...I'm going to publically disagree with *gulp
* Pat Rogers.
Pat brought up a point in an article in the 12/04 issue of SWAT
that set off something that's been a slow-simmer issue with me for a year or two now.
It started with the "no-snag" sights that are de rigeur
on custom 1911's for several years now, all the various versions of Heinies and Novaks and whatnot. Why are all these sights backwards? They're all aerodynamic from the wrong end, and I couldn't figure that out until a friend who'd just returned from an advanced Pistol Skul commented on how the standard sights on his older Springer tore hell out of his hand when they were doing clearance drills on FTE's. Over and over and over and over again. Well, that's fantastic: Novaks will definitely keep you from drawing blood on your fifteenth stovepipe clearance drill, but they're worse than useless if you need to rack the slide of your sidearm on your belt because your non-dominant hand is full of screaming kid or has a big ol' bullet hole in it. "No-snag" sights are, therefore, great for Gun Camp, but lose some functionality in the Real World.
What brought this to the surface was that, in the December article on the Hilton Yam custom 1911's, Pat was teeing off on checkering on a 1911 frontstrap, pooh-poohing it as a cosmetic froofraw that would chew your hand to bloody rags in a high-round-count course at Gunsite or Thunder Ranch. No doubt it will, but I don't like 20-lpi checkering for the way it looks or for how comfy it is in my hand at gun camp, I like it for the way it locks my pistol into my hand if I have to draw it under panic-sweat-less-than-optimum conditions. Should I wind up going to gun skul, I'll bring a couple of non-checkered 1911's to help keep my hand from getting ripped to shreds while shooting a couple of cases of ammo in three days, but should I need to draw down in an alley, I'll take the gun that won't shift in my grip without tearing skin loose, thanks. I've no doubt it would hurt after a several day school, but it's quite tolerable in my nightly presentation drills and weekly courses of fire, and I sincerely believe it would be preferable should I ever have to (Vishnu forbid) use the gun for real.
All this being said: If it's my money paying for checkering, looks are secondary. What I prefer is really coarse and sharp 20lpi stuff that will definitely abrade the skin off your hand (especially if you have no shooting callous) over a long day's course of fire. Next would be skateboard tape or various types of scalloping or stippling. Last would be 30lpi checkering, which I find to be more cosmetic than anything else.
Disclaimer: This is just some chick's opinion. I have never slain tangos or gone through the door or anything like that, so I might well be talking completely out my arse. I await discussion on these points.