Home - Volume 1 (2006) - Issue 2 (Fall '06) - Grips Review: Ahrends grips

Ahrends grips

Reviewed by John Caradimas (John, )

An old name still makes excellent quality grips

For those involved with the 1911 for more than a few years, the name Kim Ahrends meant grips and if someone wanted very nice grips, Ahrends shop was the one to call. Kim has been involved in the grips business since 1982, after a career as a pistolsmith (Kim Ahrends Custom Firearms). For more than 24 years now, Kim is producing some very nice grips and the ones lately found in his catalog are exquisite.

Kim offered to send us two sets of his latest creations to try them out. He asked me to check his site pictures and decide which ones I liked. Having a special affection for cocobolo, I asked him for a set made of that wood. I also noticed a very interesting set of grips, made out of Silver-Black Dymondwood. I had never seen such a wood before, so I asked him for a set of those too. After a short time, a box was delivered in my mailbox, with Kim's grips.

As I had requested, the first set was made of cocobolo wood. But this one was different. The wood color was not the usual dark maroon or brown cocobolo I am used to. This one had an orange-ish tint and the fact that it had a smooth finish with no checkering, made the color more pronounced. I immediately installed those grips on my blue 1911, and I was really surprised to see how close a match were the lines of the dark colored grains, on the two sides of the grip panels. That shows that the two wood pieces from which those grips were made, were carefully selected so that the grain of the wood matches in the two panels.

The fit of the grips on the pistol was excellent. The bottom of the grip panels was flush with the opening of the mag well. The screw holes were perfectly located, so the screws could be inserted without undue problems. The back of the grips was totally flat, while the cut for the magazine release button was at precisely the right place.

What impressed me with those grips was the fact that they were not covered in a thick layer of lacker to protect them. This left the real colors of the wood to show, and it also enhanced the grain of the wood.

The second set of grips was also very interesting. I've never seen Dymondwood before, so I was pleasently surprised. The colors were so strange, that I couldn't figure out if these grips were really made of wood, or by some kind of polymer material.

As you can see, this set was checkered, in contrast to the smooth cocobolo ones. The lines of the wood grain were almost completely parallel, as if this was not a physical material but an artificial one. You had to look very closely to see that they were converging towards the top.

Again, the grain and the lines of the wood matched very well between the two panels, so much so that my doubt if this set was really made out of wood, was strengthened even more. The checkering of the panels was not coarse, but enough so to give a good gripping area for your hand.

Again, the grips were perfectly made, they fit the pistol without the slightest problem. The bottom of the grip panels was totally flush with the lower edge of the frame, the grip screw holes were cut to the proper depth, every thing was the way it should be. Nothing to complain about, I guess the experience of Ahrends on grip-making allows them to turn out perfect products.


I remember some years ago, when obtaining a set of Ahernds grips was a dream for us Greek shooters. Large on-line shops, like Brownells were not available, and calling Ahrends in US was out of the question, the call alone would cost more than the grips. Of course, too many things have changed since then. International calls are more affordable now, the Internet allows us to access every maker of every part we need to get, and large on-line retailers offer their goods for anyone to get. One thing has stayed the same though, as I found out. Ahrends continue to build some very beautiful and nicely made grips for the 1911 pistol. Do visit their site, I am sure you will love their products.

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Ahrends Grips
PO Box 203,
Clarion, IA 50525

Phone: 515-532-3449 Fax: 515-532-3926

E-Mail: ahrends@goldfieldaccess.net
Web site: http://www.ahrendsgripsusa.com/

Home - Volume 1 (2006) - Issue 2 (Fall '06) - Grips Review: Ahrends grips