Gunfighter Tip of the Week: Easy DIY Grip Enhancement for Pistols

Bicycle inner tube and rubber bands are two cheap ways to improve your grip.

For this week’s episode of Gunfighter tip of the week, we are going to cover a dinosaur-tech grip enhancement!

Stipple jobs and skateboard tape are hard to beat for a duty gun, but they do have some drawbacks in the CCW role. Not only are they hard on equipment, they can be hard on you.

I have seen grip tape wear a hole in nylon plate carriers over the course of a tour, so you can certainly bet they’ll be hell with your wardrobe.

In addition to that, they have a tendency to grab clothing making your weapon print like a flashing neon sign. What’s a budding ninja to do?

In my opinion, the second best choice for a grip is rubber. While it’s not as grippy as the alternatives, it’s nowhere near as likely to hold your clothing in a weird bunch. There are off-the-shelf solutions if you are keen to part with $20, but I have found a cheaper solution that works great.


One option is a section of bicycle inner tube, which yields you about 30 grips per $3. It takes a little bit of labor to get on the gun, and I strongly recommend you take the slide off before you start. You’re going to have to wrestle the frame, and I feel a lot more comfortable doing that with zero chance of a mishap.

Option 1.

Option two is easier yet and offers a little bit of texture to go with the rubber. I am not sure who the first was, but this was a fairly common technique in the ’70s and ’80s. Simply grab a fistful of rubber bands and start applying them to the grip. Stop when you have achieved the desired girth. Easy day!

Option 2.

With both styles, make sure you don’t cover up the magazine release or interfere with the magazine well. A little TLC with a razor knife will correct a magnitude of errors. Give it a shot, I think you will like the result. The best part? If you don’t like it, it’s easy like Sunday morning to return your gun to factory.

Make sure your mag release isn’t covered by the tube.  Use a knife to trim off any overlapping tube.

{ 23 comments… add one }
  • Joe blo June 23, 2017, 10:45 pm

    There is a soft rubber “tape” that is used for stopping water pipe leaks temporarily that works really well use to wrap your grip like we all used to wrap our bats as kids.

  • Russ H. June 23, 2017, 6:48 pm

    BAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA!!!! OK, I get it but only if I’m about to get into a gunfight and have nothing else because I forgot to think about good grips. Spend $25 and put some Hogue Wrap Around Rubber Grips with Finger Grooves – best grip out there!

    • JT August 20, 2017, 3:16 am

      Yep. I agree. However you have to periodically reposition the grip.
      I also like Hogue G 10 grips.
      Pricey but great grips.

  • W.P. Zeller June 23, 2017, 6:47 pm

    There are hand tool wraps that can also be good, especially for guns that “official” grip tape sets aren’t made.
    There’s a brand named “Airgrip” I used to use on my hammer handles when I was a carpenter that I loved for that. It’s a sort of a self-shrinking tube that’s more durable than inner tube.
    My everyday #2 Colt Agent has homemade walnut grips shaped just right, with a 1 1/4″ band of Airgrip in the middle that locks up just right. Yet the smooth walnut of the butt isn’t grabby on clothing sliding over it.
    Cut my full-speed groups to less than half.

  • PaulWVa June 23, 2017, 4:59 pm

    Hmmm….most of this looks more like emergency repairs than improvements. The word to remember is TALON. They make grip covers for almost anything, pre-cut, perfect fit. Two different levels from a sticky rubber, that I like and a rougher, more aggressive grade that’s more like skateboard tape. It also comes in flat easy to cut sheets. I’ve used it for handguns and rifles too. And it’s not expensive. Rubber bands…??…really??….I do remember using some big rubber bands on the cracked wood stock on my Crossman BB gun…..I was eight.

  • Godfrey Daniel June 23, 2017, 4:49 pm

    Spray a little Windex/glass cleaner on the inside of that innertube and it’s a lot easier to put on.

    • PaulWVa June 23, 2017, 5:04 pm

      I got some really funny looks from my wife when I asked if we any KY jelly …..I’d stick with the glass cleaner……

  • Brian June 23, 2017, 2:10 pm

    Damn, tough crowd. I like innovative inexpensive upgrades and am going to try a bike tube on one of my guns. Rubber bands dont suit me but the grip tape companies didnt become successful by shitting on the poeple with the ideas. Thank god the engineers at glock didnt go into an emotional collapse when they were told….”whoa, plastic gon? You are an idiot. No way that could work and its too cheap.”
    Carry on Clay


  • Matt June 23, 2017, 1:01 pm

    I tried the Hogue grip sleeve and did not like the way it twisted; plus I have a CT Trigger Guard laser mounted and the sleeve did not work well with the pressure button on the CT. I ended up using some black grip tape I had on hand from when my daughter was in LX and needed firm control over the lacrosse stix. The grip tape looks good (not cheap looking!) and can be wound around the CT pressure button. Just how I worked out my issue with the lack of “grip” from the S&W Shield.

  • DrThunder88 June 23, 2017, 11:49 am

    My YouTube channel is home to many videos with cheap, DIY modifications to firearms, but I looked at this and immediately turned up my nose, thinking “too cheap”.

  • bernard June 23, 2017, 11:40 am

    Now one can make like their a ‘Gang-Banger’ !!

  • james June 23, 2017, 10:36 am

    Great way to make your firearm look like cheap piece of crap.

  • Wayne June 23, 2017, 9:32 am

    In regards to using an inner tube or factory made grip rubbers try using the liquid Hand Sanitizer (without aloe) to lube up pistol grip and inside of rubber ,it evaporates after install, all good.

  • Tom Benton June 23, 2017, 8:03 am

    Had a hogue rubber sleeve on my Kahr PM9 for a while. Despite being snug, it would shift covering the mag release or prevent dropping a magazine when shifting to the bottom of the grip. Finally opted for the Talon rubber grip tape. Quality product
    with a geat grip purchase. I am a verified do it yourselfer, but when making a decision that may save ones life. go for quality, buy the Talon.

  • Mike June 23, 2017, 7:47 am

    Too funny,
    Next he’ll be showing us how to use a pair or antlers as a bipod for those long rifle shots! (Hey, wait, that’s a good idea!)

    • bernard June 23, 2017, 11:38 am

      That might be quite a ‘sight’, especially if those antlers are on a live Buck!!

  • catfish252 June 23, 2017, 7:36 am

    I have used this tape for handles on garden tools and such. It is very durable, it conforms to any surface no matter how irregular it is. The tape sticks to itself and not the surface you are covering and is held on the object by tightness of the wrap and only grabs itself. I flew in the Air Force and watched technicians wrap electrical connectors and cables with this tape. There is no adhesive on the surface of the tape therefore it won’t breakdown and get gummy and leak. It’s also quite reasonably priced. You can get approx. 1-1/2″ x 10′ for under $7.00 It comes in different widths and colors. Removal is very simple just slice through the tape at one spot and peel off, no sticky residue. See here:

  • Brian June 23, 2017, 7:28 am

    You spend ~$500 for a gun, ~100 for a quality holster and then want to cheap out? Seriously quit pinching pennies and spend $17.99 on a set of Talon’s.

    • Bonomo June 23, 2017, 11:37 pm

      Right on.

  • Rodger June 23, 2017, 7:23 am

    Just spend 17 dollars and get Talon Grips. I use these on all my firearms. Fit perfect with a perfect grip texture and minimal girth increase. They can be removed easily, but stay where you put them. It also comes in sheets for the “make it yourself” grip.

  • Russ H. June 23, 2017, 3:49 am

    OK, I get it. You’ve got absolutely nothing else available for the upcoming gunfight and haven’t thought of this previously. Sure, I’ll put 20-30 rubber bands on the grip of my $800 pistol for a few minutes. At least the cops won’t be confiscating an $826 Sig (with Hogue rubber grips) for evidence. Did you lose a bet and have to write this article?

  • Richard Steven Hack June 22, 2017, 5:24 pm

    I wouldn’t use rubber bands. They have been known to roll or shift when grabbed and that could affect your grip at a time when you need it perfect… Plus of course they wear out frequently and snap…maybe at the wrong time…

    A solid piece of rubber would make more sense.

    • Fred Whitehurst June 24, 2017, 12:54 am

      Rubber bands are not made of rubber and with turn hard and break in a short time. For those of us that do not like finger groves, the bike tubes work great.

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