MY NEW “MOVIE-STAR” GRIPS – FROM HOLLY-WOOD!

Grips of white American Holly make a viable substitute for ivory in a natural material.

Grips of white American Holly make a viable substitute for ivory in a natural material.

When I found my new-to-me Ruger .44 Special Flatop-top Blackhawk recently, it wore grips of white faux ivory – plastic. The fit was very good for a “budget-type” grip, and I found the white a surprisingly attractive contrast to the deep bluing of the Ruger frame. Problem was, I didn’t want plastic. When one grip ended up broken, I started shopping around. Real ivory is pretty expensive, and stag or other horn grips are also more valuable than I wanted to invest in. I was almost ready to try Corian, even though I didn’t really want a kitchen counter for a revolver grip, when Zane Thompson of Lonestarcustomgrips in Johnson City, Texas, suggested American holly. This is an almost white wood when finished, and over time it yellows nicely, just like ivory will. It can also develop those little aging “cracks” that ivory gets – but the price is much more reasonable.

American holly is a very attractive wood for revolver grips.

American holly is a very attractive wood for revolver grips.

When I received my new grips I immediately put them on the .44 Special. While admiring them, I noticed the wood has just a little rather faint figuring – just enough to add to the look, I think.

The almost white holly sets off the dark Ruger bluing very well, and really stands out.

The almost white holly sets off the dark Ruger bluing very well, and really stands out.

Some of the guys who have seen these grips think the Holly would look good on a polished stainless gun, as well. Since mine has a polished stainless ejector rod housing, base pin, and base pin latch to go with the polished “in-the-white” cylinder, I think I get the best of both worlds, and I really like the effect.

The figuring of the wood is there, but it doesn't shout at you, just adds a little something to the look.

The figuring of the wood is there, but it doesn’t shout at you, just adds a little something to the look.

My .44 Flat Top gets more “Special” to me with each small change I make, and these grips are towards the top of the list of improvements. I don’t think they are as attractive as my Lacewoods, but they will definitely be right up there with my favorites. Zane did a great job of fitting them without having my grip frame to work with, and they are a bit thicker than the plastic grips I had, which makes them more comfortable to my hand.

I usually don’t have medallions added to custom grips, but the Ruger emblems just seemed to “belong” on this gun!

I am still trying to decide where I would want to “open carry” a handgun, but this one would be worth showing off a little in public. One other idea I had I got from a book by Maysaad Ayoob, where he said wearing a dark gun and holster against dark clothing could make the gun very hard for most people to pick up on except in very good light, making an “open” carried gun almost concealed without bending any rules. Might start looking for a set of black grips for the .44 Special, for Special occasions? Or maybe just put the black stock grips back on my black Para “Compact” 1911?

To get your own Holly – or other fine wood – grips, contact Zane at www.lonestarcustomgrips.com.

About MikeH

Texas hunter and fisherman for 50 years, published outdoor writer since 1979, licensed charter boat operator from 1982 to 2013. Past Member, Board of Directors, National Association of Charterboat Operators, current member Environmental Advisory Committee to the DOE and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Married to Dorothy since 2000, one son, Michael who is recently married and living in Nederland, Texas. My wife and I live in Oyster Creek, Texas, near Freeport, and have a hunting property outside of Brazoria, Texas.
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