Are you currently looking for a featureless grip for your AR-15 rifle or carbine?
If so, you’ve come to the right place.
The AR-15 is a rifle that is great for defense, tactical training, hunting, and casual target shooing alike. As a result, it has become a favorite rifle among the American shooting community and citizens wanting to protect themselves at home.
Of course, as you are probably fully aware the AR-15 and similar semi-automatic rifles are at the forefront of the political arena, and several states such as California, Hawaii, Illinois, and New York (among others) have enacted laws strictly regulating them. Subsequently, depending on the state or city in which you live, it’s sometimes only legal to own an AR-15 with specific requirements to be met. One such requirement is that you sometimes need to have “featureless grips” for AR-15s.
In this article, we’re going to dive into what featureless grips exactly ware, the top qualities to look for in them, and then our top three suggestions for the best featureless grips to own.
Best Overall Pick: BRN-22 Stripped Receiver by Brownells
While it won’t feel exactly feel like your old pistol grip, the BRN-22 Stripped Receiver is a great, cost-effective option, that will allow you to keep your rifle legal and retain some of the same grip ability that it had before. In terms of price-to-quality as well, this grip gives you the highest quality materials, construction, and design for a fraction of some other grips on the market.
Best Budget Pick: Mission First Tactical AR-15 Featureless Grip
Most people won’t enjoy having to shell out more money to comply with the new non-pistol grip laws in their state, which is why we wanted to provide an option that would cost you the least. The Mission First Tactical AR-15 Featureless Grip doesn’t have the same quality as some of the pricier options on the list, but for its low cost it won’t drastically alter the functionality of your weapon while still keeping it legal.
Best Looking Pick: Thordsen Custom LLC AR-15 FRS-15 Stock
This grip will certainly put a dent in your wallet, but for that you’ll be rewarded with a grip that will effectively act as a pistol grip while still keeping your favorite AR legal in your state. The added features and adjustments aren’t things to be ignored either, providing a large amount of adaptability and functionality.
What Is A Featureless Grip To Begin With?
A featureless grip is basically a grip that has been adjusted so it’s legal in states that otherwise restrict or don’t allow normal pistol grips for AR-15 rifles and carbines. The idea is that the featureless grips allow civilians to still own AR-15s in restricted states, while also making the weapon harder to fire and operate.
While we could bog you down in the law mumbo jumbo of the written laws themselves, instead we can summarize it as this: in most cases, you can’t have a grip that goes lower than the trigger and the space between your thumb and index finger has to go remain higher up than the visible portion of the trigger.
If that sounds extremely uncomfortable to, it’s because it’s supposed to be more uncomfortable. Trying to shoot with your grip at a downward angle on the trigger like this will be difficult, draining, and make it harder to fire for extended periods of time.
But while a featureless grip may not be preferable to a standard pistol grip, remember that if you live in certain states you have to own the featureless grip if you also want to own an AR-15.
Read also: Best AR-15 Side Charging Uppers
Why Do You Want A Featureless Grip For Your AR-15?
After hearing about exactly what they are intended to do, most likely the answer to that question is a big flat no. However, in most cases, you might not have a choice. While California is the one we’re mostly focusing on, states like New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut also have bans on pistol grips for semi-automatic rifles. It isn’t just AR-15s either, as many of these states have passed laws defining any rifle with a pistol grip, forward pistol grip, thumbhole stock, telescoping/folding stock, grenade/flare launcher, or flash hider as a so-called ‘assault weapon’. You’ll need to look up restrictions for your own state, but it might be good to err on the side of caution anyway and start looking for featureless grips.
If you don’t want to sacrifice these features (assuming you live in a restrictive state) then you’ll most likely need to register your firearm as a restricted assault rifle. This in itself is even more hampering and restrictive than any featureless grip though, so most likely you’ll want to avoid having to do so at all costs. By this point you’re likely furious at having to do any of this at all, but if you want to hold on to your AR-15 as an unrestricted firearm then it’s time to look into featureless grips. Ideally this law will help reduce the harm done by AR-15s overall while still allowing responsible gun owners to use theirs with a few alterations though.
Speaking of those alterations, the most cost-effective solution to them is for manufacturers as a whole to begin selling AR-15s with the featureless design. This would save shooters a great deal of alteration costs but doesn’t seem likely in the near future. So instead, the burden falls on the shooting community in purchasing featureless grips and other parts that will keep the rifle functional without the classic assault rifle features.
While most manufacturers don’t sell the rifles with featureless grips included, there are a few inventive companies that have begun making a number of functional, non-pistol style grip options on the market which will keep your rifle legal and operable. Of course, some shooters might prefer the featureless grips as a matter of taste, but more often than not you’ll only ever need one to stay on the right side of the law.
There are currently two main ways in which people can alter their AR-15s to be featureless. One is to replace the pistol grip with Kydex wraps, also known as “shark-fin” grips, and the other is by specific grips designed to keep the webbing on your thumb and index finger above the visible grip while firing. Depending on where you live you may need to resort to one of these options along with some other modifications to make your rifle legal.
Of course, you can always keep your AR-15 the same and register it as an assault rifle instead. There are some heavy restrictions placed on assault rifles though that will definitely prevent you from making the most of your firearm.
Read also: Our Guide on AR-15 pistol lowers.
Buyer’s Guide To Finding The Best Featureless Grips For Your AR-15
So now we’ve established that you’ll need (and on a very rare occasion, want) to get a featureless grip for your AR-15, but that gets us into the issue of all the different grips on the market. Which one will make firing as easy as possible while still being legal? Which one will keep your rifle looking sleek and powerful while lasting the longest? Well with our buyer’s guide you’ll be able to determine for yourself exactly what you need out of your new featureless grip.
Materials And Durability
Obviously, the basic grip that any AR-15 is going to be made of the same quality material as the rifle itself. However, when you’re choosing an alternate featureless grip, you’ll need to find one that will not only fit your rifle, but one that will fit your rifle usage as well.
If you usually use your AR-15 as a defense weapon or use it most days of the week in any sort of way, then you’ll want to find a featureless grip that is durable and made of stronger materials. If your AR-15 is more of a “one-and-done” sort of firearm, where you may only take it out for a few hours at a time every week, or even month, then you can worry less about the durability of the grip and focus on how it looks or feels instead.
Ergonomics And Comfort
The overall comfort and ergonomic design of the grip is one of the most important things to consider when buying. Ultimately, this is the one factor that will change without a doubt when moving from a pistol to a featureless grip. While the main goal of the new laws is to make it harder to reduce the firing capability of your grip, that doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice all comfort with your new one.
Firstly, you’ll want to take into account your hand size and the size of your new featureless grip. If you have smaller hands, you’ll want a grip that isn’t too large, forcing your hand into an uncomfortable position, and if they are larger then you’ll want a bigger grip, so your hand and fingers aren’t pinched. A big factor in this is also the angle of the grip. Reduced angle featureless grips will be easier on your wrists but might not provide as much purchase whereas the standard angle will likely provide a little more space for your hands.
You’ll also want to determine what sort of texture you’ll want with your new grip. A lot of featureless grips either have a rubberized finish, which is more elastic and contours to your hand better, but others have a harder, plastic finish which will feel more solid while firing and cling less. Along with that, some will have aggressive texturing that will feel bumpy, but allow for better grip, while others will come with a smoother surface.
More often than not you’ll want to get a textured, rubber finished grip for the added security and strength that it’ll give you when firing. However, sometimes the bumpy texturing can be uncomfortable in your hand and make it harder to stay on target instead of easier. It might take some testing or research to find the right combination of texture and finish for you, but ultimately it will come down to your own personal preference in this case.
This is the category that most people are likely concerned about, especially considering that you most likely don’t have a choice in the matter when it comes to getting a featureless grip. However, it’s not as painful as it might sound. Most of the featureless grips on the market range between $5-$50, with even many of the lower end models on the market having high quality material and construction.
If price isn’t too much of a consideration for you, then you’ll want to stick with a well-known and reputable brand for your new grip. If you’re more interested in making the transition as cost-effective as possible, then you can at least rest easy knowing that most any grip you end up buying will be durable, dependable, and long-lasting.
Making Sure It’s Legal
All of these considerations won’t matter much though if you end up getting a grip that won’t make your rifle legal. Unfortunately, we can’t help you much there. You’ll need to look over your state’s laws in order to determine whether your rifle is legal with the grip you purchase.
We also got a guide on AR-15 Magwell Grips, make sure to check it out!
The 3 Best AR-15 Featureless Grips For 2020
Here are the top three best AR-15 featureless grips that we’ve picked for 2020
BRN-22 Stripped Receiver by Brownells
The MMG-AR (Monster Man Grip) featureless grip is a great addition to your rifle, allowing it to retain its detachable magazine while keeping it California state legal. It’s a molded polymer grip that prevents your thumb from wrapping up and over the grip without requiring any alterations to the rifle itself. It utilizes the existing grip screws for attaching and gives the rifle a sporter style which looks great even if it isn’t the same as the classic pistol grip.
Apart from the aesthetics of the grip itself, the rounded plastic edges provide a lot of space for gripping, while the aggressive texturing on the side keeps your hand and fingers firmly against the grip. This offers you the best grasping opportunity of just about any type of grip, especially when it comes to featureless grips.
One of the only downsides is that the MMG-AR grip is on the pricier end of the spectrum at just a little over $50. Besides that, there have also been some issues with the unconventionality of the grip itself. Some say that it feels like shouldering a standard hunting rifle stock and others have complained about the distorted balance that the grip gives the rifle, making it hard to hold securely with one hand.
The MMG-AR is a great option when it comes to adapting your rifle to a featureless, legal grip. It’s easy attachment with existing grip screws make it a simple alteration to adopt and its high quality material makes its price understandable. While there are some issues with it not feeling the same as a pistol grip or being as easy to handle, this is kind of the point of featureless grips, so it can’t be held against the product too much.
- High Quality Materials
- Aggressive Texturing
- Easy Attachment
- Pricier Model
- Unusual Balance And Feel
Thordsen Custom LLC AR-15 FRS-15 Stock
If you’re looking for a high quality featureless grip and have absolutely no concern about price, then the Thordsen Custom LLC AR-15 FRS-15 Stock is the perfect option for you. However, if you’re looking for a cost-effective way to alter your grip then you should turn away right now, as the FRS-15 Stock is nearly three times as expensive as the last one on our list, which was pricey in its own right.
This featureless grip is designed to minimize the changes from a pistol grip while still making your rifle legal. Its minimalist design should suit every shooters needs perfectly, with its reinforced fiber construction and easy to handle traditional stock contour will feel familiar and minimize accuracy and efficiency loss in the transition. It essentially gives you a pistol grip while still following all of the state law requirements.
The recoil pad on the end of the stock reduces the added recoil pressure from the design while giving you a solid fixture for increased accuracy and shot placement. It also uses a checkered grip that allows for tighter and more secure grasps on the grip as well. All of this, along with the included benefits of a buffer tube cover (which even accepts M4 cheek risers) and multiple places for accepting QD mounts, make the FRS-15 a solid and adaptable grip for just about everyone.
While the stock is shaped and constructed in an unusual way, it is designed that way so that you can keep your firearm legal in gun restrictive states while retaining the functionality of a pistol grip. The price is probably the biggest roadblock when considering buying this featureless grip, but if you consider that it feasibly leaves your rifle’s functionality unchanged while saving yourself from legal action or having to register it as a restricted rifle it seems to pay for itself.
- Keeps Pistol Grip Functionality
- Adaptable Stock Features
- Minimalist Design/Aesthetic
- Much More Expensive Than Other Brands
- Unusual Shape
Mission First Tactical AR-15 Featureless Grip
Not everyone has the kind of money to put towards buying the other grips on our list, which is where the Mission First Tactical AR-15 Featureless Grip comes into the equation. The key word with this grip is “customization”. Its design and construction are meant to keep your rifle legal while still allowing a number of customization options that give a shooter some breathing room in perfecting their new grip.
The biggest facet in this customization is definitely the three textured finger swells that allow the shooter to conform the grip to their own hand. With the standard secure grasp that you’re giving up by switching to a featureless grip on your AR-15, it is extremely comforting to know that you can adjust it to meet your needs. It also comes with a quick access tab that covers the receiver gap, reducing discomfort during extended use or handling.
The Mission First Tactical AR-15 Featureless Grip also comes with a secure watertight storage compartment which is a great addition to the build. Along with that, the adjustable front straps and rear fin make customization doubly easy and provide anyone with a secure grip while firing. You can also purchase it in either the classic black color or a tan “Scorched Earth” one to suit your aesthetic preference.
Of course, since it isn’t as expensive as some other featureless grips, it doesn’t have the same impressive quality as others on our list. It has some minor texturing on the grip that should help give you a solid grasp, but ultimately it can’t compete with pricier options.
If you are looking for an inexpensive way to bring your favorite rifle up to state laws, then this is the perfect option for you. While it doesn’t have as much quality in its construction as some pricier models, it will keep your gun legal while allowing you to adjust to the change on your own terms. That isn’t to say that it is a low-quality product by any means and you’ll certainly be able to enjoy firing your rifle still.
- Adaptable Features And Fin
- Watertight Storage
- Lower Quality
- Not As Secure A Grip
Hopefully even if you still aren’t a fan of having to adjust your AR-15 to meet state regulations, you’ve now seen a few options that should make the transition easier and more affordable. Our buyer’s guide should have given you a good idea of what to look for in a new featureless grip and our list of the top three grips for 2020 should have given you a few great options to check out.
If you still haven’t found the right featureless grip for you then take what we’ve shown, you to the web and shooting sites to find the perfect one. No one likes having to alter their rifles, but now the process should be a little easier and quicker.
So, did we help you find the best featureless grip for your AR-15?