Looking for best 686 SSR grips


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Thetaii
May 21, 2013, 11:39 AM
I just got my S&W 686 SSR and so far it's the most fun I've ever had shooting a handgun! I love it but the factory group seems a bit thin/narrow and I think leaves room for improvement. It came with some Uncle Mike's rubber grips but I haven't tried shooting with them yet. Has anyone shot with these? If so what do you all think of them? Also what so you all think would be the best overall replacement grips for the 686 SSR? I was looking at the Pachymar grips, possibly the decelerator or presentation grips.

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Sam1911
May 21, 2013, 11:54 AM
The real hot ticket for competition revolver grips are those that Jerry Miculek designed: http://www.bang-inc.com/?main_page=index&cPath=1

However, I think they are very similar to the SSR grips you have. They're designed to be narrow as that makes things a little faster in the hands, at least in Jerry's shooting style.

Ahrend's and Eagle make great grips for S&Ws, you can search to find either of their sites.

Just avoid finger-grooves and you should be fine.

MrBorland
May 21, 2013, 12:43 PM
Grips are a very personal thing, so it'd be tough to make definitive recommendations beyond trying different grips out 'til you find "yours".

That said, there are a couple of guidelines: Some grips cover the backstrap, and others not. Material that covers the backstrap also increases the distance to the trigger, so if you've got big hands, you might (or might not) like them better. IME, Pachmayr's run pretty big.

As to finger grooves, it's rare that they line up with your natural finger position. The bottom groove is the worst offender, so if you like everything else about the grip, take a razor or dremel and get rid of it. Grips aren't immutable. Likewise, if you like them otherwise, but need a bit more speedloader clearance around the grip.

I started off with smooth wood (Miculek), but eventually felt they were too smooth. Right now, I'm using Uncle Mike's with the lower finger groove cut off, since everything else about the grip feels good, and their rubber compound is just hard enough to still feel grippy. The rubber on Pachmayr's feel too hard (and Pachmayr's are generally too big for me as well), while the rubber on Hogue's feels too soft.

Most revo shooters wind up with a box of grips they've tried, and you may find people at your matches who've got some they'll loan out so you can try them. In the meantime, I'd give those Uncle Mike's a try and see if you like them any better.

BTW, Uncle Mike stopped making these grips, and as far as I can tell, S&W has the remaining inventory, so hang onto them. If you like them, I'd order another set (or 2) while you can still get them.

Thetaii
May 21, 2013, 01:40 PM
Thanks for your tips/suggestions guys! I'm planning to definitely give those Uncle Mike's a try and I also want to shoot more with the factory grips, especially in an IDPA event/with speedloaders. To be honest I think my issue with the factory grips may have had to do more with my flawed method of gripping/holding the gun. I've mostly been a rifle/shotgun shooter, with some occasional shooting of my auto pistol, so revolver handling is relatively new for me.

MrBorland
May 21, 2013, 08:25 PM
I think my issue with the factory grips may have had to do more with my flawed method of gripping/holding the gun.

We can't comment on your grip without seeing it, but my 1st general recommendation is to grip it high. I think too many grip their revo too low. Grip it like a firearm, not your grandma's tea set. You shouldn't see backstrap material peeking out the top of your strong hand when seen from the side, or even when looking down from the top. It's not the best pic, but the first pic below shows a high grip.

Once you've got a high grip, primarily use the middle and ring finger for your strong hand grip. The pinkie and thumb don't do much for my grip, and they're just additional points of contact that would need to be applied consistently, so mine pretty much stay off the gun. Matter of fact, I keep both thumbs off the gun entirely (pic 2). Both hands grip very firmly, but my weak hand grips a bit harder than my strong.

Speaking of thumbs, I use the thumbs-forward grip many semi-auto shooters use (last pic). Hot gas from magnum-powered ammo can damage the thumb if it's too far forward, but I don't even get a dirty thumb using standard pressure SSR ammo with this grip. I'm not necessarily recommending a thumbs-forward grip (lest I get flamed :cool:), but it does help with recoil control.

Finally, experiment with trigger finger position. I've been placing my trigger finger such that the 1st joint is right over the edge of the trigger face, but I'm now experimenting with less finger - just getting the pad on the trigger face. Use what works for you. The important thing is a smooth pull straight back, and being able to do that at speed.


High grip:
http://i415.photobucket.com/albums/pp239/becke016/GunsTargets/IDPAindoorNats2012-1.jpg

Thumb off the gun. Most grip is applied with the middle & ring finger:
http://i415.photobucket.com/albums/pp239/becke016/GunsTargets/2012IDPANats1_zps1fcc1c85.jpg

Thumbs-forward (and off) grip with an isosceles stance:
http://i415.photobucket.com/albums/pp239/becke016/GunsTargets/TomIDPA2012Worlds.jpg

Thetaii
May 21, 2013, 10:27 PM
Thanks for the tips MrBorland. My initial grip was a thumbs down BUT I was definitely not holding the gun with a high enough grip. I think this really became apparent due to the significant decrease in accuracy when I shot double action. Shooting single action I had very nice/tight groupings no more than 2" at a bit over 20 yards. I plan to use some of the pics/info you supplied, as well as as the other pics/info I've found online to get a shooting grip that both performs and is comfortable. Times like this makes me wish ammo wasn't so ridiculously expensive. If that wasn't the case I'd be shooting at least 2-3x's per week.

Oh and attached is a picture of the new addition to my family. I really LOVE those Safariland speed loaders! I got 3 of them from Sarariland's online store and they sent me a really nice Safariland hat and sticker. :-)

rbernie
May 21, 2013, 10:36 PM
I have a Pach Compact on my 686 SSR and I'm well pleased with 'em.

Thetaii
May 21, 2013, 10:44 PM
Those look nice rbernie. I think I'm gonna have to do as suggested and try a bunch of grips to see which fits best. I also think I need to see how my factory grip performs once I really get the hang of my revolver shooting fundamentals (Grip, stance, etc.). I'm now thinking that until that happens changing my gun grips will only make so much of a difference in my actually shooting accuracy.

340PD
May 23, 2013, 03:56 PM
These work pretty well for me. Bought them off the "Bay" for $40 a couple of years ago..

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t320/gnystrom_photos/686ssr-1-1.jpg

Thetaii
May 23, 2013, 07:31 PM
Wow very nice grips 340PD! I'm gonna keep shooting with my current grips, then try the S&W included Uncle Mike's grips. After that, depending on my shooting I'll give another brand/type of grips a try.

9mmepiphany
May 24, 2013, 12:13 AM
You can take the advice that MrBorland is providing pretty much as gospel. I certainly would if I didn't already have the grip philosophy. The real gems are the gripping fingers (folks don't understand it) and the floating thumbs (folks don't want to believe it).

Now that I'm finally coming to grips with my M&P9, I'm seriously thinking of giving SSR a try. The local competition is pretty slim. I keep threatening to bring out my 2.5" M-66...but then I'd have to find some ammo

Thetaii
May 24, 2013, 01:18 AM
Yeah 9mmepiphany I definitely am seeing that MrBorland has some truly "holy" gospel to preach. ;-)

DrDyno
May 24, 2013, 12:55 PM
I just got my S&W 686 SSR and so far it's the most fun I've ever had shooting a handgun! I love it but the factory group seems a bit thin/narrow and I think leaves room for improvement. It came with some Uncle Mike's rubber grips but I haven't tried shooting with them yet. Has anyone shot with these? If so what do you all think of them? Also what so you all think would be the best overall replacement grips for the 686 SSR? I was looking at the Pachymar grips, possibly the decelerator or presentation grips.
Most awesome shooting grips for your S&W come from Trausch Grips. Check them out at
http://www.trausch.com/form/accueilA.htm

Pricey and worth it!

Thetaii
May 24, 2013, 08:09 PM
Interesting DrDyno. So what makes them so great? Do you have one or have you tried one?

Sam1911
May 27, 2013, 06:24 PM
Trausch Grips.Very interesting! I've never seen anyone use those before, anywhere, but they sure look distinctive.

The beavertail on a revolver grip is reminiscent of some very old designs.

CraigC
May 27, 2013, 08:05 PM
Bear in mind that what works running fast with light loads might not work with anything producing significant recoil. It's only gospel if it applies. I wouldn't be using any of the above pictured styles shooting full power loads in a 629MG.

I've used a lot of different grips. Pachy's and Hogue's are extremely uncomfortable for me. They're too narrow and Hogue's palm swells are irritating. Ahrends' retro targets are good but I can find none better than Herrett's Ropers.

http://photos.imageevent.com/newfrontier45/sixgunsiii/large/IMG_0925b.jpg

9mmepiphany
May 27, 2013, 08:30 PM
The beavertail on a revolver grip is reminiscent of some very old designs
The last time I saw a beaver-tail on a revolver was back in Bullseye competition...along the lines of Olympic Free Pistol grips...before that, they were popular on high end BP pistols

My concern would be that they limit how high you can grip the gun

Sam1911
May 27, 2013, 08:33 PM
Yup. All depends on what you're doing with the gun. Might not let you grip the gun the way you want for fast work. Might make it hard to reach the trigger correctly for the grip you're trying to use. Might maybe also make my 300 gr. 1,250 fps loads altogether too much fun.

Might be just the thing for bullseye. Hard to say without getting to use them or knowing of anyone using them.

9mmepiphany
May 27, 2013, 08:37 PM
Bear in mind that what works running fast with light loads might not work with anything producing significant recoil. It's only gospel if it applies. I wouldn't be using any of the above pictured styles shooting full power loads in a 629MG.
I guess it really is relative, but you don't see many folks using a 629, with Magnum loadings, for defensive purposes. I do have a L-frame .44 Spl that I use for home defense, and I do run it in the styles used above

While the 230gr .45ACP isn't as hard recoiling as the .44 Mag, or even a .357 Mag, I don't think it is usually considered a light load

CraigC
May 27, 2013, 08:51 PM
I guess it really is relative, but you don't see many folks using a 629, with Magnum loadings, for defensive purposes.
You do understand that self defense is not the only use for a handgun, correct?

Everything is relative. Folks in competitive circles know a lot of competitors. I know A LOT of sixgun shooters but very few banging away at plates with a .38. Bottom line is that there is more than one way to skin a cat and we all have to find what works for us, as individuals. That said, I won't tell a steel shooter that the Weaver stance is the bees knees for his sport if the steel shooters don't tell me how to shoot a .44Mag.....or .475 or .500. ;)

Thetaii
May 27, 2013, 09:32 PM
Well currently I'm planning to get proficient/accurate with my factory 686 SSR grips, after which I'll see if I even feel the need to change the grips. If that does happen then I'll give the factory supplied Uncle Mike's. Lastly if those don't seem to work then I'll probably give one of the Pachmayr grips a try.

9mmepiphany
May 27, 2013, 11:30 PM
You do understand that self defense is not the only use for a handgun, correct?

Everything is relative. Folks in competitive circles know a lot of competitors. I know A LOT of sixgun shooters but very few banging away at plates with a .38. Bottom line is that there is more than one way to skin a cat and we all have to find what works for us, as individuals. That said, I won't tell a steel shooter that the Weaver stance is the bees knees for his sport if the steel shooters don't tell me how to shoot a .44Mag.....or .475 or .500. ;)
You do realize that this thread is concerning the optimal grip to use in IDPA competition, right?. :p

CraigC
May 27, 2013, 11:34 PM
That wasn't in the OP and I didn't read all the posts.

That said, I prefer to grip and shoot all my DA's the same way and all my SA's the same way. That way I don't have to have any sort of deliberate thought when I pick one up to make the loud noise. Something to think about if your shooting interests are more varied than some.

9mmepiphany
May 28, 2013, 12:10 AM
That wasn't in the OP and I didn't read all the posts.
That would certainly explain where you original post comes from.

BTW the IDPA reference is both in the tittle and the OP...686 SSR (IDPA's designation for Stock Service Revolver; for which this model was specifically designed)..."competition" mentioned in post #2 and most obvious in the whole of post #5

CraigC
May 28, 2013, 12:04 PM
BTW the IDPA reference is both in the tittle and the OP...686 SSR (IDPA's designation for Stock Service Revolver; for which this model was specifically designed)..."competition" mentioned in post #2 and most obvious in the whole of post #5
Yes, because we all know that it is impossible to buy the SSR model and NOT use it for IDPA. :rolleyes:

I missed a tiny reference to IDPA in post #4. It was obviously the competition-oriented advice received in the other posts I was responding to. You don't have to continue to rub it in or try to make this into something it is not.

I stand by what I said. That high grip with the thumbs forward might be fine with light .38's. I'm not saying it's a bad idea in the context of fast DA shooting but it'll get somebody hurt if they do that with anything that produces heavy recoil. The OP should be aware of this but is welcome to ignore anything I posted.

MrBorland
May 28, 2013, 12:15 PM
That said, I prefer to grip and shoot all my DA's the same way and all my SA's the same way. That way I don't have to have any sort of deliberate thought when I pick one up to make the loud noise.

It's a valid point, and to be honest, one of the very few I've read that's a rational critique of the thumbs-forward grip.

To counterpoint, though, when shooting magnum powered stuff, I'm not quickly drawing, establishing a fast hardwired grip and blazing rounds off. Nor do most, I suspect, which is a point made by 9mmepiphanny. The big stuff is a tool for a different job. When shooting this stuff, then, I have the time and forethought to adjust my grip accordingly, and my thumb remains fully intact.

Something to think about if your shooting interests are more varied than some.

Variety can be bought. Proficiency is another matter. If "some" aren't pro shooters, their time & finances are limited, so "they" have decide where their best balance lies. :cool:

It's a big sandbox, though, with plenty of room for everyone to do whatever puts a smile on their face. ;)

MrBorland
May 28, 2013, 12:24 PM
That high grip with the thumbs forward might be fine with light .38's. I'm not saying it's a bad idea in the context of fast DA shooting but it'll get somebody hurt if they do that with anything that produces heavy recoil. The OP should be aware of this but is welcome to ignore anything I posted.

You must've also missed my up front, not-so-tiny and explicit warning that magnum-powered ammo can damage the thumb if it's too far forward.

No one's trying to rub anything in, nor has anyone tried to tell you how to shoot your .44...or .500. Your concerns are noted. Thanks.

CraigC
May 28, 2013, 01:14 PM
It's a valid point, and to be honest, one of the very few I've read that's a rational critique of the thumbs-forward grip.
I use the thumbs forward, "modern" grip on the 1911 but when I draw a 1911, I know I have a 1911 in my hands and am unlikely to mistake it for anything else. Muscle memory takes over. However, when I draw a DA revolver, it could be a model 18 or it could be a 629MG. IMHO, it is best to treat them all the same, one grip for all. As I said, so that I don't have to have any conscious thought about 'what' I have in my hands. I just do it instinctively. Same reason I don't grip and shoot my SA's like a CAS gamer.


To counterpoint, though, when shooting magnum powered stuff, I'm not quickly drawing, establishing a fast hardwired grip and blazing rounds off.
For those that use heavy sixguns regularly, that's exactly what we do.


..."they" have decide where their best balance lies.....It's a big sandbox, though, with plenty of room for everyone to do whatever puts a smile on their face....
Agreed and I said that in post #20.


You must've also missed my up front, not-so-tiny and explicit warning that magnum-powered ammo can damage the thumb if it's too far forward.
No, contrary to popular belief, all I missed was the IDPA reference in post #4.


No one's trying to rub anything in...
I disagree but that wasn't directed at you. ;)


...nor has anyone tried to tell you how to shoot your .44...or .500. Your concerns are noted. Thanks.
It is often implied that the above is the only way to shoot a revolver. I am simply here to represent not an opposing, but differing view. That the thumbs-forward/high grip/isosceles is not universally applicable. That Jack Weaver's contribution to the shooting world is still valid, within certain parameters. As with most anything else in this world, match your mindset/technique/equipment to your purpose.

9mmepiphany
May 28, 2013, 09:05 PM
For some reason, it sounds like you feel your point of view has been dismissed or invalidated and I'm not sure why.

I didn't or mean to rub anything in. I was responding, with examples, to your statement that this wasn't a thread focused on competitive/defensive revolver shooting as opposed to the area of focus you introduced into the thread. I have never said that the thumbs forward grip was the only way to shoot a revolver. I have worked with enough shooters with physical disabilities and limitations to know that techniques often have to be adapted for different needs.

I grew up in the days when everyone shot revolvers and my first duty gun was a 4" Colt Python loaded with the Speer .357Mag 140gr JHP. We were all followers of the Weaver technique in those days. I didn't change techniques until that philosophy of recoil control was found less sound than current techniques.

The last Big Boomer I've shot was a Casull .454 and a S&W .500, with a client who wanted to take them hunting and couldn't get them to group. The only accommodation I made was to slide my support hand back to a thumbs up position. Both guns were very accurate and they didn't jump near as much as I expected...he just needed to relax his grip a bit

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