Beauty or Beast – Ergo Delta Grip for Revolvers
Change Isn’t Always Easy but, Sometimes it’s for the Better
We got our first look at Ergo‘s Delta Grip a couple years ago at the NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits. My first thought was that it was bizarre looking – maybe even a little ugly. They certainly do not look like traditional revolver grips. When we handled the chained-down demo unit in the Ergo booth, it felt every bit as foreign as it looked and, always being one to judge a book by its cover, I decided that it wasn’t for me. Frankly, I wondered how they got it so wrong given how much I liked the original Ergo Suregrip on AR-15 builds.
Fast forward to the most recent SHOT Show Range Day. The GunLink team stopped by the Ergo tent, where they were showing off the new Delta grip for the Ruger LCR in addition to the original Smith & Wesson model, to speak with the company rep. While there, I mentioned my limited experience with the Delta grip and how my initial reaction was to be turned off by it, despite never having fired a shot from a revolver outfitted with the chunky stocks. After he explained some of the reasoning behind the Delta’s design and offered to send us a test set, we agreed that it was time for us to pull the trigger – so to speak – on the new revolver grips and we soon had a set inbound to install on an AirWeight J-frame Smith & Wesson.
The Delta grip – to be sure – is a substantial paradigm shift for revolver shooters. There are grips made of hard plastic, soft rubber, and wood; there are bird’s head, over-molded, flared, fat, and skinny grips; and there are slip-on and wraparound grip covers. However, until the Delta, we had not seen a grip quite like this.
Installation is as easy as any other revolver grip: remove the screw to take off the original grips, put the new ones in place and screw them down. With as much real estate as the Delta has, including quite a bit that hangs off from all edges of the frame, overdoing it with the screw can draw the middle in too tight and cause the edges to spread apart, so I couldn’t torque it down as much as I would have liked. Backing off a little bit allowed the edges to come together and it still appeared to hold securely enough, although a little bit of blue LocTite might not be a bad idea.
After getting the new grip installed, it still looked and felt just as strange as it did on the demo guns at the trade shows except that now this monstrosity was on my revolver. However, when the Ergo rep was explaining the thought process behind the grip, he never once mentioned beauty contests, so we kept an open mind.
What the rep did mention was the grip angle, which is meant to be more comfortable and natural than what you get out of the box with most revolvers. Although perhaps biased by doing most handgun shooting with Glocks or similar pistols, most of the GunLink team initially tended to aim high with the 442, requiring that they consciously break their wrist downward to get the sights lined up versus the natural point of aim. With practice, the muscle memory can be developed to quickly get on target with the sights aligned but, at least for me, it does does not feel very natural.
Although funny looking, it is undeniable that with the Delta grip installed the sights were lined up and on target for our testers as soon as the revolver came up to eye level without having to think about changing wrist position. We spent a while swapping grips back and forth, pointing the J-frame at various objects around GunLink HQ, and came to the conclusion that the Delta most definitely made the handgun faster to bring to bear.
Threatening the posters on our walls is fine, but it was time to try it out at the range. With the Delta grip, our shots at defensive-range targets were faster and more accurate than with the stock grips and the firearm felt like it pointed more naturally. The Delta-equipped revolver was also more comfortable and, as one might expect from a company called Ergo Grip, ergonomic and pleasant to shoot.
The S&W 442 weighs just 15 oz – more than 30% lighter than even a G26 – and, with the aluminum frame exposed along the backstrap with factory grips, it isn’t exactly a pussycat to shoot. Aside from making the J-frame point more naturally, the Delta also puts a big chunk of rubber cushion between the frame and your hand. Even then, the lightweight revolver is still a handful, albeit much less punishing. What’s more, the fact that the Delta extends lower than the factory grip and runs diagonally from the frame instead of perpendicularly means that there is more real estate on the front edge. This allows the design to accommodate three fingers instead of just two, making it more comfortable and controllable, especially when shooting full-house +P loads.
So, is this the new go-to grip for compatible revolvers? Maybe… The more comfortable grip and the way that it seems to point so naturally are both very endearing qualities, as is the reduced recoil and increased control. It does, of course, feel different in the hand than what most shooters are used to, but that is something that one would grow accustomed to with use. So what, then, is the issue?
One of the things that I like so much about the 442 AirWeight is that it carries well in the front pocket of a pair of jeans or in a jacket pocket. It doesn’t carry quite as well in a pocket with the Delta grip installed, especially for front-pocket carry because of the extra space it takes up. In a regular OWB or IWB holster or in an ankle holster, the Delta should carry fine as long as the portion of the grip under the trigger guard does not impede holstering.
If you have a round-butt (hehehe) Smith & Wesson J-frame or a Ruger LCR/LCRx, the Delta grips are worth checking out – unfortunately, they are not currently offered for other models. Comparable in price to many aftermarket grips that don’t offer much in the way of innovation, at around $24 for the Smith & Wesson version or $30 for the Ruger LCR version, they won’t break the bank. If you want to try before you buy, Ergo Grips exhibits at a number of trade shows such as the NRA Show and SHOT Show and usually have demo units to handle. You can also learn more about Ergo, the Delta grip, and their other offerings at ergogrips.net.