By Bud Harton
Back in 1969 when I first started carrying a handgun, it was a revolver. I couldn’t afford a Colt Python so I opted for an S&W Model 19. Grips weren’t a problem because there were plenty of aftermarket grips available. Wood, manufactured and rubber, there was no shortage of choices. But then I changed to my first semi-automatic pistol, a S&W Model 39 . . .
There really weren’t a lot of options for semi-automatic pistols when police departments first started adopting them. There were lots of fancy grips, but not much available to help improve your shooting. The very first grip modification I ever made to my Model 39 was to take a bicycle inner tube, cut an appropriate length from it and then slide it on. It worked so well that I can remember doing that for all my pistols from then on. And I helped dozens of others do the same for their pistols in the following years.
Apparently, another young police officer, Derik Losinger of Arizona, had the same experience. Working as both a ranger and boat Sheriff’s deputy at Lake Powell, the searing heat was a cause for sweaty palms and slippery grips. Losinger was also a firearms instructor and armorer and saw many people using skateboard tape to provide a grippier surface and got to thinking about a better way.
Lonsinger decided the best avenue to pursue was a wraparound grip made from a single piece of material. He first started making one for his duty weapon, a GLOCK 21. Once he had hand fabricated and applied it, many of his fellow officers complimented him on his idea and a business was born. With the help of his college buddy and lifelong friend, Mike Morris, Talon Grips launched to a fast start. Losinger became dissatisfied with the quality control using an outsourced company, so he purchased a laser cutter and began production his own product and the rest, as they say, was history.
I first learned of Talon from a video from Hickock45. At the time, I was carrying a SIG P228 and ordered set of the rubber textured appliqués. They quickly arrived and I sat looked at the instructions for a while realizing that if I screwed up the installation I was probably going to ruin the grips and have to re-order another set. That’s because around my house people often leave the room if I pick up any type of tool and look as if I might attempt to use it to do something.
There have been “incidents”.
But, the instructions seemed straight forward and I dived right in. Once they were on, I used my wife’s hair dryer (all right, it was really mine, left over from my disco days) to heat them up a little to smooth any wrinkles and then they were done.
Picking the SIG up, I was absolutely stunned. I couldn’t believe the difference in the feel of the weapon, but then I realized, it was just like that first experiment with a rubber inner tube all those years ago – only better. Better because there was no feeling of added thickness at all. The Talon perfectly match the contours of the gun’s grip without adding any bulk at all.
A short time later, I switched to an M&P9 Pro and bought grips for it and then an identical set for the M&P22 I picked up as a tractor gun for those sudden confrontations with a copperhead around the house.
I have now started carrying a full-sized FNS-9 and as soon as I got it, I ordered a set of Talons for it, too.
I prefer the rubber texture as opposed to the granulate as the granulate is a little rough on the skin when wearing an IWB holster. But I think if I was still carrying a duty gun as a police officer, the granulate would probably be the way to go.
Ratings (out of five stars):
Ease of Application: * * * * *
I’m a klutz when it comes to dealing with anything that involves any level intricacy. But this was easy, the installation instructions have both a written description and drawings and they worked perfectly. Total install time was maybe 15 minutes and most of that was using the hair dryer.
Value: * * * * *
It’s $17.99 for any pistol with free shipping to the US. I have a special drawer in my workshop that’s filled with grips for pistols that I have bought and tried over the years. All were supposed to be the perfect answer, some are decorative and a lot of them cost north of $75.00 a set. The Talons are functional and enhance the look of the pistol so it’s a win-win. I have been known to drop more than $17.99 for lunch at Mickey D’s when the “McRib is back!”
Overall: * * * * *
A great product from a company that prides itself in customer service.