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Category: Pistol Grips

Best 1911 Grips Reviews: Top Comparison of Custom Grips

The M1911 firearm is a single-action semi-automatic pistol designed and chambered for the .45 ACP round. It is an absolute classic in the world of handguns, having been the standard U.S. service pistol for over 70 years and still being active with many government agencies and governments around the world.

Today I want to go over five of the most popular 1911 custom grips for the M1911 handgun. I’ll do a basic overview of the leading grips on the market and then offer you my advice when looking for new grips for your gun.


PictureName Overall RatingQualityPrice
Magpul Grips with Magazine Release Cut Out3 ★★★3 ★★★$$
Pachmayr 1911 American Legend Grips4 ★★★★3 ★★★$$$
VZ Grips Operator II Full Size 1911 Gun Grip4 ★★★★4.5 ★★★★$$$$
Hogue 1911 Rubber Grips5 ★★★★★5 ★★★★★$$
Strike Industries Polymer Extreme 1911 Pistol Grip4 ★★★★3 ★★★$$


Top Picks 1911 Grips Guide

Magpul Grips with Magazine Release Cut Out Review

Rating 3/4 Stars

magpull-gripsThese particular grips are a part of the Magpul Original Equipment (MOE) line of firearm accessories. They are a new take on the classic 1911 grip. Magpul products are high quality, yet affordable alternatives to standard weapons parts. They have great reviews and have a number of key features.


  • Made out of reinforced polymer for heavy-duty construction.
  • Diamond shaped pattern that prevents twisting in hands.
  • Heavy cut out for easy magazine changes.
  • Slim profile grips, great for people with smaller hands or those who just don’t like bulky grips.


  • Slim, compact profile might be too small for those who want a full feel to the grip.
  • The magazine release cut out can be a bit large for some people’s taste.

Check out the full review here.


Pachmayr 1911 American Legend Grips Review

Rating 4/5 Stars

pachmayr-gripsPachmayr grips are unique in the world of 1911 custom grips in that they offer you the best of both worlds. You get the classic 1911 look and feel of having wood grips with the performance handling of rubber grips. They are a great value for the price and have rave reviews.


  • Rich Walnut/Rubber combination grips.
  • Wraparound finger-grooved rubber grip and molds to your fingers.
  • Fits Colt 1911 and copies from other brands with little to no modification.


  • Wraparound rubber can be too soft for some.
  • Reports of rubber dissolving when cleaned with solvents.
  • Does not fit ambidextrous safeties.

Check out the full review here.


VZ grips Operator II Review

Rating 4/5 Stars

VZ-Operator-IIThe VZ Operator II’s are a high-end tactical grip featuring an aggressive finish for rock-solid gripping. These grips are made out of the virtually indestructible G10 polymer compound, so durability will never be a question with the VZ grips. You can clean these grips with heavy cleaners and solvents and not worry about them dissolving.


  • Very durable construction.
  • Golf ball-like pattern gives rock solid grip.
  • Features a thumb magazine release cutaway.
  • Comes in Standard and Magwell cuts.
  • Comes in multitude of colors to match any gun you have.


  • Pattern can be a bit too aggressive for those with soft hands.
  • May have to do slight dremmeling to fit ambidextrous handguns.

Check out the full review here.


Hogue 1911 Rubber Grips Review

Rating 5/5 Stars

Hogue-rubberHogue grips are the industry standard for rubber grips. They make and incredibly durable grip that is the perfect combination between comfort and durability. These grips are made from a synthetic rubber that is tough but also soften the recoil of the fun without affecting your accuracy.


  • Wraparound finger grooved grip that offers a very customized fit to your hand.
  • Rubber will not deteriorate with solvents or cleaners.
  • Rubber partially absorbs recoil from gun.
  • Comes in Government Full Size and Officer sizes.


  • Can be difficult to put on gun.
  • Makes gun look rather plain.
  • If not washed regularly, rubber can absorb sweat and become slick.

Check out the full review here.


Strike Industries PX09 Review

Rating 4/5 Stars

strike-gripsStrike industries has a large line of very modern looking aggressive grips that are both durable and affordable. They are made from a durable PX polymer that is heat resistant and high impact resistant.


  • Both durable and affordable.
  • Semi-aggressive golf ball pattern gives maximum grip.
  • Sturdier than wooden grips.
  • Thumb cut out for magazine release.


  • Will not absorb any recoil.
  • Too thick for some people’s taste.

Check out the full review here.


Short History of the M1911

original colt 1911 grips for saleThe M1911 was designed by John Browning and has its origins dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s. Arguably the most successful firearms designer of the 20th century, Browning is credited with 128 gun patents, the 1911 being among his most popular designs. Many, if not most, of the developments in modern semi-automatic firearms trace back to Browning’s designs.

The 1911 was first put into widespread use when the U.S. Army formally adopted it on March 29, 1911, hence the name M1911. It was the “Model 1911” that the Army adopted on that day and it is where the gun gets its designation. The Navy and Marine Corps soon adopted the gun in 1913.

The U.S. Military adopted the gun primarily for its stopping power. Utilizing the .45 ACP cartridge, the M1911 had much more stopping power than other rounds being used before its adoption, such as the .38 Long Colt. Making a move from single- and double-action revolvers to semi-automatic pistols was also an important consideration that led to the adoption of the M1911.

It served as the standard service pistol in both World Wars, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. In 1985, the gun ceased being a standard issue sidearm, being replaced by the 9mm Beretta, but due to its incredible popularity is still widely used and has not been completely phased out.



Abilities to Customize

Ever since its beginning, the 1911 has lent itself to large degrees of customization, and due to its widespread popularity, there is a large demand for aftermarket-customized parts. From barrels to custom grips, sights, and other accessories, there are many modifications that can be done to an M1911.

The 1911 is a gun that lends itself very well to all types of customization. You can virtually customize and modify just about any part of the gun to meet your specification as a marksman. Grips should be one of the first things, however, that you customize to fit your hands because in order to have a good shooting experience you need it to be comfortable. There’s nothing worse than after a long day of shooting that your hand getting all torn up from cheap or ill-fitting grips.

After your grips fixed though, you can explore countless other areas of the gun like customized safeties, sites, magazines and magazine extensions, hammers, releases, barrels, ejection ports, and more. You get the picture.



Design and the Future

The M1911 has seen relatively little changes in its design over the years. This truly is a testament to how reliable and time-tested the gun is. The 1911 has used the same basic design with very few modifications for a full century. How many other products can you think of that have had all of the same design elements for the past 100 years? I, for one, cannot think of too many. The basic design principle of the 1911 centers around its use of recoil operation, which uses a portion of the bullet’s energy to reload the pistol.

Even after the release of newer and lighter handguns that shoot the .45 round, the 1911 shows no sign of losing its popularity in recreational use. You shouldn’t at all worry that the 1911 aftermarket parts market will ever dry up or run out.



What to Look For When Buying Grips

When you’re looking to get a new set of grips for your 1911, there really is only one consideration that you need to take into account, and that is how they feel to you. Presumably you will be the one shooting your gun the most, so you will want to get a set of grips that fit your hands, provide you with a steady and firm grip, and once those are taken into account, gives you gun great look.

If you’re buying grips for someone as a present, you’ll have to look at other factors than feel, since you won’t be able to know how they feel to them. A good idea for situations like these is to look at some of their other handguns and the style of grips that they enjoy shooting with. Do they like the traditional look and feel or do they like modern tactical grips?

These are all things you’ll want to consider when purchasing a new set of grips.



My Vote for Best 1911 Grips

In order for me to use a particular set of handgrips, it needs to have a few different options. Here’s what I generally look for when I am looking for custom 1911 grips.

  1. Comfort

The first thing I look for is comfort. Even if the grip offers you a rock solid hold, it does you no good at all if you can only shoot 10-20 rounds through it, so above all, I look for comfort. If it feels good, then I take it to the next round.

  1. Sturdiness in Hand

The second thing I look for is how grippy are they? Do they have a tightened feel to the fun and do they slide around in my hand while shooting. I personally, have somewhat clammy hands, so when I’m shooting I prefer an aggressive grip, so the gun doesn’t move or slip.

  1. Look on the Gun

Even the most no-nonsense strict marksman among us still values the aesthetics of their guns, so how a set of grips looks on your pistol makes a big difference. Some people prefer the classic wooden-style grips that give the gun a historic and classy feel. Others prefer the tactical look, but even these two differing opinions depend largely on the gun for me.

I prefer to have black rubber or plastic grips on stainless guns. If the gun is blued, however, I like the classic look with a nice dark wooden grip.

Strike Industries PX09 Review

strike-gripsStrike Industries offers very affordable modern looking grips for 1911s that you can use to customize your gun if you’re tired of the stock grips or just want to experiment with some new ones. They have many different styles and the PX09 will add a nice tactical feel to your handgun.




General Features

  • cool-1911-gripsMolded, semi-gloss golf ball pattern.
  • Heat and high impact resistant.
  • Made out of PX extreme polymer.
  • Magazine release cutaway.

These Strike Industries grips are a great set of grips if you just want to spice up the look and feel of your gun. They offer a better grip than do stock wooden grips do and they make you gun look pretty cool too.

These particular grips have a molded golf-ball pattern to them, so they are more aggressive than your stock grips will be but they aren’t too aggressive. I would put them in the medium aggressive range.

They are made out of a PX extreme polymer, which is very durable and capable of withstanding a fair amount of abuse. They are heat resistant, which is very good for those of us who like to shoot a few hundred rounds at a time. You won’t have to worry about these grips getting to hot while you’re shooting.

They also have a nice magazine release cutaway to aid in switching between magazines. I really like grips with a magazine cut out because it is so easy to switch magazines in and out and it makes doing so feel so natural. As far as cutouts go, this one is pretty standard in size, nothing huge like the Magpull cutout, but still enough for you to know it’s there.


One downfall of these Strike Industries grips is that they are a little bit large for some people’s taste. They aren’t low profile grips that hug the gun. They are a little bit larger and are shapelier than slim-profiled grips. So if you have smaller hands or prefer smaller grips, these may not be for you. However, some people aren’t fans of slim profile grips, so if that’s you, this may not be an issue at all.

Another thing to keep in mind when you are dealing with polymer grips as opposed to rubber is that these won’t absorb any of the recoil. Rubber grips offer a little bit of cushion where your polymer grips don’t. This isn’t necessarily a downside, but it is something to keep in mind when you’re purchasing.


My Recommendation

As I said above, these grips are great if you’re looking to change the feel of your gun at an affordable price. They may not be as high-end as some shooters might like, but they can make your stock firearm look a little more expensive than it is and they are pretty decent grips too. They are durable and can withstand just about anything you throw at them. And if for whatever reason you don’t like them, you won’t be out too much money either way.


Hogue 1911 Rubber Grips Review

Hogue-rubberHogue is more or less the industry standard when it comes to rubberized grips. If you’re looking for quality rubber grips for your 1911, odds are Hogue will be one of the few that you’re looking at.




General Features

  • hogueMade out of durable Hogue Rubber Grip 45000.
  • Fits the Colt Full Size Auto, including .45, 9mm, .22, .38, 10mm Delta, Spfld Armory.
  • Wrap around finger grooves for added grip.
  • Resistant to solvents and cleaners.

Hogue rubber grips are excellent for those who want the added performance and comfort of rubber grips without any of the typical problems that are associated with them. As I said above, Hogue has become sort of the industry standard for rubber grips in that if I were to get a new set of them, I wouldn’t really consider any other kind.

The Hogues stand out from the rest for a few reasons. The first is that they are made out of a durable synthetic rubber mold. They are solid rubber, and they aren’t spongy or tacky. This is a common complaint about other rubber grips, especially those with finger grooves, that the rubber is too soft and it melts in your hand instead of providing you with a better grip. I’ve never have this problem with Hogue grips. And even though they are solid rubber, they still provide a softer, more absorbing feel to the recoil than aggressive grips like VZ or Strike.

Another reason I prefer them is that since they are hard, they are resistant to solvents and cleaners. Some of the softer rubber materials will disintegrate when you clean your gun, so you always need to make sure to remove them each time you clean it and set them aside. This doesn’t happen with Hogues because they are harder and more solid.


If you don’t wash your grips regularly after prolonged use, they tend to get rather slick. I’ve found that this is the only downside to the hardened rubber material Hogue uses. If you shoot a lot and your hands become sweaty at all, this will start to leave your grips slick and you will loose performance. Fortunately, this is an easy fix, as I just make sure to use some soap and water to clean my grips every few times on the range.

I have also heard some complaints that Hogue grips can be difficult to put on your handgun, but I’ve never had that experience.

One more thing about Hogue grips, they don’t add a lot of character to your firearm. They don’t offer the classic look of wood and they don’t look especially modern. They are very functional but can leave your gun looking a little bland.


My Recommendation

As I’ve said a few times, when I’m in the market for rubberized grips, I don’t look too much further than Hogue. I’ve had my Hogue grips for almost ten years and they still look and work just as good as when I bought them. They are easy to clean and can hold up to gun cleaners and they are great to do prolonged shooting with.

Some of the more aggressive grips can really do a number on your hands and a few days of shooting, but I can shoot with the Hogue grips for hours and hours and my hands feel fine.

VZ grips Operator II Review

VZ-Operator-IIThe VZ Operator II grips are a high-end tactical grip made and manufactured in the United States. VZ has been around since 2003 and has an excellent name in the firearms industry. These grips are very durable, have an excellent fit, and look great on a 1911.




General Features

  • vz-1911-operatorsMade out of heavy-duty G10.
  • Very aggressive texture for gripping.
  • Thumb cutaway for magazine release.
  • Multiple color selection to fit your gun.
  • Slim profile design, flush with gun.

The Operator II is a great grip for those who want an absolutely rock-solid grip. These grips are very aggressive and you can be sure while using these that your gun isn’t going to twist or slide in your hand. These grips can easily be used by the tournament shooter in competitions or by those in a tactical high-speed environment.

Since they are made from G10, these grips are extremely durable. G10 is some great stuff and is virtually indestructible. It is also able to withstand heavy solvents, so you don’t need to worry about your grips dissolving or disintegrating as your clean your gun with these VZ grips. Some grips, especially rubber ones, tend to get tacky when doing a lot of shooting in high heat areas or if you hands start to sweat. This doesn’t happen with these VZ grips because of the G10 material and their aggressive texture. It’s easy to maintain a nonslip grip with these.

They also offer many different colors, so you can customize your grips with your gun. I am more of a traditionalist when it comes to grips, but I do have a few friends who have green camo VZ grips on their guns and I do have to admit, they look pretty cool.

Unlike bulky grips that make your gun feel huge, these have a slim profile that is flush with the gun’s frame. This is good as it allows you to keep your full hand wrapped around the gun. It also features a thumb cut out for magazine release. These are great because they really make switching between magazines easy.



The VZ grips, since they are a higher-end grip, they do carry with them a bit of a price tag compared to your basic Magpulls, but in my opinion they are well worth it. In the world of firearms, you get what you pay for and these are quality American-made, tournament quality grips.

They also can be a bit aggressive for some. They definitely won’t chaff up your hand like some grips, but they are pretty tough if you’re used to shooting with rubber grips.


My Recommendation

If you’re looking for a grip that is a cut above the rest, say your typical Hogue or Pachmayr, the VZ grips are the way to go. They have a little bit more a price tag, but they are well worth it.

They look great and function even better. They have all of the usually featured I look for in a set a grips, magazine cutaway, nonslip grip, low profile design, so choosing the VZ was pretty easy for me.

Pachmayr 1911 American Legend Grips Review

pachmayr-gripsThe Pachmayr American Legend 1911 grips are a slick looking set of grips, and Pachmayr is a trusted name in the world of handgun grips. They make semi-auto grips, revolver grips, grip gloves, recoil pads, and more. Pachmayr products are very well made, they look great, and they are still very affordable.



General Features

  • pachmayr-grip-aloneWood-rubber combination grip.
  • Wraparound finger grooves for added grip.
  • Fits a wide array of Colt and Colt copies.
  • Greatly improves grip on gun.

The American Legend series by Pachmayr are beautiful, elegant grips that function at the highest level. The basic design is a standard wooden grip with a rubber insert that wraps around the front of the frame. The rubber has a textured outside just like a set of polymer grips or checkered wood, so it really is the best of both worlds. You get the classic look and feel of wooden grips, but you also get the functionality, control, and handling of rubber grips. This combination sets the Pachmayr American Legend grips far above the rest in style and functionality.

The wood itself comes in a rich walnut with a great looking varnish on it. I really like the way these grips look on a gun and unlike some grips, I think these look good on stainless or blued steel.

One of the great parts about these grips is, since they are rubber, you can rest assured that you can shoot several hundred rounds from your gun without getting chaffed hands. If you do not like ultra-aggressive grips, but want to maintain the control that they offer, rubber grips like these might be for you.



Since these grips are designed to fit a wide array of 1911 makes and styles, on certain makes they require a bit of modification. For instance, if you have a gun with an ambidextrous safety, you may need to use a dremel tool to make these grips fit your gun.

Also, if you prefer rubber grips to be very stiff/hard, the Pachmayrs might not be the best ones for you. Pachmayrs uses what they call a “Decelerator” rubber for a soft controlled feel. It isn’t squishy obviously, but it is softer than say Hogue’s rubberized grips. I have read reports, although never experienced it personally, that the Pachmayr rubber can deteriorate if you clean it with heavy solvents, so be sure to avoid that.


My Recommendation

Overall, the Pachmayr grips offer what no other grip on the market can offer right now, and that is wood/rubber combo. I’ve mentioned this a few times now, but it really does take these grips to a new level as they look very classy and perform exceptionally well.

However, for me personally, if I’m going to get rubber grips, I do like the hardened rubber that Hogue grips offer. These of course have a few problems as well, but they are my personal preference. They aren’t as pretty as the Pachmays, but they fit my tastes better. Of course, some people swear by the soft-controlled feel of Pachmayr. I mean, that is the point of rubber, isn’t it?

Magpul Grips with Magazine Release Cut Out Review

magpul-gripsThe Magpul Original Equipment (MOE) is a line of firearm accessories that offer affordable alternatives to standard weapon parts but still maintain the high quality you would expect from an OEM part. Magpul offers some great products all with very favorable reviews that are economically affordable and allow you to customize your handgun without much cost.




General Features

  • magpul-slim

    Constructed out of reinforced polymer.

  • Simple yet elegant design gives gun a classic look and feel.
  • Slim profile grip.
  • Diamond-shaped pattern that prevents gun from twisting in hand.
  • Magazine release cut out.

These Magpul grips are extremely durable and are a new, modern take on the classic 1911 grip. They are made out of a reinforced polymer that is lightweight but still very tough.

The diamond pattern design of these grips has a good sticky feel to them that isn’t extremely rough, but it gives you a nice, firm grip on the gun. These grips are stickier than your standard checkered wood, but they aren’t as extreme as other grips on the market.

magpul-magazine-cutoutTwo important features of these Magpul grips are the cutaway for magazine release and their slim profile. These grips have a deep cutaway for the magazine release that I personally find appealing. It makes it very convenient and easy to pop the magazine out after shooting as your thumb slides right across the cutout to release the magazine.

The design is very low profile sleek design, too. These grips hug the gun very well. They still have a raised angular center that fits your hand nicely, but the perimeter of the grips is flush with the contours of the gun. This is another feature of the gun that gives it a very modern look.




Some people aren’t fans of cutouts for magazine releases, and if you’re one of those people, these probably aren’t the grips for you. This set of Magpul grips have a pretty aggressive magazine cutout that doesn’t particularly bother me, but it can bother some people.

If you prefer an extremely aggressive grip, this might not be the grip for you. I would describe these as a medium-aggressive grip. Like I said above, they are surely stickier than your standard grips will be, but some people like grips so aggressive that they make your hands bleed (slight exaggeration). Bottom line, these aren’t meant to be super aggressive, so if that’s what you’re looking for you might want to look at the VZ grips.



My Recommendation

I like these grips a lot for a few reasons. First, they are very reasonably priced. They offer a great value for the money and are a solid set of grips to shoot with.

I also like their slim profile design. When I’m shooting a handgun, I like to have my hand wrapped around it tightly and sometimes with other bulky grips this is difficult to do. The slim design of these grips allows you to easily wrap your full hand around the gun because the grips hug the frame so closely. They really are a sleek set of grips.

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