The legendary 1911 pistol has been a staple of the American gun culture for over 100 years after its initial introduction. Despite numerous advancements in firearms operation, materials, and ammunition technology, the venerated 1911 still remains a favorite of many firearms enthusiasts. However, the 1911 pistol in its original form is far from perfect. One notable deficiency of the original design for me is the lackluster grip texture you get from stock 1911s. Talon Grips has just come out with a new modular grip system for the 1911 platform that allows adapting the grip of each side of your 1911 without having to shell out thousands of dollars for a custom 1911 or 2011 pistol. Today I’ll be reviewing a complete set of Talon Modular grips that were sent over to me for testing and review and I’ll share my thoughts on Talon’s new grip system.
TFB Review: New Talon Modular 1911 Grips
Talon Modular grips will allow you to completely customize the feel of your 1911 grips. While Talon has already had a front strap grip piece available for sale, you can now change the left panel, right panel, and backstrap of the pistol and have a different texture for each one. I opted to cover the 1911 pistol I used for testing with a complete set of their “rubber black” textured grips. My set arrived in an envelope and included several alcohol pads as well as a set of installation instructions.
From what I’ve learned about installing these grips there are a few additional items you’ll want to have on hand to get the best fit and finish out of your 1911 modular grips:
- A heat gun or hairdryer
- A wooden dowel or piece of Delrin
- A craft knife
Aside from removing the grip panels, no other disassembly is needed to install the grips. However, Talon Grips always recommends that your firearm is properly unloaded and field stripped before attempting to install these grips.
Installation of the Talon Modular grips is quite easy. I am by no means an expert gunsmith and I have been known in the past to screw up the assembly of simple Ikea furniture but if you take your time to test fit all the pieces first before applying them, I think you’ll do fine. Each of the grip panels is specifically cut for each side of the pistol and ideally, you shouldn’t have to trim anything from your grip panels in order to get a perfect fit. However, I found that my particular 1911 – which was hand machined from a 1911 frame blank (not an 80%) and because of this there were a few areas around the magazine well where I needed to trim my front strap grip in order to get it to fit properly.
The grip panels are held in place primarily by the slight melting of the sticky material on the back of the grips. If you screw up your first positioning of a grip panel don’t worry, if you gently peel it off you can stick it back on with no problem till you’re satisfied with your work. After each piece was set in place, I went ahead and heated the section up with a heat gun for a couple of seconds before pushing it into place with my hands.
For the backstrap section, I opted to use a small piece of Delrin to get the grips to mold into the hard right handles between the mainspring housing and the frame so there were no gaps. The piece of Delrin also came in handy for making sure the sides of the grip panels were as flush as possible. On that note, one of my only complaints about the installation is the size of the provided side grip pieces. since not all 1911s are the same, I felt that if they included just a bit more material around the curved edges of the pieces, you’d be able to get a 100% fit. I was unable to do so with the piece provided but I was able to cut out the bottom pieces to match the curvature of the grips so that thing didn’t look funky.
I brought my freshly modified 1911 pistol to a local “fun shoot” match where the club brings out all manner of steel targets for you to plink at in a pseudo-competition setting. The times don’t matter but you’re still under the “beep” of the timer and it’s a great way to introduce newer shooters into the procedures around competition shooting or if you’re planning on testing something you’re not sure is ready for a sanctioned competition yet.
The first thing I noticed right off the bat was that the grips had widened due to the added bulk of the grip pieces, as well as the folding of the side sheets underneath the left and right panels. I didn’t mind this at all actually and felt like it gave me a more secure grip but others didn’t fancy this so much and I can understand why as the 1911 is a pretty huge gun, to begin with, and the controls are already hard enough to reach even without the added bulk of the grips – keep this in mind before you consider adding a set to your 1911 or 2011.
I normally have pretty sweaty hands and shooting this particular 1911 in the past usually left me with having to readjust my sweaty grip after every couple of shots. With the Talon Modular Grip system installed, I didn’t have to do this and the rubber texture added a good margin of slip resistance when compared to the standard checkered grips it had underneath it.
If I could do this all over again, I would have opted to order three different types of the Modular Grip system. On the front, I would have gone with their granulate material to get a solid rearward trip with my fingers, and for the right side and the rear, I would have opted to go for their new Pro material which is a hybrid of the rubberized and granulate material. Finally, for comfort, I would have kept the left side panel with the rubberized material and I think this would have made the grip just about perfect for me.
Firearms companies have been trying for decades to provide their users with various options for adapting their firearms to suit their needs. I have yet to see a single firearm company out there that is offering different types of grip textures outside of Talon grips. If you have a nice vintage or showpiece gun, I don’t think I’d recommend adding these to your own pistol, however, if you have an off the shelf 1911 or 2011 you’re looking to get a bit more performance, comfort, or grip out of, the Talon Modular Grip system is by far the best way to go if you know what you’re looking for each side of the grip. Best of all, if you don’t like what you try out the first time, the grips are inexpensive enough to replace a couple of times without having to break the bank. On the low end, you can expect to pay about $19.96 for a full combination of the lower-priced options or about $25 if you choose to get all Pro material grips. The new Talon Modular 1911 Grip system is available on their website now.
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