Converting the IZH46 Air Pistol Grip to Left Hand or Ambidextrous

The Baikal IZH46M is a great match target air pistol, and especially so when the price tag is considered. It incorporates all of the features that a backyard Olympian like me could ever want and then some. The only drawback for me is that the piece comes with a right hand grip and I happen to be left handed. Fortunately I enjoy an occasional challenge. The final result is a grip that fits me and still works fine for a right handed shooter so, I guess, you could actually say that this is really a conversion to an ambidextrous grip for my air pistol.

The first step was to take a good look at the way the right handed grip is shaped. There is certainly a lot of wood there that doesn’t need to be there even for a right handed shooter but it gives the lefty lot to work with. Now, I think you should work slowly because it is a lot easier to take off a little more wood than it is to put some back. Don’t do any cutting or sanding while the grips are on the gun because you don’t want to gum up the insides, but try the grip frequently for fit as you progress.

Hold the gun in your right hand and note that the sights naturally align right down our forearm toward the inside of your elbow. Hold the air gun in your left hand with he unmodified grip and you’ll probably think that “I can almost shoot this thing the way it is” but that the sights align well inside your elbow. You need to be able to get your hand farther behind the gun. You will notice three major areas on the left grip panel where material must be removed; the sharp edge at the front of the grip, the big flare at the rear and the area where your trigger finger will be going.

If you don’t need the adjustable palm rest for your competition / match air pistol, leave it alone for now and just work with the area on the left pannel that is above the palm rest and can form a bit of a rest right there in the left panel. Otherwise you can reshape the lower portion of the left panel to resemble the other side, invert and reshape the palm rest to clear the cocking arm and either screw using the existing screws and other parts or just glue it where you want it.

A concave wood rasp works well–I don’t like to use power grinder because it is easy to get carried away or slip and make a hash of things. Working with the left panel, round the front edge a little at time and remove some wood at the lower rear. Check the feel on the gun often. Keep doing this in stages until it starts to feel nearly done. At this point start working a groove for your trigger finger. Continue working all three areas until the fit for your air pistol grip is still a bit oversize.

Relax and start shooting the air pistol a bit. This will tell you if you need to continue. I also took off just a bit on the upper part of the right panel to make a groove for my thumb. Finally, after deciding that the grip felt good, I smoothed it with 200 grit sandpaper, oiled it and pronounced it a job well done. All in all I spent a couple of hours on the project and saved a chunk over having a custom grip made.

I left the palm rest on the right panel and my son who isn’t fortunate enough to be left handed finds that the grip works just fine for him. As mentioned before, you could shape the bottom of the left panel to fit the palm shelf and then reshape the front of shelf to clear the cocking lever.

You can pass this on to any leftys who are interested. The pictures turned out pretty dark, but I think you can see that it turned out pretty good. Thanks again for offering this great pistol.

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