR-15s have always seemed to use greater-angled grips, but of late though there’s been a huge shift towards less-angled pistol grips, that are significantly more upright than older models. This shift in hand grip angle has come about as a result of the more squared-off shooting stance that is recommended when firing an AR-15, compared to the previous, more sideways or “bladed” firing stance. The steeper grip is more ergonomic and comfortable when shooting modern stances.
Extra Storage Space
As weird as it sounds, the hand grip is a good place to store smaller items, such as keys or survival equipment when you are out hunting. In what would otherwise be a fairly redundant piece of plastic, there is room to fit some pretty useful items that you may not want in your pockets. There are several companies who market handgrips with an accessible bottom plate to allow you to store whatever you want in there. It’s an ideal place for a small multi-tool, and could save your life if you need to make adjustments in the field.
Seen as both a comfort and steadying addition to an AR, a palm shelf is seen as an easy means of increasing stability while ensuring that you are always holding the hand grip in the same place when firing. Some find them uncomfortable, bit if you have a finely balanced AR, a palm shelf addition to your hand grip might just make your shooting consistent.
A hand grip might seem like a less important and almost redundant part of your AR, but a shooter in the know understands that it is the hand grip on your weapon which lets you shoot accurately. Hand grips on rifles started as an experiment in the early days of percussion rifles and have grown into what they are today from there. With the increased prominence and tactical effectiveness of rifles in combat and fast aiming situations, hand grips became an essential part of the rifle, offering stability and ease of support. When you are creating your custom AR, certainly don’t scrimp on the handgrip; it has more worth that you can know.