How to Install a Mag-Mounted Grip Extension

If your customers complain about getting a solid grip on their pistol, and you’re out of stock of new guns to sell them, try a simple grip extension.

How to Install a Mag-Mounted Grip Extension

More people are exercising their right to protect themselves and loved ones than ever before. Empty ammo shelves, low firearm inventory and crowds at the counter — along with FBI NICS figures — are irrefutable evidence that the vast majority of Americans understand they are their own first responders, particularly in times of crisis.

It’s good news, but the lingering lack of gun selection presents some challenges for first-time owners and retailers alike. When buyers voice a concern about their ability to control a handgun at the counter, it’s tough to recommend smaller, lighter models in chamberings capable of stopping a criminal attack. Until manufacturers refill supply lines, that might be all you have in stock, unfortunately. Add those new enthusiasts returning after their first range sessions with similar feelings, and it’s been tough to deliver the customer satisfaction they deserve.

Odds are good you have a solution on your shelves for some of them — and if you don’t, adding a few in your inventory isn’t a bad idea. Magazine-mounted pistol grip extensions can enhance control and even improve cosmetics on new guns before they go out the door. They’re also great for returning customers who express frustration with firing line comfort and performance.

Bargain-basement polymer models are a utilitarian option, but one or two of those highly embellished and colorfully anodized race gun versions under the counter are sure to attract attention. Go with a few that fit your best-selling pistol and you might be surprised at the impulse buys.

Installation is fast and easy, and odds are good the process is a familiar one to you and your entire staff. It also builds a long-term relationship with that customer.

It’s a good idea to have the pistol on hand to double-check fit and function after the installation. The process, of course, begins by making the gun safe. Engage any manual safety, drop the magazine and check that the chamber is empty. Do so at least twice, using a flashlight if things are slightly dim behind the counter.

Set the gun aside and inspect the bottom of the magazine. Unless it’s an old model, which likely won’t have a grip extension available anyway, there will be a hole just about centered in the material — usually polymer. That floorplate will have lips on either side for it to slide off. Determine which direction it needs to go for disassembly.

Put on safety glasses, then insert a non-marring tool or screwdriver into the hole and push down on the dimple/detent there. While maintaining that pressure, use your thumb to begin pushing the original floorplate off the magazine. After a short distance of travel (when the dimple/detent disappears from the hole), remove the tool.

Maintain pressure with your thumb on the now partially exposed spring or spring base plate to prevent them from going airborne. Then you can safely push the floorplate completely off and slowly release the spring. Remove it along with its plate and follower.

Note the orientation of parts as they come out. That’ll make things faster during reassembly.

Inspect the follower for dents and dings that can lead to stoppages. Clean it, along with the spring, but don’t use solvents or oil-based solutions that will collect grime. A clean and dry cloth is fast and effective.

Once scrubbed, hold the spring upright, carefully place the follower in the proper orientation, and insert the pair into magazine. Position the spring’s base plate, then apply pressure until it’s flush with the magazine bottom.

Now begin sliding on the new floorplate extension. Once it’s installed enough to maintain pressure on the spring base plate, stop and check that its additional grip area is pointing in the right direction. Odds are good it will only install one way, but it’s a good idea to double-check before pushing completely on. If correct, resume pushing the floorplate until that dimple/detent will lock firmly into the floorplate hole.

Once the installation is complete, insert the magazine into the pistol — leaving both unloaded — and check that the added grip surface area fits flush against the frame. Work the magazine release to determine if things drop freely, as they should.

Clean all those rust-collecting fingerprints you’ve undoubtedly left on the magazine during the process. Then ask the customer to point the empty pistol — with unloaded magazine inserted — in a safe direction to see how it feels after the modification.

If controllability was the main concern, odds are good they’ll be very satisfied with your minute or two of work. With luck, their practice sessions will increase in frequency, and they’ll be back often for ammo.


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