Leon Paul Evolution Pistol Grip
The Leon Paul Evolution handle, is a world first in sports equipment. It is a handle that can be personalised and continuously evolved by athletes themselves, and the first product designed around sugru.
We have been looking for a way to allow athletes to customise their handles for many years now and have samples based on resins that you mixed and then formed around the handle in a plastic bag that go back more than 15 years. You see handles that people have tried to adapt to better suit them all of the time and people resort to all sorts of weird and wonderful things in search of a handle that works better for them. I have seen sports tape, epoxy resin, good old fashioned grinding and sanding, car body filler, electrical tape and even rubber bandages designed to tape up horses legs being used on this crazy assortment of frankenhandles!
2 years ago I discovered sugru in the design museum in London and I instantly knew I had found my answer. A quick google when I got home, an excited e mail to the company and I heard back from Jane, the inventor of sugru, in a matter of hours. It was great to find out that they were based in London and were keen to collaborate on a new product.
Fencing handles are generally made from aluminium, one of sugru's favourite materials to stick to and it's ease of use meant that it was a perfect fit.
The premise was pretty simple: design a foil handle incomplete, where the athlete would add sugru to build up the perfect customised grip. Through trials and dialogue with fencers, coaches and Olympic athletes including Bas Verwijlen and James Davis (Team GB London 2012), it has now developed into something even more exciting. Rather than creating just more comfortable grips, the athletes instinctively started to manipulate and redesign the shape of the handle to help them in their game.
The Leon Paul Evolution handle comes in two parts:
1. The aluminium handle was developed based on a classic medium pistol (visconti) grip. It is made using a process called investment casting which is a world first for a fencing handle. the process is far more accurate than traditional sand casting and produces a stronger finished product with a better surface finish and finer details. The handle has recesses built into it in the areas where the fencer makes primary contact with the handle and it is these recesses that you fill and form to the shape of your own hand.
2. The evolution of the handle to fit your hand is made possible by the magical product that is sugru. This is a specifically developed formula which is much softer and more grippy than regular sugru. You apply the sugru to the areas that you feel you need it and the sugru can be used to provide comfort, cushioning, grip and increased control over your weapon. sugru sticks very well to itself so it can be easily carved away or added to at a later date. Usually making the handle perfect for you is a two step process hence the name "evolution". You apply half the sugru first time, use the grip for a week or so and then go back to make improvements and adjustments as necessary. You can can keep evolving your handle as your needs develop or change making it work as hard as possible for your competitive advantage.