Grip adapters' heyday of popularity was in the 1950s, '60s, and '70s. One fan, Chic Gaylord, was the pioneering concealment holster designer and quickdraw artist of that period. He was partial to the Tyler-T product.

They were once a staple accessory in gun shops, but the rise of affordable "custom" stocks and the massive switch to the autoloading pistol have made grip adapters hard to find these days. Numrich Gun Parts still has the Pachmayrs in stock for some models, at only $7.45 plus shipping.

The Tyler-T is still produced by Tyler Manufacturing. Available for a wide variety of double action revolvers, they go for $24 in brushed aluminum, $25 black, $27 polished, and $33 in bronze hue, plus shipping.

Even the unique old S&W adapter is back. Explains Dave Ballantyne, a board member of the S&W Collectors Association (SWCA), "I am a collector of pre-war S&Ws. Specifically, I collect early .357 or "Registered" Magnums. I became concerned at the price the original grip adapters were fetching on E-bay after they crossed the $1,000 barrier." Ballantyne got together with gunsmith and collector Jerry Rodgers, and the result is a modern, authentic copy. Properly marked to reduce chances "counterfeiting" as originals, they come with a soft, comfortable layer of rubber on the part contacting your middle finger.

These babies aren't cheap, because there's a lot of machining involved. If you're an SWCA member you can get them for $100, and if you're not, price is $150, a fair deal, since membership dues are $50 anyway, and SWCA is certainly worth joining. If your particular S&W (N-frame only) is post-WWII, the adapter may need to be cut and worked a little to mate the frame and pins, and in any case the inside of your wooden stocks will have to be shaved. Order information (by e-mail only) is available from [email protected].

If custom stocks are too bulky and bulgy for you, or if "rubber" grips just aren't comfortable or pleasing, a simple grip adapter might be the answer. It gives most shooters a more solid hold, but doesn't increase the revolver's dimensions adversely impacting concealability. Whaddaya know? It may be true when folks say "what was old is new again." f?77H

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