If you’ve ever tried to hold on to a stock Gen. 3 Glock in the pouring rain while unleashing a rapid string of fire, you probably realized how slick the stock frame is. But Glocks aren’t the only pistols that suffer from the slick-grip disease. The molded texture of most polymer guns just isn’t grippy enough for many shooters. When I started with my department, I was issued Evelyn, a used Gen. 3 17. While the multiple rounds Evelyn had seen had helped to smooth out her trigger—as smooth as a stock Glock can get—the use had not helped the grip at all. The backstrap was almost shiny, and the stock texturing on the side wasn’t much better.
My department’s policy prevents officers from modifying their guns in any permanent manner—trigger and sights must remain as issued, and there’s no way I could take a soldering iron to my duty gun. Several of my fellow officers had gone with skateboard-tape-style decals, and while they were super grippy, they lost grit like the sandpaper they were and could eat a hole in any uniform shirt made. After suffering with a slippery gun for too long, a Google search led me to Tractiongrips.com, and the thrift-meister within me rejoiced.
What sold me on Tractiongrips at first was the price—a little less than $9 got me a set of decals with free shipping. That sang to the tactical thriftician in my brain. And instead of grit-style, Tractiongrips offers a unique rubberized decal that mimics the look of stock texturing but offers a huge improvement in the grippiness department.
To be honest, though, I was hesitant about applying grip decals to my gun. I can’t lay a piece of tape on anything without getting a wrinkle or air bubble, and I was worried I’d end up with crooked, wrinkled decals that looked like a toddler did the work. However, when the grips arrived in the mail, just a few days after I placed my order, I was surprised at how easy they were to apply. I cleaned my grip with soap and water, as the instructions stated, and then I placed the decals. Until the grips are firmly pressed into place, they can be lifted and reapplied to get the perfect placement. So even a guy like me can apply them without worry of wrinkles.
The Glock set comes with two decals for the sides, two oval decals for the thumb indentions, and an additional strip decal for the bottom of the trigger guard. Since I never put my thumbs where Glock thinks people do, I found the oval-shaped decal to be perfect for the upper portion of the backstrap. This piece of the grip always seems to be the slipperiest to me, and the oval decal solved the problem. I then trimmed the trigger guard piece to fit on the forward frame flat, giving my support thumb some grip and a memory point for a consistent shooting grip.
If you want decals that cover more than the stock texturing, or in a custom color, don’t hesitate to give Don at Tractiongrips a call or email. He’s done grips in pink, wood grain, and Zombie-green.
The price and ease of application of Tractiongrips wouldn’t mean anything if the decals didn’t provide adequate grip. The rubber style feels similar to Hogue revolver grips or grip sleeves but without the bulk—my hand gets the benefit of the extra traction, in a super-thin decal.
Those first decals stayed on Evelyn for three years, until I had to turn her in as we transitioned to Gen. 4s. For all I know, GFY890 still wears those grips, despite the daily grind of shift work. The decals never started to peel up or come loose, and I could always count on them to keep the gun in my hands.
Now that I have Roxanne, a Gen. 4 17, I have applied Tractiongrip decals to the upper backstrap and forward frame flat. I love the stock texture of the Gen. 4s, and the decals are an easy way to add grip to a few areas without permanently modifying my department-issued gun.
If you haven’t checked outwww.tractiongrips.com, do it now. For those who can’t or won’t stipple their guns, these decals are the perfect—and thrifty—solution.