Hollywood action films, as enjoyable as they may be, are often riddled with myths and mistakes regarding how firearms function. Examples include never needing to reload, silencers that turn blasts into “fwip” noises, and next-to-no recoil. These and many other tropes are rarely dangerous. Most people know they exist for dramatic effect or narrative convenience, and those who do not will learn quickly on their first shooting experience.

One cliché that can be damaging, however, is the action hero firing a rifle one-handed. The length of these weapons requires the user to place their other hand on the front, so they can hold it steady. Failure to do so may cause the barrel to jerk all over the place, which may result in bullets hitting unintended targets. We cannot emphasize the danger enough.

As a result, your rifle needs one of two attachments at the front end: a foregrip or a hand stop. This article can help you choose the option that best suits your style and your needs.

What are Grips and Hand Stops?

Forward grips — also known as foregrips, grip stops, or simply as grips — are protruding accessories comparable in length to the pistol grip. They attach to the front end of the rifle, providing something that shooters can clutch other than the rail. A common type is the vertical grip, which extends directly downward and makes a 90-degree angle with the gun. Some extend at another angle, while others can lock into different positions. Manufacturers have even designed them with special features like laser sights, retractable bipods, and compartments.

Hand stops take a more subtle approach to the concept. These attachments also connect with and hang from the rail, but they are much shorter than grips and too small to hold. As a result, rifle owners would need to clutch the front of the gun, like usual. The difference is that their hands will slide back until they are stopped by, well, the hand stop. As a result, you will have a defined spot on the rail that you hold every time you use the rifle.

Comparing and Contrasting

Grips and hand stops may serve a similar purpose, but the differences between their designs leave rifle fans divided over which type is the best. Understanding these differences will help you make a choice, and we will go over some of the biggest ones below.

  • Weight

Grips need to be long enough that a whole hand can grab onto them. By their very nature, they can be quite long and chunky. Some shooting enthusiasts like them this way. However, those additional centimeters of length and thickness can put extra weight on the front of the gun. It can be enough heft to throw off a user’s aim, especially if they have never used a rifle with a grip before.

Attaching a hand stop to a rifle also means adding weight. With that said, they are much smaller and far less bulky than grips, so they weigh less. The difference may not seem significant at first glance. After all, grips vary in size, and the smallest ones may only be a few ounces heavier than the average hand stop. However, most users already treat short grips like hand stops. They might as well go with the accessory designed for that method of holding the rail.

  • Maneuverability

Any rifle add-on should grant the user greater control over the destination of the bullet. Few people purchase these products simply for the sake of accessorizing. Hand stops may only look ornamental, but they are quite useful because they give the user control over where their hand holds the gun. Unfortunately, rifle owners who are not very strong or have certain body types may find themselves straining to keep ahold of the rail. At that point, the hand stop may as well be ornamental.

Despite the utility of the hand stop, grips provide superior maneuverability. They can be much friendlier to users with long arms, large hands, and certain other traits. Regardless of body type, they can also make it easier to move the front end, which may substantially improve movement. Anyone unfamiliar with one or the other should strongly consider trying both and seeing which feels better.

  • Recoil

Due to their generally advantageous maneuverability, grips can be great for drawing a bead on a target. Users can shift the front end more easily, allowing them to maintain their aim even if the mark starts moving. After pulling the trigger, though, the rifle’s recoil may get in the way. Grabbing something below the gun may not offer as much control once the gun starts to buck.

Handguards may offer greater recoil management. If rifle users are strong enough to hold onto the rail, then they may be able to keep the front end from moving too much. Hit-to-miss ratios may end up favoring the former. Plus, no matter how much the gun may shift, your hand will not.

  • Heat

Taking hold of a gun with your bare skin may seem all well and good at first. However, depending on how much you use the gun and what material the rail is made from, it may not feel nice after a while. In fact, the metal could heat up so much that you cannot hold on without burning yourself.

That gives the grip another point in its favor: a sufficiently long product can keep your hands away from the heat. Even if it is made of a conductive material, the extra inches of distance between your fingers and the rifle may just be enough. Instead of worrying about how to deal with an overheating barrel, you can get at least a few more shots out while maintaining control.

Hand Stops and Grips at Tactical Link

Whether you choose one type over the other, both accessories serve the valuable function of giving you more control over the rifle. Another commonality between grips and hand stops for handguards is that both are available here at Tactical Link. Like every other product on our site, all the items on that page are of only the highest quality. Using them may not be the Hollywood action hero thing to do, but averting danger and getting real results will make up for that.