In somewhat of an odd coincidence, our man Tyler took to his firearm with a DIY stippling kit for this review, while at the same time I sent a spare Beretta Nano frame — not a firearm — to be professionally stippled by StippGrips. StippGrips offers a few different stippling patterns as well as other frame modification such as trigger guard undercutting and grip re-shaping. They don’t have have a website, though. You can find them on Facebook and Instagram, and e-mail to order. Anyway, I went with their original hatch pattern . . .
As you can see on the left, the factory frame is pretty darn smooth. It has only very gentle texturing on part of the backstrap and frontstrap. This left a lot to be desired and it didn’t inspire confidence while shooting.
For years I’ve run my Nano frame with a stick-on Talon Grip in rubber pebble texture, and that was a huge upgrade over the factory setup. The only drawback: rubber isn’t the best when it gets wet. I decided I wanted something not only more aggressive, but also permanent and actually an integral part of the gun.
StippGrips’ hatch stipple certainly hits on the “more aggressive” front. It creates hundreds of edges with a sandpaper-like texture to them. It’s comfortable in my hands, but it grips and it grips hard. There will be zero rotation of the small firearm when firing.
While I’m a more confident shooter with the pistol now and love this grip on the range, it did change something about how I conceal carry my Nano. During summer months, I often carry this gun IWB with only a t-shirt on top. That means the grip of the gun is touching bare tactical love handle. Unfortunately, the stippling makes this no longer an option. The hatch stipple pattern is too sharp and rough against bare skin. StippGrips did inform me that Beretta’s polymer is tougher than other brands which tend to come out a touch softer.
A light shirt between frame and skin is sufficient to achieve full comfort, but I’m not double-layering in the summer to accommodate this. In the winter, though, it’s a non-issue. What I’m going to do is lightly sand down the edges of the pattern — just on the left side of the frame — to smooth things out a little. I think that will take away the sharpness and roughness and allow me to go frame-on-skin, but the peaks-and-valleys design will still provide an amazing firing grip.
If something a little more skin-friendly is desired, StippGrips presidential velvet is about as popular for them as the hatch stipple, but has a much gentler texture. There’s also the beaded stipple, which should work as well.
Presidential seen above on a couple of GLOCKS.
Closer view of presidential velvet (plus finger groove removal and double undercut trigger guard).
Beaded stipple (plus finger groove removal, double undercut trigger guard, and magazine release relief).
A G43 with Presidential Velvet.
If Tyler wanted his M&P to look more like this:
he could have shipped it off to StippGrips (which, yes, is an FFL and can receive and return firearms) instead of going the DIY route. Of course, instead of $48.95 for the kit he used (or about $15 for a RadioShack soldering iron) he’d have been looking at $120+ for a full-sized gun.
For a pocket pistol-sized frame, pricing starts at $85 depending on texture chosen and other options such as frame modification. This isn’t cheap, but it’s a necessarily time-consuming process and man hours ain’t cheap. StippGrips also assumes some liability should things go sideways, whereas the DIY route would obviously leave you footing the bill for any mistakes.
The end result is a highly professional stippling job that’s clean, aesthetically pleasing, and functional. It’s grippy as heck, which means excellent gun control — the good kind — and high confidence. The hatch stipple feels incredible on the range and would be an absolutely amazing choice for a competition gun.
Specifications: StippGrips Grip Stippling Service
- MSRP for Hatch Stipple on Full/Compact/Subcompact Frame: $120
- MSRP for Hatch Stipple on Pocket Pistol Frame: $85 (as tested)
- MSRP for Presidential Velvet on Full/Compact/Subcompact Frame: $200
- MSRP for Presidential Velvet on Pocket Pistol Frame: $150
- Turn-Around Time: 3-5 days
Rating (out of five stars):
Overall * * * *
Super clean, awesome job. Looks great, works great. It’s just a bit on the expensive side.