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Questions About Ivory Grips

Questions about ivory grips on pistols.
A classic look. Ivory grips and a Rolex watch.

Since I carried ivory stocks on my work 1911 for many years, I occasionally get inquires from people asking for advice. The following is one such exchange. -M


Good morning, 

Just a night shift supervisor pushing a radio car (23 years on the job)….. 15 years of the 2 plus decades working at the Sheriff’s Office (SE OHIO) I carried a mixed bag of WC and semi custom 5” 45acp! I have my first ever duty gun being face lifted at the moment… (great story on that gun) for Court appearances and retirement. 

My question, I just got a real pair of elephant ivory grips….what are the ins and outs of actually using them? I have the O-rings for the grip screws.

Is there any protective coating to put on them? Or if something should get spilled on them what do we clean them with? 

Anyone I knew as a young man growing up that carried ivory on their pistols, have since moved on to the afterlife, looking for a little help. 





Sorry for the delay. I did see your message when it came in but we are in the middle of some major range construction projects so my ability to respond out there is limited until the fiber line get trenched in. Anyway…

The ivories I bought (I think Ajax?) seemed like they have a clear shellac coating on them. Well…the fronts. The rears feel / look like they are uncoated. 

I assumed when I started carrying them at some point the grips would shatter. My plan was to just gather up whatever pieces I could and reform them into a grip shape and fill in the missing pieces with epoxy. That need never developed. 

Carried every day. Fights. Drops. Takedowns. Banging on vehicles and door jams. No cracks or breaking. Turns out elephant ivory is pretty damn tough.  Which makes sense when you think about giant elephants fighting with them. But I do have a warning…

My grips when first purchased were so white, people though they were fake and made of plastic. But exposure to humidity and UV light will make them turn yellow. Additionally the panel closest to your body will turn faster and darker then the outside panel. Personally I think Ivory looks neat when it ages and convey’s some experience by the carrier. 

But if you are super obsessed with keeping them perfect or presentation grade, I probably would think twice about carrying them. No amount of babying or protecting is going to prevent them from turning more and more yellow. 

Are yours in the raw or do they have a shiny coating on them? Send me a pic if you like.





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