Ajax Custom Grips out of Dallas, Texas has
been making quality aftermarket grips for various handguns for a
very long time. They
make grips for almost every model of single action revolver, and
most popular semi-autos and double-action revolvers as well.
They provide grips in a variety of materials, and are
sure to have something to meet most every taste.
Their grips are priced reasonably as well.
Our buddy Doug Degroote with Ajax sent us
several sets of grips months ago in order to provide a review
and analysis of their product on several popular handguns.
This article is the result of such analysis.
We reviewed #28-SG out of Sambar Stag
(authentic, not the fake stuff) to fit Ruger
Bisley grip frame.
We fit their #27-SL of Staglite (fabricated material to
look like stag at a much lower cost) on a Ruger
received model #31-BH out of Buffalo Horn designed to fit a
Ruger XR3-RED grip frame. We
received #31S in Pewter for the Ruger
XR3-RED grip frame. And, we received 2
sets of 1911 grip sets, one of scroll-pattern Pewter, and
another of White Pearlite (artificial pearl that is more durable
and less costly), models 12S-Scroll and 12-WP respectively.
It is difficult to make aftermarket grips to fit
perfectly on handguns for which they were designed, yet that is
the challenge that must be met by respected grip manufacturers
like Ajax. In
this test, some, but not all, of the grips fit well, and some
would need some “tweaking” to make work properly on the
handguns to which they were mounted.
The Ruger Bearcat grips are an example of a
perfect “out of the box” fit.
With no modification at all (as to be expected), the
Bearcat Staglite grips fit perfect and look really good.
From a distance, the Staglite grips look almost identical
to genuine stag. Up
close, however, the grain is missing and the gloss finish of the
Staglite give them away as fakes.
But, for the purpose for which they are designed,
Staglite grips look good, are very durable, and are a fraction
of the price of genuine stag (some $42 compared with $240).
The Bearcat’s new grips look great on the old-model
Bearcat (a Bearcat from the 60’s).
They look so good that I am keeping them.
At the other extreme, the Genuine Sambar Stag
grips look really good. Made
from genuine sambar stag, these grips are made well and
represent a truly great look on a quality single-action auto.
The grips we ordered were designed to fit Ruger Bisley
revolvers. I tried the grips out on two different Bisley models, a
Bisley and a Bisley
grips fit decently on the blued Bisley, yet really needed a bit
of custom fitting to provide a truly factory fit.
The grips didn’t fit well at all on the stainless
Bisley Vaquero, although I expected them to do so.
For a $240 set of grips, I would expect a better fit.
Yet, with a small amount of file work and a little time,
they could be made to look factory-perfect on the Ruger Bisley.
Actually, Ajax recommends some custom-fitting on many
single-action revolvers, and such was the case with the stag
grips on the Bisley revolvers.
The Buffalo Horn grips are made well, crafted
from genuine buffalo horn.
They are polished nicely and have just enough character
to make them realistically the genuine article.
They did not, however, fit well on my Ruger Vaquero to
which they were fitted. The New Model Vaquero had slimmer “gunfighter” style
rubber grips. The
thicker buffalo horn grips didn’t fit well on this particular
revolver. There was
too large a gap at the top of the grip.
Again, with some fitting, they can be made to work well.
For this article, I didn’t custom-fit any of the grips,
but tested the fit right out of the box.
I plan to custom-fit them on another older-model Vaquero
in the near future, and with some time in fitting, they will
Recognizing the difficulty of making
out-of-the-box 1911 grip panels fit the latest model of
semi-custom 1911’s (those coming from the factory with
extended beavertails, ambi controls, etc.), I tested their fit
on one of the finest factory 1911’s for the money on the
market now, the Taurus 1911.
While you can find a more expensive 1911, and one that
has more custom features or that is more accurate, the Taurus is
about as good of a box gun that you can get for the money.
You can spend three times as much for a truly custom 1911
like the Les Baer or Ed Brown, and can spend more
on high-quality 1911’s from Colt, Kimber, Springfield, Rock
River, and others. I
have, and own some of these others and they are fine guns and
are worth the money. For
a quality value-priced 1911, however, the Taurus is hard to
beat. Anyway, I
chose the Taurus because they are popular, good-shooting, and
offer a lot of features for the money.
The days of people buying a stripped-down 1911 and
spending thousands to customize it are long-gone.
I figured that these 1911 grip panels from Ajax should
fit well on the Taurus, as it represents what the market is
currently buying. However,
I was surprised when the panels didn’t fit well.
The Pearlite grips are thicker than the factory rubber
grips on the Taurus, and the top screw on the left side wasn’t
long enough to hold the grip panel in place.
Ajax, sadly, didn’t provide any new grip screws for
their 1911 grips. Yet, most aftermarket grip panels for 1911’s do not include
additional screws. Also,
the way the ambi safety is designed (I am right-handed so the
standard thumb safety is on the left of the gun; therefore the
ambi is on the right side), the right-side grip panel would
require a notch to make the grips fit nicely.
This was noticed on both the pearlite and the pewter grip
panels. If fitted
to a gun without an ambidextrous safety, the pewter grips would
have worked fine. However,
the ambi safety did cause a problem.
A bit of time and a file could have remedied the problem,
or the removal of the ambi safety, but again, I was testing for
Outside of some problems with fit, and if you
are willing to spend a bit of time fitting the grips to the
particular handgun, the Ajax grips are built to high-quality
standards and out of good materials.
They are priced right, and offer a good quality
aftermarket grip to fit most every gun out there.
And, their custom shop will tailor-make a set of grips
for your gun if they do not have them in stock.
If you are desiring to buy a set of aftermarket
grips and mount them yourself, expecting a perfect fit
out-of-the-box, that hasn’t been my experience with these Ajax
grips. Only one out
of six offered a truly factory fit by just taking off the old
grips and replacing with the new Ajax grips. The others required
a bit of custom fitting. If
you don’t mind doing so, then contact Ajax for the grips to
fit your handguns. They
are high-quality and made well.
And, they are a good value.
I just would have preferred a better fit out-of-the-box.
Then again, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to
truly make a statement with your side arm.
Maybe just a bit of file work and patience.
grips can be purchased factory-direct at www.ajaxgrips.com.
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