**This article was originally posted over at the Military Times Gear Scout blog. You can read their entire article on Gear Scout or below.**
Tango Down’s BG-FG Flip Grip is two grips in one. It rotates 180 degree without tools. Just pull the lower portion of the grip down and spin it to the opposite indexed stop. Go from standard assault rifle rake of 24 degrees to near vertical. It’s ideal for close-quarters use of SBRs and PDWs. When things get tight, you can flip the grip to straighten your wrist out behind the gun.
This is a specialized piece of kit and will have a lot of people wondering if this is just some gimmick. If that’s you, then stop reading right here. If you are someone who understands the realities of gunfighting in confined spaces, then the benefits of the Flip Grip are going to hit you like a slap on the forehead.
I spent a few minutes on the phone with Jeff Cahill from TangoDown to get some background on the grip. He tells me folks from the private security firm Triple Canopy wanted a vertical pistol grip for their PDWs. When providing low profile security, they were after a grip that would offer weapon control and retention when firing from tight spots, such as vehicles.
Not part of the requirement for the Triple Canopy request, but another benefit of the vertical pistol grip is apparent when concealing a PDW or an SBR beneath a robe or other cover garment. This situation demands a unique presentation that is based on a single point sling hung on the dominant arm. Using a shortened stock and sling, the pistol grip becomes an exaggerated fulcrum point that makes the grip angle critical. Standard AR grips make it very easy to present an underslung weapon muzzle high.
The only real option available at the time was Heckler & Koch’s, which is expensive and difficult to source.
Cahill pointed out that despite all the benefits of the vertical pistol grip, there was one thing wrong with using such a specialized grip. “Once you step away from the PSD mission with a weapon using that grip, you’re hosed.” Most units, be they private or civil or military, require a certified armorer to replace a grip since the procedure involves working with the safety selector spring. (A trivial matter, but it’s technically an internal part of the firearm.)
“We wanted to give them a solution that wouldn’t limit their weapon’s usefulness,” Cahill said. While an engagement might begin in close quarters, he wanted to give shooters the ability to transition to a more effective grip if the fight spreads out.
So, TangoDown began working on a first-of-its-kind grip. It took more than a year to get the Flip Grip right. They played with different angle combinations, shapes, grip surfaces and hardware before they settled on the grip you see here.
To transition from PDW to traditional grip, just pull down on the spring-loaded lower half of the grip and twist it 180 degrees. Large detents capture the grip, and there’s nothing to lock or set. When adjusted properly, there is nearly zero play between the grip halves. I didn’t notice any movement during my limited range session with the grip on my MK18 sized rifle.
UPDATE: I’ve had a chance to run a couple hundred more rounds using the Flip Grip on my faux MK18. There is zero movement in the grip while shooting. During presentation from a fully low slung position there is a slight movement when the palm pushes the lower portion of the grip. By the time the gun is at the ready the play is gone. And, there is no play at all when going from low ready to full on.
You’ll notice the lack of beavertail up on the backstrap. It was eliminated to make sure shooters could choke up as high as possible; important when controlling a short rifle from that steep angle.
Another thing TangoDown spent some time on was getting the grip surface right. You can never have too much grip on a weapon when working in tight quarters or from moving (or soon to be moving) vehicles. TangoDown went so far as to license the grip design to Line-of-Fire who will release a version using 3M’s proprietary high friction TEGS surface texture along with a line of TEGS textured gloves that will make it nearly impossible to drop a gun using this system.
The grip itself is a familiar polymer, and the hardware is heat-treated stainless steel for strength and environmental durability. That’s to say, it’s not made from cheap zinc parts grabbed off the shelves of a Home Depot. This thing was built to withstand many duty cycles in crappy environs.
The MSRP on the BG-FG is $79.00,MSRP on the Line of Fire version with 3M TEGS inlay is $89.00. The grips should be on the way to dealers in a couple of weeks.
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