Replica or Replacement Pistol Grips
This post is a bit of a divergence from my normal posts. While handguns are not 'Native American' weapons, they are what some of our anti-gun friends might call 'Primitive American' weapons. Uh..shut up Mudd....
I recently had a request from a friend of mine to make him some replacement grips for his .40 cal Model 96 Beretta. This is a piece he 'rescued' from a fire and he did an amazing job of salvaging it.
I decided to do a little research on the history of pistol / firearm grips and was amazed at the diversity of materials that have been used down through the years. Finally I decided that it was something that I just had to share and this provides a good venue for that sharing.
Materials for modern day gun/pistol grips are almost always polymers or synthetics of some kind due to the increases in caliber and power of todays handguns.
Obviously this wasn't always the case. Many of the earliest firearms didn't have a grip at all, but were formed entirely from metal. (Maybe this is where the term 'Iron Men' came from!) I certainly wouldn't want to shoot a .50 cal handgun without some kind of padded grip! Eventually as these expolosive devices became more sophisticated, handles, or grips, were added as a protective or comfort feature. Wooden grips soon became common because it was readily available almost everywhere and it was easy to work with. And then of course there was the fancy stuff like Ivory, mother of pearl and stag horn.
Eventually man-made materials started appearing in the industrialized world and pistol grips were included as benefactors of changing technology. Rubber grips made from the latex of the rubber tree became common as well as many plastic/nylon polymers. Many gun enthusiasts love the Gutta Percha grip. ("Gutta Percha" is a naturally occuring tree sap, which, when allowed to dry out will form a moldable, semi-ridgid material that can be resoftened by heating in water.) Go figger.
Here's a couple of links for pictures of some awesome grips made from many different materials today:
Rio Grand Custom Grips
Wood Handgun Grips
So. Back to my friend and his request for replacement grips.
Armed as I was with all this new found information, I was literally shaking in my moccasins when I asked my friend what he would like to have the grips made of. You can imagine my joy when he said "Walnut". I've made many knife handles from walnut and actually made a pair of replacement grips for my old Ruger three-screw single six .22 from it. I love working with walnut and thought I just might pull this off. Silly me. Below you will find a link to a slideshow showing the results of Ver. 3.0. (Version 4.0 is still in the making, utilizing skills, tools, knowledge and humility I learned on the previous three versions.)
Click HERE for a slideshow of this project!