Some prefer pistol grips, some don't...same with ECS. Your quality of cut will go through the roof. If you're wanting to mulch, I'll recommend doing it in the Summer and Fall using a full mulch kit. Lush Spring growth is a tall task to make disappear...this is where side-discharging will be preferable. Personally, I side-discharge all year with the exception of November's leaves - which I mulch.