Gear Review: Ryker USA FIST Grip

Ryker FAST Grip (photo courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

I see a lot of new products. Some of them suck. Most of them are a solid “meh.” Very few of these “revolutionary products” are as valuable as their inventors think they are. Alas, I’m a bit jaded. At the very least, extremely skeptical. It is with this attitude that I first approached Ryker USA’s new FIST Grip. If you share this dubious approach to firearms “innovations,” you’ll scan and re-scan every bit of this article. Please do. For the rest of you, I’ll save you some time . . .

The FIST grip works. But before I explain how it works, a little history . . .

Ron Holmes , inventor of the FAST Grip

Ron Holmes (above) is a 20-year Marine veteran who served with Force Recon and Marine Special Operations. Ron developed the FIST Grip to combat the wear and tear on his body inflicted by training and deployment. After he had elbows rebuilt, he found that wearing his full kit on the firing line made his support arm tingle and go numb.

[I know how that feels. I remember wearing my complete combat load, 65 lbs. (without my 40 lbs. aide bag), spending days doing drills or on the range. I was beat, my left shoulder would ache, hurting all the way down to my fingertips. It didn’t get better as I got older.]

Generally speaking, it’s tiring holding a rifle up for a long time. Ron designed the FAST Grip to reduce that challenge for our fighting men and women and, of course, you.

Ryker FAST Grip installed on Underground tactical Bacon Maker VoodooMedic edition (courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

The FIST Grip is a polymer forward grip that attaches to any rifle or shotgun rail section, on the side, vertically. The grip portion is not a straight stick, or a triangle hand stop. It’s an oblong shaped knobbish kind of thing that fits in your hand. It doesn’t sit flush with the rail, it stands proud a few inches.

The end result: your supporting hand reaches much more straight forward from your shoulder, making a vertical fist. It’s exactly like having a good, two-handed high grip on a pistol. Your support hand is farther forward of your firing hand, and to the side a bit.

Ryker FAST Grip to view (courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

It seems simple. Because it is simple. So simple that it’s easy to dismiss. Don’t. Seeing didn’t make me a believer. Hearing Ron’s pitch did not make me a believer. Even feeling it in my hand, at first, didn’t make me a believer. The timer did.

The first firearm I fitted was the FIST Grip: the new Smith and Wesson M&P15 with Crimson Trace and LinQ (review pending). I shot the simple standing Mozambique drills in normal day clothes at the 25 and 50 yard mark, both with and without the FIST grip.

The timer revealed a small advantage with the FIST Grip installed. A four percent improvement over the overage of 50 rounds. Then I started shooting targets both walking forward and horizontally (two targets, four-round strings). The time advantage grew slightly. For the next 200 rounds I shot 15 rounds strings while moving and shooting at different targets.

I didn’t feel any difference in the recoil. If you’d have asked me if there was any time savings with the FIST Grip, I would’ve said no. But the timer told the tale. The strings shot with the FIST Grip in situ were 11 percent faster. If the game is life and death, 11 percent is non-trivial.

The next day,  I did the exact same drill with S&W M&P10 in .308 (review also pending). The advantage grew to 17 percent. The heavier the recoil, the faster I shot the gun. So I mounted the FIST Grip to the rail section on the side of my Mossberg 500s 12 gauge shotguns.

Mounting the FIST Grip to the pump action itself made racking the gun quicker than racking the Mossie using normal under-the-barrel-hold. You rack the shotgun like making little rabbit punches forward and back. It’s crazy fast.

Fast chambering and better recoil management showed a clear advantage for a FIST Grip-enabled pump action shotgun, even on shorter strings. Three shot transition on targets left, right, and left again revealed an 18.875 percent advantage for the FIST Gripped Mossberg vs the traditional naked foregrip.

photo courtesy of JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com

So the FIST Grip enables faster shooting and shotgun administration. But that wasn’t its primary purpose.

When a soldier wears Interceptor Body Armor (IBA) or Improved Outer Tactical Vest (IOTV) he has to use his shoulder to push the armor out of the way, to get their support hand over the rifle’s handguard. That’s why you see a lot of soldiers holding the gun at the magazine well; they can’t reach out to the rifle and still square up on the target to move forward, or at least not for long.

So I donned my IBA and full IOTV and put a FIST-equipped shotgun to the test. It worked as advertised. Not having to fight my gear kept me in a better firing position, more mobile, and less tired. On a long course, I saw anywhere from a 30 to 45 percent increase in my total speed during the string of fire.

The FIST Grip works. How much it works depends on weapon and armor. Fair enough.But that’s not all that’s important. My first concern was that something at the end of my muzzle sticking out sideways would catch on stuff.

In two weeks of shooting with the FIST Grip installed on multiple platforms, with slings and way too much gear on me, it didn’t catch on anything. Now that I think of it, my old forward grip didn’t either through years of use and plenty of combat. The FIST Grip sticks out much less than the forward grip did, so I don’t really see it as a major concern.

My next big concern: reliability. The FIST Grip is light, weighing in at only 3.25oz. Ryker USA tells me that the exact polymer blend is proprietary, but it is “very close to the majority of polymer gun components, and will perform very similarly in feel, strength and durability as a result.”  I pressed it up against a pallet staked into the ground and leaned into it with all my weight and fired off the Mossy one round at a time with it for a full magazine. It didn’t break.  Good enough.

During the long strings of fire with the M&P ARs I found a final benefit: the FIST Grip moves your hand away from the heat of the gas block. (Although I have a few AKs, none of them have any rails on them.)

The FIST Grip looks different. It looks weird. But there’s no doubt that this is one of the rare products that lived up to the hype.

Ryker USA FIST Grip
MSRP: $99

Rating (out of five stars):

Overall * * * * *
The FIST Grip helped me shoot faster, move easier and tire more slowly.  Its simple design is elegant in function and solves more problems than it was created to fix. It’s a heck of a thing.

comments

  1. avatar Geoff PR says:

    Huh.

    So, the FAST Grip is kinda like a ‘Brody knob’ for a long gun?

    (Steering wheel knob. On *very* old cars-trucks, it made cranking around the steering wheel around a few times a *lot* easier.)

    1. avatar Gnorts, Mr. Alien! says:

      I didn’t know those had an actual name. “Brody Knob” you say? Beats the WAY more racist epithet I heard while making one for my van out of an old crystal doorknob… literally last Saturday!

      1. avatar Chris W. says:

        I have never heard it called anything but a suicide knob. I can’t even think of anyway to turn it into something racist.

        1. avatar Professor Manque says:

          Naaaaggggggger Knob of course, but Im not surprised you cant find any racist potential, you dont see racism anywhere, everyones equal, nothing to see here, if you talk about the reality of racism youre a race baiter licking Hillarys tuna… yall are a sick joke… and the fact that this D-bag above thinks its funny that him and his racist pals call it a naaaaggggger knob says it all, yall are the constituents of the first president to be endorsed by the KKK : D

          Thanks for making us the laughing stock of the world you POSs

    2. avatar jwtaylor says:

      It actually reminded me of the same thing. But it doesn’t rotate.

      1. avatar Mike B in WI says:

        Gee, we always just called them “necking knobs” because you could drive with your left hand and have your right arm around your sweetie. (This WAS before bucket seats, too)

        1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          yeah, necker knobs.

          “got her wheel out of uh b-29 bomber brody knob amber”

          “pachuco cadaver”, captain beefheart, (trout mask replica)

          the one on my van’s wheel wasn’t a hondo and it does spin.

  2. avatar Joe R. says:

    Ok, having seen the product before, seeing it on the shotgun makes it make more sense to me.

  3. avatar John in TX (Was CT) says:

    This is a pretty cool idea, but keeping your arm extended straight is generally more tiring than keeping it at an angle. I’d have to try it out before dropping the $100. Not to mention potentially applying non-vertical torque to the front handguard (both due to weight balance and pivot point).

    If nothing else, you’d think that 3-position smallbore folks would have given it a try many years ago and yet I’ve never seen anything from Anschutz, Feinwerkbau or Walther that comes close to it.

    Still, I’ll be looking around for one of these at the range to see if someone might be willing to let me give it a try, since it really is an interesting idea.

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Those three position shooters don’t move. If you are still and shooting at still targets, or not transitioning quickly between targets, I see little value in this product.

      1. avatar John in TX (Was CT) says:

        Well, since I’m cross-dominant I guess it’s not the product for me anyway, but when I thought about “tiring to hold a rifle up for a long time”, I definitely remembered my college days of smallbore (I had some knee damage at the time, so they allowed me to shoot 4 rounds of standing rather than two of standing and two of kneeling and my shoulders were killing me by the end).

        I wouldn’t have thought of the advantages when it came to operating a shotgun slide, either.

        Either way, an interesting idea.

        1. avatar jwtaylor says:

          The cross eye dominance thing is hard. My oldest son is that way, and when he was very little I just started teaching him how to shoot with his non-dominant hand. He doesn’t everything right handed, except shoot.

        2. avatar Anon in Ct says:

          I’m cross-dominant and shoot all long arms with my left (weak) hand. I can shoot an AR right handed, but left now seems way more natural.

          Well, except for the Carl Gustav – you had to shoot that right handed, so I just made an improvised eye patch for that.

    2. avatar Stereodude says:

      Well, if it catches on I have to presume other manufacturers will come out with similar products which should drive the prices down.

      1. avatar jwtaylor says:

        They will have to find a way around the patent, but yes.

        1. avatar Stereodude says:

          I mean I know the US Patent Office will grant a patent on just about anything figuring the courts can sort it out later. And, I’m sure someone could get a patent for photosynthesis if they wrote it up in typical patentese and submitted it… But seriously, that’s unique & novel enough but not obvious enough to be patent-able?

  4. avatar Sian says:

    My immediate issue with the FIST:

    I’m left-eye dominant but shoot right. This was overcome through a lot of work. My left eye does a lot of work spotting targets before I bring sights into play.

    The FIST is going to get smack in the way of my left eye.

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      You are absolutely correct. Cross dominant and shoot with your right hand, this is not the product for you.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        What if he mounts on the bottom rail and ‘palms’ it?

        1. avatar jwtaylor says:

          He could do that, but there wouldn’t be much value over other forward grips.

        2. avatar Marcus (Aurelius) Payne says:

          What about the 45 degree position?

      2. avatar Professor Manque says:

        jwt yall know the fist grip yall are working is master baiting your barrels, please get a life Peter Pan with ballistic phallus

    2. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “The FIST is going to get smack in the way of my left eye.”

      There may yet be a work-around for you, Sian –

      A one or two inch rail standoff-extension on the bottom rail, then a 90 degree left one, and the the FIST on that.

      In effect, making the mounting point lower and to the left, so your hand isn’t blocking your eye’s field-of-view…

      1. avatar Sian says:

        I’d give that a try.

  5. avatar Gnorts, Mr. Alien! says:

    I’m torn. Part of me wants to scream, “GET OFF MY LAWN WITH YER NEWFANGLED FLIBBERTY-GIBBIT!” but your glowing report gives me pause. I do not like how it looks. There, I said it. But if it works… I probably still won’t buy one. Sorry, I’m just too shallow about cosmetics I guess.

    1. avatar Nigel the expat says:

      I felt that exact same way about AFGs. Just weird things dangling of the bottom of the rail.

      Then I tried one on a friend’s gun. It was a bit weird at first, but then I found it definitely put less stress on my arm vs a standard hand-guard grip. Consequently my times went down and my standing accuracy went up. No one was more surprised than me.

      This thing just looks weird. I may have to try one out though.

  6. avatar Montana Dan says:

    That’s cool, it looks silly. I doubt it sells well.

  7. avatar Tim says:

    Know what’s good for shattered elbows? Hanging more over-priced crap on the end of your over-priced rifle.

    1. avatar Felix says:

      Yes, that’s why one of the worst things you can do to slow a car down is add weight in the form of brakes.

  8. avatar LarryinTX says:

    JWT, thanks for the review. Sucker LOOKS uncomfortable as billy hell to me, I think I would just laugh at it without the review. I may have to give it a try. Is it “one size fits all”, or do I need a different one for different guns?

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      One size fits all (with a vertical mounted rail). I could see a problem if you had teeny tiny hands, but my 12 year old son didn’t have a problem with it.

      I laughed it off too. In fact, I edited out the original “WTF is this thing?”, and then “WTF, this thing works.”

  9. avatar Soylent Green says:

    I’ve been pondering something like this for my semi auto 3gun shotgun. The standard shotgun grip really doesn’t control recoil in an ideal manner. Originally I was thinking something like a “gas pedal” for my thumb, like you see on some open division semi auto pistols, but maybe something larger could be more beneficial. My open division mag fed shotty I can wrap my thumb over the handguard, so really no “fisting” needed, though your numbers clearly show improvement. Maybe I’ll wait till they go on sale someplace

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      This. The one thing a stock pump shotgun forestock really doesn’t do too well, is give you something to push forward on, while firing.

      I think, though, that I would like to try it on a hunting semi-auto shotgun. The offset got me thinking about ‘lead’ and it might be a good “cheat” for birds (dove / quail / pheasant). Just ~ put the bird between your fist and barrel, and squeeze, or (depending on the direction left or right the bird is moving) put [either the] fist on on the bird and squeeze or put the barrel on the bird and move lead it the distance of the fist before firing. Hmm?

  10. avatar DrewN says:

    Reversible or handed?

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      right handed

      1. avatar Jeff O. says:

        Really?

        From the pictures it looks reversible.

        It looks like both sides have that same pattern that locks into the stem that mounts on the Pic rail.

        But then, you’ve actually used it in person and I’m just looking at pictures.

        1. avatar jwtaylor says:

          I’m sorry Jeff, I wasn’t paying enough attention to the question. Yes, you can swap it around to either side, one side at a time.

        2. avatar Jeff O. says:

          Oh good, so those of us in our right mind can use it. 😉

        3. avatar Joe R. says:

          If you hung two (one off each side of the end of your semi-auto shotgun) for bird season, you could try my ‘leading’ idea from either side.

          Plus, (bonus) the bird will think it got shot down by a Tie-Fighter.

  11. avatar YAR0892 says:

    Dumb question: couldn’t you get similar effects with a trimmed-down traditional vert. grip simply mounted in the nine-o-clock position? What advantage does a vertical side-mounted grip have over a traditional vertical grip in the six-o-clock position? It would seem to be performing the same function at a slightly different angle. 11-17% time reduction is nothing to sneeze at, I’m just wondering how that would compare to a traditional vertical grip. Sorry if I missed it in the article.

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      I’ve had the pleasure of shooting sub machine guns basically mounted exactly how you are talking. It puts your hand in the wrong position, forcing you to swing the muzzle vertically in recoil as well as tiring out your shoulder even faster. The forward fist position for your hand is natural and allows your shoulder and bicep to support the gun as it should.

    2. avatar DrewN says:

      What you could do is cut down a VFG and attach a pistol grip to it at a right angle. Might give you some approximation of how it feels.

  12. avatar kenneth says:

    An excellent example of a true tactical product. One that does its job well, which is to help make shooting in body armor easier. It would also be an advantage in any game requiring speed.
    But for everyday use and carry by one not wearing armor and most likely to carry the gun a LOT, yet shoot it in anger very little, the bulk on the side is simply not worth the trade off. At least not for me.

  13. avatar MarkPA says:

    How would this innovation fare with respect to proposed “bump-fire” regulation?

    All the talk about a “bump-fire ban” is (IMO) mis-focused. The Anti’s and PotG are all talking about bump-stock artifacts. Instead, we should be concentrating on the texts of proposed bills.

    Our political position ought to be that we are not invested in “bump-stocks” per se; rather, we are keenly interested in any legislation which might “infringe” on the right to keep and bear arms. It’s all in the text of the legislation and how that text might be applied.

    Looks to me as if this innovation would aid in increasing the rate-of-fire of a long-arm. As such, it would run-afoul of the text of at least one bill I’ve seen. WTF? How is it that a hand-grip mounted on the barrel of a long-arm becomes – through the magic of a proposed law – a “machine-gun”? This device in no way participates in the mechanisms we call the “action” or “trigger” or “fire-control”.

    This is an excellent example of how the creepy-crawler gun-control statues effect their infringement on law-abiding gun users and innovations that migrate from civilian use to serve our military in vital combat roles.

    1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      that created an image of a giant rubbery marble insect bloomberg monument. (redundancy unavoidable).

  14. avatar ACP_arms says:

    So you lost 18.875 percent off your time with the shotgun, how much time is that?

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      .6 seconds. He’s nearly Miculek fast. ; )

      1. avatar jwtaylor says:

        Remember it’s only a three round group that I was referring to for that particular drill. So not quite .6 seconds but just over .5. Do the math and you’ll see I kind of suck with a shotgun.

  15. avatar 10x25mm says:

    Will BATFE allow the FIST grip on AR pistols?

  16. avatar Defens says:

    Combine the FIST with a forward, left side charging handle for your AR (or similar extensions for non-reciprocating charging handles on HK, FAL, or AK) and you’d have even more versatility.

  17. avatar Adam S says:

    Ron Holmes (inventor) is the real deal.

  18. avatar JC_WTF says:

    John, thanks for the review. In looking at the side by side pictures from the front – where you’re looking at the camera – it sure seems like your big old fist is blocking a bit of your visual field. (i.e. I can see your eyes with a traditional hold, not so much with your fist up there.)

    How much did having your fist in front of your face diminish your ability to see?

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      If it did I never noticed it.

  19. avatar WayneMHK says:

    I might try one……..if it were $15.

    1. avatar FB says:

      Exactly… The concept is interesting, the price is silly.

  20. avatar Manse Jolly says:

    Possibly help people with certain types of elbow damage.

    Good review!

  21. avatar Mike Hunt says:

    A way around vertical grips on AR pistols to dodge the AOW designation maybe?

  22. avatar Geoff says:

    $99?
    Another gimmick.
    If you can’t grip a handguard, you have something wrong with you.

  23. avatar Ralph says:

    Hmmmmm. Maybe Dana Loesch really did say “FIST.”

  24. avatar strych9 says:

    Good review. I have to admit that without a review like this that if I saw this thing for sale I’d think it was a gimmick.

    It looks odd but I think that’s just because it’s different than what we’re all used to seeing.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Anything that’s different from what we’re all used to seeing will seem goofy and useless.

      E.g., Rep. Frederica Wilson (Grifter-Miami Gardens).

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        I wonder if she realizes that she looks like a rodeo clown…

        1. avatar anaxis says:

          Maybe she’s a closet cosplayer and was on her way to a con, while playing it legit for her “constituents” because rodeos are ray-cis and ‘propriated Hispaniac blood-sport.

  25. That review was more cancer than Polonium-210.

    1. avatar anaxis says:

      But with more molecules.

      The FIST still costs less than a picogram of Po210, although the Ume404 composite it uses must come close.

  26. avatar WI Patriot says:

    The mere fact that someone had to invent something to compensate for poor technique goes to show that long guns were not meant to be gripped in this fashion…

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