A pistol grip is often overlooked as an aesthetic component of a rifle. However, a good grip could mean the difference between a miss or a hit, especially in stressful situations.
Here we’ll be talking about the importance of pistol grips and what to look for when choosing one. We’ll also outline some of the best AR-15 pistol grips available in the market to help you find a suitable one for use with your rifle.
What To Look For In A Grip
A grip might seem to be a less important and redundant part of a rifle. But a knowledgeable shooter knows that it is the grip on your weapon which lets you shoot accurately. Pistol grips on rifles started as an experiment in the early days of percussion rifles. With the increased prominence and tactical effectiveness of rifles, pistol grips became an essential part. This is especially true because of their effectiveness during rapid and combat firing.
There are quite a few factors to consider and questions to answer before you choose a pistol grip for your AR-15 rifle.
Your Intended Use
Make it clear as to what use you’ll be putting your rifle to. Is it target shooting, fun plinking, competitions, rapid firing, combat-like situations or a mix of all these. That is because different grips vary in their material, structure, texture and pricing. So you must be clear about your intended use.
Hand Size and Orientation
90% basis of measuring a pistol grip’ efficiency is the comfort it provides. Before choosing a pistol grip for your AR-15, check out the hand size and orientation (right-handed vs. left-handed).
People with larger palms tend to have problems with smaller grips. Ambidextrous grips are the most common, but some prefer a “handed” grip because of a better fit. Finally, it’s your choice.
Yup, pistol grips can also be used as storage compartments. Might sound bizarre to an amateur, but it's true. The hollow cavity inside pistol grips can be used to store things like bandages, survival gear, batteries for optics, and probably any other thing that can be squeezed into. Just look for that base lid when you buy.
Material & Texture
This is entirely a matter of personal discretion. AR-15 pistol grips are generally manufactured from polymer or fiberglass or a combination of several materials. Manufacturers also offer rubberized coating on some grips.
Some grips will have a checkered finish over them to improve the grip. But it might end up bruising your palms over longer shooting sessions. So think about the weight, texture and comfort with the material before choosing a pistol grip for your AR-15.
AR-15 pistol grips with or without finger grooves are readily available in the market. Finger grooves are an effective way to maximize your grip and keep it more compact. Finger grooves especially on a rubberized grip can work wonders in sweaty, slippery environments. However, people with thick fingers might have problem fitting their fingers in these grooves. Some people love it and for some it is annoying.
Grip Angle and Palm Shelf
Pistol grips are available in standard and reduced grip angle variants. The reduced grip is a bit angled and the standard one is straight. Your choice might have an effect on your stance. In the end it’s a matter of comfort and choice.
A palm shelf, as the name suggests, is a swelled base in the grip to help you get a resting base for your palm while shooting. A palm shelf is quite helpful for people with big hands.
Durability, Appearance and Price
Pistol grips these days are generally manufactured from polymer, fiberglass or similar materials which are lightweight and virtually indestructible. This gives the pistol grip great durability. Appearance might be a factor for consideration if you are obsessed with the looks of your rifle, but it’s probably not a good idea to sacrifice comfort for good looks.
Check out different materials, designs and sizes to choose the best for you. The last thing to look for in a pistol grip is its price because it is not a very expensive accessory.
Quick Comparison Chart of the Best Pistol Grips for the AR-15
Magpul AR-15 MOE Grip
Magpul MIAD Gen 1.1 Grip Kit
Hogue AR-15 Pistol Grip
Tangodown BG-7 Rifle Grip
Bravo Company AR-15 Mod 3 Gunfighter Grip
Reviews Of The Best Pistol Grips For The AR-15
Based on the above-mentioned features and factors, we’ve come up with five of the best pistol grips for AR-15. We’ve reviews these products to let you know the features and understand which one will suit your needs. Grips mentioned here fall in a decent price range and have been trusted by a large number of people.
The Magpul AR-15 MOE (Magpul Original Equipment) features a single-piece design which can be installed and disassembled with ease. The grip has been manufactured from reinforced high impact polymer.
This grip features a crackle structure on the sides and a deep horizontal grooves on the front strap and back strap, thus giving you improved grip under sweaty conditions. The curved beavertail on the rear fits the grip-receiver junction perfectly while also protecting your skin and joints.
The Magpul AR-15 MOE pistol grip has a standard design with a straight grip. It’s aesthetically pleasing, offers good value for money, and is compatible with many other guns. It’s suitable even for people with small hands because of the absence of finger grooves.
There is an end cap to let you store items in the cavity. All in all, it’s perfect for all sorts of uses ranging from self-defense to target practice and for all shooters from novice to experts.
The Magpul MIAD is probably the most loved and bestselling pistol grips in the market. The reason is the number of accessories the kit has and the quality of its components. The MIAD(Mission Adaptable) is a simple drop-in replacement for the factory grip.
Manufactured from reinforced molded polymer, the kit includes a main grip body, a detachable rubber core with a ½ oz. lubrication bottle in the cap, two front strap and two beavertail backstrap inserts, along with installation hardware. The front and back strap inserts are easy to install as the slide easily over the main grip and snap firmly eliminating the need to use any adhesives or screws.
The grip has a standard design with crackled texture on the sides and horizontal grooves in the front. Suitable for all hand sizes and all intended uses ranging from self-defense to plinking. A one-stop solution at a decent price.
The Hogue AR-15 pistol grip is manufactured from toughened fiberglass and is slightly angled to offer better grip and smaller grip-to-trigger distance while you change your stance. The grip has finger grooves and palm swells to give you that fat soft feeling and comfort while you shoot.
The ergonomic design offers more comfort and prevents any bruises even if you’re shooting your rifle all day long. The finger grooves are wide enough to be comfortable for a normal-sized palm. It fits perfectly without the need for any modifications or trimming.
The only drawback is the absence of storage space, which means you’ll have to find somewhere else to keep your batteries, compass or bandaids. The grip is durable, easy to install, has a dotted texture and works with many guns. There’s nothing more you could expect from it at this price.
Featuring a tough molded-polymer construction, the Tangodown BG-7 rifle grip is perfect for shooters with big hands. However, that doesn’t mean it won’t suit normal or small-handed people. The grip has a curved beavertail to fit perfectly into the receiver junction. The curved backstrap helps with reducing fatigue and improve trigger-to-grip positioning.
The package includes stainless steel screws and an Allen key to help you install it on your AR-15. The best part of using the BG-7 is the large storage compartment, which can be used to store multiple batteries along with some other tiny stuff. The storage cavity has a good cap and is waterproof. The crackled rough texture on the sides helps in gaining a better grip in slippery conditions.
The impact-resistant polymer construction combined with the reduced angle and ergonomic design makes it an amazing option to replace your factory grip. The Gunfighter grip has a reduced angle to improve gun control. This means it’s ideal for a ‘squared-off’ stance while shooting as opposed to the conventional bladed stance.
The textured surface offers a better grip whereas the two modular trigger guard inserts can be used to close the gap between the trigger guard and the grip.
The grip features a hinged lid on the base and a water-resistant storage compartment, large enough to store some batteries and other small items. The Gunfighter Grip is easy to install and works with many guns.
A pistol grip can be an amazing upgrade for your AR-15. It helps you feel more comfortable while you shoot, thus improving your accuracy. A good grip helps you conduct long shooting sessions without your palms getting bruised. On top of that, a nice grip also offers some storage space to let you add some extra items like batteries, small compass, lens cleaner etc, which you might otherwise forget.
Before buying a grip, you must consider looking upon several factors like build material, texture, orientation, durability, storage, finger grooves, palm swells, palm shelf, aesthetics and above all, your intended use.