Categories
news

Gripwell Review for AR-15

gripwell_06a1The Gripwell is a bolt-on accessory for the AR-15/M-16/M-4 platform that significantly improves the use of the magazine well as a grip, and acts as a funnel for magazines in stress-reloads.

I found the Gripwell to be a useful addition to my Rock River AR-15, and could not find any faults with its performance.  More on all that in a moment.

Basic Information

gripwell_03aThe Gripwell is manufactured by Siloam Springs, Arkansas-based Tactical Magwell LLC, and is 100% manufactured in the USA.

The Gripwell is a lightweight polymer, weighing less than ¼ pound.  The Gripwell is not a permanent alteration to your rifle; it can be removed and reinstalled at any time.

The Gripwell is designed to work with double mags, and does not need to be removed to clean the weapon.

Tactical Magwell offers a lifetime warranty on the Gripwell:

LIFETIME WARRANTY from manufacturing defects and normal use.  If it gets run over by an M1A2 Abrams give us a call and we will see what we can do.

gripwell_04a1The Gripwell is available in black, tan, foliage green, and camo (woodland-style).  MSRP is $29.99 for black, $34.99 for tan or foliage, and $37.99 for camo.

Tactical Magwell also offers a variation of the Gripwell called the Lightwell.  The Lightwell adds a small Picatinny rail on the side of the Gripwell so a flashlight can be added and operated by the shooter without the need for the purchase and installation of a full rail system.

Extreme Shock also sells the Gripwell and Lightwell products.  So, if you see a Gripwell with the Extreme Shock name on it, it is the exact same product.

Installation

Installation of the Gripwell is exceptionally easy.  If you can turn a screwdriver, you can install the Gripwell onto your AR in less than five minutes.

The Gripwell is made of two halves that fit together over the bottom lip of the AR magazine well.  Align the halves and press them together.  Then all you have to do is screw in the provided screws, hand tightening the Gripwell halves together.

That’s it.  It really is simple and takes only a couple of minutes.  Disassembly is equally easy: just unscrew the three screws and the Gripwell comes right off.

Feel, Fit, and Finish

Once installed, the Gripwell is very securely attached to the AR.  There is not any play in the Gripwell between the halves or between it and the rifle.  The Gripwell does not move around at all.  It feels like a solid part of the rifle.

Grasping the front of the magazine well is definitely a different, and good, feel.  I’ve been known to use the front of the mag well as a grip, rather than a mounted vertical foregrip.  But, the magazine well is a little thin for my tastes.

The Gripwell effectively increases the outer size of the magwell, giving my hand a larger area to hold on to.  The Gripwell fills my hand very well, almost as if it were a custom mold.  Obviously not everyone has the same hand size, so your mileage may vary.

As delivered, the Gripwell was completely free of any blemishes, burrs, or other surface defects.  The seam between the two halves on the front face of the Gripwell is smooth and is not noticeable when grasping it.  The company’s website is discretely placed on raised letters on both sides of the Gripwell and is hardly noticeable.

Range Evaluation

There were two components to the evaluation I did on the Gripwell: magazine compatibility and shooting.  In both, the Gripwell performed to expectations.

gripwell_13aRegarding magazines, the Gripwell worked perfectly with every magazine I tried, except one.  Among the mags that worked were the Magpul PMAG, Brownells, TAPCO, and EMA Countdown.

The only magazine that did not work was the Tango Down.  The Tango Down magazine is an unusual mag that uses two halves welded together halfway down the length of the mag.  For a standard magazine well, this isn’t a problem.  However, this weld point prevents the mag from being seated when a Gripwell is attached to the AR.  So, if you are a big Tango Down fan, the Gripwell won’t work for you; otherwise you should be good to go.

Shooting with the Gripwell was flawless.  I did not experience any reliability problems while using the Gripwell.

Magazine changes were easy, and did seem slightly faster.  According to Tactical Magwell, the Gripwell was tested and showed a reload time reduction of “…up to 21% in time per magazine change in newer personnel and 12% in trained operators.

Letting several other people shoot my AR at the range, I got similar feedback from other shooters.  One shooter did not feel like the Gripwell offered any speed improvements, but two others did think their mag changes were faster.  None of them felt the Gripwell slowed them down.

I thought the Gripwell enhanced my ability to control the rifle while shooting, and when transitioning between targets.  I liked how it filled my hand, which seemed to give me greater stability with the weapon.

Conclusion

The Gripwell is a reasonably priced accessory for the AR-15 that actually accomplishes what it sets out to do.  Unlike many of the ‘doo-dads’ that people can hang off their rifle, the Gripwell offers a real advantage for people who use the front of the magwell instead of a vertical foregrip.  I don’t think that using the magwell for your support hand is best for all people or in all circumstances, but if it works for you, the Gripwell bears serious consideration.

Additionally, the Gripwell funnels magazines into the magwell, potentially speeding your reloads.  Combined with the relatively modest price, and the high-quality construction, the Gripwell deserves consideration for your AR gun.

Gripwell Review

gripwell_02

gripwell_03

gripwell_04

gripwell_07

gripwell_12

gripwell_17

By Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson is a gun writer, amateur historian and - most importantly - a dad. He's done a lot of silly things in his life, but quitting police work to follow his passion of writing about guns was one of the smartest things he ever did. He founded this site and continues to manage its operation.