For many shooters, the search for the perfect amount of traction on their firearm controls is a lifelong quest. Between the many add-on grip accessories and pre-cut grip tape assortments available on the market, it’s hard to select the perfect one. Sometimes you don’t even have a choice, since your particular firearm or accessory may not have any prefabricated options. So what do you do then?
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Take one of our latest project rifles, for example. We’ve been fiddling with an AKM lately and came across a Molot-style AK grip that we liked, but yearned for more bite on its smooth surface. We could have simply stippled it, but we didn’t want the pockmarked look and feel that stippling produces. Plus, as an amateur stippler, it can be hard to control just how aggressively you modify the grip.
The AK grip also features a couple of finger grooves that we wish it didn’t, so we sanded them down until they were flat. But now the sanded surface was an eyesore. We could have tried some skateboard grip tape, but that has a tendency to peel up on its edges, and it’s hard to cut to fit the exact shape of the grip. We knew there must be another way, and we found it with silicon carbide coating.
Popular with competition shooters and high-end gunsmiths, this visually stunning coating can be used on everything from grips to pistol frames, and it gives just the right amount of grip in the areas where you need it most. It looks and feels similar to grip tape, but the coating is seamless, not as thick and, best of all, extremely durable.
How is this coating able to perform such dark magic? Well, you made a good choice by picking up this magazine, as we’re about to let you in on their secret. Some of the more popular gunsmiths are known to charge fees that eclipse the triple digits for a silicon carbide coating service. We’ll show you how to do it for under 10 bucks American.
Before we get into the how-to portion of this article, we should explain what silicon carbide is exactly. Well, it’s the coarse grit that you feel on the surface of skateboard grip tape and sandpaper. It’s a very useful material that can be used on everything from cutting tools to electronic circuits. In our case, we’ll be using it in its powdered form. Think of it as sandpaper minus the paper.
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There are many benefits of silicon carbide coating, including a large selection of available silicon carbide grits to fine-tune the perfect grip you’ve always wanted. This method also masks imperfections, such as the marks left over from our removal of the AK grip’s finger grooves or even the scars from an amateur-hour botched Glock grip-reduction job (no longer will you need to hide that frame in shame!). But that’s enough theory.
Scroll through the gallery above for the “how” of this how-to process, along with some helpful tips we learned along the way.