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Did old DA revolver grips work well?

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by ithaca_deerslayer, Jun 28, 2012.

  1. Historically, why did the revolver grips change from this
    and this

    to this

    and this

    The gun frame obviously has always been made to allow the older grip where the middle finger is up high behind the trigger guard. That basic frame design hasn't seemed to change much in regard to that over the years.

    Was there ever a reason to allow the middle finger up so high? Or was it just bad original design? Seems like nobody prefers that functionally, unless they are just trying to get a retro looking gun.

    Anyone know the history and reason for that ergonomic change in DA revolver grips?
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2012
  2. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

    Oct 23, 2000
    California & New Mexico, US
    The smallish grips point extremely well, but not amenable for fast, repeated firing. The gun tends to climb up inside your palm. Later on, the manufacturers started to make the grips a bit bitter and more squarish so that it sits more solidly in your hand.

    When target shooting became more popular and revolvers became less of a front line weapon, came the design of heavy barrel, full underlug and target grip.

    Fingergrooves came into its own proliferation around 1990s.

  3. Three-Five-Seven

    Three-Five-Seven Señor Mombo Millennium Member

    Aug 8, 1999
    Great Southwest
    The "old" (as you call them) Magna grips are the best in my world.

    I've always switched any "Target" gripped gun over the Magna grips first thing. They just fit my hand so much better.

    I prefer the Magna grips even on N frames -- even with full-goose Bozo loads.

  4. ronin.45


    Apr 24, 2008
    Grips have gradually changed to fit the human hand better. That Ahrends grip is much more comfortable than the others shown.
  5. Berto

    Berto woo woo

    Sep 15, 2003
    I think it was because the older style with space behind the trigger guard lent itself to hip or point shooting where the gun was held at waist level and triggered in a FBI crouch.
    As aimed fire and two handed contemporary methods brought the gun to eye level, they 'squared' up the grip for a more straight back trigger pull. guess, at least.
  6. glock_19guy1983


    Sep 8, 2002
    I hate magnas. It is the most un natural feeling grip in the world.
  7. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

    Oct 23, 2000
    California & New Mexico, US
    I beg to differ. I can't stand the Aherends grips, especially with the finger grooves.

    Those old grips and the magna grips work much better for me.
  8. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

    Oct 23, 2000
    California & New Mexico, US
    That too. Combat shooting back in the days was more about one-handed stance and those smallish grips work great for that type of grip. Though I don't have an issue with shooting two-handed modern style on those grips either.

    The large grips were and are inspired from target grips.
  9. People got bigger. Their hands got bigger. Go back further in time than the examples you've shown and you'll find grips were even smaller.

    I suspect another factor was simply that the factories knew the first thing a shooter was going to do was replace the grips with grips HE liked. So why bother tying to make a better one? Stick a set of Magna's which were cheap, on it and ship it. Even Smith & Wesson's "target grips" were more for looks than for practical.

    When I first started buying revolvers, every gun shop I went into had a "box O' grips" somewhere. They were usually marked for a couple of bucks, or even "free to a good home." A guy would buy a gun and a set of grips at the same time. The standard grips came off and went into the box, and the aftermarket ones went on usually before the gun left the store. That's why original S&W Magna grips are so expensive today. (Ruger Speed/Security-Six grips were even worse.)

    Today, everying is "combat" oriented. Bigger, fatter grips, with finger groves are the rage. It's cheaper to buy a few sets of wooden or rubber grips from an aftermarket supplier, than it is to make them inhouse.
  10. Nestor

    Nestor Lean & Mean

    Jul 13, 2003
    ...and don't forget about the grip adaptors that were quite popular in the 70's and 80's...just before the target grips became the new standard.
    For serious applications I prefer the rubber over any wood.
  11. Yes, I think the grip adapters must have been a fix for the old DA grips.

    Odd thing is, the Colt SA semed well designed from the start. Especially how the gun rolls upward for cocking.
  12. Golddog


    Nov 26, 2003
    Parkton, MD
    Because the older slim grips magnified recoil. The newer types are much easier on the fingers if you're shooting .357 Mag rounds. I dumped the old style grips on all my revolvers in favor of the ones that fill in behind the trigger guard.
  13. cowboywannabe

    cowboywannabe you savvy?

    Jan 26, 2001
    the grips which allow the middle finger to ride high against the back of the trigger guard have shown us that they are poorly designed by the market saturation of grips which fill this void.

    for purists, sentiment, or the love of vintage things these are the only reason these grips are still around. they are not as practical as current designs.
  14. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member

    Jan 16, 2005
    Because there is an industry built around selling cool looking things to people who own guns that they mostly look at and occasionally use to put holes in paper. Every revolver I own has a set of S&W wood grips like in your first 2 pictures, even where it is a model that doesn't come with those grips. The only thing I did to my 637 when I got it was replace the rubber grips with a set of old wood ones, probably from the 60's.

    This thread is, once again, full of the reasons I criticize GT as a forum for newbs.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2012
  15. cowboywannabe

    cowboywannabe you savvy?

    Jan 26, 2001
    people buy the grips which fit their hands the best or suit their shooting needs the best.

    thats why the old style wood grips have faded to vintage status like top break revolvers; something better has come along.
  16. countrygun


    Mar 9, 2012
    I prefer the "old" style with the addition of a Tyler "T-Grip" on my "K" frames. The style has gotten a bit hard to find for the "N" frames and I generally replace them with a certain type of older, basic "Pachs"



    I will be ordering some of the "skelton" style grips for my "N" frames in the near future. Funny, I like the "T"s but generally, with some exceptions,


    dislike finger grooves on wood or rubber stocks. I have to add that the Colt Python has the worst factory grips of any revolver I've ever held.

    I also do not find it a particular problem at all to have "Newb's" asking questions at all. as long as they show a bit of respect for the answers i figure it's the least I can do to keep the knowledge alive.
  17. Your points about pefering the older grip style is interesting, and there is at least one other poster thus far in this thread who also seems to prefer them. I guess that answers the question about the frame, to allow those old style grips that some people still prefer :)

    As to GT being a forum for newbs, I always wonder if there is some top secret forum, like the Stonecutters, that you go to and share exchanges with other experts.

    I haven't been invited to that secret forum yet, as my gun knowledge, philosophy knowledge, and general knowledge is still far below what it takes to get into that forum. Instead I forever roam GT along with the other newbs. But we are trying to learn :)
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2012
  18. NeverMore1701

    NeverMore1701 Fear no Evil Platinum Member

    Jun 25, 2004
    Amarillo, Tx
    Then, yet again, why don't you go find a forum populated by more experienced folks such as yourself?
  19. 427


    Nov 23, 2009
    I have a S&W model 40 and with the original grips, it was a little awkward for me. I found an old Tyler-T and I'm much happier. I also didn't want to chop up grips for the grip safety.
  20. cowboywannabe

    cowboywannabe you savvy?

    Jan 26, 2001
    you cant feel superior amongst those of the same intellect. you must go where you stand above the field in order to get noticed, thats why i come here too, right Bren?:rofl:
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2012