Stippling, Gucci, Tacticool or Useful?

We all know a mall ninja. The most Tacticool guy at the range. He wears 5.11 cargo shorts a point of the spear patch on his hook and loop hat and his AR-15 has every invention, mod and upgrade known to man.

You know like this video:

Before you flame this guy it was a joke video.

There is no doubt the mall ninja you know has a stippled Pmag and probably a stippled Glock or M&P to go with his rig.  Though you might look at magazine or grip stippling as Gucci or Tacticool the fact is just beacuse imitators will embrace tech that looks cool, does not mean the technology itself is not good. BAD Levers, Pmag’s, Eotech’s and tons of other great and useful technology has fallen into the mainstream use and misuse but the products themselves, just  like guns are not inherently evil.

Aside from the fact that we can all agree stippling looks damn cool it is there for a purpose. A purposes that is best summed up by a client of LightFighter Innovations.

There is a school of thought that thinks stippling is “Gucci” and serves no real purpose. These people have probably never fought to reload a rifle with a 180 bpm heart rate using only gross motor skills while pressing themselves so low to the ground their buttons felt too thick. Anything that can give you an edge cannot, by definition, be stupid or “Gucci.” People thought red dots were “Gucci” once too. The guys over at LightFighter have taken a good magazine and are making it better. Check them out.” — Sage Dynamics

After checking out LightFighter Innovations and seeing this rather bold comment we decided to put them and stippling to the test. I am not going to compare LightFighter to any other services. I can tell you of the people we have looked at and worked with to date Lightfighter has some of the best designs, styles, turn around time and value for the dollar. We recommend them highly and suggest you consider them for your next job. This article will focus more on the advantages of stippling and help you decide if it is right for you.

To stipple or not to stipple that is the question. You may have noticed a trend in our articles. There is no right answer for everyone, only a right answer for you. With this in mind stippling is not for everyone and you may not get an advantage from it. However many people and that includes many who do not even realize it yet will find stippling to be an advantage.

We took our stippled Pmag’s to the Patriot Defense Training,  Carbine Level 1 class. After a day of sweating in the sun running around, shooting in the dirt and sweating like a pig at a bacon convention. It took very little time before I realized that stippling was not just Gucci. There was a noticeable difference in retention and manipulation of the Pmag’s that had been stippled vs those that were still factory. My gloves got a better and easier to feel grip on the stippled mags over the traditional mags. As the day went on and my gloves came off my sweaty hands grabbed the stippled mags much easier from my Ten-Speed Blue Force Gear mag pouches then my traditional P-mags. Luckily Brad did not beat us up so much so we did not test how much difference there was when our hands are bloody.

Did I instantly become Chris Costa or Travis Haley with the advantage of my stippled gear? No I didn’t, and neither will you. The advantage you get is confidence in knowing you have the magazine firmly in your hand and possibly a few hundredths of a second during a reload. Is that enough of an advantage to pay a company like LightFighter Innovations to upgrade your mag or pistol? I don’t know, you are going to have to answer that for yourself. However keep this in mind. Brad my instructor over at PDT talks about seconds, and fractions of a second in a gun fight. Every fraction a second you give away is a a loss for you and a gain for your attacker. Though I hope to never test out my speed or skill in a gun fight the fact remains that I will do anything and everything I can to maintain any edge possible. For me that includes stippling both my AR-15 Pmags and my pistol grips.

Lets talk about why might not want to have stippling done.

  1. If you buy and sell guns often and have trouble settling on one one EDC weapon. In this case it is likely that you will change your mind and while stippling can be an advantage it is also likely to bring in less money on a resale.
  2. If you EDC your pistol IWB and have sensitive skin. Ok some of you are laughing right now and that is fine. I personally have very sensitive skin and stippled grips and mags irritate the hell out of my skin. I am actually using an Agrip on one of my Glocks beacuse the default texture is so rough it becomes uncomfortable.
  3. Those who tuck in or wear very expensive soft shirts. The stipple is likely to chew up the fabric on very high end soft T-shirts as well.

If you fall into one of these categories then you may want to consider it.

  1. You carry OWB. There is no reason to not consider stipple if OWB
  2. You carry IWB and have tougher skin then that wimp that writes for 248 Shooter. Congrats you are part of 90% of America that is not stuck with overly sensitive skin. If so take advantage of the added grip and confidence. When you carry IWB getting a good initial grip on the draw is vital and stippling can help that.
  3. You wear rugged work clothes, uniforms or other clothing that is either durable, not yours or not something you worry about. In this case why not get that extra advantage during the most stressful seconds of your life when you have to pull your firearm from its holster.
  4. You have mag plates, belts or carry rigs for your carbine. If you carry a carbine chances are you already know the advantages of stippling. If you can add that extra bit of protection without offending your superiors then do it now.
  5. You carry your own weapon for work. If you have the right to customize your duty pistol then do it. Most people that carry a gun for work are in a situation that makes the likely hood of needing a gun much higher then the average CPL holder. If your in this situation you should do everything you can to ensue you go home to your family at the end of your shift.

In short stippling is no more Gucci then any other battlefield tool that has been adopted by the American public. It provides a real world advantage when your hands are sweaty or bloody. An advantage that may make the difference between you going home or not.

That said Im not going to lie. They look damn cool as well :) Check out our Gallery of work from LightFighter Innovations and be sure to check them out on Facebook when you get a minute.


Charles is the editor for 248 Shooter a midwest based gun news and gear review site as well as Online Content Director for On Target Magazine. He is an avid student taking classes from top tier trainers around the country. Charles shares his love for training as well as experience and opinions on some of the most talked about gear and products used by competitive shooters, military, leo and civilians.