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About Challis Grips

I've retired from making grips and now work alone, but I've kept this page active so those interested can learn a little about me and the origin Challis Grips. I continue to produce and sell my patented grip bushings and tools as well as a few related parts, all of which can be found in the Parts Store.

My name is Brian Challis. I began making grips for 1911 pistols in early 2012. Two years later my son Nate began working with me full time. We focus on beautiful materials, clean crisp detail and a flawless finish. Our grips are not inexpensive, but if you are looking for outstanding quality, they are a great value.

Because of our relatively short history in the business, some have wondered what qualifies us for the exacting demands of making these beautiful and functional components for a truly beautiful and functional firearm. It is a reasonable question that deserves an honest answer.

The short answer is that we have a passion for Excellence and Innovation. Although secondary, we have a gift for working with our hands. Therein lies the motivation and capacity, but there is also something to be said for experience. Nate's experience is brief, but he has had the benefit of training under a master craftsman/artist who has worked with his hands for more than half a century. With significant natural ability, and his father's tutoring and uncompromising commitment to excellence, Nate has quickly become a master gripmaker himself.

In the fall of 2014 Challis Grips introduced the revolutionary Hex Drive Bushings, the culmination of months of design, testing and patent work by Brian Challis. Intuitively superior to the slotted style, which has gone unchanged for over 100 years, the new Hex Drive Bushings are destined to become the industry standard. A few months later we began shipping the Challis Bushing Extractor, by far the finest slotted bushing removal tool available. Simple in design and function, the extractor is immediately recognized as the tool for the task. Innovation is nothing new to Brian Challis who has previously been awarded a dozen other patents.

If you are interested in Brian's experience feel free to read on as he gives a brief summary of his experience as an artisan. If not, take a look at our grips, bushings and extractors; we assume that is why you are here. Our work speaks for itself. If you look carefully, we think you will be assured that we are experienced and capable craftsmen with a rock solid grip on excellence.

I have not been making grips for long, but I have a long history of woodwork. For almost twenty years I owned a business that built wooden circular stairs, one of the greatest challenges a woodworker can undertake. Like my grips, each stair was unique. My work is the focal point in many extraordinary homes and businesses in the U.S. and beyond. They weren't easy to make and they weren't inexpensive. I focused on those who appreciated quality and were willing to pay for it. My clients included scores of successful businessmen and women, numerous celebrities and at least one former US President. My refusal to perform second class work attracted first class customers.

I have been a wood carver as long as I remember. One of my earliest memories is sitting on a milk box on our front porch, carving a figure out of wood. I couldn't have been much older than five. (I don't know if my mom gave me the knife or if I sneaked it out of the house. I suspect the latter.) I have always puttered with sculpture. After selling my business, I quit puttering and dove in. I made my living doing sculpture for nearly twenty years. It wasn't easy, but it has been rewarding. I have been blessed to have had some extraordinary opportunities as an artist. The highlight was creating one and a half life-size monuments of John Stockton and Karl Malone for the Utah Jazz basketball team. The two bronze sculptures stand on the plaza of the teams home arena; rising as high as eighteen feet above the ground.

A couple of decades building circular stairs, and nearly that long as a professional sculptor has given me a wealth of experience that has been beneficial in making 1911 grips. But as stated at the beginning, these are not my primary qualifications. Success as a stair builder, inventor, sculptor and grip-maker are a consequence of my irrepressible passion for Excellence and Innovation.