Stark Equipment’s pistol grips have been praised by many, including the military and law enforcement, for their scientific approach to designing grips that fulfill the needs of the end user. This year Stark has introduced a new product, and some additions to already produced products.
THE NEW SE-5 EXPRESS GRIP
Stark announced the new SE-5 Express Grip at SHOT Show, and I had the chance to speak with DJ Webber at their booth.
The SE-5 will be a fore grip for AR-platform rifles that is designed for shooters who grip the rail or hand guard at the same time as the grip when shooting. The SE-5 is unlike other grips that hang straight down that predominately require the shooter to place their hand completely on the grip, or perhaps wrap their thumb onto the hand guard. There have been several tactical trainers that have advocated this grip stance as a better way to control recoil and maintain accuracy even in rapid fire situations.
The SE-5 grip is a rearward angled fore grip that takes on a slightly greater angle than similar grips like the Magpul AFG (Angled Fore Grip). It also is not connected on the back like the AFG. For me it was a better fit and feel. The angle seemed to be more natural, and the width allowed for greater confidence and comfort in the grasp.
My preferred grip method was to place my support thumb over the top of the hand guard (or on the side), while gripping the grip with my remaining fingers. This took on an almost identical configuration for my support hand during pistol shooting.
In that position my support thumb was in direct line with the barrel. With more surface to grab and the slightly greater angle I could then pull the rifle into my shoulder with ease. In a way I had the best of both worlds – a fore grip that allowed me to pull the rifle into my shoulder, and to resist recoil with an over the top grasp at the same time.
The SE-5 Express Grip has an MSRP of $29.95. Webber told me that the SE-5 should be ready for delivery by February 1st, but they have not yet added the grip to their products list on their website.
If there was a drawback it would be the more limited manner of mounting a light, than with some traditional fore grips. I consider a light an integral part of any long gun, so simply dropping the light to add this grip is out of the question for me. This can range from an integrated fore grip and light, to a wide variety of lights that can be manipulated with or without a fore grip.
The SE-5 will leave most shooters with the option of a rail mounted light that has to be manually activated by either the support thumb or fingers. Although similar to most “traditional” fore grips, the SE-5 was designed for the support hand to play a pivotal part in muzzle control. Either way, the shooter would be required to partially release their grip to activate the light with their support thumb or fingers – not always the best results if firing has to come afterwards.
The SE-5 is not really set up for a pressure pad system, although I suppose a shooter could wire one from the pistol grip to a rail light. However, that usually involves a significant additional expense.
STARK PISTOL GRIPS
The Stark Equipment grips come with the following standard features:
- Flared thumb rest high on the pistol grip
- Ambidextrous palm swells to fill the hand better and increase grip
- A wider trigger guard for additional support from finger rest
- Aggressive texturing and grooves
- Flared base to ensure grip during non-ideal situations
- Battery storage space inside
- Back strap geometry that supports precise trigger line up
- Integrated trigger guard is enlarged to allow easy gloved shooting
- Front strap angle that supports grip and while reducing wrist and forearm fatigue
THE SE-2 INTEGRATED GRIP
Stark Equipment has announced several new products for 2013. The SE-2 AR-15 Sling Grip that has been highly popular for its integrated single point sling attachment, will be available in the increasingly popular multi-cam camouflage pattern. That will be in addition to the black, tan, and green offerings from before and the Digital Desert pattern on SE-1 offerings. Stark did not have an example at their SHOT booth, but they did have one of their straight fore grips in multi-cam for reference.
Stark Equipment introduced the SE-2, the industry’s first integrated single point sling attachment and pistol grip, in 2009. The SE-2 came in a variety of colors, and two primary choices – the Hook Mount for standard hook or clip slings, and the Swivel Mount with a (QD) quick-detach push-button sling.
The mounts on the SE-2 are located above the tang portion of the grip, and just below the buffer tube. Having a sling attachment on the grip can really make things a lot easier for installment than traditional single point sling attachments that require the removal of the stock and the often tricky castle nut for the collapsible stocks.
The SE-2 has an MSRP of $49.95.
Stark is now using “Armorsoft” coating, that is a weather and chemical resistant urethane treatment coating on all of Stark’s grips. The result is a low gloss matte finish that also has an ultra-violet protection. The coating leaves a very rugged, but soft and non-stick surface.
When the SE-2 was first introduced in 2009 it was approved for use by several military units deploying to Afghanistan. The National Tactical Officer’s Association (NTOA) also lists the SE-2 has “Member Tested and Recommended”.