By Steve Tracy I Editorial director
Who Doesn’t Like Accessories?
Who doesn’t like accessories? Police officers certainly like accessories for their firearms. In the good old days, there wasn’t much to add to a duty revolver except a Tyler T-Grip, a set of proper wood stocks, or maybe a pair of Pachmayr Presentation rubber grips.
Today, we have Picatinny rails that can attach lights that can be seen from the moon. We can mount lasers that will reach the moon…in green during daylight! Fiber-optic night sights will gleam in the sun and glow in the dark. There are stick-on grip textures and back straps with logos and custom stippling (don’t even get me started on the various textures for stippling). That’s just for pistols.
An AR-15 is simply the foundation for adding building blocks of firearms accessories. There are forward vertical and angled grips, Picatinny rails, keymod rails, crossed rails, even custom serpentine tribal rails! Stocks are fixed, collapsible, and lighter than a feather off a summer goose’s tail. Custom frames, uppers, and bolts are forged from Thor’s hammer and coated in hardened chrome moly adamantium. Front and rear sights fold down and spring up in polygonal shapes to co-witness with electronic, magnified optics that make the Six Million Dollar Man sound effect of looking off into the distance when the proper button is pressed.
I like firearms accessories as much (perhaps more) than the average police officer. My first duty sidearm was a Smith & Wesson 645 and it wore a custom pair of maple handles with factory S&W medallions. I even carried it in a genuine black leather holster made by El Paso Saddlery. If it was good enough for Wyatt Earp, it was good enough for me.
Today my S&W is an M&P Pro with factory night sights. I’m keeping it simple. My patrol rifle is a Sig Sauer 516 Patrol with a tactical light, a red dot sight, and an enlarged charging handle. There are a lot more things I could hang on my rifle, but I’m trying to be practical.
For off-duty, I found the S&W Shield 9mm to my liking due to its flat contours. I can see the Tru-Glo sights in daylight or at nighttime and a Crimson Trace laser comes on with the grip activation switch pretty much automatically. I really like how the rubberized Talon Grip adheres to the frame and allows me to grip the pistol like a tree frog holding onto a leaf in a windstorm.
Eric Hopp made me a custom holster to accommodate the Shield with the laser and I had him mold the rig out of stingray hide. I guess I definitely like accessories more than the average police officer.
Hardly any of my non-polymer frame handguns wear factory original stocks, since I much prefer handsome wood, ivory, or even mother-of-pearl. Of course, all accessories should be practical as well as fine looking. The stingray holster is comfortable, protects the weapon, allows for a fast draw, and conceals like a sniper in a ghillie suit.
Any firearms enthusiast who also wears a badge for a few years has a “box o parts” ready to receive more contributions of accessories purchased that just didn’t pan out the way we planned. However, eBay and similar auction sites allow us to pass on these foibles to the next guy and recover part of our wasted cash.
I have several of these boxes. One is labeled “holsters” and another is for “grips” and still another has “screws, pins, sights, etc.” scrawled on the outside. In the modern world of Internet access, you can jump on several websites like Brownells, Midway USA, or even Amazon and read reviews by real end users of firearms accessories. While everything on the Internet needs to be taken with a grain of salt (perhaps one the size of a deer lick), some quality information can actually be gleaned.
Of course, our goal here at The Police Marksman is to give you real-world reviews of products that work in the field, on duty and off. Written by cops, for cops. PM