If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance you’re looking for a grip upgrade. You might have run into featureless grips, or you’re legally required to have one to own an AR-15. Whatever the case, we have just about everything you need to guide you in the right direction.
The AR-15 is a versatile rifle that you can use for various purposes. This includes self-defense, tactical training, hunting, and target shooting. As a consequence, it’s become a popular choice among American hunters and those who want a primary self defense firearm.
The AR-15 and other semi-automatic weapons are, as you’re presumably aware, a hot topic in politics. Numerous states have passed legislation aimed at limiting their availability and use. As a result, depending on where you reside, you may only be able to possess an AR-15 provided certain restrictions are satisfied. If you live in one of those states and want to own an AR-15, a featureless grip may be necessary.
|MonsterMan Grips MMG-AR Featureless Grip|| ||$54 Shop NowClick to read my review|
|Thordsen Custom LLC AR-15 FRS-15 Stock|| ||$142 Shop NowClick to read my review|
|Mission First Tactical (MFT) Engage AR-15 Featureless Grip|| ||$33 Shop NowClick to read my review|
|Strike Industries AR Simple Featureless Grip|| ||$14 Shop NowClick to read my review|
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What’s a Featureless Grip?
Although states have clear restrictions on owning certain firearms, California is the only state that clearly defines what a featureless grip is. A featureless grip defined in California is a rifle that doesn’t have any of the following grips: pistol grip, thumbhole stock, telescoping/ folding stock, flash hider, grenade or flare launcher or forward pistol grip.
In other words, a featureless grip is an AR-15 pistol grip that has been modified to comply with state laws prohibiting or restricting the use of standard pistol grips. The goal behind the featureless grips is to make it more difficult to shoot and operate the AR-15. But it allows people to possess them in places where they are prohibited from doing so.
While I could bore you with the legalese of the actual legislation, let’s just say that, in most situations, you can’t have a grip that goes lower than the trigger. Also, the area between your thumb and index finger must stay higher than the visible section of the trigger.
If it sounds excruciatingly painful, that’s because it is. It’s designed to be that way. In order to fire for long lengths of time, you’ll have to use more effort. You also have to wear yourself out by holding the trigger in this downward position.
If you reside in a state that requires you to have a featureless grip in order to acquire an AR-15, keep in mind that a regular pistol grip isn’t always the best option for your needs.
Why Would You Need One?
Let me ask you this. Do you live in California, New Jersey, Connecticut or New York? If the answer is no, then no you don’t need one. You should stop reading this article here. Unless… you really want a featureless grip to make shooting more difficult for you.
However, if you’re one of the unfortunate souls that do live in any state with strict rifle restrictions, then the answer will depend on how badly you want to own an AR-15.
Just remember for the same states, these restrictions aren’t limited to AR-15s. A number of these states have approved legislation designating any rifle with a pistol grip, front pistol grip, thumbhole stock, telescoping/ folding stock, grenade/flare launcher, or flash hider as an assault weapon. Restriction laws vary from state to state. So it’s best to be safe than sorry and start searching for featureless grips. Or, you can also research carefully what you can and can’t attach to your rifle.
If you don’t want to sacrifice these features then you’ll most likely need to register your firearm as a restricted assault rifle. However, if you think about going this route, know that it’s much more restricted than a featureless grip. Hence, you might want to avoid it at all costs. At this point, you’re probably angry that you have to go through all of this trouble just to keep your AR-15 as an unrestricted weapon. Well, that’s the point. The law was made in hope to reduce the overall damage caused by AR-15s, while still enabling responsible gun owners to use theirs with minor modifications.
At the moment, there are two primary methods by which AR-15s may be rendered featureless. Sharkfin grips, also known as Kydex wraps that replace the pistol’s stock, are one option. This is because grips keep the webbing on the thumb and index finger visible when shooting. To make your rifle legal, you may need to use one of these methods or a combination of them, depending on where you reside.
Buyer’s Guide for the Best Featureless Grips for your AR-15
Materials And Durability
Of course, it goes without saying you’d want a high quality durable grip. However, some of the more premium materials will run up the cost of your rifle grip. If you plant on using your AR-15 often, invest in a high quality durable material like some sort of hardened synthetic rubber. However, if you’re planning on just storing your rifle and using it only as a home defense rifle, then you won’t need to spend as much on material quality.
Ergonomics And Comfort
Consider the grip’s overall comfort and ergonomic design while making a purchase. This is the one thing that you’re going to notice immediately once you go from a pistol grip to a featureless grip. Featureless grips have a design that’s uncomfortable and difficult to use. But this doesn’t imply that you must give up all of your current grip’s comfort in the process.
You’ll need to take into consideration the size of your hand and the new featureless grip. A grip that isn’t excessively large. It is preferable for smaller hands, while a larger grasp is preferable for larger hands. The angle of the grip is also an important consideration here. The reduced angle featureless grips will be gentler on your wrists. However, they may not give as much hold as the usual angle grips.
You’ll also need to decide what kind of grip texture you like. There are featureless grips with rubberized finishes that are more flexible and conform better to your hand. Others have tougher, plastic finishes that feel more substantial and cling less while shooting. Some will have a lumpy feeling. However, it will have a better-gripping aggressive texturing. Others will have a smoother texture on the outside.
Most individuals are likely worried with this area. Most particularly given the fact that you may not have an option in the issue when it comes to buying a featureless grip. But it’s not as bad as it sounds. The majority of the grips on the market cost between $5 and $50, with many of the lower end versions on the market, including high-quality materials and craftsmanship.
If cost isn’t an issue for you, stay with a well-known and reputed brand for your new grip if you can afford it. If you’re more concerned with saving money, you can be certain that most grips you purchase will be long-lasting, sturdy, and reliable.
All of these considerations won’t matter much if you end up getting a grip that won’t make your rifle legal. Although featureless grips should alleviate this issue, you still need to make sure it’s a legal attachment for your AR-15. This is because some featureless grips might end up not meeting those legal standards for a featureless grip, especially in states with vague legal definitions for a pistol grip in the first place (looking at you New York).
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.
The 4 Best Featureless Grips for 2022
Best Overall: MonsterMan Grips MMG-AR Featureless Grip
If you’re looking to max out comfort on your search for a featureless grip, consider checking out the MonsterMan Grips MMG-AR featureless grip. The gripâs unique polymer mold has allowed it to retain its detachable magazine while keeping it California state legal for over 10 year.
It has a design that holds more like a traditional hunting stock while extended back “wings” prevents your thumb from wrapping up and over the grip without requiring any alterations to the rifle itself. To keep your AR-15 legal, it’s best to use this grip with an A2 stock to prevent any thumbholes. However, you can also use it with most fixed stocks. There’s also an ambidextrous safety added in just to give your rifle a little more extra to work with.
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.
The MMG-AR featureless grip is a bit on the pricier end, costing a bit over $50, which is one of the few drawbacks of this product. In addition, there have been some complaints about the grip’s uniqueness. While some claim that the stock feels like a conventional hunting rifle stock, some users have claimed that it is difficult to grasp firmly with one hand because of the twisted balance the grip offers the weapon. Although again, featureless grips are designed to be uncomfortable in the first place.
- Legally sold and trusted in California for 10 years
- Aggressive texturing
- Beginner friendly installment
- Comes with ambidextrous safety
- One of the pricier models for its design
- Some stocks may be incompatible causing your AR to be considered “illegal”
Best Aesthetic: Thordsen Custom LLC AR-15 FRS-15 Stock
The Thordsen Custom LLC AR-15 FRS-15 Stock is an excellent choice if you’re searching for a high-quality featureless grip and don’t care about cost. The FRS-15 Stock is a great option. But if you’re on a tighter budget for your grip, just to give you a head’s up, it’s roughly three times as costly as the previous option on our list. Although I should argue, it might also be one of those expensive yet bang for your buck products.
With this featureless grip, you can make your rifle legal while minimizing the transition from a pistol grip. This stock has a design that can suit just about every shooter as a plug ang play pistol grip replacement. It has a reinforced fiber construction. Also, it sports an easy-to-handle traditional stock contour will feel familiar and minimize accuracy and efficiency loss in the transition.
Interestingly, the Thordsen Custom FRS-15 provides you a pistol grip while still complying with all of the state’s gun control regulations.
To alleviate the additional recoil pressure generated by the Thordsen Custom FRS-15’s design, a recoil cushion is attached to the end of the stock. In addition, it has a checkered grip that provides a more secure and firm grasp. A buffer tube cover (which also supports M4 cheek risers) and various locations to accept QD mounts make the FRS-15 a sturdy and versatile featureless grip for just about everyone.
- Durable high quality materials
- Aggressive texturing allows secure grip
- Beginner friendly installation
- Includes recoil pad and sling mounts
- Buffer tube accepts cheek risers
- Prone to snagging
- Not budget friendly
For those who don’t have the money to acquire the other grips on our list, the Mission First Tactical (MFT) Engage AR-15 Featureless Grip is a great budget option. Customization is the name of the game with this grip. In order to make your rifle legal while yet providing you a wide range of modification choices, the design and construction of this product were taken into consideration.
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. This is a nice little consolation considering you’re losing a lot of grip security in using featureless grips. It also comes with a quick access tab that covers the receiver gap, reducing usual discomfort during extended use or handling.
A nice little addition to the design of the Mission First Tactical (MFT) Engage AR-15 Featureless Grip is the inclusion of a waterproof compartment. That’s not all: there are adjustable front straps and adjustable rear fin for a more customized shooting experience. In addition to the standard black hue, MFT has recently released a tan Scorched Earth version.
However, 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 that can’t compete with pricier options.
- Secure watertight storage compartment with quick access tab
- Customizable fins and grips
- California compliant part for a “featureless rifle build”
- Made from cheap materials
- Grip texturing not as secure as pricier options
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Cheapest Option: Strike Industries AR Simple Featureless Grip
If you’re still looking for something cheaper, then Strike Industries is our most cost-effective alternative for a featureless grip. It’s a simple, no non-sense, low-cost component for your AR-15, as its name implies. The Strike Industries AR Simple Featureless Grip does not need any modifications to the lower receiver. It’s simple to install and makes your AR-15 featureless, allowing you to avoid registration requirements in California.
With its sturdy reinforced polymer construction and textured side plate sections, the AR Simple Featureless Grip from Strike Industries provides a pleasant gripping surface even in difficult situations. Even though it’s a drop-in-ready installation, you may need to use a hand file to remove some of the plastic the first time you install it.
- Ergonomic for a featureless grip
- Conforms to Department of Justice criteria
- Matches same contour and grip angle as SI-EPG
- Not really ambidextrous as marketed
- Might need some modifications to fit your stock
While it won’t exactly feel like your old pistol grip, the MonsterMan Grips MMG-AR Featureless Grip 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.
HOWEVER, if you have the money to spare then consider the Thordsen Custom LLC AR-15 FRS-15 Stock. This featureless 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.
Hopefully even if you still aren’t a fan of having to adjust your AR-15 to meet state regulations, we’ve given you a few options that should make the transition easier and more affordable.
Any one of the featureless grips that we’ve covered here today will make a solid to help ease the pain of tearing down a perfectly good rifle to make it more difficult to use. If you do end up going a different route, you can always follow our buyer’s guide section that we went over earlier to help you find a feature grip that works better for you.