It is impossible to catalog all the different modifications and improvements that are available for the AR-15. Impossible, because a multitude of different companies are continually coming out with new accessories. This leads to a plethora of choices for the consumer.
But what if you don’t feel like buying another accessory, or you don’t have the money to spend? There are several simple improvements you can make to your AR-15 without spending more than a few dollars. The first one that we’ll cover is grip tape.
There are several points on the AR-15 which could use a better grip surface. Chief among them is the backstrap on the pistol grip. Whether it’s the standard A2 grip (which I dislike), or the Tangodown BG-17 (which I thoroughly enjoy), both could benefit from a greater textured area.
There are several different manufacturers and types. For my uses, I chose Koffler Sales Company. I first tried their skateboard tape. Thought I like the more aggressive texture, it’s too stiff and the adhesive backing is too weak. It does not stick to the handguard or the TangoDown grip well enough to offer a stable hold.
However, I found that it stuck quite well to my ASC magazines. The added texture helped with keeping a good grip on the mag with sweaty hands. An added benefit was that the tape provided a tactile index point, allowing me to quickly and easily obtain a consistent grip on the magazine, which reduced reload times. This does not come without drawbacks. If you use an elastic magazine pouch, such as the Blue Force M4 Dapper, then the grip tape can make it much harder to withdraw the mag from the dapper.
Also included in the sample pack Koffler sent me was their A638 Anti-slip Resilient tape. This is actually their bath and shower tape. Though not quite as strong a texture as the skateboard tape, it has much better adhesive qualities. Its texture is similar to that of the MIAD and BG-17 grips, though it has a slightly leathery feel. Overall, I find it to be an excellent improvement to both the grip and the handguard, allowing for a much more secure hold.
In fact, I ended up using the shower tape on my Midwest Industries Gen2 SS Series handguard as well. It provides the texture needed for my sweaty hands to really find purchase on the aluminum forearm. Furthermore, I was able to place small pieces on my Mount-N-Stop Hand Stop to achieve a more ergonomic grip.
Overall, I would say that a small amount of #A638 tape is just what the doctor ordered. It’s a cheap and easy modification you can make to your AR-15 that will increase your effectiveness with your weapon.
By Allen Cosby