What You Should Know About G10 Grips

A number of guns offered by gunmakers are billed as being somehow more premium because they come with G10 grips. What are these things, anyhow? Are they really all that worth it?

The quick version is that G10 grips are made with G10, a composite material with certain properties that makes it well-suited to certain applications. One of those applications is as grips on handguns.

Granted, does it dress up as well as walnut or cocobolo over blue steel? Maybe not. However, are G10 grips worth it? Well, let's get into that.

What Is G10, Anyway?

g10 handgun grips

What is G10, you ask?

G10 is a composite material, or to put it more accurately is a formula for a composite material that has specific material characteristics. Specifically, it's pretty strong, doesn't absorb moisture, is a very decent electrical insulator and resists chemicals pretty well. In other words, pretty tough stuff.

It's basically fiberglass, with layers of glass cloth that sets in an epoxy resin. The composite is baked and compressed, producing a hardened composite material. Like glass-filled nylon, carbon fiber and similar materials, the resulting material usually has a very high strength-to-weight ratio.

G10 is compressed into sheets of material, kind of like kydex. You can then shape it however you want. Due to the nature of the material, it's very difficult to cut but can be easily textured, sanded or otherwise.

It's more or less a descendant of Micarta, one of the first fiberglass composites. Just like Micarta, glass-filled nylon and carbon fiber, dust particles from G10 are pretty toxic, so you're going to need a good respirator if you even think of using it for hobby purposes.

Why G10 Grips Are Good

g10 grips good

What makes G10 grips any good?

First is the durability. Granted, G10 isn't exactly diamond, spring steel, or any other sort of super-hard material. On the Rockwell R scale of hardness for plastics, phenolics (the resin that G10 is cast in) is about a 140. Bone, by contrast, is just over a 100. G10 is about twice as hard as a golf ball and about 1.5 times as hard as Kydex, which so many of them tactical folks just love them some of.

We think there's something to be said for quality leather, but then again we're biased like that. But we digress.

That means they're durable. G10 grips will take a lickin' and keep on tickin'; you can put them on your gun and expect them to stand up to abuse. Whereas mother of pearl and even hardwoods will chip and break over time, G10 doesn't.

Until it does, of course, but that's when the next benefit kicks in: it's cheap. Fancy hardwood grips for that CZ 75, Beretta 92 or 1911? You can shell out upward of $100 or more in some cases. G10 grips? Maybe $40, and that's from the people who pad their margins.

Wood also shrinks, swells and warps with temperature and moisture, which is something to think about if you live in a hot, moist climate. (Florida, for instance.) G10? Not a problem at all.

In short, G10 grips are hard, durable and cheap. Not only that, some of them look pretty cool too!

Should You Spend On G10 Grips?


Should you go ahead and spend on G10 grips or get a gun with them on it? Well, that sort of depends. Overall, they're good to have but are they a be-all, end-all? Not necessarily.

It isn't that they aren't functional. With good texturing, they provide a good grippy surface, so you can run the gun with sweaty hands or during inclement weather. They're also quite durable, so you can expect a long service life. If you need to replace them, you can do so for not a whole lot of money.

So in that regard, yeah, they're worth it. You can also get slim G10 grips and reduce the width so that a gun conceals a little easier, a well-worn trick for making old-school pistols like 1911s, Browning Hi Powers and CZ 75 pistols a bit more friendly for daily packing.

You might want to splurge on fancy hardwoods for your barbecue gun or safe queen, but for a carry gun...G10 grips are a decent investment.

Sam Hoober  

About The Author

Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.

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