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The 1911 handgun is the gold standard, in my opinion. The sleek and sexy look of the gun is just pure old school cool, and there are enough big name manufacturers of the firearm to keep the cost of getting your very own model pretty reasonable. But for those who bought a standard “mil spec” 1911 and want to tack on some accessories, the lack of rail space and the distinctly un-tacticality of the gun can be a problem. Enter the Recover grip for 1911 handguns . . .

The concept behind the Recover grips is simple: by replacing the grip panels with custom side pieces, you can use the existing screws to keep everything in place and not have to change anything on the gun itself. It’s a simple, non-destructive modification that allows you to quickly and easily strip the grips off if you decide you don’t like them. Which is entirely possible.

In addition to the screws in the grips, the Recover grip use the triggerguard as an additional anchor point to keep everything right where it should be. Two cross-bolt screws with nuts on the other side add some rigidity to the apparatus and keep the two sections from separating under stress. It makes for a fairly solid product, but the front section of the grip — the part that actually matters — is still cantilevered out in front of the anchor points. As a result, the weight of whatever you attach to that rail section will constantly be stressing the Recover every time the gun fires and may lead to the front section eventually snapping off. Time will tell.

I wasn’t able to make it snap during my testing, but I only put about 100 rounds through the gun. The reason: sucky ergonomics.

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Let’s start with the obvious fit and finish issues. The grips look good at first blush, but when you look closer there is all kinds of excess material that could have been removed at the factory with about ten seconds of running a Dremmel around the edges. The most obvious of this excess material is on the inside of the trigger guard, where it has a tendency to cut into your trigger finger when firing if you don’t trim it off.

As a quick aside, it’s entirely possible to remove this material by hand as an end user and therefore eliminate the problem. However, here at TTAG we review guns and gear in the condition in which they arrive from the factory. In this case, the condition in which the item arrived can best be described as “unfinished” — in need of some finishing touches and a quick QC check.

Speaking of the rail section, the addition of the rail and the larger triggerguard section means that the gun will no longer fit into 99% of 1911 holsters out there. There are a couple that Recover has tested and confirms will fit, but for the most part your existing 1911 holsters will be rendered useless when you tack this onto your gun.

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Moving to the rear of the grips, another issue presents itself. The grip on a 1911 is already sometimes too much for people with smaller hands. Adding slimmer grip panels  is the typical solution to the problem. The Recover grips are not only as large as standard 1911 grips width-wise, but they also add a bit of material to the front of the grip (to stabilize the grips during recoil apparently). That makes them even longer than normal. Given that, people with smaller hands will probably want to steer clear, since the Recover-equipped grip seemed a touch large even for my huge paws.

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The Recover grips are an interesting solution to a real problem, but honestly I don’t see the value. The grips cost $50, and that doesn’t include the light or laser or whatever you want to slap on the rail section. For comparison, a set of Crimson Trace laser grip panels for the 1911 handgun will run you about $299, all while still allowing you to fit your gun in its existing holster. If you want a flashlight too, that’s cool — Crimson Trace’s 1911 white light attaches directly to the triggerguard and works with their laser grips, all for $199. If the other alternatives weren’t available, I might be able to see how this would be a benefit to shooters, but given the other products on the market I think I’ll throw this in the “mall ninja” box along with the No Stock Needed.

Recover Rail Grip for 1911 Handguns
Price: $49.99
Colors: Black, green, FDE or camo (extra)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Ease of Installation * * * *
Just as easy as installing standard 1911 grips, except you need to also install two cross bolts.

Build Quality * *
Eh. Rough edges all over the place, excess material not removed from obvious locations. It just looks like they did a half-assed job.

Functionality * * *
It works, but unless you really want a rail section under your standard 1911 (like for a UM3 pistol sight) there are other products that can get you the same results for lights and lasers.

Overall * * *
For the stated purpose the thing works. It adds a rail section to your existing 1911 handgun. But all I keep thinking is, “why?”

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46 Responses to Gear Review: Recover Tactical 1911 Grip

  1. Three problems.

    One, it looks FUBAR aesthetically.

    Two,1911 grip screws have a habit of coming undone without bulbous polymer load-bearing accessories being attached.

    Three,the product is unfinished.

    Good news;all these problems can be solved by purchasing a Glock 21 , first one excepted.

    • A poorly-executed attempt to partially “Glockify” the 1911A1.

      THAT’S gonna go over well with 1911A1 owners, lemme tell ya…

      If these folks liked/wanted a plastic-feeling pistol, they probably wouldn’t have chosen a 1911A1 in the first place.

      Epic fail.

      • I bought my 1911-A1 over 25 years ago, (pre-rail era) and at that time Glock only made the 9mm model 17, also with no rail. So this accessory looks very interesting to me. As to it not fitting 99% of 1911 holsters out there, no 1911-A1 will fit into a regular holster when fitted with a light, or laser unless you use the mentioned Crimson race laser unit. For $50, I am very interested in this as it means I get to keep my beloved .45 that has been customized to my specs and have the option of adding a light when needed.

    • “The product is unfinished” If they took an additional minute to de-burr the grips, and clean up the flashing, then they would have an excuse to tack on another $99.99……………………….and maybe nine tenths, like your local gas station!

  2. Thanks for the honest review.

    Creative idea, bad execution. We defeated the Axis with a regular 1911, not sure I need to tack this thing on there to shoot burglars.

    Gunblast would have told people this was the greatest.

    • Not true!

      Glocks are reliable.

      Glocks have minimal muzzle flip.

      Glocks are lightweight (a fully-loaded 13-shot G21 in .45ACP weighs less than an EMPTY full-size all-steel 1911A1).

      The pictured pistol is just a plastic-wrapped boat-anchor.

  3. Fortunately there is solution to this problem and is not a plastic gun. Rock Island Armory’s 2011 tactical series comes with a rail.

    • That’s what confuses me here. I’m getting a fatter grip, incompatibility with 1911 holsters and web gear, for no additional round count, just so I can mount a flashlight on it?

    • Thats what I did. RIA makes a nice pistol for the price. The other good thing is I have a good holster maker in town so I can take the gun with a light and make a custom Kydex or hybrid. Holster problem solved.

  4. If the definition of “sexy” is, to make one think of having sex then I don’t think I would ever call any gun (or machine of any sort) sexy.

    That being said, if the 1911 is at all sexy, then this is like putting Rita Hayworth in granny panties and an ebola suit.

  5. Whatever you hang on that rail, it should have a “quick-detach” button. That way, when your 1911 mag is empty halfway through a gunfight, you can drop the light and toss it to your partner who still has half a dozen rounds left in his Glock.

  6. It does update the iconic silhouette. Mind-blowing that anyone would send out a unit to review without an all-nine-yards fluff and buff.

    • On the plus side, I’m always cynical about T&E samples, whether they’re firearms or other things, for fear of the manufacturer either cherry picking the best one on the rack or, worse, actually giving it special treatment that normal ones don’t get. Like if XYZ company wanted to send me a firearm to test, who’s to say they don’t polish trigger and sear components to make it smoother and nicer than production units and then test fire it to ensure function before shipping it out? Obviously that’s NOT the case here and they clearly just grabbed one out of the parts bin and tossed it in a box without looking at it hahaha. Or, actually, did Nick say this came from the company? If not it’s likely it was purchased or borrowed from a retailer, etc. I always prefer to get a legitimately “off the shelf” product rather than one direct from the manufacturer. You know, due to being just cynical enough, IMHO

      • This is not how we operate and we are embarrassed by this. This is technically a defective grip and should have never been on the market in the first place. As far as I know the grip was not supplied for the review, it was purchased and should have been returned for an exchange or refund. You can see pics of our customers guns without this flashing at http://www.imgur.com/recovertactical there are over 400 different user submitted pics without these issues.

  7. I have one on my old Colt Gold Cup. Fit and finish were fine–no issues as was the case with the review sample. Works like advertised. I have no complaints, and it’s the best option I’ve seen to add a light or laser to an older 1911. I can easily swap back to original look in two minutes.

  8. I think I actually should try this thing attached to a Ruger Stainless 1911. The grip is actually too SMALL for me as is, although that’s mostly a concern of the mainspring housing setup. And attaching any accessory to the front of a gun invariably makes it too big for most holsters that weren’t custom made for that combination. I still can’t find a decent holster that will take a glock with a streamlight strapped to the front of it.

  9. I’m going to toss this out there. Say whatever you want but as a gun owner who lived through Hurricane Sandy, I will never again buy a home defense pistol without a rail for a light.

    This is not waxing poetically about World War 2 or praising the clean lines of a perfect pistol. This is about identifying and engaging your target when you cannot see and you are scared to death. If I have a gun with a rail I can choose to use a light. If I have no rail, I have no choice.

    • Well I have also been in a situation where I really, really wish I had had a light on there. It’s a good point.

  10. We actually did two separate tests on these grips. The first test wasn’t great, but we chalked that up to the particular gun we used (Rock Island 1911). We then tried another set of the grips on a Remington 1911. Neither set had any of that excess material in the trigger guard and finish was as expected. The certainly do add some girth to the pistol, but even our tiny-handed shooter had no problem getting a proper grip.

    In case you’re interested:
    Pt 1 – http://www.transmountainshooters.com/2014/05/13/when-steel-met-polymer-a-love-story/
    Pt 2 – http://www.transmountainshooters.com/2014/07/28/when-steel-met-polymer-take-2/

    • I own these and I don’t have the problems you are describing here. As Barry said up above, that excess material wasn’t on mine or on his. I think you got a bad one. Also, I have put a lot of rounds through mine, got it early on in February and never had a problem or loosening.

  11. That level of unfinished edges and excess material for the price is unacceptable. I’d expect that level of fit and finish for $9.99 from a China-made knockoff dealer on EBAY. Thanks for keeping the review honest and not putting the Dremel to it yourselves prior to posting!

  12. That flashing around the trigger guard is not acceptable, please accept our apologies as it should have never left our warehouse like that. We stand by our products 100% and will offer a refund or exchange if you like, we have over 400 user submitted guns in our photo gallery at http://www.imgur.com/recovertactical and I can honestly I have never seen that before.

  13. I’ll go against the grain here and say that I actually like it. I haven’t held one but I think it looks decent from the pics I’ve seen. The 1911 has the most purists fans of any pistol so change of any kind will not be tolerated. But as an engineer, I definitely respect the “out of the box” design. I hope to try one of these out sometime.

  14. I’d rather get that laser-sight guide rod and carry a flashlight. Particularly since I have such a nice flashlight, and I don’t necessarily want to muzzle something I just want to see.

  15. Thanks for truthful reporting. I was at the firearms blog there where boasting there better report on firearms industry because they claim they well not report any negative issue on any thing they test. Than they went on do Baby Eagle two review from some person been round firearms indusrty ten years but does explain what they done in indusrty other than show off Sar Arms brand firearms at gun trade shows. Fact they claim well you guys do not do handgun reviews any more so they need to well Baby Eagle 2 has been round long time nothing new or very special about it. In there reporting on shooting testing Baby Eagle 2 fail release fact that magnum research well void factory warranty on that handgun if fire any 9mm +p rounds in handgun. What funny buy Baby Eagle 2 that in factory manual come along with gun. You want good laugh about reporting on firearms indusrty go check them out what used be good site now bad joke.

    • I appreciate your input and hearing things from your perspective, but it was very difficult to understand what you were trying to say. I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume English is not your first language, and give you some tips to make your writing a little more clear in the future.

      there/their/they’re:

      There = location/existence (over there, there is no way, etc)
      their = possession (their website belongs to them)
      they’re = they are (they’re a bunch of dummies)

      well/will:

      well = a hole in something (timmy fell down the well, magazine-well); satisfactory/thorough (mix the ingredients well, he shot well that day); exclamation (well I’ll be damned)
      will = future tense (he will shoot tomorrow)

      where/were:

      where = location (where is my gun? that is where your gun is)
      were = past tense (they were shot yesterday)

  16. I purchased one of these early on…I think it was part of one of their first shipments. I didn’t have any of the fit and finish issues shown here. I have several 1911s, and I wanted to experiment with these on my “home” 1911 (no holstering issues), and for that purpose, it fits the bill (for a handgun not originally designed to accept accessories) and is a significantly cheaper alternative then LaserGrips…plus, I can remove and use the attachment(s) on any other firearm I want that has rails (can’t do that with laser grips)…which is a bonus for me. The only suggestion I would make is rubberized grips. I find the grips as they are, a bit slippery. They need to have more “grippy-ness” …..as for those who complain it makes a 1911 fugly….well…maybe that’s so…but, I’m more concerned about functionality, which is why I have a 1911 in the first place…. I am less concerned with this particular 1911 looking as perfect as it should, because I have two others I can admire and love for their original, beautiful lines….but, that’s me. As a house gun, these grips fit the bill for me, at a reasonable price, and what’s best, is if at any time I want to change things up, I can remove these grips in less than a minute and move onto something else, or move them to another 1911….so, this company is filling a niche, and I give them props for that (and, BTW, I am an actual customer, with no association to this firm and was entirely uncompensated for my opinion)

  17. A couple things I noticed: One, you cant field strip with this in place, which is probably a nit-pick. Two, how well does it work with aftermarket/enlarged safeties? I cant tell from the pictures, but it kind of looks like it might be cutting it close.

  18. As an owner of these as well, I can say that I did not have the same quality issues that you displayed with yours.

    If I was in the market for a new 1911, I’d certainly opt for something with an integrated rail.

    As I was “helping a friend out” by purchasing his Charles Daly 1911 that had been beaten all to hell, I found that this solved the rail problem quite efficiently and inexpensively.

  19. I think you got a dud, did you at least attempt to contact them before the review for comment? Not really fair to do a review on a defective grip. I own 2 of these, and that was after extensive research on my own, looking at pics and their facebook page and watching Yankee Marshal’s video review and the fit and finish on both were great. I think you should follow up with the company 1+1 doesn’t equal to 2 here, especially when all the other commentators who are actual owners of these grips are echoing the same thing.

  20. they have one quality control snafu, and it gets sent to TTAG…OOPS….mine was perfect, but the issue is the variation of 1911 models, they can’t make it perfectly fit every one: that’s were you come in to custom fit it. Design just needs another screw/nut combo on the aft section of underside rail for more support/reinforcement….

  21. Surprisingly, Nick seems to have not mentioned what on first blush look to be the grips largest problem. By including material at the junction of the front strap and the back of the trigger guard, the grips force the gun to ride appreciably higher in your hand. Since you can’t get a nice high grip, the gun is going to flip more, slowing the speed of followup shots. Not very recoil “recover tactical”.

  22. Leave it to Leghorn to botch even the easiest, most understandable of negative reviews with his idiotic logic.

    I don’t particularly care for these grips, and the negatives are certainly pretty easy to see. But to add in the extra asinine crap that he does…

    ‘These things totally could break! They didn’t, but WHAT IF THEY DID?!’

    ‘Fifty dollars for these, and you still have to buy attachments! What a rip-off! Why, I could outfit the same gun with a light and laser from Crimson Trace for ONLY $498!’

    Seriously, what kind of drugs do you consume before writing your reviews?

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