This article was originally posted on Thefirearmblog.com
Sometimes the simplest ideas turn into really good ones. Tactical Application Group (completely unrelated to the gear line) is a very small conglomerate of veterans based in the Las Vegas area that has put forth a product that is designed to make the operation of a user’s lights and lasers on a rifle much more intuitive than with previously mounted pressure switches. Essentially, the company has moved the pressure switch to the pistol grip of the rifle. Specifically, an AR15 pistol grip that can be mounted to any weapon system that uses AR pistol grips (thus, not limiting this device to only AR15 platforms). By doing this, the company has essentially turned the switchology involved with ATPIAL devices and various light mounted options that use remote pressure switches into a one-handed operation. Instead of having to squeeze a pressure switch mounted on the handguard of a rifle, or even a magazine well mounted one, a user simply has to operate the pistol grip mounted version with the fingers of their firing hand.
The unit is made out of 7076 T6 aluminum and is essentially an aluminum grip with a cut out at the front for the pressure switch. There is a separate fixture where the pressure switch is actually mounted on and is screwed into the AR pistol grip itself. This is so users can take the entire fixture out in the field if they need to clean the parts, or simply replace the pressure switch. It also allows the storage of additional items in the rear portion of the grip, such as IR strobes, extra batteries, etc…
Not only is this useful for one-handed operation in the case of an emergency, but it can free up the position of the non-firing hand. Now the support hand doesn’t have to be in a certain position on the handguard every time the rifle is being used, it can actually be in multiple positions along the rifle. This is something very useful when working through a house for example. Or alternatively, if a user is talking into a radio, keying a mic with the support hand, a laser or light can still be actuated with the firing hand. Not only is this useful for LE folks using lights in dark spaces, but also service members that could be directing airstrikes while painting a target using their IR pointers while being on the radio at the same time.
I had two criticisms of the product at first. Initially, I was curious as to why it couldn’t have been made out of polymer instead of aluminum. The answer I got was that a polymer version of the same grip dimensions would have to be much thicker to maintain the same strength, and would thus fall outside of the contours of a standard GI grip. The second question I had was on the activation of the pressure switch. If I’m taking away from my firing hand by utilizing my pinkie or other finger, then I’m also taking away from my purchase on the weapon itself. This question was quickly put to rest later on during the week when I got a chance to use the product on an Airsoft mockup (time constraints didn’t allow it to be used with an actual AR15), while wearing NVGs and using the rifle single-handed in a dark room.
What I really liked about this company is their approach to the market. For example, they aren’t messing with pressure switches, the system is designed to fall on existing switches already in use. The rubber portions made for routing the remote wiring is made from the same material that the Manta Rail Covers are made from, which have already been approved for use by the Marine Corps.
From the press release-
The Sympathetic Movement Reduction Technique (SMRT) Direct Action Grip is a patented AR15 pistol grip design which integrates a remote switch for activating a tactical light or laser that is easy to access and use, yet sufficiently recessed to prevent accidental light/laser discharges. The patented SMRT Direct Action Grip frees the shooter’s support hand while allowing ambidextrous activation of force multiplying devices. The SMRT Direct Action Grip uses existing pressure switches currently in US military inventories, which eliminates many of the risks and cost involved with wireless activation. The SMRT Direct Action Grip is constructed out of aircraft-grade aluminum and is compatible with most common MILSPEC pressure switches. The SMRT Direct Action Grip has been employed operationally by USASOC components, Special Forces Aviation, Air Force Pararescue, and civilian SWAT teams. It is compatible with any weapon that accepts an AR15, M4, or HK416 style grip. ETA expects to take preorders in the spring.
Although rudimentary, this video gives some context as to how the grip can be used successfully by dog handlers that often have one hand on a leash, but another on their firearm.