Designed as a grip for daily duty or shorter barreled rifles, the Ultralight Utility Compact Grip (ULCG) by MKMachining gives the individual a more ergonomic angle, anti-slip texture, and a utility storage compartment over other aftermarket grip alternatives.
The ULCG includes two grip textured version, a diamond texture (featured) or a randomized texture—each giving the tactile sensation of different surfaces for positive control. Both are made from a Nylon 11 material (not to be confused with the Nylon 12 used in the VCG line) using a multi-jet fusion 3D printing process.
The ULCG offers a near-vertical 10.4-degree cant, and has a 1.25” width with an anti-slip lower ledge. The diamond texture (featured) to the palm swell are ideal for combat shooters and help ensure positive control regardless of situation.
About the Process
MKM uses a 3D printing process known as Multi-Jet Fusion (MJF). This industrial-level printing process is like a CAT scan, whereby each layer is printed as one contiguous pass, and multiple products can be printed via a single sheet, into multiple complete products. Then a separate pass fuses the product only for that specific layer being printed, and a very thin layer of polymer is also added. The process repeats itself in each sequential layer and allows for far more product to be printed in the time it would take a traditional printer to produce one. Some examples of MKM’s MJF printing include:
- Printing picatinny mounted infrared lasers 3EI: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cd1mfz6uQHW/?hl=en
- Printing AR Stocks and Braces: https://www.instagram.com/p/CdtE36vODc6/?hl=en
- Printing scope caps and ARDs: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cgu9CZtub21/?hl=en
- Photo of an AR style grip we manufacture for another company: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cm5IXoErQRs/?hl=en
The MKM ULCG rifle grips are available in a matte Black (featured), Grey, Tan, or OD Green.
Product Evaluation Scores:
- Cost – Average (3/5): At $39.95 the Ultralight Utility Compact Grip price point reflects MKMachining’s approach of blending the utility of SBR-stylized grips with that of its history in precision. Its design allots for larger hands to have a larger coverage/surface area, with a small storage space. Made from a rigid, 3D-printed Nylon 11 polymer material, the ULCG includes a more vertical angle that gives a more comfortable grip for shorter barreled rifles or AR pistols. Additionally, the material aspects that make the ULCG a premium grip in terms of cost, are the same factors that also make it one of the lightest grips on the market. In contrast, the MOE K2-XL ($23.95) from Magpul, the Hexmag Tactical Grip ($34.99), the Ergo Grip w/Suregrip ($26), the P23 Grip (19.95) from B5 Systems, and Hogue’s over-molded rubberized grip ($26.95) demonstrate that the ULCG is the more expensive—however it is (appropriately) also the only one 3D printed with stronger nylon material vice traditional mold compression using polymers.
- Comfort – Good (4/5): The comfort aspect of the ULCG came down to the grip’s overall increased width over the traditional A2 style, and its higher approach angle off the lower receiver. Over the course of 30 days, on both an SBR and an AR pistol, the diamond surface texture did have a more tactile feel in the palm, and higher beavertail/backstrap did yield a good level of comfort for end-users with larger hands (mostly men) high up on the grip. Although those with smaller hands (such as women) may find with the ULCG non-slip shelf more appropriate for their hand as a base support than their counterparts. There was no discernable edges or seams, and all surfaces were clearly smoothed down so excluding the storage door, the grip appeared as a singular piece. Elsewhere, because of the 10.4-degree angle to the lower receiver (steeper than most aftermarket grips), the wrist fell easily in-line with the trigger, and the wrist didn’t fatigue as easily when the firearm was held aloft over an extended time. The grip remained anchored correctly and the mounting hardware retained a secure hold.
- Durability – Average (3/5): The ULCG was made from a Nylon 11 material, which has slightly different properties than Nylon 12. Both are frequently used in the 3D printing of outdoor products, and is a sturdier material than other traditional materials—particularly with its notable ability to resist brittleness from UV exposure. The difference being Nylon 11 is a bio-based polymer product derived from Caster oil (making it a “green” earth-friendly plastic) that has more impact resistance and durability under extreme cold, whereas the 12 is petroleum-based and performs better at warmer temperatures. For the purposes of this review, the ULCG was dropped from shoulder height onto finished concrete ten times before being mounted to a rifle. It was also subjected to magazine strikes and contact with hard surfaces during stressor drills. The grip itself help up appropriately (or of average) as other grips with regular use, weapon manipulation, and field stressors. The surface of the ULCG did not significantly wear or deteriorate along contact areas or overall—with only minor surface marring noted due to contact to hard surfaces. The pressure to the locking tab on the bottom of the grip used to secure the storage drop-door remained consistent over time and usage, with no weakening of the tab itself nor failure in keeping the drop-door retained (though at times was difficult to manipulate and open).
- Functionality – Good (4/5): Simplistic in design; the function of the ULCG came down to improving the principle comfort (addressed above) of the end-user with relation to presentation on the firearm (as is the intent of many in the MKMaching grip line)—especially on SBRs (or shorter style rifles/pistols) over time. The ULCG also provided a good alternative for those with larger hands that may find A2-style grips too narrow or more difficult to use. By steepening the angle of the ULCG to a more vertical angle, the end-user was able to keep a more direct line in grip on the trigger—thus alleviating stress and fatigue on the wrist. It also allowed the end-user to easily keep the elbows inward on the shorter rifle platforms as it lined up the wrist (and thus arm) directly behind the platform. The thumb rest groove in the ULCG was slightly deeper than that of the Magpul MOE or the B5 System’s P23 (two of the most common SBR grips found) and this gave a slightly more purchase point for the thumb and greater support for the hand. Additionally, the non-slip ledge at the bottom of the grip provided a good base that supported the rest of the overall hand. The diamond surface texture and front/rear serrations also ensured a solid grip was maintained with, or without gloves. The storage compartment was not of enough size to store an oil bottle, but easily accommodated a spare bolt, cleaning squares, or other supplies.
- Weight – Excellent (5/5): At 1.58 ounces (or 45 grams, w/empty storage space and w/o mounting hardware) the Ultralight Utility Compact Grip was very light weight due to the use of the Nylon 11 material that comprise the grip’s overall design. In contrast, the MOE K2-XL Grip (3.3 ounces), the Hexmag Tactical Grip (2.6 ounces), the Ergo Grip w/Suregrip (4.48 ounces), and Hogue’s over-molded rubberized grip (2.8 ounces) demonstrate that the ULCG clearly capitalizes on its Nylon 12 material that keeps its weight minimal while sacrificing little in strength, and places the MKMaching grip excellently amid the market and competitors.
Overall Rating – Above Average (19/25)
I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via High Ground Media, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.
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