During the 2014 SHOT Show, we were wandering the floor and came across the Recover Tactical booth. What at first looked like an interesting set of grips, turned out to be a novel, inexpensive way to add a light rail to an slick 1911. The product has gone through some changes. Now we have finally taken the time to get our hands on the product and see how well it works.
Unfortunately I don’t currently have a non-railed, full size 1911. I do happen to have a Colt Enhanced Combat Commander. Although it’s a little shorter than a standard 1911, we figured it would work fine.
Installing the Recover Tactical Grip and Rail Kit was as simple as can be. Just remove your old 1911 grips and install the Recover grip panels. Recover supplies two extra screws, nuts and an allen key. Those hold the trigger guard cover and rail together. Once installed on the frame of our Commander, they were solid with no wiggle.
Recover Tactical definitely put some thought into the design of the grips. They have a substantial cutout behind the magazine release. This allowed our short, factory button to be depressed without issue. The cutout is mirrored on the right side for you ambidextrous mag release users. The safety and slide release lever cutouts are well executed and did not cause any interference with the levers on the Commander. The top edge of the grip is beveled and should work well with just about any safety lever. The right side panel is also shaped to accept an ambi-safety.
The Recover Tactical CC3H Grip Kit does add some bulk to the 1911. If you are a fan of the classic 1911 grip scales, you are going to notice a very large difference. If you are coming from a Hogue wraparound grip or you are used to double stack handguns, this grip feels just fine.
The Recover Tactical CC3H Grip does have a few drawbacks. The texture of the grip is very smooth. There are some deep traction patterns on the panels in various locations, but the overall feeling is “slick”. A little sweat or blood and it will be squirming in your hand. If you are a DIY type of guy, a little bit of stippling time with a hot soldering iron should fix it right up. Talon Grips does offer a grip decal for the CCH3 for a quick and easy solution.
The second (and biggest) issue with the Recover Tactical CC3H grip is that your 1911 will no longer fit in 99% of the holsters available (even for railed 1911s). The Recover Tactical picatinny rail sits lower on the dust cover than most equivalent rail equipped 1911 pistols. We compared this against a Springfield TRP Operator. The easiest way to resolve this is to purchase a holster from Recover Tactical. However you have to understand that the holster will likely only properly fit the Recover Tactical grips. A “naked” or “railed” 1911 will probably not fit correctly. If you are always going to run the 1911 with the Recover grip, it’s a non-issue.
One concern that we have seen arise is that of wear to the finish of the host 1911. It is quite common for wraparound grips like the Pachmayr or Hogue to wear the finish underneath. This is generally not an issue because your handgun will always have some type of grip installed. This is not the case with the Recover Tactical grip. It covers almost the entire frame of the host 1911. If grit were to work its way under the grip, it is likely that after months of handling it will wear on the finish. We have not had the Recover Tactical grip on our Commander for long enough to see if this will be a real issue, or just an imagined one.
We had no problem attaching a Surefire X200 Ultra, Surefire X300 or Streamlight TLR-1HL. The lights attached securely and remained on the handgun during firing. Most of our live fire testing was done with the Surefire X200 Ultra attached. The controls of the light were a little lower than we expect to find them when attached to a Glock or a rail equipped 1911, but they were still readily accessible.
If you are used to the modern crop of rail equipped, thick grip, double stack, combat handguns, then the Recover Tactical CCH3 grip will bring your old 1911 closer to the feel of those newer handguns. However, if you intend to use this in a “duty” capacity, I would have to suggest a pass and instead trade in the old 1911 for a newer railed model. The “duty” holster options are just not on par with the likes of Safariland or others. If you are an armed citizen that would just like to setup an old 1911 to be a more practical home defense option, then the CCH3 grip is a good choice. For my purposes, the Commander will get its Pachmayr grip back for carry/range use. However, the CCH3 could find its way onto a suppressed .22LR 1911 in the future.