Front strap checkering....pro's & con's....

Discussion in 'The 1911 Forum' started by Tony Mig, Oct 2, 2006.

  1. Tony Mig

    Tony Mig New Member

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    My first ever 1911 was a Colt Series 70, that I briefly owned and shot back in the 70's, it's been too long to remember how the smooth front strap felt, or wether it allowed the gun to slip in my hand.
    Presently my only 1911 is my Kimber Target Match with 30 lpi checkering on the front strap, this gives me a good grip for bullseye match shooting....(limited rounds fired)....but doing any extended shooting this checkering will start to play havoc on the fingers.

    A couple of the other Kimber 1911 models I've been looking at come with a smooth front strap.....(Custom II, Royal II, Eclipse II).....and I'm wondering if a smooth front strap will become an issue with grip, especially durring hot weather with sweaty hands......?

    Of course a little strip of skateboard traction tape would solve that, assuming cleaning solvent doesn't destroy the adhesive......:confused:

    I'm interested in knowing what others prefer........
    A) front strap checkering
    B) front strap smooth

    Give me your reasoning why.......
  2. Shooter45

    Shooter45 *Administrator* Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Tony, I own a bunch of 1911's . Some checkered, some stippled and a couple with skateboard tape.

    Why ??

    Because I don't want the pistol grip moving around in my hand due to moisture. I live in a high humidity area and a slick grip is a problem.

    Which do I prefer ? Checkering is nice to look at and provides a good gripping surface but expensive and time consuming. Stippling , while not as pretty to look at, provides a good gripping surface. Plus, not as expensive.
    Skateboard tape is cheap, easy to work with and it lasts a while. If it wears out , it can be easily replaced.

    I guess it doesn't matter. :D

    But none of my 1911's have a slick grip and I never worry about my pistol moving around in my hand during a match.
  3. Tony Mig

    Tony Mig New Member

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    Thanks Shooter45....

    I don't have a problem with grip durring a match, because my match gun is this Kimber Target Match, and it has checkering that does provide excellent grip.

    I'm shopping for another 1911 to use for general range shooting, steel plates, and bowling pin shoots...(it'll also serve as my main home defense weapon)....

    My first choice is actually the Raptor II, but I'm not sure I'll be able to swing that financially, so I'm keeping my options open for some of the lower priced models like the Custom II. In all reality, the Custom II is all the 1911 I need for it's intended purpose, but it comes with the smooth front srtap, as does the other models I'm eyeballing....the Custom TLE II has the checkering on the front strap, and it's reflected in the cost......

    I suppose if I go that route, I could use traction tape in the summer, and clean it off durring the cooler months if I don't like the feel of it.....
  4. southernshooter

    southernshooter New Member

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    Yea I am with Shooter It is very high humidity here and you sweat alot I use skateboard tape one roll of it will do ten or so grips
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2006
  5. Tony Mig

    Tony Mig New Member

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    I guess my main concern here is this......

    When shooting a Bullseye match, or even most any other type of compition match, I'm only on the line and shooting a limited number of rounds. The 30lpi checkering on this Target Match does do it's job in helping me maintain a firm grip without the risk of slippage no matter how hot, humid, or sweaty my hands get. But on the occassions that I have gone to the range with a bucket full of full power 230Gr. ball reloads, and shot off a few hundred rounds in one session, that checkering starts to chafe the old fingers a bit.

    Is next 1911 purchase is specificlly for that purpose...(long range sessions with full power ammo).....so that's why I'm looking into the pro's & con's of front strap checkering. I've also posted this same question on the 1911 Forum...(Kimber section)....and have gotten mixed responses on the subject.
    Some of the responses I've seen involved stipling instead of checkering, and one fellow shooter suggested honing the tips down slightly, but that leaves an issue with refinishing. Another touted the benefits of the scale serrations on the Raptor model as giving good grip, but not chafing like standard 20 or 30 lpi checkering. And of course they also touted the benefits of traction tape, but traction tape could also cause a bit of chafing durring a long session......

    At this point in time, I'm really aiming for a Raptor, that may require either selling off something of value, or just trading in my Sig P220, handing over the Christmas Club check, and making time payments until it's paid off. Like they say..."where there's a will, there's a way".....:eek:
  6. Vermonter

    Vermonter New Member

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    Go for the Raptor II - you won't be sorry - not sure how much less it costs for the Custom II TLE/RL but that's also a good choice.
  7. southernshooter

    southernshooter New Member

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    Tony if anything was causing the chaffing I would say it is due to small amounts af slipage everytime you fire a round You shouldn't have that with grip tape and it is available in different courseness like sand paper
    Just my .02
  8. Vermonter

    Vermonter New Member

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    About the chaffing/sore fingers - this may prompt a huge roar, but what about wearing a special shooting glove for practice. I don't really care if it looks wimpy, I like the way it feels and protects my hand from random nicks and abrasions, especially when shooting semi-autos. Also I have poor circulation and fingers can freeze up quickly on an outdoor range. Of course if it's not allowed in competitions you would have to deal with your ability to adjust to shooting without the glove.
  9. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    I cut off the "wraparound" on my Pachmayrs, and "stippled" the front strap with an automatic centerpunch myself the first time I got the "sweaty hands slippage" in a match! It's actually pretty easy, just make sure you use some steel on the sides of the frame in the vise so you don't get any "slippage" of the punch around the edges of the front strap...that's about the only way you can "bugger" it up....

    It actually came out looking pretty good, I get compliments on it still, 20+ years later it's STILL sharp, and it stays put in the hand no matter HOW sweaty the hands now...and I've NEVER had any problems with shooting it, blisters, tenderness, whatever, and I shot it 1000 rounds a week minimum for almost an entire year in 1985...

    Like anything, if you shoot it ENOUGH you'll get used to it, and I'd rather have it STAY PUT in my hand when I grab it, than have it slipsliding around even a little bit....
  10. Joseywales3

    Joseywales3 New Member

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    I recently purchased a Caspian framed 1911 that was checkered front and back by Clark Custom. This was my first checkered gun and my hands tend to run dry, especially in the winter. I picked up that gun and the checkering felt almost sharp - though it clearly is not. My first thought was, "I've made a mistaked with the checkered frame." Unfortunately, I don't know the LPI because I purchased this gun after it was completed.

    What I can tell you is that when shooting the gun, it feels extremely comfortable. It doesn't rough them up at all and I really don't notice any difference, comfort-wise, from a plain frame. My guess is the chrome alloy frame checkering will also soften a tad with use. If I were having a gun built or modified, I'd probably handle 20, 25, and 30 LPI frames to see if there is any noticeable difference or preference.

    Hope that helped.
  11. terwiliger

    terwiliger New Member

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    You shouldn't wear gloves while shooting your carry weapon. Simply because with gloves you tend to shoot different (more relaxed, less likely to tense up because you don't anticipate any discomfort). You should shoot your carry weapon bare-handed ...

    I mean come on folks -

    If your caught in a surprise tactical situation are you going to tell the bad guy to hold on a minute while you put on your shooting gloves ...??? LOL, LOL...:eek:

    Grow a set and shoot bare handed ...
  12. Tony Mig

    Tony Mig New Member

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    The only time you'll see gloves on my hands is when the outside temps are below freezing. I don't like shooting with gloves on because I can't feel the gun.....(it's like having sex with a rubber)....:eek:

    The few times that freezing temps have forced me to cover my hands, I put on a thin pair of mechanic's gloves, just enough to take the edge off and keep me shooting a little longer.

    I got a pair of neopreme shooting gloves, but they are a little on the thick side, and I use them more for surfing in cold water than shooting.......:D
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