I rarely opine on grips for the 1911 as I could probably spend the rest of my life doing so due to the immense quantity of 1911 grips on the market today for the 1911-based pistol – regardless of the size of the pistol.
I have to make one exception; however, when it comes to the Hogue Wraparound Rubber Grips with Finger Grooves 1911 Colt .45 9mm #C45-000.
According to the manufacturer:“Hogue Wraparound Rubber Grips are the perfect choice for the shooter that is looking for a sleek grip that is both attractive as well as functional. This grip is manufactured from a soft durable rubber and features a lightweight, synthetic skeleton making the rigid interior of the grip. The synthetic insert is chemically bonded to the exterior rubber grip insuring that the grip won’t delaminate or come apart. Hogue uses a cobblestone (stippled) surface on this grip instead of traditional checkering for a modern feel and excellent grip control in any condition. The finger grooves on the front of the grip are an affordable alternative to front strap checkering and are preferred by many competition shooters for rapid, accurate shooting. The material is solvent and oil resistant which means it will not deteriorate or dissolve due to cleaning your firearm.”
I have used the Hogue series of soft, over-molded grips on several firearms including both of my MSRs and I have never found them wanting for lack of use. While I don’t have large hands, I do like a full grip when I am holding onto a firearm and the Hogue soft, over-molded grips make that possible.
While I prefer a nice set of wood grips on most pistols that allow grip choices, I have changed my viewpoint of them over the years. I now prefer rubber grips wherever possible. I am no longer as concerned as how a hand gun looks as I am with how a handgun performs – and that includes recoil management.
I recently ran the Bare Bones Gunfighting training course (http://guntoters.com/blog/2015/12/25/bare-bones-gunfighting-and-in-shadow-in-light-a-training-course-review/) with the Hogue Wraparound Rubber Grips with Finger Grooves 1911 Colt .45 9mm #C45-000 on the Ruger SR1911CMD-A and they worked very well in handling the recoil of this lightweight pistol. There was an issue in using the grips, but the issue could not be attributed to the grip itself. I’ll explain that in a little bit.The original grip panels on the Ruger SR1911CMD-A are thin to better accommodate concealed carry. To some, like me, they are a bit too thin for my liking. The Hogue Wraparound Rubber Grips with Finger Grooves 1911 Colt .45 9mm #C45-000; however, mounted just fine with the original grip mounting screws that came with the pistol; rubber has a tendency to give a bit where wood does not. Rubber also has a tendency to keep tension on the grip mounting screws, which helps to keep the mounting screws from backing out of the frame. With some wood grips, and also grips made with other materials like G10, the grip screws can back out unless small o-rings or something like Permatex THREADLOCKER BLUE is used to help secure the mounting screws. I do have a couple of 1911-based pistol that I carry and standard Hogue rubber grip panels are mounted on these pistols. However, they lack the finger grooves that I have come to like and appreciate. I can definitely tell the difference in shooting a 1911-based pistol with rubber grip panels but without a full finger-grove grip over the Hogue Wraparound Rubber Grips with Finger Grooves 1911 Colt .45 9mm #C45-000. The Hogue Wraparound Rubber Grips with Finger Grooves 1911 Colt .45 9mm #C45-000 cannot be mounted on all 1911-based pistols without some “sizing” and I will touch on that shortly. The victim for the latest outing with the Hogue Wraparound Rubber Grips with Finger Grooves 1911 Colt .45 9mm #C45-000 is the Ruger SR1911. On a previous occasion, I had removed the stock Ruger grip panels and replaced them with a Hogue 1911 Govt. Model Coco Bolo with Finger Groove grip. Very fancy (and expensive), but not entirely suitable for field work because they were smooth grips and very slippery when wet. If I was to carry this pistol as an EDC, the fancy grips had to go.
The Hogue Wraparound Rubber Grips with Finger Grooves 1911 Colt .45 9mm #C45-000 can be found in several colors but the black version better suited the all stainless steel Ruger SR1911 with its black accents provided by the various external controls, sights, and other visible parts.
The Hogue Wraparound Rubber Grips with Finger Grooves 1911 Colt .45 9mm #C45-000 is a single-piece unit unlike some other “wrap-around” grips on the market that have an insert between the two grip panels. This particular set also fits “Commander” sized 1911-based pistols; whereas, a separate size is available for “Officer” models. According to Hogue; “Hogue 1911 grips are designed to accommodate slight variances in screw hole size / spacing and are available for both Full and Compact models in a variety of materials, colors and textures. It’s possible that some 1911 clones may deviate from the original screw hole spacing. If you are in doubt, measure your screw hole spacing and compare. The dimensions shown are approximate.” The dimension for the “Government” and “Commander” pistols is 3 1/16″ spacing between grip screws; whereas, for Officer Model pistols the grip screw spacing is 2 11/16″ spacing between grip screws.
The Hogue Wraparound Rubber Grips with Finger Grooves 1911 Colt .45 9mm #C45-000 are nicely molded and the texturing of the grip are right where you need it. The finger grooves are spaced so that my fingers seem to gravitate into them. The top finger groove is nicely spaced below the trigger housing to allow the middle finger to fully rest on the bottom of the trigger guard and a cutout on the left side of the grip ensure that the magazine release button can be easily reached with the thumb of the shooting hand (or the thumb of the support hand). The finger grooves are also relieved for comfort. The grips provide a cushion without feeling spongy, which brings me to my issue with the grips. As a side note, the grips are actually reinforced with metal within each panel. The metal reinforcement provides a secure attachment to the grip mounting bushings and also prevents flexing of the grip panels that could interfere with magazine operation. The right side panel is properly relieved for the magazine release assembly to operate.
The panel width of the grip is the same as the standard .25-inch grip panels found on the 1911. The actual gripping area; however, will be slightly greater due to the finger grooves and the material necessary to provide them.Normally, when I am at the range (or in this specific case, a training course) I wear shooting gloves. I had brought several pairs of gloves with me to the training course; a set of Harbinger open-finger weightlifting gloves that I find excellent for managing recoil on hard recoiling handguns, a pair of Wilson open-finger bicycle riding gloves that are excellent for small guns with highly-textured grips, a set of finger-padded hunting gloves, and a simple and cheap set of mechanics gloves by Hardy. I prefer open-fingered gloves because I like to feel the trigger. The harbinger gloves were tried first. It was not long to realize that the combination of the Harbinger gloves and the Hogue grips were not compatible; the extra padding of the gloves was causing my hand to twist on the grip. To make this short, by the end of the first day of training I was wearing no gloves. The material of the grip would grab the material of the glove and my fingers were shifting inside the glove, which impacted the pistols POI (not that I was doing that great in the first place).
The Hogue Wraparound Rubber Grips with Finger Grooves 1911 Colt .45 9mm #C45-000 make it easily to get a full grip on the pistol while drawing from the holster or when holstering the pistol. With the combination of a high grip safety and the finger grooves, the draw from the holster was positive, my thumb was perfectly positioned above the thumb safety, and I did not have to shift my hand to adjust my grip on the pistol. That makes me happy.
Although I ran the training course with an OWB holster, my usual carry is IWB in a slightly modified holster made by SHTF Gear. This places the butt of the gun tightly against my side and rib cage. The Hogue Wraparound Rubber Grips with Finger Grooves 1911 Colt .45 9mm #C45-000, although over-molded, is much more comfortable against my side and ribs than most other grips and that makes me happy. I have no more problems trying to conceal a 1911-based pistol with these grips than with pistols without them. Your experience may differ from mine. In addition, I wear a t-shirt at all times when carrying and I have not found that the grip pulls against any innerwear or outwear.
Although the Hogue Wraparound Rubber Grips with Finger Grooves 1911 Colt .45 9mm #C45-000 are sized to fit most all 1911-based pistols without modifications, fitting them to a 1911-based pistol with ambidextrous thumb safety may prove more of a challenge. While there is a cutout (of sorts) on the right side panel for “normal ambidextrous safety levers (like those found on a Springfield), the grips are not friendly with Rock Island Armory 1911-based pistols because of the ambidextrous thumb safety lever shape. Serious surgery (and some sanding) is required on both panels to make them compatible with the RIA ambidextrous safety levers. Trust me, I know about this.
Unlike some brands of wrap-around finger groove grips, the Hogue Wraparound Rubber Grips with Finger Grooves 1911 Colt .45 9mm #C45-000 is impervious to most gun cleaners and solvents. The grips fit tightly against the frame and are nicely beveled at the bottom and trimming at the bottom is normally not necessary.Installing the grip on some 1911-based pistols can be a little frustrating and may take some slight stretching to get everything lined up. You can also bend and twist the center of the grip lightly to get some “stretch” in the material. It is best to get the bottom of one side mounted, and then pull the opposite panel into place at the bottom. I found that if I pushed against the finger grooves slightly while mounting the opposite side of the grip, the panel would normally slip right over the grip bushings. Engagement with the grip bushing is positive because of the metal-reinforced mounting hole in the grip. The use of heat, except from that of your hands, is all that is necessary. With the stainless steel of the Ruger SR1911, I used grip mounting screws from Hogue (Extreme Series Stainless Steel Grip Screws), rather than the grip screws the Ruger provide, to give a nice contrast with the grip and the gun; the brushed satin finish of the grip mounting screws compliment the brushed finish of the pistol. If you can make functionality look good, why not do so.
SUMMARY:In my hand, the Hogue Wraparound Rubber Grips with Finger Grooves 1911 Colt .45 9mm #C45-000 really tends to balance the pistol better than with standard grips. They are, of course, slightly heavier than the standard grips, and perhaps that adds enough weight to the butt of the firearm to offset the long and heavy barrel of the 5-inch 1911. Regardless, and to me, the Hogue Wraparound Rubber Grips with Finger Grooves 1911 Colt .45 9mm #C45-000 feel at home on an officer, commander, or government length 1911-based pistol.
Hogue, Inc. has a full line of grips for just about every firearm that uses grips, and stocks for some that don’t; shotguns and rifles, for example. I have a Hogue over-molded stock for a Mossberg 500 12-gauge shotgun. Hogue also has a full line of other products.
The time and money that I have spent with the Hogue Wraparound Rubber Grips with Finger Grooves 1911 Colt .45 9mm #C45-000, has been time and money well spent with a decrease in felt recoil and better pistol management due to its full grip, material, and texturing; I noticed a total difference in the control characteristics of the 1911 and less fatigue on my shooting hand. It really made shooting the 1911 a pleasure to shoot a long session. And, even better, they are reasonably priced!
Hogue 1911 Sizing Chart:
Hogue Rubber Wraparound Finger Groove Grip for Office 1911 at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00VQJFICY?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=od_aui_detailpages00
Hogue Rubber Wraparound Finger Groove Grip for Office 1911 at Hogue: http://www.hogueinc.com/store/products/1911-govt-model-black-rubber-grip-with-finger-grooves/4203
1911 Grip Screws: http://www.hogueinc.com/search.php?q=1911+screws&x=0&y=0