Offbeat: RMH Custom 1911 Grips

RMH machined traditional Marine Raider patch into an ivory-colored G10 panel with startling depth, dimension, and detail.

There’s nothing like a 1911 to beg for a personalized set of panels.

Have you looked at a set of 1911 grips and thought how you’d like some with the texture or shape just a little different? You know, a set “kinda” like this or that from another maker, but maybe more this here and less that there?

Maybe you’ve mused about engraving some personal iconography onto a certain color of wood or inletting a pithy quote into some G10. RMH Knives waded into these deep waters with a fresh take that will get your wheels spinning.

RMH Knives is now offering a custom grip service, and it is about as personalized and custom as it could possibly be, short of them showing up on your front porch to talk over the details. A shooter can just about dream up any shape, material, texture, or embellishment and have it rendered into a one-of-a-kind piece ‘o pistol grip.

I stumbled onto RMH’s website and was mesmerized by the range of designs and unique personal touches folks had commissioned. And commissioned is the right word: The shooter starts the process by giving some details, and RMH is away on a unique project.

Ron Der, a CAD/CAM designer and engineer, told me he likes each project to be unique and to help the customer get the exact thing he or she is looking for. He takes the basic details as a starting point and mocks up a virtual three-dimensional sample and sends it back in short order for approval or modification.

Once the details are locked in, the panels are machined out and the grips are off to their new owner.

The capabilities of the 3-D design and the machining are quite impressive. The limitation in the whole process is the shooter’s imagination. If you can imagine it in a grip-panel-sized “box,” RMH can probably do it.

One customer, presumably a guitar player, had RMH recreate the look and feel of a guitar neck in a similar wood. RMH has examples on display of incredibly detailed renderings of law enforcement shields and badges, unit logos, and various icons and symbols important to the grips’ owners.

Others have dreamed up unique backgrounds comprised of unusual checkering, dimpling, serrating, etc. Want a texture that looks and feels like scales? Feathers? Dragonfly wings? It can all be arranged.

I wanted to carve out the traditional Marine Raider patch on one side of the pistol and have the Marine Special Operator Insignia that Raiders now wear on their uniforms on the other panel.

I dithered back and forth for a while: wood or G10, wood or G10, wood or G10. After an appropriately exhausting internal debate, I settled on ivory-colored G10.

The next step was several days’ handwringing over checkered or plain. Ron had offered numerous options as to panel thickness and shape, thumb relief for the magazine release, pin covered or not, etc, and those were easily worked through.

I was shooting for a modern take on a carved ivory panel of yesteryear with the texture of G10. He took my ideas and shortly sent back the rendering, which gave me a perfect three-dimensional idea of what I would be getting. I made several adjustments, and he sent back a modified image. Two weeks later, I had the panels in hand.

Marine Special Operator Insignia is perfectly inlet onto inboard panel, and wings actually follow curvature of the grip. RMH can machine almost any design into a variety of grip materials.

The pictures show the results, although the two dimensions of the page and my limited photographic skills can’t fully capture the impressive detail of the design elements.

The nearly sesame-seed-sized stars on the patch are five sided and sharp, and the skull’s dome has an unexpected level of realism. The tiny feathers on the eagle’s wings have dimension and shape, and every element of the insignia is sharp and recognizable.

I am impressed with how the panels turned out, and they fit perfectly on several 1911s I tried them on. I wanted a conservative approach that emphasizes the carvings, so didn’t attempt any checkering. They still feel great in hand, with just enough texture to resist the slipping one might get with smooth wood.

It is tempting, though, to order another set that incorporates some unique high-friction texture and a darker panel material to complement this more ornamental set.

This item is tailor made for that gift occasion for a respected warrior. Teammates can inscribe whatever seems appropriate: dates, quotes, sketches, or unit logos. The custom result is sure to be a hit.

(Since every red-blooded American is more or less required to have at least one fine 1911, the grips can be gifted whether or not the honoree actually has one. It then serves as the proper incentive for them to rectify their shortcoming. Boom! Double gift!)

This is a fascinating expansion of the current trends of CAD/CAM design and machining into a traditional market, and one that gives shooters an unprecedented ability to personalize their prized .45.

Current prices range from $175 to $200 depending on the intricacy of the design, shipping included. Many of us have nearly that much invested in poor decision/impulse buy/gun show grips that never seem to work out.

Check RMH out.


RMH Knives

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