1911 Front Strap Checkering


Ala Dan
October 4, 2005, 09:32 AM
Greetings All-

My question is, how important is front strap checkering too you when
selecting a 1911? I find, that for slow fire I prefer the "smooth feel"
as found on such guns as the Springfield WW-II G.I. model. Some
models with radical checkering such as on the Kimber Raptor don't
do anything for me; but the checkering found on Kimber's Team
Match gun I find quite appealing.

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October 4, 2005, 10:05 AM
Well, the checkering on my Kimber Ultra CDP front strap does offer an extremely secure grip during fast from-the-leather work. On the other hand, my "smooth" Springfield Mil Spec hasn't tried to twist out of my hand, either!

October 4, 2005, 10:29 AM
I have shot 1911's with bare front straps, with stippled front straps, with serrated front straps, and with checkered front straps. I am not a fan of front strap checkering. I much prefer serrations on the front strap. I find that I get most of my grip on a 1911 from the fore and aft surfaces; in fact, I can use smooth grips with no difference in grip security.

A bare front strap is not too bad until my hand gets really wet (like shooting under the hot Alabama sun on a humid day) or bloody (happened when I practiced clearing a smoke-stack empty and tore my hand on the ejection port). Then I have trouble with a consistent grip on a bare front strap.

I find that checkering helps create a very good "locked in place" grip, but I cannot shoot a whole 100-round range session without some tenderness in my soft, office hands. I really cannot tell the difference between 20 lpi and 30 lpi diamonds; after several rounds, my hand hurts with both of them. Cleaning a checkered front strap is a bit harder than a bare or serrated front strap. I either do not get all of the gunk out or I trap fibers from the patches or rag.

Serrations provide a good grip but do not tear up my hands, cost a bit less than checkering, and are more durable (no diamonds to ding). Stippling is much the same but lacks the aesthetic appeal of serrations.

October 4, 2005, 10:39 AM
My question is, how important is front strap checkering too you when selecting a 1911? It is important to me in that I avoid it. I wouldn't mind trying out a serrated, stippled or the Ed Brown golf-ball dimple - but I have no desire to shoot any more with checkering. I don't even think they look good, much less feel good.

October 4, 2005, 04:54 PM
I have a Springfield GI WWII Champion (4" barrel) that is not checkered. I have shot it at the same time that I have shot my Kimber & Wilson that are heavily checkered at 30 lines per inch, and there is a definite difference in the handling characteristics, especially in rapid fire.

Since modifying my Champion is complete and I do not want to send it out for checkering and then re-parkerizing, I opted for a wrap around rubber grip that the front strap cover is a checkered rubber and it works great. Looks good too.

Zach S
October 4, 2005, 05:41 PM
I prefer skateboard tape. If I decide I dont like it it comes ff easily, if a change my mind again it goes back on easy. Its also cheaper and easier to do. It aint as pretty as checkering, but pretty is the last thing on my mind when shooting.

I prefer not to have it. All of my 1911s, with the exception of my Kimber Polymer, have smooth frontstraps.

October 4, 2005, 05:43 PM
I loved it on the Kimber Eclipse I traded away. I'm going to get some of my other 1911s checkered when I can. But it's very expensive.

I forgot to mention, I think it helps keep your grip on the gun. Very helpful.

October 4, 2005, 05:46 PM
I don't consider frontstrap checkering to be essential by any stretch. I will say, though, I like it. My TLE and Eclipse 10mm came with this feature. Would I send the gun back to have this done? NO. Would I have it done if I was returning the gun for other reasons (night sights, etc)? Absolutely.

October 4, 2005, 05:48 PM
Nice but not really a deciding factor.

Accuracy and relibaility

Ala Dan
October 4, 2005, 06:50 PM
Then how do you folk's feel 'bout the checkering on the front strap of
Kimber's Raptor series~? :uhoh:

Standing Wolf
October 4, 2005, 07:22 PM
Who does really good front strap checkering?

October 4, 2005, 07:25 PM
Then how do you folk's feel 'bout the checkering on the front strap of
Kimber's Raptor series

I like it. :evil:

Check with www.geminicustoms.com for great checkering.

October 4, 2005, 07:40 PM
+1 for skateboard tape.

October 4, 2005, 07:51 PM
I don't like frontstrap checkering. It looks weird and it doesn't feel right to me. Also it costs more.

If you want some 'bite' on the frontstrap, how about a set of Pachmyr wraparound type grips?


Like that but I prefer the one without the 'thumb swell'.


October 4, 2005, 08:14 PM
I really like checkering. I prefer 25 or 30 LPI over 20 unless the 20 is dulled slightly.

I don't care if a gun has it or not when I buy it, I can always add it or skateboard tape or one of the Wilson checkered front strap thingies for that matter.

I have some sort of traction aid on ALL of my autoloaders. When working from a holster it is much more important than just standing and punching paper.

October 5, 2005, 04:48 AM
I am also one who prefers skateboard tape.

October 5, 2005, 05:07 AM
I use 3m Safety tape. I cut it very straight and contour the edges, round them off and it looks great - cheaper, just as effective and I prefer it over checkering.

I tried one of the Wilson Combat checkered dohickes that slide under the grips to add checkering to the front strap - a complete POS......

October 5, 2005, 09:29 AM
I prefer serrations to checkering.

Texas Colt
October 5, 2005, 09:57 AM
Another vote for serrations. They give you just enough extra grip without the sharp points of checkering. I just had Gold Cup style serrations put on my Colt Commander XSE and it's awesome.

Old Dog
October 5, 2005, 01:54 PM
And one more vote for serrations ... if I'm getting a custom 1911 or have a choice on a stock pistol. FS checkering is okay on some pistols (I find Kimber's a bit much for me; I'd prefer 25 or 30 lpi myself), but I can live with a smooth FS. I did put some skateboard tape on the frontstrap of my SA Micro-Compact, as the little thing does have a tendency to buck a bit more than a full-size 1911 ...

Black Majik
October 5, 2005, 10:03 PM
For me, I like 30 lpi checkering. Nothing abrasive, just something to give me more grip. If I dont have checkered frontstrap, skateboard tape works fine for me.

20 lpi is difficult to get used to. But I like FSC, and the way they look too :)

October 5, 2005, 11:06 PM
I had clarke custom checker the frontstrap on my commander when they did a melt down. all the points are straight and clean, so I guess I would say clarke did a great job on the checkering.

I have 3M step tread tape on my sig 229 but only because its an agency issue. if it was mine to do with as I please, I would have it checkered.

My commander with the checkered front and rear can be held with gloves, when wet, even if you don't have a proper hold it grips like glue. I will send out my officers model at some point to have it checkered also.

but yes, for good checkering, you will pay over a hundered dollars for 30lpi.

October 5, 2005, 11:21 PM
I am also a skateboard/grip tape fan, although the scallops on my STI Trojan are very comfortable and provde adequate grip.

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