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 Granulate texture 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.