Ergo grip fitting

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Ergo grip fitting

Post by Jwhelan939 on 1/22/2016, 7:54 pm

Hey all. I purchased a set of nil grips for my 1911. I love the grips, but I can tell they need a bit of adjusting. They feel good everywhere, but I have some issues with the grip safety disengaging. I was trying to find info on proper fitting. Unfortunately, the only thing I really found was Tony's bullseye blog. Has good info, but some pics would have helped. Can anyone recommend a place for me to research proper fitting? Thanks in advance.

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Re: Ergo grip fitting

Post by Sa-tevp on 1/22/2016, 10:05 pm

Try searching www.targettalk.org as the subject comes up a lot there. If you pm me your email I can fill up your inbox tomorrow with articles I`ve collected. I once owned an IZH air pistol that shipped with a piece of protective lumber around the grip...
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Re: Ergo grip fitting

Post by Sa-tevp on 1/23/2016, 10:29 am

While corresponding I ran across this great article again at Igor's Blogspot: http://toz35.blogspot.com/2011/08/make-pistol-grip-part-8-final.html

Igor is a club shooter in Germany and has a series of articles on making an ergo grip for his FWB AW93. Good times.

Like the guy that made http://coltpython.blogspot.com/ he takes a lot of pictures to show what he is seeing and working on.
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Re: Ergo grip fitting

Post by Jwhelan939 on 1/23/2016, 10:49 am

Thank you again for all your help. Funny that you mentioned the jb. I ordered it 2 days ago. On its way already. I currently have the Caspian with the speed bump. Figured I could also build it up and mold it. I built my bullseye 1911 from the ground up, so I'm gonna cringe putting it on, but definitely don't want to risk it not working properly during the season. Going back and forth between building it up or knocking the grips down.

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Re: Ergo grip fitting

Post by Sa-tevp on 1/23/2016, 10:53 am

If I remember correctly, the recommended practice is to modify the least expensive part....
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Re: Ergo grip fitting

Post by SteveT on 1/23/2016, 10:58 am

I've had good luck using PC Lumber or JB Kwikwood for grip modification. I can get one or the other at my local hardware stores for ~$5 and it's easy to add and sands / cuts easy. Bond-O and other epoxy putties are harder to sand and cut. My advice is to go slowly. It's amazing how much 1mm of thickness can change the feel of the grip. When I get close I like to have 10-20 shooting sessions (dry or live) to really get to know the grip before making another change

Here's a few documents on grip fitting.

+1 for searching TargetTalk.org

The AMU ran a series in USA Shooting News in 2009
USA Shooting News AMU Corner Intro to Grip Fitting
USA Shooting News AMU Corner Grip Fitting 101
USA Shooting News AMU Corner Grip Fitting 102
USA Shooting News AMU Corner Grip Fitting 103
USA Shooting News AMU Corner Grip Fitting 104

Nygord's Notes Grip Fitting
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Re: Ergo grip fitting

Post by SteveT on 1/23/2016, 11:04 am

Here is a pair of articles which I believe came from USA Shooting News AMU Corner, but I didn't save the date of publication.

Grip Fitting 101
One of the biggest questions asked in shooting is how a grip should feel and what
to look for in a grip. Every shooter will hold his or her grip a little differently and will
have a differing opinion on what constitutes a well-fitting grip. If you look at the
commercial ergonomic grip makers like Morini, Rink, Vitarbo and Hoffman, you’ll
notice they all have common lines that fit every person’s hand. These lines should be the
same for everyone. They are just in different places on the grip. A lot of people think
that only a grip maker or wood worker can fit a grip, but with some knowledge on what
to look for, even the novice shooter can get his or her grip to fit better.

In international shooting, the pistols are allowed to have ergonomic grips with
shelves. These grips can be purchased from any of the major gun parts suppliers in the
United States. A shooter should try to buy a grip that fits his or her hand fairly well so all
that needs to be done is some fine refining. For example, for me, a medium Morini grip
fits pretty well. Morini makes guns, but also makes grips for many different models of
pistols. Because of this, my Morini, Walther, Steyr, and even my Smith and Wesson all
have Morini medium grips. All I have to do is make the same small adjustment on all of
my grips to make them feel the same. After all, consistency is the key in our sport. If the
grip is the same from one gun to the next, then scores should also be more consistent.
There is not a grip out there that fits perfectly all of the time. I will say it again;
there is not a grip out there that fits perfectly all of the time. There are grips that fit pretty
well most of the time. Due to temperature, water retention, humidity, and many other
physiological factors that are over my head, your hand will change in the grip from day to
day. A grip that feels perfect on any given day will only stay perfect in those exact
conditions. Any other day, with different conditions, it will feel different. Hopefully, not
much, but there will always be a small difference.

When you fit a grip, give it some time. A good rule of thumb is to get an idea of
exactly what you want to change on the grip and why you want to make the changes.
Make sure you understand how each change is going to change other lines on the grip.
Take a few days and change the grip. Shoot with the grip for several months. Your hand
was used to the previous grip, even if it was a poor grip. Any change will feel different,
and many times it will even feel wrong and uncomfortable, even though the grip is a
better fit. Many shooters will change a grip only to change it back a few days later. In
this case, it was either a bad idea in the first place to make the changes, or you did not
give your mind enough time to get used to the changes. There are many shooters that
have gone to great grip makers like Vitarbo, Hoffman or Morini and gotten a grip made.
They pay good money for the grip only to grind it back to the way it was before they
went. Have Vitarbo, Hoffman and Morini lost their touch and become unable to fit a grip
anymore? No. The individual did not understand the change or did not give himself or
herself enough time to get used to it.

When you fit a grip, do not be afraid of grinding too much or putting filler in the
wrong place. Filler comes back off, and ground off parts can be filled back in. The
materials you need to fit your grip better are filler, wood remover, a grip, and safety
equipment.

Filler comes in many different shapes and sizes. Some examples are Bondo, A
+B, Morini wood filler, or plastic wood. I like to use a product called quick steel. It is a
lot like A+B which is sold by Champion’s Choice and other stores. Quick steel is a two
part putty that when mixed in equal amounts is like using clay to fill in where you want
it. Then, it dries hard and adheres well in about 5 minutes. It is easy to buy at Wal-Mart
or any automotive store. I like it better than Bondo because it is stiff like clay and you
can put it on the pistol, put your hand in the grip, and let it dry. It will be ready in five
minutes. Then, you can start working on another part of the grip. Filler, like Bondo, is
more of a liquid and makes a mess if you put your hand in it to form. Bondo has also
been known to give people burns. If you can’t put your shooting hand in the grip to form
it, then it takes a little more imagination and skill to put the grip lines in the right place.
I have seen some people use clay or mole skin to adjust their grips. Both of these
items have their place in grip building. Clay is nice to put on to see if you would like to
make your grip a certain shape. If you have little experience in fitting grips, this can aid
your decision as to what to finally do. Clay should not be a permanent fix because it is
not solid and will squish out, eventually destroying that consistency you are striving for.
Mole skin works well if several people are using the same grip, or if the grip does not
belong to you and the owner does not want you to change his grip. Mole skin will also
help in the decision making process as to what changes to make to the grip. Mole skin
should not be used for a permanent fix due to its squishy nature. If your hand sweats,
moleskin will change shape and compress. Either one of these reasons will cause
inconstancy in your grip. Shooting well is all about being consistent. Keep your sights
aligned and until next issue, STAY ARMY STRONG!

Grip Fitting 102
When I refer to a wood remover, I am talking about a Dremel tool, a file, sand
paper, a chisel, a rasp, or anything else that could remove wood and filler in a tight
curved spot. I like to use a Dremel because of its versatility. A Dremel can be bought at
any home improvement store. The speed can be varied to grind hard wood, soft wood,
and the filler of your choice. The Dremel bits that I prefer are the Dremel course sanding
drums. There are two sizes which help when you have a different radius. Another bit I
use is the cut-off disk for cutting the fine line in grip halves. This is used to get your grip
back apart after you have filled across the grip seam. This is normal to do and a cut-off
disk works well to make a new seam.

As I have already written, try to start with a grip that already fits pretty well.
When you buy a new pistol, almost all of them come with different sized grips. You
need to make sure you tell the dealer what size grip you would like on your new pistol.
You may also need to ask if they charge extra to put a different grip on the pistol. If you
are buying a used pistol, many times it is easier in the long run to just buy a new grip that
is close to the right size instead of trying to add four pounds of filler to that large grip
when you have an extra small hand. The opposite can happen by taking too much
support off a grip when trying to fit your large hand into a small grip. Pilkguns is set up
on the range at every National Championship with all different types and sizes of grips.
They would be happy to help you find what you are looking for. Even if you don’t buy a
grip from them, you will know which grip fits better.

The last and most important thing you need to fit grips is safety equipment.
Safety glasses are a must when working with Dremels or any other tools that put wood
chips or filler into the air. The next piece of equipment you will need is a mask.
Breathing that much dust is not good for your lungs. When grinding on filler, remember
that it is a chemical. If it can give you burns on your skin, just think about what it can do
to your lungs. Some people react differently to the fillers. I have seen some pretty bad
chemical burns from Bondo when people put the Bondo on the grip, and then stuck their
hand in the Bondo until it dried in order to get the lines correct. If you are going to do
this, I would suggest wearing disposable gloves. Ear plugs help when using a Dremel if
nothing more than to help keep your sanity. It would seem that something harmless like
fitting a grip would not need so much safety equipment, but you are handling some
potentially hazardous tools and chemicals.

Before I get into the fitting of the grip, I want to go over some vocabulary that
will help describe parts of the grip so it will be easier to follow what I am describing on
the grip. Every hand has these parts in one shape or fashion. Obviously, if you are
missing a finger or have bent fingers or some other difference in your hand, your grip
will have to be adjusted to meet the difference. Starting from the wrist and moving to the
finger tips, the main parts in the grip are as follows. The palm shelf is where your hand
sits on the pistol. The thumb rest is where your thumb sits on the pistol. The crotch is
under the rear sight where the web between your thumb and index finger is. The palm
ridge line is, if you look at the middle of your palm, the line from your wrist towards your
fingers. The ball is best described as if you face your palm up and cup it. The deepest
part of the cup will be a ball on the back side of the grip. Moving towards the fingers is
the valley where the meat right below your fingers forms a valley in the grip. Next, there
is the finger ridgeline where the fingers and the palm meet. Between your middle finger
and trigger finger is the middle finger shelf. Finally, there is the finger grooves with the
three segments of the fingers being the lower segment, middle segment, and tip segment
of the fingers. The trigger finger is not part of the grip, but will be covered when the
actual fitting is being described.

The idea when making a grip is to have the pressure coming straight back into the
crotch and straight forward into the middle segment of the fingers. Everything else on
the grip is touching, but not giving any pressure. The idea here is that the more surface
area that is touching the grip, the less you actually have to squeeze the grip. So, if you
put a big wad of filler on the ball or the finger ridgeline, this is going to make your hand
push sideways on the grip causing misalignment of your sights. The ball and the finger
ridgeline are major indexes to make sure you have a consistent grip. They should be felt
in the hand, but should not be so huge that it is causing misalignment in the sights.
The other thing to pay attention to is the balance of the pistol since all pistols are
front heavy to some degree or another because of the barrel. The weight of the pistol is
supported by the middle finger shelf and the rear of the palm shelf. If there are no gaps
between the hand and the grip, then there will be more friction and surface tension
causing less grip pressure and less pressure on the middle finger shelf and the rear of the
palm shelf.

When a grip is made, you need to start at the back and work your way around to
the front. First, you need to ensure that the grip is not too long. The grip has to fit in the
box and cannot come past the break in the wrist to be legal. The further the grip comes
back, the more support it gives you. Adding to the back of the grip can be easily done by
simply gluing a small piece of wood to the back of the grip and grinding off to the
existing contours of the grip. Then, using a sander, grind the back down until it is legal.
The break of the wrist is considered front of the wrist bone or the first crease in the
underside of the wrist moving from the hand to the wrist.

Next, you will want to fit the crotch. Your hand should be as far into and up in
the grip as possible without cutting the frame. The closer the chamber is back in your
hand, the less recoil you will feel. The lower the chamber is in your hand, also the lower
the recoil. Even for Free pistol or Air Pistol, this is important so it will help in the follow
through to tell if you are manipulating the trigger correctly. If it would be able to cut a
cross section of the crotch, most grips would be in the shape of a u. If you look at your
web between your trigger finger and your thumb, this shape is a v. While you are fitting
the crotch so your hand is up and into the pistol, also reshape it from a u to a v. What I
look for to make sure I have a v and not a u is if you start to grind through the grip and
can see either side of the frame, then you are closer to having a v.

The next step is to move the palm shelf. This is usually the first thing done
because of the ease in moving it. The problem comes when the shelf is raised all of the
way and the hand is still not touching the shelf. The impulse is to add filler at the top of
the grip in the crotch in order to get a tight fit. This just ruined the fitting of the crotch
that you did in the previous paragraph. Adding filler to the top moves your hand down
which increases recoil and your area of movement. If you cannot move the shelf high
enough to give a snug fit, then expand the slots that the palm shelf screws move up and
down in. This will allow you to move the shelf up to the correct position.

The next step to work on is the position of the hand wrapped around the grip.
Ideally, a straight line should be drawn down the barrel and continue down your arm.
This is a comfort thing and many people differ on how far around their hand holds the
pistol. It has been my experience that Bullseye shooters have a tendency to wrap their
fingers further around the grip. If this fits the way you hold the grip, then more filler
needs to be added to the rear of the grip where the palm touches.

The thumb shelf should fit naturally. The thumb should have a place to lay and
give support without using muscle to hold it there. Since everyone has a different curved
thumb, the thumb rest is a personal fit.

Working from the rear of the grip around to the fingers brings us to the palm ridge
line and the ball of the grip. If you look at your hand, the palm ridge line is the line that
goes from your wrist and goes towards your fingers. The ball is at the end of this line.
Looking at your hand the ball will be reversed as to how it is on the grip, and is a
depression. Most commercial grips already have this line and a minor adjustment to fit it
to your hand is needed. The easiest way to fit this part is to add filler to the grip and grab
the grip starting from the back with the hand getting as high and into the grip then
reaching around with the fingers. From now on, this is how you should grab your pistol
to ensure you have a consistent grip every time. If done correctly with filler you should
see a knuckle looking feature on top of the ball. This is the tendon for the middle finger
which also happens to be the deepest part of the ball. To know if you have added enough
filler, you should not feel the ball. The ball is on the side of the grip. If the ball is too
large then you will feel it push into your hand and this push will cause sight
misalignment. If you feel a gap where the ball is, then you have not added enough and
the ball will not be a proper index to make sure you have a proper grip. A good way to
tell if the ball is in the right spot is to hold the pistol for at least an hour without taking
your hand out of the grip. When you do take your hand out of the grip, there should be a
red mark in the deepest part of the ball on your hand. If this red mark is not in the
deepest part then you need to move the ball to the deepest spot.

The next index is the finger ridgeline. The valley under your fingers goes along
with the finger ridgeline. The finger ridgeline is easy to set, and next to the ball, is the
best index to make sure your hand is in the same place on the grip every time. To make
the ridge line simply add filler in a line between the middle finger shelf and the palm
shelf. After filler is added grab the pistol from the rear going forward again. The filler
should be where your fingers and palm meet. The mistake people make here is to make
this ridge too pronounced. This ridge is on the side of the grip, and if you make it large,
then it will push your hand to the side causing sight misalignment. Again you should not
feel this ridge. If you feel it, then too much filler has been added. If you feel a gap, then
not enough has been added.

After the finger ridgeline has set, adjust the valley. The valley is the area between
the finger ridge line and the ball. All that is needed is to take away enough wood so that
your hand is not squished into the grip. Stay away from making this valley too deep
because this will give the same problem as having too pronounced of a finger ridgeline.

Last on the grip are the fingers. To keep the grip pressure going front to rear, the
fingers need to be placed so that the middle segment of the middle finger and ring finger
are perpendicular to the axis of the barrel. The finger tips should be given a place to lie,
but not a place to push into. If the middle segments of the fingers are correctly placed,
the fingertips will be pushing from the side causing sight misalignment. So, like the
thumb, the finger tips just lie there, but do not add pressure. The pinky finger hardly ever
fits because on most people, it is too short. In order to remove enough wood to fit the
pinky, you would be grinding the frame. Just give the pinky a good natural place to lie
that won’t give any unwanted pressures to the grip. Some grips have ridgelines between
every segment and every finger such as a Steyr air pistol. These ridgelines are fine to
have, but are not needed. Since our hands expand and contract every day, these
ridgelines will usually be in a different place every day. For example, if your hand
expands 1 millimeter every day, then each finger will expand 1 millimeter giving you r
fingers an overall expansion of four millimeters compared to the 1 millimeter of your
hand. If you think your grip feels different from day to day, your fingers definitely will.
If you have finger ridgelines, keep them dull so you can barely feel them.

The middle finger shelf hardly ever has to be adjusted, but some people need to
move their middle finger closer to the trigger. This means you need to make this shelf
thinner. The middle finger shelf should also extend all the way over the top of the middle
finger since this is one of the two spots that the weight of the pistol is supported.

After the grip has been fit to your hand, then adjust your trigger. The tip segment
of your trigger finger should be placed on the trigger shoe so that the segment is
perpendicular to the barrel axis when the second stage of the trigger is being taken up.
This will help to pull the trigger straight back. If you have poor trigger squeeze, it will
effect your sights less if the trigger comes straight back. Some people like none of their
trigger finger touching the grip and some like the bottom segment of the trigger finger
touching the grip. This is personal preference and is up to the individual.

Fitting a grip can feel like a daunting task. If you know what to look for, every
grip can be personalized. It takes time to get it right when you are making your first
attempt. Be patient and stick to the basic principles given here. By doing this, you can
make it easier to shoot tens. Remember, most points are lost in the execution of good
sight alignment and smooth trigger squeeze. A proper fitting grip will help, but there have
been great shooters who shoot great scores with substandard grips by just holding hard
and squeezing smooth.
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Re: Ergo grip fitting

Post by Jwhelan939 on 1/23/2016, 8:08 pm

Thanks for the help guys! Dealing with 3 ft of snow right now, but I'll delve into the info tomorrow. Thanks again!

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Re: Ergo grip fitting

Post by Merick on 1/28/2016, 3:15 pm

Without re-readling the posted articles, I would contribute that a person can really only work on fitting grips so much at a time.  Your brain will start to make adjustments to the way the grips are fairly quickly, and things feed different to tired hands compared to when you have not been running power tools for an hour.  All this makes it hard to figure out what or how much to change next.  Stop after 20-30 minutes of work, and take some notes for the next session.  Then when you can't tell if you are making much progress, you are done.

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Re: Ergo grip fitting

Post by LenV on 2/12/2016, 11:48 pm

Merick, I responded to your PM but you must not have your filters set up to receive. I just noticed that my message is still in the out box.

Len
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