Review of Basic DIY Pistol Modifications


June 22, 2012, 12:58 PM
I finally had some time to work on my pistols this week. Most of you are probably familiar with these modifications but I figured I would snap some pics and describe my personal results.

First. I've read thread after thread about slip on grips, decal grips, etc. for polymer handguns. There seems to be a general census that they do make a nice difference in comfort. On these same forums you will also likely find some mention of bicycle tubes and how to make your own slip-on grip. I was skeptical about putting bike tubes on my $700 gun, but as I had a bunch of mtb tube lying around I figured what the heck.

It requires about $4-$7, depending on how cheap you can buy bike tubes. I used a 700x28-38c tube, it shouldn't matter too much. Just know the thinner the tube, the more you will have to stretch it around the gun giving a slimmer profile. Time wise, It took me about 30min to do 2 guns and I had plenty of materials from 1 tube to do probably 10 guns.

The result:
Kahr PM9

Springfield XD9

It's not the prettiest thing to look at but holding the gun for the first time was worth all the effort. The rubber from the tube really gives it a nice, tacky feel. It also adds a slight bit of width, for the slim single stack PM9 I actually prefer the slight addition. Overall I am very happy. It is 100% reversible if you don't like it. So if you've got a 1/2 hour to kill, it's a good project.

Next, I noticed that the white sight dots on my XD were wearing off (my only problem with this gun). For fun I decided to re-paint them a different color. Supplies ran around $12 for this one. I went to the local hobby shop and picked up some Testors model paint in white and in Fluorescent Red (FS28915). Some thinner is useful also but I already had it. For application nothing beats a toothpick, I cut the tips off a few to have a bigger area.

To apply, just dip a toothpick in a bit of mixed paint and apply very gently, almost blot it. Once I started painting I quickly realized that the red wasn't nearly as fluorescent as I had hoped. To solve this I started with white and built up a nice base layer, then I added the red on top of the white. The white backing does wonders in making the red appear brighter. The result came out great. I've had a few people compliment me at the range and didn't believe I did it myself. Visibility is excellent in bright light to dim conditions. I think the original white dots were a bit more visible in low light but outdoors the red is superior. I also let the paint cure for a week before firing for the first time.

The results:

Let me know what ya'll think. I'd be happy to answer questions if anyone is interested in these mods.

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June 22, 2012, 01:07 PM
Looks nice! What problem were you trying to solve by adding the rubber grips to the XD? I have the XDm and have had no issues with the grip on it.

I added some TruGlo hi-vis paint to my LCP and SP101, but it doesn't look nearly as good as your XD. Of course, it still works, so I'm happy with it.

June 22, 2012, 01:15 PM
No problem with the grips on the XD. Really I just wanted to improve the grip on my PM9 since that gun is just so small. I did the XD just because I had some extra material and time. I didn't have a problem with the original XD grip at all, I do think the rubber improved the grip a little though. BTW I have an XD service not an XDm.

June 22, 2012, 06:26 PM
I like the sights, cool job, may have to try that

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