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I have my first 1911, a SA Supertuned with a bald front strap. I've been looking into ways to improve the grip such as add-on finger groves and the Wilson checkered front strap that secures by the grip bushings. I've decided against the above and I'm now considering stippling. I'd love to have the front strap checkered but cannot justify a $150-200 modification to a $450 gun. Is stippling a good alternative to checkering?
 

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Alaska,
Your best bang for the buck is skateboard tape. You can buy it in different grits, colors, widths and thicknesses. If the front strap is adequately de-greased first, it's adhesion characteristics are very good.
Stippling costs almost as much as checkering and still requires refinishing. The bolt-on checkered panels don't have as much grip as skateboard tape.
Good Luck!
John Harrison
 

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Stippling can be an attractive and functional grip enhancer. It can also come out looking as if the village idiot attacked your pistol with a punch. The quality of checkering can be much more objectively evaluated than stippling. On checkering, we can see whether the lines are straight and of uniform depth & spacing, whether each little pryamid is nicely square & pointy, and we can look for the absence of overruns and other errors. The quality of stippling is more subjective. Does it look "pretty"? Is there the slight suggestion of a pattern or is it uniformly random? Does it feel "aggressive" enough?

It's best to see examples of a particular gunsmith's style of stipppling to determine if it'll suit you. With checkering, if he does it right, then it'll be fine.

Rosco
 

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Hi alaska1993, I like the Hogue rap around grips with the finger grooves, they give a pretty good grip. I also like the comments above.
 

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I learned of another way to do stippling and it doesn't involve using a punch. A really famous pistolsmith does it this way sometimes. First tell everyone to close up their windows and maybe turn the radio or TV up fairly loud. Get a half round or round bastard file and start hitting the area where you want the stippling. Keep doing it until you are satisfied or until the neighbors tell you to stop.
 

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there are other options, scallops, the "wave", very interesting. dollar for dollar skateboard tape is excellent
 

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Alaska -

If you opt for the skateboard tape option you should look into Marine Grade Traction Tape. It looks like skateboard tape but is made or rubber. It is completely waterproof and unlike skateboard tape which is really durable adhesive backed sand paper, the grit will not wear off.

The marine tape comes in different colors and a one foot piece (about four applications) cost me .70 cents. The black looks great on stainless frames.

MadDog
 

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...another way to do stippling and it doesn't involve using a punch. A really famous pistolsmith does it this way... bastard file and start hitting the area where you want the stippling. Keep doing it until you are satisfied...
I think that's the Armand Swenson method. Also practiced by Wayne Novak I believe. Looks good!
 
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