The home of Shooting Times and Sporting Gun

Prince of Wales or pistol grip on a shotgun? What’s the difference?

What's the difference between the classy-sounding Prince of Wales grip and a standard pistol grip on a shotgun?

Prince of Wales grip

Prince of Wales grip on a Sauer Apollon

Prince of Wales grip versus pistol grip – how they differ

It’s all to do with the radius of the curve.

Most pistol grips having a curve of relatively tight radius, while the Prince of Wales grip has a very much more open curve.

Browning 725 Hunter UK Premium II

A rounded pistol grip. As featured on the 20-bore Browning 725 Hunter Premium II

The classic English double-trigger side-by side shoots and handles best for most people with a traditional straight-hand stock.That’s because the shooter is easily able to slide his trigger hand very slightly backwards, without materially altering his grip, when he pulls the back trigger.

With a single-trigger gun, which most modern over-and-unders are, this is not a necessary requirement. The trigger hand stays in exactly the same place while both barrels are fired, so the grip can be at the most comfortable angle possible.

Prince of Wales grip

The Prince of Wales-style semi-pistol grip is very comfortable in the hand. As featured on a Zoli Pernice.

However, in the case of the double-trigger gun, some compromise is possible, and some shooters find the slightly curved Prince of Wales handgrip more comfortable than the straight-hand stock, and still allowing for a slight change of grip between trigger pulls.

Prince of Wales grip

Prince of Wales grip on a Sauer Apollon

The Prince of Wales (the one who became King Edward VII) had his guns stocked in this manner, hence the name. One contemporary report records that, on a double-gun day, he had four pheasants dead in the air at the same time. That not only shows his shooting skills but the first class teamwork between the Prince and his loader.