Hockey Tape on Pistol Grips – Weighing Pros and Cons


In a world of competitive and concealed carry handguns, there are endless modifications you can apply to your favorite pistol for all the high speed, low drag that you could possibly handle. Yet, with all the dollars you could spend on upgrading your affordable handgun into an expensive one, one of the simplest improvements you can make is through the grip. Your grasp of your pistol grip is the foundation to your success. Accuracy, safety, fluent handling, and weapon manipulation all boil down to your ability, or lack thereof, to adequately grip and control your firearm. So, if we begin with your pistol grip for potential upgrades – and we already poked fun at people spending too much money on their mods – let’s gander at a cheap one: hockey tape.

Some people put hockey tape on their pistol grips – whether that is a pistol grip on a shotgun, rifle, or a literal pistol – for its utility in improving our dexterity while others do it ironically for the aesthetic. We aren’t going to speak about the efficacy of kicking up the curb appeal for wasteland or battle worn vibes; rather, we want to debate the merits of if this cheap alteration is undervalued? Or, maybe even overhyped? What about the safety and legal repercussions, if there are any. Let’s journey down the rabbit hole of whether hockey tape on a pistol grip is a good idea or not.

Pros – Hockey Tape on Pistol Grips

Improved Dexterity – The driving argument for putting hockey tape on pistol grips is that it instantly improves your purchase on that firearm. This is for multiple reasons. The hockey tape is tacky or minutely adhesive (not gross or sticky when it’s fresh), and the exterior of the tape does offer a bit of texturing that many modern pistols may not adequately have. Hockey players deploy hockey tape to retain a secure grip on their hockey sticks while clapping slapshots of more than 100+ MPH and skating viciously across the ice. If hockey tape can endure that, it should be able to afford us a better grip on land on our pistol grips as well.

Personalization – An elephant in the room that many gun owners do not want to openly address is the appearance of their firearms. I always antiquate it to this saying: “Nobody wants an ugly sports car.” If you think you’re totally a tier 1 operator and want your firearms to be as cool as you believe yourself to be, then by all means, upgrade them for the curb appeal. I own lots of extremely pragmatic and utilitarian firearms. I also own some that are just cool and Gucci. To each their own. Hockey tape comes in all kinds of colors, sizes, and styles. The world is your oyster if you want to jazz up your pistol grip with hockey tape for appearance or gripping ability.

Affordable – If you typically want to customize a pistol grip through stippling or other gunsmithing services that can cost a lot of money. If you opt for some good ol’ hockey tape though, you’ll have enough money left over to hit the Taco Bell drive-thru with only a $20 bill in your pocket.

Easy On/Easy Off – Most mods to your pistol grip either require tools, time, and some extent of know-how to completely replace them, or require irreversible alterations that you cannot go back on. With hockey tape, you can simply tape it on and rip it off. At worst, if there is adhesive residue leftover, you could apply a cleaning or alcohol solution to properly clean the previously taped area.


Safety – Opponents to using any kind of tape on their pistol grips will argue that hockey tape might pose a safety risk. Is this a stretch of a statement? Yes, but let’s entertain the devil’s advocate side of this conversation. If you use your firearms frequently (we hope you do), there could be a buildup of residue from the hockey tape. Could this residue – over time and in semi-large amounts – inhibit your ability to safely run the rifle? Properly manipulate a safety. Or cause a malfunction?… Maybe. It is simply something to consider.

Legality – This might apply to an extremely narrow window of the shooting community, but some states, municipalities, and locales do not allow you to modify your firearms (if they’re used for self-defense). Again, this is for a very small portion of the firearms community, but if you live in California, Chicago, or some other supremely restrictive area, it might be something worth researching.

Durability – While hockey tape can take a lot of abuse as evident from being used on hockey sticks, it can degrade and need replacing; often. So, while hockey tape is an affordable fix for improving your pistol grip it might not be a permanent one; or at least, you may need to replace it from time to time.

Appearance – For some people, the raw and grungy look of hockey tape on a handgun can be considered attractive. “That guy’s firearm gets used. It’s a tool. He’s training. That thing is getting some use.” On the other hand, hockey tape when it is raw and grungy can make you as a gun owner (whether you like it or not) look less professional. Why would this matter? If your CCW accidentally gets brandished and a soccer mom sees it, you have an interaction with law enforcement, or someone who is new to firearms sees it. All those situations and individuals might look negatively upon you. It could add to the stigma of gun ownership being for primitive or less educated people in our society. Is this a stretch? Yes, but it is a potential negative outcome.

Final Thoughts

So, like anything in life, there are pros and cons, negatives and positives to this equation. Hockey tape can quickly and easily improve your dexterity, personalize something, its affordable, and easy to remove at a later date. Conversely, there might be minor safety concerns, legal ramifications, and even the aesthetic could be pulled into question. I am all for customizing firearms and making them more useful. Simply remember that we live in a funny world and there are all kinds of opinions out there. What one person thinks is rad the next person finds offensive, and the third laughs at the first two with competing opinions. As always, watch for future content on all our socials and check ANR Design out for all your thermoplastic holsters and solutions.

Adam Scepaniak | 2/3/2024

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