I hear you about the stock blade guard, I tossed the one that came on my DeWalt BT744, but I did keep the part that acts as a splitter with the pawls on it..........
OK, it is not the easiert thing to remove and replace, but it works fairly well. I have a few shopmade zero clearance inserts too, and one or two have a wooden splitter attached to it.
The gripper is a great thing, and I guess worth the price, but I always seem to bump it off my list when I go to buy stuff.
I made one up of my own, it is a piece of 2x6 about 8" long, with a handle on top, then a piece of plywood on the back of it that is attached via slots abd screws, so the plywood can slide down past the back of the block, to act as a hook of sorts, the blade is then buried into the 2x6 on each cut.
I'll take a pic of it next time I'm in the dungeon, is it no Gripper but it is a lot better than just a push stick, IMHO.
The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
William Arthur Ward