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Build Your Toolbox: Aftermarket Firearms Accessories

There are some things women SHOULD know about basic aftermarket firearms accessories.  We’re going to cover the basics of aftermarket pieces for pistols.

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Build your grip

The first thing you do with a pistol is grip it. A pistol is a firearm that requires a solid foundation of applying basic principles of marksmanship to be able to shoot it well. To do that, you need to learn how to grip the pistol, and you need to practice building and establishing your grip when you start a practice session. That being said, your physical grip is a big deal. You need to be able to grip the gun, get your hands around it, finger on the trigger, etc. One simple firearm accessory that can help you grip the gun better is sandpaper grip tape sets, sold for many popular pistol models. When my family competed with GLOCKS, we bought pre-cut grip tape sets, or made our own. We also bought grips that had been worked on by a knowledgeable gunsmith or someone who specializes in re-doing grips. Sometimes they undercut the trigger guard (this makes the grip fit your hand better and can help a person with small hands get their fingers around the grip). Sometimes they stipple or contour the grip. I’ve seen a grip built up even with epoxy and silicon carbide to both create texture and give some “purchase” on a very narrow grip. Some brands (such as the new Stoeger STR-9) come with interchangeable backstraps to help fit the gun to you. Knowing these options exist is a big step towards having a gun with a grip that fits YOU. So if you already own a gun you love, but have trouble with your grip, start looking at what other people do to customize their grips.  

Dawson grip tape set
There are many options available to customize your pistol grip.  One of the simplest ways to help you grip the pistol better, is by applying pre-cut grip tape sets that you can order online.

See your sights

The next firearm accessory that can improve your pistol, and personalize it, is a set of sights. From fiber optics to lasers you mount under your pistol, there are lots of options out there. But sights are what enables us to hit the target. If you find your sights difficult to use, there are other options. Find one you like and that works for the purpose you are using the gun. As a quick lesson, pistol sights with narrow front sights that allow you to see through the notch are more suited for home defense, and allow you to see more of your target. Pistol sights with wider front sight blades or a narrower back notch are for accuracy in competition or target shooting, and allow you to see less of your target. Something as simple as a wider front sight might help someone who is having trouble aligning the sight correctly – just because there is less room for error. HiViz makes a really neat set that is great for teaching new shooters with 2 colors of fiber optics. If you have issues with vision, but don’t want to mount a dot on your pistol, you can set up a laser to co-witness with your sights, provided your pistol has a rail that accepts one. The small Crimson Trace Railmaster is great for a home defense gun, because you can still use your sights. 

HIViz sight set

Pick a color, any color

Magazines are another firearm accessory you can use to personalize your pistol.  Some of the compact guns can have a short grip. There are aftermarket magwells and magazine extensions for the M&P from Samson that can give you more to physically grip on your pistol, by adding length to the bottom of the grip.  Maybe you want to color-code your ammunition to differentiate practice and home defense; if so, check out Jagemann’s GLOCK mags

Jagemann Magazine Aftermarket Firearms Accessories
If you want to make it easy to grab the correct mags before you head to the range, using one color per gun, or per type of ammo, is a simple way to visually remind yourself to grab the correct ammunition. 

Whatever pistol you carry, compete with, or have just because you like to go plinking, always follow the 4 rules of firearms safety, and have fun at the range. 

  • About Becky Yackley

    Becky Yackley primarily competes in 3 Gun, USPSA, Bianchi pistol, but has competed in shooting since 1989 in disciplines from service-rifle, to NCAA Air Rifle and Smallbore, air pistol and a little bit of long range rifle. She shoots guns and cameras at competitions around the country, and writes in her fictional spare time. Her writing can be found here The WON in her column titled "Not a Soccer Mom" and sponsored by Jagemann Sporting Group, as well as Guns America and Gun World.