The way we hold our carbines has changed over the years but the gear been slower to adapt. Many users are squaring their bodies to the target, pushing their support hands out closer to the muzzle to gain more control and moving the carbine in toward their centerline while keeping the strong side arm tucked into their side. Longer hand guards have evolved to accommodate different support hand grips but less has been done to address the issues with strong hand positioning on the pistol grip in a “modern” stance.
We have only recently started to see a crop of pistol grips with a more vertical angle that takes stress off the wrist in this modern stance. The Umbrella Corporation Weapons Research Group (UCWRG) Rifle Grip is one of the most recent offerings of this type and it is the subject of this review.
The UCWRG Rifle Grip is a study in simplicity, but don’t be fooled, there is a lot going on here. There are no storage compartments, interchangeable cores or grip panels, and no texture. This is just a grip and that is a good thing.
The grip is made from polymer. The polymer that UCWRG chose feels very sturdy and appears to have a fair amount of glass reinforcement for durability (I stippled one of the test grips and it had the characteristic “crunch” of well reinforced polymer).
It appears that the grip has no texture at first glance, but when you have it in hand, you can feel the light pebble texture. It isn’t much, but it is there. UCWRG purposefully chose to leave this grip free of texture so the user can add their own. Future grips from UCWRG will have a more aggressive texture.
The main draw here is the ergonomic features which are simple and effective. This grip has a more vertical grip angle than most AR grips. It has various swells and ledges in strategic places that make it more hand filling than you might think by looking at it.
The UCWRG Rifle Grip comes with everything you need to install it – the grip and a quality grip screw with a Phillips screw.
I should also mention that UCWRG consulted with Magpul in the development of this grip. You can see the finger prints of Magpul all over this design, and, in many ways, it looks and feels like a cross between the Magpul MOE Grip and MOE K Grip.
Observations from Use
I am thrilled to see a Phillips screw versus the standard slotted screw. The internal drive Phillips screw makes keeping the driver on the screw easier and Phillips screwdrivers are easy to source just about anywhere. This is a small thing but it saves time and sanity.
If you find this grip to be too slick (many people will), you can easily add texture. UWCRG intended for you to do so. You can get as involved as you want to. It is easy to stretch a piece of bicycle tire inner tube for a quick and immediate improvement. The squared shape of the grip makes it easy to cut and fit adhesive grip tape. You can also do what I did and heat stipple the grip.
The sizing of the grip is spot on, at least for me. The grip manages to feel like it is fitting to your hand without resorting to pronounced palm swells or finger grooves. I especially like the well-executed, subtle thumb shelf that is molded into the sides.
It builds out behind the receiver a bit which helps move the trigger finger back and into a better position. This is nice because many of more vertical grips on the market are not very hand filling in this area. The part of the grip that extends up the lower receiver and interfaces with the web of your hand does force my hand a bit lower than I would prefer. It would be nice if this area of the grip was more tapered rather than remaining full thickness and which prevents the hand from going higher.
The UCWRG Rifle Grip is a full size grip in terms of length. This is not a short grip like other similar grips.
I installed these on 3 different carbines for testing. I have had some wrist injuries in the past and, as a result, I almost always come home from the range with a numb feeling in my hand when using most AR grips. This is from having my wrist cocked into an uncomfortable position while shooting a carbine in the stance described above. The wrist just isn’t meant to be held at the edges of its range of motion for extended periods of time (or at least my wrists aren’t). The UCWRG Rifle Grip is vertical enough that I haven’t had any numbness or discomfort during the entire time that I have used them. It is like magic.
Don’t think that this grip is no good for you because you don’t shoot in the described position. I also tested it in a more tradition bladed stance and found it more comfortable there too. Additionally, a few people with patrolling experience that tried the grip have commented on how much more comfortable it is to keep your hand on the grip when the carbine is hanging down in front of you on your sling like it might be when patrolling.
When I was explaining the grip to a friend, he wondered why he should consider this grip since he shoots a GLOCK, which has a more raked back grip angle, without issue. The difference lies in the angles of the arm when holding a rifle versus a handgun. The strong side elbow is much lower than the wrist when holding a rifle. This is what creates the off wrist angles. The wrist angles it takes to shoot a GLOCK effectively have nothing on what your wrist is doing when you contort it onto a rifle with a pistol grip.
The UCWRG Rifle Grip has allowed me to spend a day at the range without pain in my wrists. I don’t know that your results will be as dramatic but I am sure that you will find the grip angle more comfortable than most AR grips. UCWRG Rifle Grip represents a simple, straight-forward approach to building a grip that offers plenty of flexibility. It offers a combination of price, hand filling design, and vertical orientation that you just can’t find anywhere else right now.