Aftermarket additions to your 1911 should not be an afterthought. Slides, barrels — might want to look at KKM Barrels — and other parts can make a big difference; those “other parts” include grip panels. The grip panels on your 1911 pistol provide that crucial connection point between your hands and your firearm. When looking at options for aftermarket 1911 grips, there are multiple factors that need to be considered.
Consider the grip material, and what you expect your gun to do for you. For backcountry, all-weather use with bare hands, a synthetic grip with a tacky texture might be just your ticket.
If you carry openly, especially if you have a public image (as a business owner, community leader, law enforcement officer, etc.), look for grips that balance checkering and texture with style, so your piece makes a statement on your hip but stays firmly in hand when firing.
And remember, wood is beautiful, historic and tough, but it can be ruined by solvents and destroyed by harsher environments. Synthetic grips might not always be the prettiest, but they’re generally immune to the environment and can offer a high-traction surface without abrasive stippling.
Aftermarket 1911 Grips: Style & Size
Be sure to specify the style and detail of your gun when you order, as there are round-butt and square-butt frames, full-sized and Commander-style frames, even micro 1911 models. There are plenty of grips for each—just be sure to specify what your gun needs.
Do note that finger grooves can be great for those with medium to large hands. If you have smaller hands or wear gloves often while carrying, there might be better options. And if a 1911 is almost too big for your hand, check out the slimmer grips available. Likewise, you can fill a larger hand with thicker or even contoured grips.
There were interchangeable grip panels on 1911s long before interchangeable backstraps on polymer guns.