Story & Photography by Linda M. Gilbertson
I’ve had students ask what firearm I recommend for home protection. There are three that come to mind, the pistol, rifle and shotgun. Many will argue that the rifle and shotgun are more efficient than a pistol with larger calibers and ease of firing. Hollywood leads you to believe that the sound of the shotgun “rack” or rifle “bolt-slam” will stop a situation “in its tracks.” A draw back to both is their size, maneuverability in close quarters and over penetration or scattering of the projectile(s). I argue that the pistol is relatively easy to conceal or hide, can be stashed in various locations throughout the home and can be equipped with night sights, lasers and flashlights. It may not have the sound “that strikes fear,” but it’s easier to maneuver in crowded conditions, and therefore is my recommendation.
If you want to have all three available for home protection, then consider making each comfortable to handle and control, particularly if you’re grip and strength challenged. According to a recent article in the NRA’s American Rifleman, Kelly Young, Managing Editor, wrote an excellent article on “The Aging Defender.” In the article, reference is made that “Age-related physical decline is inevitable, but there are ways for armed citizens to both slow and circumvent it through behavioral and equipment changes.” Behavioral changes are as simple as changing your diet or increasing your physical activity. Equipment changes may require you to downsize (i.e., having to give up your COLT 1911 .45 for a Smith & Wesson M&P.380 Shield), or if you are fond of your current firearm, you can modify it without having to give up what you love. For any of the three methods, a “more aggressive surface on the grip area” may be all you need for better control of the firearm, during firing and recoil. That’s where TALON Grips and Tips come into play.
“Users of TALON Grips benefit from improved control, comfort and precision which increases safety, confidence and enjoyment while shooting.” A certain level of confidence with a firearm, leads to competence in its usage. Therefore, applying a more aggressive surface to the grip area of all three firearms will give comfort and precision without having to downsize to something else. If you’re grip challenged and love a certain firearm(s) there is no reason to downsize or sell what you enjoy.
My Remington 870 has a unique forearm. This was a popular design and has the high gloss finish of the 1960’s. Its slippery finish includes the area where the fingers grip the inset groove during its racking. The grasp of the forearm could be slick due to weather or “age-related physical decline.” TALON Grips sent two DIY 5×7-inch material sheets of granulate and rubber texture (one each), so the material could be cut to fit the design of the forearm groove. After designing what is needed for the groove on a plain piece of paper, it is transferred to the granulate texture sheet and applied to the grooved area. The bottom of the forearm is already sharply checkered, needing no enhancement. The handgrip of the shotgun, also of the same 1960’s finish, could use some of the rubber texture to assist the gripping quality without being harsh on the hand. It’s something I chose not to do at this time but have the material in the event I change my mind. In the event the granulated texture is too harsh, a TALON Tip recommends the use of 120-grit sandpaper to make the grip less abrasive.
I am more proficient with my pistol for home protection and competition. Even though the current hand grip on the Smith & Wesson M&P.380 Shield has a roughened exterior, I’ve found movement of my grip still occurs during shooting. It’s ever so slight, but noticeable. TALON Grips sent a specifically designed grip for the M&P which I applied to better eliminate that movement. I chose the rubber texture over the granulate one. The rubber would be better for the softer palm area of the hand. I use this pistol during my classes, and the ladies who use it haven’t toughened their hands when shooting. One of the most common comments is the comfort or lack of it in a tight grip.
When applying the rubber grip to the pistol, I had to consciously keep from stretching the rubberized material. In removing the backing, the rubber kept sticking to my fingers, and I feared the rubber would stick to itself. It took me a while to finally attach the material; I did have to reposition it several times. I was mindful of the TALON Tip, “Never allow any portion of the grip to cover the magazine release button.” The repositioning was not a problem, but keeping air bubbles from forming under the material and material folds when laying the material flat became a challenge. Eventually, it was properly positioned. A TALON Tip recommended cleaning the grip with rubbing alcohol and a soft cloth to enhance the rubber texture. I also used a rubber trigger index point for the positioning of my finger alongside the frame and a reminder of where to rest my finger when not engaging the trigger.
I misidentified the grip on the AR-15. The design that TALON Grips sent was for the MOE. However, I was able to adapt the material with slight changes. Because my AR-15 grip had finger grooves, I cut horizontal lines into the right side of the granulate texture design so I could wrap it into the grooves. I could have
Applying the TALON Grip
Ten simple steps in applying the aggressive surface (granulate or rubber texture) will easily transform what you currently love to shoot into several choices for home protection and even competition:
- Unload and FIELD STRIP the firearm for safety.
- With the backing still on the TALON Grip, do a TEST FIT to ensure you have the correct grip and to understand how the grip fits the firearm.
- Use ONLY RUBBING ALCOHOL to CLEAN the
pistol grip area removing any dirt or oil. The firearm must be completely dry before continuing. For improved cleaning, use extra rubbing alcohol and a small brush in addition to the supplied alcohol swabs.
- Remove the backing.
- Starting with the left side, ALIGN the TALON Grip with the front and bottom of the factory pistol grip (A and B), maintaining a consistent reveal around the magwell (some grips have graphic cutouts which may help with proper alignment).
- DO NOT STRETCH; gently WRAP the grip onto pre-vent trapping air. Make sure the grip is properly cen- tered on the backstrap (C).
- Very lightly wrap the finger strip(s) (D) evenly around the front of the pistol. TUCK any excess material UNDER the left side panel (A). If the TALON Grip is misaligned, gently peel back the grip, reposition and reapply as many times as needed.
- When the TALON Grip is properly aligned, HEAT it with a hair dryer or heat gun to the temperature of a warm cup of coffee and PRESS FIRMLY into place. DO NOT HEAT OVER 130 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT.
- REPEAT this step several times, confirming the TALON Grip to the gun’s factory grip.
- Pay attention to pressing down firmly all outside edges including the backstrap.”
also created a grip from scratch from the additional DIY 5×7-inch material sheets.
I did not follow the TALON Tip which recommended that I contact customer support if the grip was not properly fitting. They would have sent me the proper grip design, and I would not have violated the TALON Tip, “Trimming the grip is not necessary.” A lesson learned!
With grip material applied to all three firearms, under good weather conditions I had better retention while shooting. Even with wet or sweaty hands when under stress my response would benefit from the added grip. The Trigger Index Points in both rubber and granular are a subtle reminder of the second rule of firearms safety: “Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire.” With over 300 different grips in both granulate and rubber textures you can customize any firearm. The stick-on grips and points are offered at a very affordable price and are available in rubber-black, rubber-moss and granulate-black materials for different applications and user preferences. TALON Grips was founded in 2009 by a law enforcement officer, who is also a competitive shooter, firearm’s instructor and armorer. TALON Grips is 100% made in the USA and here to “enhance shooter comfort, consistency and weapon retention for law enforcement, military, competitive shooters and the general public.”
Home defense can happen in any weather. With TALON Grips you’ll be ready. Let TALON Grips and Tips be your three-gun solution.
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V24N6 (June/July 2020)