I am not a fan of rubber stocks for self-defense. There is precious little that stocks made of Neoprene, Santoprene, or their derivatives can do that either wood or solid nylon stocks can’t do better. All rubber stocks tend to cling to cover garments, impeding a clean access stroke and their spongy “give” reduces the chances of acquiring an optimum grip when rushed. Almost all rubber stocks are poorly relieved for speedloaders. The Uncle Mike’s licensed copy of Spegel’s Boot Grip is the one notable exception. Rubber stocks generally tout one of two features neither of which have real value. Some rubber stocks feature a covered backstrap while others feature an expose backstrap. Stocks that cover the backstrap promise to reduce recoil but are generally of such bulk as to negate much of the snub’s concealment. If you need more recoil distribution better to trade the snub for one with a larger frame that properly fits your hand. Alternatively rubber stocks that feature an expose backstrap offer no recoil advantage over wood or nylon stocks yet retain all the usually disadvantages of rubber.
Despite all the above there remains a certain percentage of snub owners who are determined to “cling” to their rubber stocks. For those rubber stock fans I would like to pass along these two tips offer to me by William Bellman of Pennsylvania. First, many shooters will try to re-contour the stocks so they will work adequately with speedloaders. This is generally done by whittling away on the left side stock panel with a small pocket knife. There is a simpler method that produces a cleaner looking result. Start by storing the rubber stocks in the freezer for a few days until they temporarily “firm up.” Once they harden you can then removing the excess material with a Dremel tool®. Be sure to mask off any areas on the stocks that you don’t want the Dremel tool contacting before storing them in the freezer. Also be sure to make light passes with the Dremel tool. Some stocks feature a bone white plastic insert in the stocks and you do not want to grind off enough rubber to expose this insert. With a little care the stocks will be properly relieved for speedloader and won’t have a finished look that looks “chewed up.”
Second, if you wish to overcome the tendency of the stocks to cling to a cover garment or catch in the pocket. You have two options. The easiest is to apply a light coat of clear acrylic spray paint to the stocks. You may find that you sacrifice a small amount of the rubbers’ “give” but the result is well worth the sacrifice. I have used this method on a variety of rubber stocks and am always please with the results. Alternatively there is slightly more labor intensive option but one that lets you retains more of the original rubber stocks’ recoil absorbing feel. In an open and safe area carefully clean the rubber stocks with lighter fluid. After the lighter fluid has completely dried and evaporated paint the stocks with satin finish polyurethane. The trick is to dry the urethane in bright sunlight. The resulting finish will be smooth without being clingy yet the new finish will not detract from the slight “give” the rubber offers. Either method can convert set of rubber stocks into a very servable set of self-defense stocks.