Coming full circle

My snub revolver (a S&W 442) came with Uncle Mike’s boot grips.

I changed them to Pachmayr Compac grips.

I decided to try out the Werner Carry system. With just the Barami Hip Grips, my carry loads hurt like hell. Then the Tyler T-Grip arrived. Shooting with the T-Grip was much better than without the T-Grip.

And now… I think I may be going back to the Uncle Mike’s.

The Uncle Mike’s provide almost the same form factor as the Werner system. That is, the width/thickness is about the same, the frontstrap “fill” is about the same, and the backstrap remains bare. The only major differences are the Uncle Mike’s are “rubber/textured” and there’s no hooking, whereas the Hip Grip and T-Grip are smooth and the Hip Grip provides a hook (there are some minor differences, noted below).

While I dig the hook for the carry mode, it’s never 100% comfortable. Yes yes, “carry gun should be comforting, not comfortable”, but having a snub muzzle at 2 o’clock digging into your femoral artery all day gets old. Trying to shift and find ways to adjust it isn’t panning out either. My bit of belly flab doesn’t help either… either how it forces the gun to sit or then affects the ability to draw. So I’m conceptually hip to the Werner Carry System, but it’s not working out. I’ll revisit it after I drop a few pounds. 😉

When I have been carrying the snub, it’s been in a pocket holster. The Uncle Mike’s are a hair slimmer in their profile because they lack the grip hook jutting out. Plus the textured grip provides a little more tack. As well, there’s a little “northward extension”… I don’t know how else to describe it, but check out the pictures in this post. That little “ear” at the top of the Uncle Mike’s looks like it’s just enough to shield/cushion the web of my hand, but that remains to be seen. See, just a few days ago I ran 50 rounds of WWB 130 grain .38 Special (not +P) FMJ through the snub with the Werner System on it. After shooting I realized that where the upper-left edge of the backstrap contacts my thumb webbing, the skin had been taken off. When I put the Uncle Mike’s on, that little ear is right where the skin came off, so hopefully it will shield my skin from future wear.

Another thing is after shooting that box of 50, I noticed the Hip Grip and T-Grip were loose. I’ve done my best to tighten them down, but there’s only so much you can do because it’s not a 100% perfect fit. Next time I use them I’ll use some blue Loctite, but even if that keeps them from coming loose, the lack of a perfect fit means there’s still a bit of wobble.

So, will I keep the Uncle Mike’s? I don’t know. It’s just the latest iteration. I’ll try it for a while and see how it goes. Need to see how it carries, need to see how it performs in practice. I do like the Pachmayr Compac grips the best, but they really kill the concealment factor; they’re great to have when you do a lot of shooting, but I ideally should practice like a carry.

We’ll see.

10 thoughts on “Coming full circle

  1. With all due respect Hsoi, I sort of saw this post coming awhile ago. I prefer the basic Uncle Mikes to anything, except the Crimson Trace that are identical in fit and function to the UMs with the addition of the laser. Is the laser useful? To be honest at 10 yards in dim lighting? Yes, I find it extremely useful.

    I’ve seen people try all kinds of grips for a J-Frame, but in the end, nearly everyone comes back to the UMs or a derivative of them, if they do any kind of pocket carry. If you are going to belt carry a gun, you might as well step it up a size and go with something bigger, I’ve never understood the rationality of carrying a J-Frame on the belt, unless it was an all steel .357 gun.

    The airweight .38 is a gun that’s meant to be carried in a non-traditional manner. In the pocket, on the ankle, or maybe suspended from a lightweight shoulder harness for driving/riding. It really excels at that roll, the UM grips or a derivative of them (let’s face it, UMs are just the refinement of traditional banana stocks and the t-grip), are perfect for concealment, offer good control, and let you use the concealability of the gun to the max.

    -Rob

    • Gotta learn for myself. 😉

      Frankly, I prefer the Pachmayr and if I was taking an all snub class for a couple days I’d probably switch to it merely so I could make it through the course. As well, if I carried in another way, e.g. on my ankle, I could probably go with the Pachmayr’s. But hey…. I really wasn’t a revolver guy and never thought I’d be. It’s a novel journey for me. 🙂

  2. I have a Hogue grip on my 442.

    Same size and shape as the Uncle Mike’s, but they have a tackier feel to them that I prefer over the Uncle Mike’s.

    The Houge grip is also contoured differently.

    I’ll have to put the Uncle Mike’s back on it and take a couple of pictures for you.

    BTW: I called Kershaw yesterday, they’re not doing their summer warehouse sale, so you’ll have to wait until the first weekend in December.

    • I don’t think I’m done in my search for the right grip… going back to the stock Uncle Mike’s is merely another milestone on the trek. The Hogue might be the next place to go.

      One question… is it “too tacky”? That is, does clothing snag on it? For instance, if the gun was on your hip under a shirt, would the shirt catch on it as you moved about?

      Bummer on the Kershaw thing, but oh well. Thanx for asking!

      • I don’t think it’s “too tacky”, but then I only ever pocket carry it, as I don’t have a belt holster for it.

        My pocket holster used to have a belt clip on it, but I removed that right after I got it and have no expedient way to stitch it back on.

        I do have a shoulder holster it would probably fit into, so I’ll try that.

        I’ll cobble something together to try it on the belt, and let you know how it works.

  3. The pictures are up.

    Sorry I’m not a wonderful photographer. 🙂

    http://picasaweb.google.com/freddyboomboom/SW442#

    I put it in my waistband with the butt/grips sticking above my belt, approximately where they would be if I were wearing an IWB holster, and let my shirt hang over it.

    Then I twisted back and forth, watching it in a mirror, and it didn’t “grab” at the cloth of the shirt.

    The rubber on the Hogue grip is kind of softer than the Uncle Mike’s, and they are “tackier”, but not a whole lot.

    They also have a kind of a swell in the middle, and the top and bottom are thinner than the Uncle Mike’s.

    I’d be happy to try and answer any questions you may have, or take photo’s from other angles. if you’d like.

    • Thanx for the pictures! They appear to have a similar profile as the Uncle Mike boot grips, but maybe a little more on the front strap and like you wrote, a few other little differences.

      All the information sounds good, enough to make me want to look for a set next time I’m at the store.

      Thanx for the time and trouble.

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