View Full Version : 1911 frontstrap - 30 lpi checkering or stippling?

January 11, 2000, 08:15 PM
Ok, what do you all prefer for shooting comfort and control on a 1911? Checkered (30 lpi) or stippling on the frontstrap and mainspring housing?

January 11, 2000, 08:52 PM
I think checkering has more aesthetic appeal.
They both are probably functionally equivalant.

January 11, 2000, 09:17 PM
Both work well, but I agree, the checkering looks better. It depends on how much money you want to spend. It is not too much to order a checkered mainspring housing from Brownell's, but hand-cut checkering on the frontstrap is going to be a good bit of money.

January 11, 2000, 09:24 PM
Checkering is very expensive, but does look good. Stripling is cheaper and works just as well. Wilson's sells an add on checkered piece that's held on by the grip panels. I have one of these on my Commander. Not real pretty, but it is functional and a whole lot cheaper.

January 11, 2000, 09:50 PM
Skateboard tape!

January 11, 2000, 10:11 PM
I've got 20 lpi on my tuned 1911. It's rought on the hands at first but works extremly well in wet weather, not to mention with gloves on. I'd get the 20 lpi again.

January 11, 2000, 10:46 PM
Where can you get someone to checker 25 lpi? I read an article a while back about someone who does 25. Supposedly, it grips better than 30 lpi, but is easy on the hand. Best of both worlds.

"But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip; and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." -Jesus Christ (Luke 22:36, see John 3:15-18)

January 11, 2000, 11:06 PM
I believe that you're talking about Scott, McDougall & Associates ("SM&A"). Their website is www.colt380.com (http://www.colt380.com.)

Here's a picture of their 25LPI checkering on a Colt C.C.O.


[This message has been edited by YeeDude (edited January 11, 2000).]

January 17, 2000, 04:40 PM
With both, whoever does it needs to know what they are doing. To paraphrase Roscoe Benson, "Some stippling jobs look like the village idiot did it with a hammer and chisel." I have a Kimber Stainless Classic that has the front strap stippled and replaced the plastic mainspring housing with a stippled stainless steel one. It looks as good as any checkering job I have seen. Its very functional and it does not show the little scatches and dings that can happen to checkering.

I like it so much, I am having a Kimber Stainless Target done also, with the addition of having the front of the trigger guard stippled as well.


January 17, 2000, 06:12 PM
Have both,like both.I too like the idea of 25lpi as it seems the perfect spacing.

David Schmidbauer
January 17, 2000, 10:34 PM
I'm with Nobody... Skateboard Tape and use the money saved for more ammo to practice you firing grip/recoil control.

Schmit, GySgt, USMC(Ret)
NRA Life, Lodge 1201-UOSSS
"Si vis Pacem Para Bellum"

January 17, 2000, 10:54 PM

Thanks for the link and picture. I think it is the best way to go for those of us with "combination skin". ;)

I might give it a try on my own pet project IF I could find a 25 lpi file. So, I think that I'll go with a personalized stipling. I like the snake skin design the best. I just don't have the equiptment to do it. I've practiced a random stippling that looks like a small scaled snake skin on some scrap aluminum with my vibrating engraver. Its gone from looking like the village idiot doing it with a hammer and chisel to looking like the village idiot got himself an engraver and practiced a bit. Its a perfect texture, but I still need to practice before putting the scalpel to the patient, so to speak. The frame is Aluminum as is the blank back strap, so its soft enough to get deep w/out too much pressure. Brownells has a couple of stippling chisels, but I don't know how they'll look. The uniform scale pattern looks best so far, but it is too easy to mess it up with a hand tool. There was a guy who did a big snake skin pattern w/jigs n fixtures who had a beauty of a 1911 featured in Handguns magazine a couple of years ago. Best job I've ever seen. He told me that he never realy did many jobs because it takes way too much time and costs too much. Forget his name, but I appreciated his honesty. Looked far better than S&Ws custom version. Since I've decided not to send the project off to have it done, any suggestions as to what works and looks good for stippling on a melted frame/slide 1911? I want to compare a few samples before settling on the vibragraver snake skin stipling.

PS: I've got some of the worlds prettiest reptile skins (as soon as I take them out of the freezer and tan them). How do you think a snake, lizard, frog, or gator skin would work. I don't know that it would have enough "bite", but I think it would look like a million dollars if stretched between the grip panels and epoxied down. Any comments?


"But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip; and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." -Jesus Christ (Luke 22:36, see John 3:15-18)

[This message has been edited by EQUALIZER (edited January 17, 2000).]

January 17, 2000, 11:27 PM
I lucked into the perfect solution. Bought a lemon 1911 and sent it back to the factory for repairs along with a major whine. They checkered the frontstrap at 30 lpi just to shut me up...too bad they can't seem to find the darn frame.

Rosco Benson
January 18, 2000, 09:10 AM
Stippling can be very attractive and functional when properly done. Novak, Kurt Wickman, Brian Bilby, and some others do very nice stippling. Stippling shows damage less than does checkering.

I recall seeing a magazine article on a Kreb's pistol that had a scale-like pattern machined into it.


January 18, 2000, 12:06 PM
I personally love skateboard tape, but 30 lpi checkering is definitely pleasing to the eye and very effective.

Rosco. The scaling you're talking about is probably from an issue of American Handgunner that showed a Kreb custom made with a snake skin type of pattern. Beautiful piece. It also looked to be very effective without hand biting (no pun intended).

January 18, 2000, 10:01 PM
Rosco & Mute,

You're right! Mike? Krebs, or whatever his first name is did that pattern. He was the guy that I talked to. That was the most attractive grip surface that I've ever seen. Wish I was set up w/the equiptment to do it myself.

As to "skateboard tape", I think that it works great and stands up to a lot of use. Probably the least expensive method of grip surfacing. Only problem that I have with it is that the abrasive wears off. That little bit of loose sand in the holster is not a good combination to have in the slide rails, not to mention the finish. Whenever I use the stuff, I paint it first w/an oil based paint. Its not as sharp that way, but still grips well, wears longer, doesn't shed, and can be color coordinated.


"But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip; and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." -Jesus Christ (Luke 22:36, see John 3:15-18)

January 18, 2000, 11:17 PM
I'm with Nobody too, SKATEBOARD TAPE! A poor mans forntstrap job.

"Gun Control Only Protects Those in Power"

Dave McC
January 19, 2000, 05:43 AM
Some crocus cloth secured under the grips will work fine also, folks. Not as esthetically pleasing as checkering, but it leaves lots more dinero for ammo, range, or maybe taking the mother of your children out to dinner(G).

Cut an appropriate sized piece, loosen the grip screws, insert, tighten. You're done.

Nest time I'll tell you how to make a trigger stop for a revolver fronm a pencil eraser, heh,heh,heh....

James W
January 19, 2000, 02:44 PM
I like serrations, like on the Colt Gold Cup. Here is a picture of my pistol as tuned by Dane Burns.


January 19, 2000, 08:53 PM
My gunsmith just showed me some stuff that you apply directly to the frontstrap. Feels like skateboard tape, but will not wear off. Next time I see him I'll ask him what the name of it is. He is also a competive combat shooter, constructing his pistols and has been using this abrasive material. Seems to like it a great deal.

January 20, 2000, 01:07 PM

If you can afford the Kreb snakeskin job I say go for it. It is a beautiful piece. I don't doubt is effectiveness either.

January 20, 2000, 04:43 PM

I called him a while back and he told me that he didn't like to do them because it costs Soooo much (he realy emphasized that part), and then he explained the details of how he uses a special fixture and does the job meticulously. I asked him for a price to do a front strap and blank mainspring housing to match and he said that he'd have to call me back the next day when he works up a price. I never heard from him again, so I think the project was a special he did around the time of the magazine article only. He's a nice guy to talk to. I think he was encouraging me to do it myself, but I lack the confidence and the equiptment.