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Getting a grip at SHOT Show 2018

I looked at three forend grips at SHOT Show 2018 that provide very different advantages when mounted to the rifle

One of the best attributes of the AR platform is its flexibility. You can customize the rifle with an array of accessories that enhance performance, durability, accuracy and even comfort. Toward this end, I looked at three forend grips on display at SHOT Show 2018 that provide very different advantages when mounted to a rifle.

Mid-Evil Industries 360 RFG

Many shooters are familiar with the traditional “broomstick” used in the military. This classic gives vertical stability to the front end of the weapon while not requiring the shooter to hold the handguard, which can be a bonus when things really start to heat up.

The Mid-Evil Industries 360 RFG takes that concept and adds a huge amount of customization. Imagine if your broomstick could rotate. That’s right, crank it to the left like a magazine on a Sten SMG, crank it to the right, bend it back and tuck it under the handguard for storage – all of this is within the 360 RFG’s capabilities.

The 360 VFG is sturdy when locked into position. It can be used as a monopod or even to steady against barriers. In this capacity, it really shines because it can be manipulated to fit whatever terrain you’re working in. Because of this versatility, it works well for positional shooting and also for left-handed shooters.

Forged of aluminum and available in Picatinny, Keymod and M-Lok variants, the 360 RFG can be mounted to most rails. Once there it can be configured with a simple twist of the wrist. By loosening the base, you can rotate the grip to your preferred position, then simply tighten to lock it in place.

Lightweight (5.2 oz.) yet durable, the 360 RFG also features storage capacity, and is able to hold some ammunition or even replacement batteries (2 CR123s) for your optic.

It is available in Black, Flat Dark Earth, Sniper Gray and Thin Blue Line, priced between $109.95–$129.95.

Ryker USA FIST Grip

Ergonomic design concepts are making their way through most industries these days. Ryker USA innovated shooting with a forend grip that is designed to work congruently with your body mechanics, offering improved speed and accuracy. Essentially, the FIST Grip is a side-mounted, horizontal, molded piece of plastic that is gripped with the support hand knuckles pointing in the same direction as the muzzle.

Designed to be ambidextrous, the FIST Grip can be mounted on either side of the weapon on a Picatinny rail. Users with other rails need an adapter to Picatinny to mount the FIST Grip.

Made of military-grade polymer, the unit is durable and only weighs 3.2 oz. Once installed, Ryker USA says the grip offers a new shooting method, one that has been tested in both close-quarters combat training and actual combat.

Because of the ergonomics of the arms being extended with palms facing in, you are afforded better control and recoil management. The FIST Grip comes in your favorite color, as long as it’s black.

I’ve heard several people had an initial dubious reaction to this grip. I can tell you I recently confirmed it was tested and recommended by the National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA). When I asked, the group indicated it performed very well. The FIST allows you to really pull your rifle into your shoulder and drive it from target to target. My suggestion is to try it. Priced at $74.99.

Strike Industries LINK Curved ForeGrip

Strike Industries has a history of innovation in shooting. Derived from the company’s Cobra Tactical Fore Grip, the LINK Curved ForeGrip features a system that can mount to M-Lok and Keymod rails. Constructed of 6061T6 aluminum, the unit only weighs 1.7 oz.

Despite the light weight, the grip is sturdy. The front has a bumper that can be jammed into barriers to anchor a shot. The rear of the grip is a bit longer and has a curved rail on the inside that conforms well to the hand. This feature also allows the shooter to pull the rifle in tight to the shoulder as well. The backside bumper of the rail can also be used to pull the rifle steady against a barrier or some other shooting anchor.

The LINK does an excellent job of supporting the thumb-over-bore shooting grip. Mounted where you like, it ergonomically deploys the hand to cup the underside of the barrel while securing the top with the thumb. Depending on various parameters such as the length of your barrel and rail, you may be able to mount the LINK far enough down to help you lock out your elbow for stability.

NTOA-member tested and recommended, the LINK comes in grey, black, red, blue and FDE, priced between $37.95-39.95.

Final thoughts

You may be the type of shooter who does not want any kind of forend grip. One of my FTOs was a Vietnam veteran who was taught to hold the magwell with his support hand in basic training. Since then, shooters of the AR platform have been moving that support hand closer to the muzzle. Grip options supporting this evolution have been peppering the market ever since. These products are all about preference – you can mount them and utilize them however you like. In trying some out, you might find a preference, or even an advantage.

Sean Curtis is a law enforcement professional with over two decades of experience, serving with SWAT, diving and swift water rescue teams in Colorado. He has also served in wildland fire, search and rescue, EMS and emergency management.