TFB Review: Talon Adhesive Grips for M&P, Glock and many others!

Talon Grips is a Colorado-based company that specializes in specialty grip tape for not just handguns but a number of firearms accessories. This list includes specially shaped grip tape for the Steyer AUG, various AR15 parts, among numerous other rifles and parts. Earlier this year I purchased a set of Talon grips for my Smith & Wesson M&P Shield in 9x19mm at a local shop in Indiana. The web price is set at $17.99 on the companies website, I think I got it for a little more in the shop. Specifically, the set I purchased was their Rubber-Black version. Just a disclaimer, but the grip tape stripe on the slide of the Shield is not included in the Talon Grips purchase.

With skateboard grip tape so available in mass produced sheets, the question that begs to be asked is why bother with a specialty accessory such as Talon Grips? The answer to that is that you aren’t paying for the actual material as much as you are paying for the pre-thought out design of their grip tape and the longevity that ensues. A perfect case in point, myself being the amateur tinker myself, had previously attempted to fix grip tape portions to my Shield. Did it work? Sure it worked, but just barely as an efficient gripping surface. In addition, it only lasted a month or two before it started to wear down and completely peel off the grip itself. Why did this happen? Because I didn’t have the knowledge to know how to cut the grip tape properly so it would stay on. You’re essentially putting a square section of grip tape around a curved grip, so similar to the Mercator Projection, of course, you’re going to have issues crop up.

With the Talon Grips solution, the company has pre-cut the tape so that it wraps and fills the grip much better than a simple cut out. They do this by allowing room for the various angles that ensure with that curvature, in addition to matching the contours of the Shield grip, even allowing for the Smith & Wesson to show through the grip tape via a cutout.

But what are the advantages and detractors of Talon Grips? The biggest difference between the Talon set and nothing at all is that there is an extremely large amount of traction you gain with the tape. This traction is immediately noticeable on the Shield, which as a sub-compact has very little grip space as it is, compared to a full-size, or even a compact handgun. Having that extra traction allows a shooter to gain a repeatable grip for consistent performance while shooting or drawing. Drawing probably being the more necessary component for a CCW gun, if it is to be depended on in a high-stress close quarters situation. The other advantage about well-made grip tape is that if you are curious about getting your firearm stippled, this is an excellent low-cost option that won’t decrease the value of your handgun if you intend to put it up for sale later. At the same time, it will also protect the polymer or metal underneath it from nicks and dings that are bound to occur while carrying it daily.

My Shield used to be my primary carry gun up until very recently, and only because I’ve upgraded to a Glock 19 have I stopped carrying it often. However, carrying the Shield often with the Talon grips affixed did lead me to some conclusions that potential buyers might want to take into consideration. First of all, it can take a toll on your clothing IF you have tight fitting clothes that are constantly pressed up against the grip surface. If you read my review of holster shirts, you can easily notice the wear and tear on the actual padding of the shirt. So as along as you aren’t using clothing or fabric that is constantly pressed up against the Talon Grip tape, you should have nothing to worry about. The other bit I need to mention is that if you can, try to have the tape professionally applied. If you buy it at a gun shop, the seller should be able to do it for you at no charge because you are the customer. The reason for this is that applying something like this, similar to a cell phone screen protector, really should be done with utmost care. It is after all an adhesive, that if done incorrectly the first time, could become worrisome as it becomes less reliable.

However, overall I am very pleased with the product, and it is still going strong on my Shield, several months after application, and many days at the range, and even more, days concealed carrying.





Miles

Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at miles@tfb.tv


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  • Jon

    I loved my Talon Grips until they fell off. I think because I carry my Shield everyday my gun gets sweat on it. The Talon Grips usually last about a year for me.

    • hking

      Did you heat the grip after application? They adhere far better and last longer if heat is applied as per the directions.

    • Jim B

      My glock 43 and 26 have talon grips and they been fine with no problems. However, I keep a G21 in my glove box and the talons just fall off (yes installation included the “wipe” and a heat gun) which I believe is due to the drastic temp differences while in the car.

  • Parnell

    Have the rubber grips on almost all of my pistols. Haven’t had one fail yet.

    • Phillip Cooper

      I’m new to them, but it seems that longevity is very much dependant upon proper install- namely heating the grips and pressing them into the material Everyone I have found that has had problems with them, when asked if they heated them or read the instructions, said nope.

      • Parnell

        I agree. I heat mine and never have a problem

      • Sunshine_Shooter

        I simply cannot fathom why a person would spend money on something and not read the instructions to make sure they are using it correctly. Then again, I don’t understand why people do most of the things they do.

      • Blumpkin

        it’s been awhile since i put the talon grips on my G17, but in addition to heating the tape up, there was also a cleaning swab or two that assists with bonding to the plastic.. mine has held up great.

        • Phillip Cooper

          Yep. Part of RTFM. 🙂

  • Phillip Cooper

    Useless article.

    Doesn’t do much more than advertise the product. It does mention that the product can be hard on clothing. Well duh, so is carrying a weapon concealed in the first place!

    As for expecting the product to be installed free? Ridiculous. The price of the item doesn’t include installation..Requiring a professional to do it? I don’t know any professional handgun tape installers, and the fact is it’s just NOT hard. I installed mine with nothing more than a Sharpie marker (using it as a burnishing tool to really get things pressed down) and a hair dryer. The latter item was hard to find, being that I’m bald as a cue ball. I had several non-standard uses for a hair dryer (installing window tint on several vehicles, and this), though, so I went and bought one at the dollar store for $15. Got strange looks, being as the cheapest they had was this shocking pink job, and again.. I’m bald. 🙂

    It must be hard being a non tool-using modern “man”…..

    • Hey thanks for the input!

  • Phillip Cooper

    I do like the painted frame, especially the wear on it. What paint was used? Looks like Krylon. I did much the same to one of my ARs.

    • Sunshine_Shooter

      I’ve krylon-ed a pistol frame before, and it looked just like that.

      • Phillip Cooper

        I like the look, I just don’t know why I’d have a need to paint my CCW pistol frame. Maybe if I was in the Secret Squirrel Corps.

        Each their own. Diversity is the spice of life. Some people think I’m wierd for driving a 30 year old truck, or for building my own suspension after cutting off the factory bits, lifting it, etc, etc. I get it, and it’s cool even if I don’t think it’s for me.

        Now, mid-80s passenger cars lifted with 20+” rims? Those are certifiably. stupid.

      • I don’t even know if it was krylon, it was simply spray paint from Walmart. It started out as a project to camouflage my buddies AR, but I felt like I might as well do it it my Benelli and Shield. This is the POTD of all three-
        http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2015/06/24/potd-spray-painting-a-rifle-a-shotgun-and-a-pistol/

  • Keith

    I followed the directions, applying heat, etc, and still had a bad experience. After a few months the rubber grip would rotate, interfering with operation of the gun. They sent me a free replacement, but the second one was the same. And I had a terrible time removing the adhesive (using various chemicals like rubing alcohol, etc). In fact, some residue still remains a year later. Wanted to love the product, but it doesn’t work for me.

    • Jared Vynn

      If it’s a metal frame try some brake cleaner, but only for metal frames. Otherwise an ultrasonic cleaner with a little vinegar and hydrogen peroxide with some Dawn might do the trick.

  • Dickie

    There great if you apply them right. Have to clean before install then heat them and press into gun about 4-5 times. Then they stay put.

  • USMC03Vet

    Buying stuff like this just confirms you bought the wrong handgun in the first place

  • Chris

    Why is it that when I look at this I get a mental image of Tony Hawk, standing next to a stripped down skate board, shaking his fist in the air and screaming ” damn you kids and your designer pistols !”