We’ve all heard the advice that if someone can’t rack a slide, they shouldn’t be buying a semi-automatic handgun. But sometimes situations arise that make it difficult for someone who could typically rack the slide easily that to do it safely. Maybe a law-abiding gun owner has developed arthritis, or maybe a law enforcement officer’s gun is slick with blood.
Enter the Slide Spider, a proprietary silicone-based adhesive strip that provides enough added friction that it requires less effort to rack the slide on your semi-automatic. Slide Spider is the brainchild of ArachniGrip. The name of the company and product are rooted, no doubt, in the appearance of the laser-cut product. It’s designed to run between the serrations on the manufacturer’s slide, so it looks like a spider.
The concept isn’t new. People have been using things like skateboard tape on their own, but it can tear with use. This adhering device was put through the wringer in an effort to find a blend that is closer to marine tape, ensuring that the product will hold up longer while still maintaining its integrity of purpose. ArachniGrip co-founder Bob Biedenbach said the Slide Spider has survived being stuck to a coffee cup and put through the dishwasher for more than two years, so the product has longevity.
The idea for the Slide Spider was born at a gun range. Biedenbach, a lifelong shooter, had taken a break from the pastime to spend more time with his family. After a few years of only intermittent time with his hobby, he devoted more time to shooting. And when he re-entered the sport, he ventured out and bought his first semi-automatic.
One thing he noticed was that he didn’t have as much control over the Glock as he did with a six-shooter. He also found out that trying to cycle the gun sometimes put him in situations where he wasn’t as safe with it as he should be—the muzzle sometimes pointing up or down or to the side when he’d try to rack the slide.
He and a range safety officer (RSO), who ended up becoming his business partner, bandied about the idea of ways to resolve the situation. The RSO used an adhesive product to create a spidery-looking strip that could be put on the slide. The difference in control was immediately noticeable, and the two started refining the product, trying to find a material that would stand up to the rigors of what a gun goes through.
The company started out making just the spider grip to go over the serrations at the rear of the slide, but now it has taken it a step further. The Gunfighter Series—currently marketed as a complete package with the slide spider for some Glocks—includes the Slide Spider, then some basic pre-cut pieces of tape that can go on the side of the front part of the slide, which comes in handy for overhand gripping of the slide when you have an optic. There are also grip augmentations for under the trigger guard (to improve contact with your finger on the grip after shooting) and a smaller piece to mark the rail so your finger goes to the slide more automatically on the draw.
If you don’t own a large-frame Glock, no worries. ArachniGrip is selling packages with the front and side grip stickers (minus the slide spider) separately for other models.
ArachniGrip is a small enough company that believes in being responsive to customers. As such, the folks there are also willing to do special design orders. So, if you want something besides the black slide spider with a red spider etched into it, no problem. The company can put almost any logo or design on it, so you can personalize your gun.
Application is easy. The package includes two of everything, including alcohol wipes to clean the slide. Once you’ve got it aligned properly, you press it on the slide and that’s it. One caveat is that it takes about a day to set more permanently. That time gap between placement and setting allows you to move it if you place it incorrectly, but I wouldn’t advise putting it through the rigors of shooting or multiple rackings of the slide until it sets.
As for removal, it’s probably harder to take off than to put on. All you need are alcohol wipes and a toothpick, to get the spider “legs” our from between the serrations on the slide.
While it’s hard to quantify how much it helps in terms of added leverage, the adhesive strips certainly help when the slide is slick—with gun oil, sweat or anything else.