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Randall Fung Match Grips is retiring after 33 years in business

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Randall Fung Match Grips is retiring after 33 years in business Empty Randall Fung Match Grips is retiring after 33 years in business

Post by Fung_Match_Grips Sat Jun 11, 2022 8:20 pm

To all my fellow shooters, customers and the bullseye shooting community especially, I am happy and sad to officially announce my retirement after 33 years in the business of making custom European design target grips. It has been a great privilege manufacturing something for the sport that I enjoy so much, and to have helped many many shooters improve their scores with the custom fitted grips.

We started in the garage in 1989 making some prototypes. After some frustrating shooting competitions, I realized that the grip was one of the most important factors in consistent shooting. When you get nervous at a match, it’s very hard to maintain a consistent grip. With the inconsistent grip, the pistol jumps around during recoil and you have to constantly adjust. 

At the time, the only available  European grips were for all of the fancy European pistols, but there was a lack of availability for the old standard American guns. I was good at crafts and woodworking, so I started making some for myself and immediately saw an improvement in the consistency of my scores.  So I thought, if I wanted something like this, then there must be others, and the rest is history.

In trying to design the grips, I loved the stippling of the Morini grips and came up with a solution to use a Dremel to stipple the grips. I believe that I was the first to do this on commercial grips and my grips could be identified as the ones with the “golf ball” stippling.  

The first shop was tiny and production really didn’t take off until the internet came around. I advertised in American Rifleman with a tiny ad in the back. When the internet came, I jumped in early and connected with John Dreyer who wrote the Bullseye Encyclopedia and then my name started to spread.

We always had the old world business attitude that the customer is always right and became known for our good customer service. Our model was that if it didn’t fit right the first time, then send it back and we would make it right. Happy customers lead to recommendations. After a while we stopped advertising and all of our customers came from work of mouth or shooters happening onto our website. 

In the 33 years of business after thousands of grips, we've only had two requests for returns for money back. Not many businesses can say that and it is something I’ve always been proud of. Customers sent in the hand print and scans and we made them off these. There is no science to this because each customer might require a different fit, so in working with the customers we were somehow able to make it work by our experience. 

We started off making them entirely by hand with common machine woodworking tools. The main tools were simply two drill presses, a band saw, a jigsaw, a sanding setup that I invented and a duplicator made from a dovetail jig machine. All work was done by hand.
We never got a CNC cutter. All the grinding to shape was done by me sitting at the grinder with various drum heads and working the 60 percent duplicated model into the finished product and countless hours of hand sanding each grip to final finish with five coats of Tru-oil finish meticulously applied by hand.

I always felt like the “John Henry” of the grip business competing with companies putting out their product with CNC cutters. But I believed that something made by hand has something that can never be duplicated by a machine. Something made by one human for another. One day I looked at the five grips that I made on the table and thought, before this morning those did not exist. To make something from scratch to a finished product is a lost art. Sometimes I would think of myself as the sword maker in Old Japan making a sword for each customer. 

But the beauty of the business was that I was able to work at home on my beautiful small ranch and just go out to the shop when I wanted and work. No boss to answer to, work on my own terms and schedule and have wonderful customers to work with. The bullseye world is a close knit society, and I made a ton of friends along the way. All of my customers have always been great and a pleasure to do business with.

I once tried to train an apprentice, but found that the business took more than just wood working skills. All the years of my own shooting competitions came into knowledge of how to sculpt the grips and it was all intuitive and something that could not be passed on. So the business cannot be sold or carried on.

As many may know, Bob Chow was my mentor. My father and Bob were not only shooting partners going to many matches in the early 1950’s, but they were close friends of my parents. In the Chinese world, close friends of the family are referred to a Uncle and Auntie, so we always called him “Uncle Bob and Auntie Bobbie” Bob and Bobbie played tennis with my parents for years.  When I got into bullseye competitions, Uncle Bob would coach me and on a few occasions set up their chairs and scope behind me to watch. I remember that he was very supportive of my starting to make the custom target grips and I am sure that he would be proud of how long I was able to stay in business. I had many customers who had a Chow pistol come to me for grips for this special connection.

Sorry for the long story, but it’s been a wild ride and I wanted to share my gratitude for all the support that the shooting community has given me. I am happy to be able to finally take a rest, but sad to close a business where I met so many friends and a business that I  started from the ground up.

We will not be accepting any future orders and those existing thousands of grips that I have made over the years by hand will be my legacy.
Randall Fung Match Grips
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Post by Jon Eulette Sat Jun 11, 2022 8:48 pm

Congratulations on a very successful career! Enjoy your retirement.
Jon
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Post by MarkF45 Sat Jun 11, 2022 8:54 pm

Thank you for all your hard work for a third of a century!

I have several of your grips: High Standard Victor, SW 52, and Cold Gold Cup. I always enjoy shooting these guns with your grips.

Live long and prosper!

Mark

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Post by chopper Sun Jun 12, 2022 12:52 am

Ron, have a great retirement, you've graduated and can enjoy another part of your life.
 I still use your grips on my model 14 and still shoot it single action, it is a fun gun to shoot.
 Stan

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Post by Jack H Sun Jun 12, 2022 3:24 pm

Master Fung,
Good grips do help. 
Thank you
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Post by john bickar Mon Jun 13, 2022 1:14 pm

"I learn you, I learn you, I learn you..."

Looks like you learned. Congrats on a great career, enjoy your well-deserved retirement. Hope to see you on the firing line again soon.
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Post by John Dervis Mon Jun 13, 2022 5:56 pm

Congratulations on your retirement.  I bought a set of grips for a M-52 from you way back in the mid 90s and they were great.  Functional and very pleasing to the eye.  I didn't realize you were just a rookie back then.  Thanks for all you have given to the sport.


Good Luck.
John

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Post by NukeMMC Mon Jun 13, 2022 6:00 pm

I would say I am a Fung grip fan.
Thank you for grips that look as good as they perform.
Thank you also for the Chow memories.
My dad shot with Bob Chow back in the 50s and had a Colt Govt Model worked by him. Had a pin in the grip safety tab that acted as an overtravel stop. Stories of Bob always remind me of dad.
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Post by bruce martindale Mon Jun 13, 2022 8:24 pm

Congratulations sir!

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Post by evanjoe610 Tue Jun 14, 2022 10:28 am

Randall,

Congratulations on your Retirement! A well earned chapter in your life! Truly enjoy your story on Bob Chow. I visited BOB CHOW's gun shop in the early 1980 as I was visiting friends and family there. He i a LEGEND, AS MUCH as you are!

Glad I was able to had purchased your LH Match Grips for my High Standard Victor. it is a Masterpiece of craftsmanship and I like it's custom fit.

Sad to see you go out, BUT you truly deserve the Golden Years of Retirement.

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Post by Fung_Match_Grips Tue Jun 14, 2022 11:48 am

Thank you everyone for the kind thoughts! 
Here is a very special photo. It was the last time that Bobbie Chow, my father and me were together.
This was at a memorial shoot at the San Francisco Police range for Uncle Bob's 100th birthday.
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Post by john bickar Tue Jun 14, 2022 7:31 pm

Fung_Match_Grips wrote:Thank you everyone for the kind thoughts! 
Here is a very special photo. It was the last time that Bobbie Chow, my father and me were together.
This was at a memorial shoot at the San Francisco Police range for Uncle Bob's 100th birthday.

Love it. What year was that?

I miss those matches. The 2009 match had a booklet put together, that I still have; that was where the "I learn you, I learn you...why you no learn?" quote comes from (David Gee).
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Post by Fung_Match_Grips Tue Jun 14, 2022 7:38 pm

John, 
I believe that 100 year anniversary match was 2007.
"I learn you" was something Uncle Bob used to say.

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Post by THREEDFLYER Sun Feb 04, 2024 1:54 pm

I just discovered a set of Randall Fung stocks for the 1911 in my stash of stocks....had no idea that I owned a set as they came from an estate I purchased several years ago.

Not sure how to determine the size......but they are obviously adjustable.

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Post by Cmysix Sun Feb 04, 2024 8:19 pm

too bad you didn't mentor someone into the business.
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