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I recently purchased some VZ grips for my "new" SW 642. "New" as in a replacement for the 642 that I sent back to SW because of a broken trigger pivot pin.

After I received the 642 I stoned the internals and replaced the springs with a Wolff 8 pound main spring and an 11 pound rebound spring. I typically swap out the stock rubber grips with Ahrend’s finger grooved boot grips, a product with which I have been very pleased. See the attached photo of the 640 Pro, which has a set of Ahrend’s tung oiled grips attached.

But after I stumbled upon the VZ grips website I thought I'd give these grips a try. I order the smooth black cheery grips from amazon (Amazon.com: VZ Grips J-Frame-320-Black Cherry: Sports & Outdoors).
They have a very slight texture, not smooth, but not aggressive. Definitely enough that there is no slippery feeling or a sensation of a lack of purchase when you are holding the gun. They are made of G10 polymer, and they definitely have a synthetic feel. If you are a purist and like only wood furniture, then you can stop reading now. On the other hand, if you are a utilitarian but don’t like the feel of rubber grips, read on.

The grips weigh a couple of ounces, and do add to the weight of the gun. Initially they felt pretty good. The have a palm swell that is more pronounced than the Ahrend’s.

So off to the range I went to try out the grips and the new springs. I shot 75 rounds of standard pressure .38 specials. The gun performed flawlessly. Sadly, however, the grips did not. After five rounds I noticed a “biting” sensation in my pinky and ring finger on my trigger hand. After 15 rounds my little finger and half of my ring finger started to go numb! It almost felt as though I had a problem with my cubital tunnel.

I then saw what the problem was. Where the grips meet on the bottom finger groove, where your ring finger purchases the grip, there was a very pronounced, almost sharp, angle formed. Also, on the bottom surfaces of the grips, the edges were squared along a sharp edge.

I took a break and fired some rounds from my 640, and then returned to the 642. I tried adjusting my grip in various ways but to no avail. Even with tame .38 standard pressure cartridges the VZ grips were biting into my hand.
When I returned home I decided that I would try to sand down the edges along the bottom and along the ring finger groove. I used 150 grit sandpaper to remove the hard edges and round the surfaces, and then smoothed them up with 400 grit. The resulting surfaces are shown in the close up below.

The grip feels much better after the sanding, but I have not shot the gun since I modified the grips. I’m hoping that will take care of the problem, especially since I can’t return them after my bubba mod. I’ll head to the range next week to find out, and I’ll report back.

If these are more comfortable after the sanding, I’ll keep them on the gun. If, however, they are still biting into my hand, then I’ll probably just pick up another pair of Ahrends.

If you are thinking about purchasing these grips, you may want to consider that you may have to do some sanding to prevent the grips from tearing into your ring finger and pinky.

I'll update next week after round 2.

Tinnitus.jpg VZGrip1.jpg VZGrip2.jpg VZGrip3.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Update: Today I took the 642 to the range and fired 75 rounds. The sharpness and resulting numbness is no more. The grips seem to work well for me - my first rapid fire point shooting resulted in five rounds at five yards in a fist sized group.

I'm going to contact the company and suggest rounding the edges. I've heard this same complaint by others.

I'm probably going to keep these on my 642.

I would only suggest these grips *IF* you are willing to do some sanding to get rid of sharp corners. But once you do that, you probably won't be able to send them back if you still don't like them, so be aware that you might be out 75 bucks - these are not inexpensive grips.
 

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Well a final update. The VZ grips are retired. Even with the smoothing, they still made the revolver a handful. Although they no longer cut into my hand, it is as if any force was being directly channeled into my hand. Probably due to the hardness of the grips. Not sure. But I've since switched them with a pair of Ahrend's boot grips.

As much as I like the idea behind them, I can't recommend them for a revolver.
 

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Sorry they didn't work out. They look nice. Do you have any real wood grips? How did they compare?
 

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Well now you know. Thanks for the thorough write up!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Sorry they didn't work out. They look nice. Do you have any real wood grips? How did they compare?
I use Ahrend's wood grips. I also have Altamonts, and both are more comfortable than the VZ grips. Perhaps its a combination of the slight rounding of the wood and the ability of the wood to somehow soften the energy transfer. Just a guess, I'm not a materials guy.
 

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I favor the Smith & Wesson wood grips on these little kickers. The high up grip you can get with these things aids in recoil control. Adding the T Grip gives you a little better hand hold too. I'd avoid wood grips that are smooth and slippery in the hand
 

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