By J.M. Ramos
Over the years since its initial adoption as the official U.S. military sidearm in 1911, the legendary Colt .45 automatic has seen countless upgrading that includes mechanical redesigns such as double action conversions, high capacity magazine enhancement, cosmetic improvements and the introduction of many recoil reduction devices that were made popular by the action shooting circuits of the 80s and the 90s. In the aesthetic department, it was the custom grip that never ran out of style. The market is continually flooded with stylish 1911 pistol grips that are made from so many different materials; from aluminium, titanium, ivory, stag, exotic woods and the popular G-10 fiberglass composite just to name a few. This line of custom grips comes in different patterns and checkering cuts to maximize purchase and overall appeal. Despite all the differences in materials, color and styling, they all share the same commonality – plain and slab sided. That old tradition in 1911 grip innovation is about to change with the introduction of the revolutionary Recover Tactical CC3 grip system. The CC3 is truly a superb 21st century upgrade for the veteran service handgun. The unique design and styling of the CC3 can be attributed to the exceptional talent of Tamir Porat, a world renowned Israeli weapon engineer, also responsible for the creation of the Tavor combat rifle recently adopted by the Israeli Defence Forces. With his impressive firearm design background, it’s not surprising that Mr. Porat was able to accomplish a remarkable feat when creating his CC3 grip system. It has truly benefited the 1911 aficionado on a tight budget by instantly transforming this century old warhorse to an ultra-modern pistol equalizer capable of accepting tactical wares such as weapon light, laser and even vertical grip (where allowed by law) for maximum control with
a large pistol caliber.
The CC3 grip system consists of two halves that virtually cover the receiver (frame) of the pistol except the back side where the main spring housing and grip safety is located. It is made of high-grade polymer – the same material used on the Tavor rifle. The CC3 is tailored to be a universal fit to a standard 1911 type pistols. While most 1911 pistols produced by various gun manufacturers are designed to Colt specifications, there are some makes that differ in certain areas – primarily in the grip fore-strap contour for raised checkering purposes and the dust cover being beefed up a bit for strength and added weight as an aid to muzzle flip reduction without the aid of a muzzle device. To check out the fit of the CC3 with various 1911s, the grip was installed to the Series-70 Colt; then to the Caspian Arms, utilizing an early manufacture frame kit. The fit to the Colt Series 70 frame is near seamless with just a tiny line appearing below the trigger guard. On the Series-80 gun, the CC3 grip fit perfectly and seamlessly. The Caspian frame kit on the other hand had a very prominent .042 inch wide gap at the front of the grip. This could be the result of the added material from the raised checkering as well as the overall contour and dimension of the front strap radius. Another production brand 1911 pistol that has the same issue in this area is the Taurus PT 1911. Both 1911 frames have a noticeable square edge at the rim of the front strap (not a full radius like Colt) precluding a seamless fit. The large ribbings on all sides of the CC3 afford excellent purchase and the portion of the grip that covers the front strap improves the ergonomics. The CC3 appears to have better feel and ergonomics than any 1911 grip this author has tried before (wood or plastic). The styling is great, the material is light and strong but most of all, it offers the versatility of a railed 1911 pistol at a fraction of the price all without the
added weight and bulk.
Installation of the CC3 to the pistol is quite straightforward and takes about three minutes to complete. Simply remove the original grip of the gun and substitute the Recover. The only added work is the installation of the two small screws (comes with the kit with a hardware) that tightens the front end of the part. The halves are surprisingly snug when mated to the frame with no looseness whatsoever once all screws are tightened. The cut out for the magazine catch is very well thought out providing easy access, while the opposite side has an identical profile that gives the trigger finger excellent clearance for trigger reach and pull. In addition, the CC3 thumb safety clearance is also commendable focusing primarily on the shooter’s comfort and ergonomics. The profile on this area is also the same on both sides, truly ambidextrous and very nicely done. The CC3 fully encloses the dust shield of the frame and extend just a bit to increase the length of the rail and was perfect for the TLR weapon light, SIG-Arms mini-laser and Fab Defence folding front grip (made for a Glock pistol) for PDW conversion. Naturally, it is even more exciting to dress up a vintage 1911 carbine utilizing a detachable shoulder stock to a more sophisticated modernized PDW conversion complete with a folding front grip. In Canada this setup is perfectly legal for restricted firearms license holders. In the USA, stocked handguns or a handgun with a forward grip falls under a different class of weaponry and is subject to NFA rules and regulations. Having a forward grip on a railed stocked handgun makes a lot of difference in weapon control and comfort. It provided the handling characteristic of shooting a short barrelled rifle. The stock and grip in the carbine set-up really does make a lot of difference and it’s quite pleasurable to shoot specially with a compensated top end or a long slide with a match barrel. This can only be accomplished with a railed frame and the CC3 system made this all possible almost instantly without all the extra work or expense.
Although the overall design characteristics of the CC3 is quite impressive, there is still a little bit more room for improvement to further enhance its ergonomic and user friendliness. One desirable feature that can be incorporated with the system is an elevated serrated thumb rest to be positioned just forward of the slide stop and behind the CC3 marking on the dust cover. This would be a perfect location for locking the thumb of the non- shooting hand in a two hand hold position to attain maximum control of the gun as well as comfort. The built-in thumb rest can be made ambidextrous for all shooters and ideally the same height and profile as the slide stop serrated section. The right half of the grip of the CC3 first production batch has no cut for an ambidextrous safety. The ambidextrous cut is now incorporated on the latest production grips. A square bottom type grip for Smith & Alexander type mag-wells for those who prefer to use this popular accessory as an aid for speed reloading would also be a welcome addition to the series. A very useful tactical accessory for the CC3 that can be put to a good use is an optional one-piece scope mount that can be slid and secured directly to the rail of the grip. The mount will shroud the top of the slide just forward of the ejection port to allow unobstructed ejection of empty shell during firing. The top of the mount that covers the portion of the slide would have a built-in rail similar to that one already incorporated in the CC3 for mounting a small red dot or reflex type optic. The scope mount can be tailored to have a clearance underneath the shroud for aiming with an iron sight without removing the mount in the event the optic becomes unserviceable. If the overall dimension of the bridge module that encloses the slide can be kept streamlined and flat, it can be a phenomenal outfit for defense, competition or hunting purposes. A very versatile hi-quality optical mounting system is currently available for this tactical set up. It is called the handgun Universal Scope Mount (USM) by Fab Defence, one of Israel’s leading weapon accessory producers. This accessory is made from CNC machined 6061 T-6 aluminum and beautifully anodized to match any handgun finish. The USM features a top and bottom rail system allowing the mounting of an optic at the top and the bottom for a folding forward grip such as the Tactical Folding Fore-grips (FGG-S and FGGK-S for Glock pistols) also made by Fab Defence. Unfortunately, the USM is not compatible for use with the CC3 due to the low position of the rail in comparison to rails cut directly to the frame of the pistol. The good news is there is an alternative mount to the USM that can be used with the CC3 and is available from SIG Sauer called bridge mount. This accessory is made of high strength polymer and a bit bulkier than the USM but lighter. The bridge-mount features top rail (for miniature reflex type optic) and bottom rail (for weapon light, laser or forward grip). Just recently, Recover Tactical expanded their grip system series with the introduction of the new BC2 grip system for the Beretta 92F pistol.
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V19N7 (September 2015)|