Packies

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posted on October 16, 2013
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Part of my Saturday routine used to be cruising the gun stores in Orange County, Calif., where I lived and worked. About once a month, I also made the big loop up into Los Angeles County and visited places like The Pony Express, Kerr’s in Beverly Hills, Martin B. Retting, King’s Gun Works and Pachmayr. The latter place had been there for many years and was the source for a product used by about half the cops I knew.

It was the Pachmayr grip, colloquially referred to as simply “Packies.” In that period, the revolver was king and almost no police agency authorized any kind of semi-auto handgun. Most officers chose some form of K frame S&W, with a sprinkling of N frames and Colts of several types. The grips installed by either factory were OK and underwent periodic improvements, but most guys wanted a little more contact surface for recoil control. Most of all, they needed a bit of a filler block behind the trigger guard.

Very often, they solved the gunhandling problem with a pair of grips moulded from a firm rubber substance and shaped for minimum bulk. Thus equipped, most revolvers were considerably easier to manage. Many times, I helped my fellow deputies with their shooting, and often my advice included installing a pair of Packies. For $20 or so, these grips helped mightily with learning a new and unfamiliar skill. A few years later, Metallic Silhouette shooting came along and a great many competitors installed Packies on their revolvers or Contenders. It was, and is, a valuable product in the shooting world.

When all of this was going on, the products came from a small plant just a few blocks from the Civic Center in downtown Los Angeles. They had a great old gun store nearby that had all kinds of stuff that appealed to folks of many stripes. This Custom gunsmithing operation made everything from bullseye pistols to high-end shotguns and safari rifles. Interestingly, Pachmayr bought another rubber grip company that dated back before World War II. Mershon 10-point grips were also respectable products, except when they aged and turned harder than Vermont marble. Happily enough, the original Packies are still made, along with a number of other products in the original Pachmayr line. Look at the Lyman website.

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