3D Printed Custom Target Grips

This grip on a Ruger target pistol was made using the latest in additive manufacturing technology.

Here’s a Benelli similarly configured, but with an added shelf to cure “slide bite” that bedeviled the owner…

… and a Russian .22.

Target shooters have long had custom grips made to fit their individual hands. (Indeed, you can buy many exotic pistols with a grip that is fully inletted but externally a block of wood, ready for you to shape it yourself). But it was probably inevitable that an entrepreneur would surface, doing this with 3D scanning and printing: Precision Target Pistol Grips.

After making precision target pistol grips for Air, Standard, and Free Pistols, for a variety of hands and guns for the college team I coach, I’ve recently begun a business doing the same.  Using 3d scanning and printing techniques I’ve modeled many different guns and hands from XS to XL, left-handed and right, straight inset and cross-eye dominant.  Now you don’t have to own a high-end gun to get a precision or  custom-fit grip.

Your grip can be manufactured from either a plant-based polymer (called PLA) in your choice of color or one of three colors of a wood composite that is half polymer and half wood fiber.  In hand, the composite grip feels like a traditional wood grip but one made exactly to your hand.   Best of all, these grips start at less than half the price of a traditional custom wood grip.

Custom grips have mostly been used on very high end Euro target pistols: Pardini, Hammerli, etc. But now you can have the grip that works perfectly on your Free Pistol duplicated (within regulations) for your Rapid Fire pistol, for example. The grips are made of PLA plastic or of a wood composite material that contains wood dust in a PLA binder — and retains the feel and warmth of wood.

For a basic grip, only a few basic hand measurements are needed (how to do that is explained on the site, too). You can also customize your grip with putty or sanding, and send the customized grip in to be scanned and duplicated.

As you might expect, if you’ve been following our writing on 3D printing, one of the greatest benefits of this technology is not its prototyping speed, or its ability to enable “mass customization” (exactly what’s happening here). Those are great features, but the real wonder of additive manufacturing is that it enables technologies that previously didn’t exist. 

Two of these novel developments are a target revolver grip that lets the shooter fire single-action without having to shift his grip at all…

… and an ability to print an “imitation 1911 grip” for a 1911 shooter’s practice air gun or .22, like this very un-1911-like Pardini that now emulates the feel of a 1911A1.

And it’s still “early days” for this technology. Who knows what it will enable next?

17 thoughts on “3D Printed Custom Target Grips

  1. Mike_C

    >Who knows what it will enable next?
    Maybe aesthetics? Function comes first, but pretty (almost) never hurts either. Here’s an unsolicited word of advice: when making squishy/lumpy but vaguely cylindrical objects, turd brown is probably not the best choice of color.

    On the other hand, “If it’s ugly but it works, I’ll take it,” is a reasonable principle. (If some women didn’t subscribe to that school of thought some of us would still be single.)

    Reply
  2. archy

    Maybe of even more interest: the ability to print a hard *skull* or framework with a relatively hard and stiff material like Zytel or Celcon, suitable for strength and protection of the pistol’s grip, plus providing strength at attach points like grip screws or a TT33 Tokarev’s sliding latch grip retainer. Then around and into that hard shell, fill in with a softer, vinyl or other rubbery compound, making for a comfortable and secure grip. Opportunities abound here….

    Reply
    1. Hognose Post author

      There’s also an increasing small-shop and home injection molding culture coming up. Although inserts and overmolding are pro level injection molding, and one of the major reasons it survives in the USA and Europe as a business.

      Reply
  3. James

    I will say function over form but some of these grips very odd looking,but,if fitted I guess that is what works,see a lot of business opportunity here if these really benefit shooters.I have seen similar in hand carved and can appreciate the work and craftsmanship that goes into them,new doors opening every day.

    On a side note to the posters who chimed in in regards to winter and their warmer climes,those in us in New England appreciate the four seasons in that keeps us tough and also avoids us getting all soft and spongy!That said,really tis holding up work,but looks like this week will finally be able to recommence on project,hmmmm….,not working in the snow,perhaps I am starting to get a little soft…..and spongy?

    Reply
    1. nick

      I see MANY soft New Englanders in the great Sunshine State of Florida during the cold winter months.
      They must be lost?

      Reply
    2. Steve M.

      There was a scene in the John Adams series by HBO where Adams speaks to his son about going to Russia. His son, John Quincy, was concerned about the winter in St. Petersburg, Russia. Adams dismisses those concerns by explaining to him that he’s “a New England man” and won’t have any issues. Of course, considering the clothing, heat sources, insulation and building quality of the time period, a New England man was likely quite hardened to the weather.

      Reply
    3. John M.

      “…those in us in New England appreciate the four seasons…”

      This must explain why New Englanders complain about all four seasons? :)

      -John M.
      (Native New Englander, both the source and destination of many a weather complaint)

      Reply
    4. LSWCHP

      Orthopaedic grips on high end target pistols are like wooden gloves. They look crazy and are not practical for service pistol matches, but if you want to lock the gun into your body so that it becomes an extension of your arm for peak accuracy then it’s the only way to go. You’ll only understand once you’ve tried one. I’ve just bought a Smith Model 14 .38 revolver that came with a German KN orthopaedic grip designed for the ISSF centrefire match. These grips are works of CNC 3D art and cost around $400 new in Australia!!

      Different matches (eg Standard Pistol, Free Pistol) have different rules about how big the glove can be and how well it can fit.

      Reply
  4. James

    John,we do not complain but merely “admonish” the seasons when they do not suit our particular goals.

    Reply
    1. John M.

      LOL. Good one.

      I’ve heard seasons “admonished” two years after they departed.

      “Do you remember how hot it was two years ago at this time? Whew, you could hardly go outside! And inside was no better…”

      If you made it through your day in New England without spending at least 20 minutes talking about the weather, it’s because you didn’t talk to anyone that day.

      -John M.

      Reply
      1. James

        Don’t even mention good ole blizzard of “78”!I believe new adjectives were created after that snow and expletives of a very weird nature.As a young teen I personally loved the time off from school/snow forts and riding with impunity snowmobiles down the road,local PD didn’t excepting a fire rescue truck even have 4×4’s,was a lot of fun!

        Reply
      2. Steve M.

        “If you made it through your day in New England without spending at least 20 minutes talking about the weather, it’s because you didn’t talk to anyone that day.”

        Very true! When in doubt, talk about the weather. It’s a fantastic ice breaker. No pun intended.

        Reply
  5. Alan Ward

    Or as we say in Alberta, if you don’t like the weather, wait 30 minutes, it will change.

    I tell my wife’s relatives in L.A. That winter occurs to kill off the bugs.

    Reply
  6. LSWCHP

    That Russian gun is an IZH-35M. Several people at my club shoot them and I’ve tried them. If anybody wants a relatively inexpensive high end .22 they are very hard to beat. I’m told the Feinwerkbau AW93 is derived from them, but I’ve never looked close enough to confirm that.

    Reply
  7. Andrew Berryhill

    Thanks for posting the article about my business. I’ll be the first to admit no one is going to mistake one of my grips for a piece of beautifully figured English black walnut. But if what you’re after is the same grip every time you put your hand on the gun, then I can help. Most of my work is with Bullseye and International-style shooters, but every so often someone comes forward with a job from another discipline. I’ve done work on service pistols, smallbore guns, high-power and even a flintlock project. It all keeps the work interesting.

    Andrew

    Reply
  8. Looserounds.com

    custum grips for a 22 target pistol.. as with most things, I have a story to go with this

    My mentor as a much younger man, was recently married and moved into his new home with his bride.

    he had recently made a set of walnut grips and had some special finish to be applied but it need months of the wood to dry out before it could be applied.
    as younger men are , he was not patient and wanted it done now. The maker of the special finish advised my mentor in his pre-mentor wisdom years that soaking the wood for 1 week in formaldehyde would perhaps hurry the process

    one week later, during a severe winter storm, he brought the jar with the gips inside the home to remove the grips.

    he reports as soon as he craacked the lid, every hole in his faces started to pour out some sort of liquid, snot, tears, vomit etc, as he ran through the house to escape and passed his new wife she opened her mouth to ask him what is wrong. then it hit her., seconds later, both where outside vomiting over the porch banister.

    He had to burn all furniture in the house, the curtains, replace carpet and have all windows and doors opened for about a week, Apparently it almost ended up in divorce. haha

    Reply

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