Colt Model 1873 Plow-Handle Grips.
(Too Short For Most Hands)
I accept that this original stock pattern is interesting and many old timers who cut their teeth on a 1873 'Peacemaker' type single action revolver have learned to love that iconic shape. (..You always remember Your First) - Even I love it - especially on my Ruger Old Army charcoal burners - but I don't think that the shape is scientifically designed for recoil control.**
Shooting one of these things clarifies the situation - as every full-power shot causes that stock to break free from your fingers as the gun 'pops-up' and the barrel rotates upwards and over towards your forehead by converting the recoil kick into flip-up that is hopefully restrained by the shooters middle two fingers.
The sticky-out 'heel' of that plow-handle must help direct the piece into 'lift-off' rotation. If using a powerful round you'll need to re-grip before each subsequent aimed shot.
It would take a mechanical engineer to calculate how much of that rotation comes from the high barrel line above your wrist - and what percentage is caused by the plow-handle shape.
Bisley Model Pattern Grips.
After 21 years - in 1894 the "Plow Handle" was improved for target shooters - into the longer and more vertical 'Bisley Model' grip.
I reckon that when you squeeze a lump of clay in your hand you must get a clue as to what shape best fits a hand - It will be smaller or tapering towards the bottom for your little finger or 'pinkie' to get a grip - the opposite shape to the "Plow-Handle":
- Something like the Chiappa Rhino grips - yes I know that they are ugly - an affront to eyes that are expecting to see "normal" guns.. but the combination of the low (bottom chamber) barrel line and the ergonomic shaped grips work to greatly reduce muzzle flip and increase gun control.
Grip angle is an issue surely best determined by measuring the average grip - as Glock says they did.
Grip size is an individual matter further dictated by if you are shoving-up a magazine.
M&P Grip Looks About Right?
I DO like the looks of birds head grips - when I get rich I'll buy a pair of Ruger Vaqueros;
Can't Recoil Any Worse Than "Plow Handles".
Old Flintlocks Stock Shapes Seem Logical
The first handguns that I ever shot were a Glock 17 and a Glock 18 full auto in the gun range under the Canberra Police Headquarters. - An interesting demonstration session made remarkable for an Aussie Army Major locking-on to the G18 trigger as it climbed past the vertical in his hand - while he discharged the whole magazine into the concrete roof and brought down a shower of cement and splatter (inc. 'spall') onto our heads .. You can actually fire controlled three or four round bursts on the trigger.
Regarding the full-auto G18 - Austrian Airport anti-terror cops used to carry theirs with a standard magazine in place - If / When terrorist action starts they were trained to draw and fire that whole magazine into the air .. reload with a thirty round mag. - and then anyone left standing (not having dived for the ground) was to be regarded as a possible target.