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Discussion Starter #1
I've just begun the adventure of buying my first 1911. I have been reading the heck out of this forum and pistolsmith.com and learning a lot. I am currently looking at a Baer TRS, Wilson CQB and the Ed Brown Kobra. I was leaning towards the TRS until I actually held one. The grip feels very sharp in hand. In fact, only the Kobra was actually comfortable to hold. This has me leaning toward Ed Brown now-if I can get over the snakeskin pattern on the slide. My question is: Do you ever get used to the sharp edges or do you just endure the flesh eating experience as a quirk of owning a Baer/Wilson? Perhaps Glock has been to gentle with my palms... Any advice is welcome.

[This message has been edited by woody (edited 10-12-2001).]
 

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I'm guessing that the sharpness was from the checkering on the frontstrap and mainspring housing (since edges are usually beveled pretty well on TRS and CQB). It feels sharp, but rarely tears skin. Comes in really handy if hands are wet, bloody, or a little oily. Anything that will help it stay in your hand, will be appreciated at some time or another.
 

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I heard this helps




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"That's all we expect of man, this side the grave: his good is - knowing he is bad"

- Robert Browning -
 

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Woody, I'm man enough to admit that I don't like front-strap checkering or harsh grips. If your pistol isn't comfortable to hold - then you won't care about shooting straight. You'll be too busy thinking how this grip feels, etc.

I bought a Kimber Pro Carry which doesn't have either of these. It has a rubber grip, which feels great in my hand. I like the smooth front-strap.

-Nick
 

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I had smooth grips on my Norinco full size and liked the way they felt. I then picked up a SA compact with extremely sharp wood checkered grips on them. At first I didn't like the way the felt but after the first few range trips, I actually prefer them now.
 

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Dear Woody, Why don't you just wear a golf or shooting glove on your gun hand when practicing? That should solve your problem. Stay safe, Gary
 

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If you like Glock and they have been gentle with your hands, why not stick with them with the 21/30/36?. Grip is one of the important attributes of marksmanship, if its not at least reasonably comfortable in your hand you're probably not going to shoot it to your potential.
 

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I've heard this alot from different people so you shouldn't feel alone.

I'm a carpenter so my hands are pretty tough and I've never had a problem with checkering at all.

If you don't feel comfortable with or don't like the looks of a gu you shouldn't buy it. experience has taught me that people who buy guns in spite of their feelings usually sell those guns at a loss.

get a Wilson Millenium protector or something with a grooved frontstrap and not checkered. or you can get a hogue fingergroove grip.

The other alternative, the one your wife will like most by the way, is to get out there and do some serious yard work and toughen up those hands.
 

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woody,

I understand Kel-Tec makes their .32 with a pink frame that is very easy on those less than manly hands!


Seriously though, I've never cared for checkering on the frontstrap and the Baers I have handled did seem excessively sharp. I think the glove for practice is a sensible solution to your predicament. If you have to draw your pistol for self defense, the sharp checkering will be the least of your concerns!

(I think the Kobra looks really cool)

lesthemess
 

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A quick point of reference, the front and back straps are where many (most?) people end up with the greatest concentration of grip on their guns. The actual grip panels on a 1911 don't seem to offer too much in the way of actual grip. This I found when switching between regular checkered grips and smooth sided grips. During heavy episodes of shooting, I have never gotten a blister on the parts of my hands that actually contact the checkered grips (AKA slabs).

I am a keyboard commando, both on-line and in my work, so I don't have tough hands either. I have a Wilson CQB. The checkering is 30 lpi and isn't that bad for shooting 100-300 rounds in a given day, then not shooting for a couple of days. Shooting once or twice a week is not problem. Shooting several days in a row can cause some blistering if you are in a class like Gunsite or Thunder Ranch.

If you are buying the gun to serve a role as a defensive handgun, the checkering is really very important, or may be very important. It helps to provide good control under circumstances that might not be ideal such as in the rain, due to a lot of sweat (I did Thunder Ranch for 5 days in July and there were times when sweat was just running off my hands), or if your hand is covered in blood for some reason. A wet gun or bloody gun can be quite slippery.

If the gun is just for plinking, you will have a very nice Wilson or Baer plinker! If it is for plinking, you won't be shooting enough to cause any harm.

One of the bad things I have seen with polymer frame guns like Glocks or the rubber sleeve put over the Glock grips to provide better grip is that the polymer is very slick when it is wet. If you don't have a Glock with finger grooves or don't have some form of friction, it will be harder to hold the gun during recoil.

Of course, this goes for any 1911 without checkering or some other form of friction adding grip on the front strap.

Checkering is not a necessity, but if the gun is for defense, then it is a good idea to have it, IMHO.

FYI, on my wife's Kimber, we simply added a piece of friction tape, but very nicely to look as stylish as friction tape can look on a stainless gun, and it has been beneficial to her shooting. My wife has girly hands and the smooth front strap did not offer much in the way of grip for her, so the tape helped and it isn't so rough (after being used a few times) that it bothers her at all.

Larry Vickers who makes really expensive custom 1911s prefers 20 lpi checkering. 20 lpi can be quite aggressive and I would not want to do a lot of shooting in a single episode with 20 lpi as my hand skin definitely is not tough enough to handle the bite of the checkering. HOWEVER, I do want to get a carry gun with 20 lpi checkering as it provides a substantial increase in friction to help hold the gun in place in the hand. The only way I can see getting a better for of friction would be have a series of spikes that just impaled into the hand, but that isn't going to happen.

By the way, by day 2 at Thunder Ranch, several people had started putting white medical tape over those sections of fingers and palm that put pressure on the front and back straps. On day 2, pretty much all of us had checkered grips. By day 4, even some of the people without checkered grips had tape over fingers and palms to protect the blisters they had forming as well.

If your hands are really soft and you want a defense gun, then you might consider wearing very thin leather gloves (thin weightling gloves, a pair of isotoner with the fingers cut out, thin bike gloves, etc.). You will only need a glove on your strong/gun hand. In that way, your hands won't get chewed during practice, but you will still have the checkering to provide better grip if you do have to draw your gun during an unpleasant social occasion.
 

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I suggest you also look at (search) of the Les Baer posts for - Sharp Edges? - .

Hand fit and comfort are important. There are different 1911 grips and different 1911s for every hand and person. You just need check more places, guns, calibers and brands. My 9 yo nephew, 120 lb. daughter and 90 lb. women shoot my .45 Government Model and .45 opem double stack fine. You can't beat a good single action 1911 trigger. 1911s are available in 9mm, .40 and .45 plus many other calibers. One size does not fit all.

That being said there are several othere types of hand guns (brands) that work and I have some of them too.

Dean
 

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In my not so humble opinion to your question:



If the checkering is too sharp for you, grow some calluses! Seriously, why don’t you just buy a non-checkered 1911 instead? … like the Millennium Protector.
 

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I have really girlie hands too. Like a girlie violin player's hands. The front strap on the USP really kills my hand after a full day of shooting. I had a rubber grip over it for a while, but my hands are really small, so the grip size was just way too big. I had the gun for a couple months, had the grip on for months, but just took it off a month or two ago. I don't think you'd ever get used to the pain per se, but continual use will get your skin thicker, which will make it OK after a while, but you really have to do it alot. Like playing a stringed instrument, your skin builds up, but I don't see it happening with guns. Your best bet would be finding something that is confortable right off the bat.
 

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I have broken in two Kimber CDPs; checkered front straps and rosewood grips. Both were really hard on my hands at first but after 700 rounds or so, the edges began to wear and my hands toughened. If you plan to practice with your pistol, don't worry about it, the problem will take care of itself. If you aren't going to practice, then find a something with a smoother grip. The last thing you need to be thinking about is that it is going to hurt if you pull the trigger.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the replies. I expected some ribbing about my sissy palms, thanks for not dissapointing me. I had not considered a Wilson MP, may be a good option. This will mainly be a range gun, so it sounds like the edges won't be an issue either way. I considered shooting gloves but I can't get used to them. In the mean time, I've begun a rather rigorous hand training program consisting of barbed wire, glass shards and molten lava. I should be ready to go in about 2-3 weeks. I

[This message has been edited by woody (edited 10-15-2001).]
 

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This could help at times so others don't feel your anger with the sharp edges




My buddy has a Wilson MP and it's every bit as good as a CQB or Protector - minus the checkering. Sweet shooter!
 

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...How about this...There are many pistols available without checkering. You can always add other types of friction later if you want...Buy a stock Colt,Kimber or SA and a case of ammo...Shoot the crap out of all that ammo and after yer' done, contact the smith and trainers of yer' choice and tell them what ya' want...You'll have plenty of money for all of it + some extra for nice holsters and mag pouches, candy bars, Coleman fuel, and a Surefire or two...


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!!!Molon Labe'!!!
 

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A great deal of relief can be had by simply gripping the pistol firmly enough that the checkering does not move around in relation to one's hand. When it does so, it is like running a rasp over one's skin. Clamp down on the pistol and minimize any movement on recoil.

Rosco
 

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Nothing feels better than a pair of Sambar Stag grips. Nothing looks better for that matter!

MadDog
 
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