Keith and Cristy Myers share Handleitgrips’
story, latest products, trends they’re seeing, company’s move to Texas and more.
Several years ago, Keith Myers bought a firearm featuring a grip that had been cut with an X-Acto knife. An unusual but intriguing enhancement, to be sure. But after a few uses, he soon discovered that the grip didn’t quite feel right. So he set out to customize his own. “I thought I could make it better,” explains Keith, a US Navy veteran who also worked for a defense contractor most of his career. “So I bought some material, and it was a big learning process, but that’s where it started. We started slow, selling a few on eBay.
Then a couple grew to 10, then to 20, and now, six years later, we sell roughly 1,600 to 1,800 a week.” The company, dubbed Handleitgrips, now sells on several different platforms, exporting their products all over the world. A true multi-generational family business, Handleitgrips is owned and operated by Keith and his wife Cristy, with help from their son, daughter-in-law, and younger daughter. “Even my in-laws will chime in,” says Keith. Together, the family works to constantly churn out innovative products to satisfy their growing customer base, with Keith running the analytical/business side and Cristy taking charge of the creative side.
“I think that’s what makes us a stronger company,” says Cristy. “We all sit down at the table and throw new ideas around and uncover them from beginning to end. We want to make sure we are doing what our customers want and, more importantly, need.” Handleitgrips also ensures each product will stand up to wear and tear by putting it through a rigorous testing process. “We’ll set it in water for two days to see if it will stay on,” explains Cristy. “We freeze it. Get it dirty. We put it through the wringer before it comes out. We don’t want to sell junk; we want to sell a quality product.” The company prides itself on providing a vast array of laser-cut grips in an assortment of materials and textures – including sandpaper, rubber and vinyl – as well as colors. This variety, Keith says, is what sets their company apart.
And the team is always looking to utilize new materials and processes so that shooters can have exactly what they want. For example, as the number of female gun owners continues to grow, the Myerses have expanded the business to now include Handlehergrips, with products designed specifically for women. Their glitter sandpaper grip has become quite popular with novice and professional shooters alike, including competitive shooter Lena Miculek, who uses the black glitter sandpaper grip on her firearm.
“Who would have thought someone would want black glitter sandpaper on their gun?” asks Keith. “It’s a really neat thing.” More so today than ever before, gun owners want to customize and accessorize their firearm with the latest and greatest. “On social media, you’ll see people upgrading their triggers, or adding holographic sights,” says Keith. “People are looking to accessorize. The firearm is an accessory to a person, just like a cell phone.” Speaking of social media, the Myerses explain that there is a whole new subset of gun owners out there that wouldn’t necessarily be classified as “shooters,” but they are still a customer base worth targeting. “Many new gun owners in America will never shoot their gun; they just want to take pictures,” says Cristy, referencing the numerous social media celebrities and influencers who pose with custom firearms for their thousands, if not millions, of followers. “Every year we sell thousands of our honeycomb vinyl grips, which don’t improve the guns’ grip, but they look cool. There is a market for that.” “Competition shooters don’t understand that,” she adds. “But we like to have a conversation with both sides to see what they want.” Handleitgrips originated in California, but the company is in the process of relocating to Ennis, Texas, south of Dallas. “California has been good to us, but it’s not the easiest place to have a firearms business,” says Keith. “We’ve had to work smarter to overcome a lot of those obstructions and things are changing rapidly. We look forward to being in Texas, where there aren’t those limitations.” “We’re not badmouthing the people of California or the relationships we’ve made,” adds Cristy. “But the politics are very tough.”
“If it wasn’t for the politics, we wouldn’t be leaving,” agrees Keith. “But it was what God wanted for us,” concludes Cristy. “That’s how we made our decision. It was chosen for us.” “For six years we have been very, very blessed,” says Keith of their journey thus far. And from their new Texas location, Handleitgrips will continue to do what they do best: create high-quality laser-cut custom grips for the gun owner who wants more from their firearm. Editor’s note: For more information, visit handleitgrips.com