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[dcs_fancy_header bgcolor=”#ffffff” color=”#000000″ fweight=”bold”]Steve Coulston reviews the SHIFT Vertical Grip and SHIFT Short Angled Grip from Fortis Manufacturing.[/dcs_fancy_header]

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et’s be honest. In the firearms industry aesthetics are important. I would go as far to say, they are very important. True, the firearm or accessory must be practically functional, but it should also be an expression of who you are. Sounds a little off, doesn’t it? But, it’s true. You can buy a plethora of different guns and accessories and you can get them in whatever caliber, color, length, or style you can imagine. Why? Because we demand it. Our choice may be a result of our mission, lifestyle, mood or whatever, but the fact is there is freedom in choice. You may choose to be a “purest” and keep your AR or AK stock or you may choose to load it up with the latest gadgets. There is not a one size fits all approach.

Fortis Manufacturing, Inc. takes design aesthetic to a whole new level. They pride themselves in “Strength by design.” They inject style and flare into their products, yet they function and work very well. Fortis parts exhibit a minimalist aesthetic. They strip out everything you don’t need and leave only what you do. French author, poet, and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery said it best; “A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” This is very hard to achieve when designing anything of worth. Leave too much, it doesn’t feel refined. Take too much away and it doesn’t feel complete. Fortis has managed to find the balance and the results speak for themselves.

I happen to be fortunate enough know the guys at Fortis. They are an amazing group of people who take great pride in their work. I have used their REV Rails, RED Brakes and HAMMER Charging handles in my builds and now, the new SHIFT grips. They were kind enough to give me a sampling of the first run of these unique looking grips. The SHIFT grip comes in two different sizes. The SHIFT Vertical Grip (VG) is the larger of the two, while the SHIFT Short Angled Grip (SAG) is the smaller. Both grips stay true to the Fortis aesthetic, maintaining form and functionality.

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SHIFT Vertical Grip (VG)

The SHIFT VG is a one piece billet design made from aircraft grade 6061-T6 aluminum. It is Type III hard coat anodized and is skeletonized which results in a svelte 3.4 oz overall weight. The SHIFT VG resembles your more traditional vertical grip in regards to length, yet it is a far cry from the old school broom stick handle I was issued many moons ago. Shooting styles and preferences have evolved and the SHIFT VG allows users to use the older boxing style grip as well as the newer thumb break method or as a hand stop. It has a noticeable angle to it as well as a finger notch. This allows for an ergonomic flexibility in it that will accept the forefinger (traditional method), ring finger (thumb break method) or pinky finger (hand stop method). It is installed via a clamp that is adjusted by two Allen bolts. Loosen the bolts and rock it and lock it onto a standard 1913 picatinny rail. This means the user doesn’t need to remove their other accessories in order to install the SHIFT. This is often over looked in other grips. The ability to leave your rail accessories in place not only saves time, but it also saves your zero it that accessory happens to be a laser.

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SHIFT Short Angled Grip (SAG)

The SHIFT SAG has many of the same characteristics of its larger brother. Same 6061-T6 billet construction and Type III anodizing. Same skeletonized design; however it is much smaller weighing in at a scant 2.1 oz! It looks like a hybrid between a shorty vertical grip and a hand stop. Like the SHIFT VG, it has an angle, yet it is stubbier than the larger grip. This angle terminates into a finger notch. The notch allows the user to “hook” their pinky finger into the grip and pull the gun back into the shooters shoulder. The angle softens the degree to which the support hand is canted. This makes for a much more comfortable grip than your basic hand stop. The notch can also house the ring finger and middle finger however you will have some dangling digits similar when shooting a sub-compact pistol. If that is an issue for you, buy the longer SHIFT VG. The SHIFT SAG uses the same clamping method as the SHIFT VG as well as the same amount of rail real-estate. It is also worth noting the notch isn’t so pronounced that it snags clothing or gear.

The SHIFT VG currently finds its home on my Arsenal Arms SGL21-61 AK variant. It is firmly attached to the Ultimak ACR2 rail that is clamped to the barrel of the gun. This allows me to shoot with a more traditional style which is important because the barrel transfers heat to the rail which in turn transfers it to my hands even with rail covers on it. This rail gets extremely hot during mag dumps. The SHIFT VG keeps my support hand off the rail and my tender meat hooks unscathed.

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The SHIFT SAG is installed on a custom ARAK-21 build. I have it positioned so that when my pinky is locked into the notch my forefinger can access the Crimson Trace Rail Master laser mounted five inches in front of it. It is a really ergonomic set up and works very well. I can shoot with the more traditional thumb break method without hyper extending my wrist. Much appreciated, Fortis, much appreciated.

I find shooting with both of the SHIFT grips pleasurable. They work well, don’t weigh much and are damn sexy. That’s good enough for this ol’ boy. The SHIFT Vertical Grip retails for $79.95 and the SHIFT Short Angled Grip retails for $69.95. SHIFT your next build into over drive.

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Steve is a former United States Naval Special Warfare Combat Crewman (SWCC), NRA Life Member and has been a firearms enthusiast for over 30 years. Steve is a writer and photographer focusing on the testing and evaluation of new products and has a natural gift for breaking things. He resides in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and children enjoying the shooting sports and the great outdoors.