Over the years many friends, family and co-workers have come to me for firearm advice. Initially I was very reluctant to give advice as I am no expert and I myself always seek the advice of those I feel are very knowledgeable. After attempts of pointing them in the right direction I’ve learned those with lesser knowledge of firearms really don’t know how to differentiate somebody that knows their stuff and somebody who doesn’t.
Disappointed with the results these people got elsewhere made me realized I might be their best option for getting sound advice. Once these people close to me have acquired said weaponry they usually start to ask about various gun mods they’ve heard about. The firearm aftermarket is really strong and it seems trendy to jump on the trick your gun out bandwagon.
Justifying a gun mod depends on its purpose of use and when it comes to an EDC survival pistol not much fits the bill. Unless you’re a competition 3 gun shooter I can’t really understand the need for a match grade barrel or a fancy trigger. Speaking of competition shooters I’m aware of some of them who carry virtually stock pistols for their edc weapon. Primary focus should consist of combat accuracy, function flawlessly, and have confidence of its reliability when life depends on it.
One may argue that a match grade barrel provides better accuracy. But just how accurate do you really need to be at 3 to 30 yards or so? Night sights seem popular and may have some merit as a gun mod upgrade. I frequently practice one-handed slide racks using either the side of pants or the back of my heel that puts a lot abuse on my rear sight. So far with years of doing it I haven’t broke off my factory Glock rear sight. Knowing the abuse that practice involves I worry that replacement sights wouldn’t hold up to it. Not to mention I’m skeptical on the likelihood I’d shoot a target in a low light situation that I couldn’t see my sights.
Certain modifications can affect either safety, reliability or both. Lighter triggers for example can increase the risk of accidental or negligent discharge. There is a reason why most semi-auto handgun manufactures design their pistols with a trigger weight to be around 5lbs. Altering the internal mechanical parts of your firearm with gun mods could reduce the reliability of your weapon.
Over the years thousands of rounds have been fired thru my factory Gen 3 Glock 19 and I’ve developed a high level of confidence that it will function properly when I need it to. Carrying a firearm for self-defense purposes is betting your life on said firearm. Gutting my weapon and replacing triggers, guide rods, and installing a match grade barrel would only decrease that confidence.
Sitting here discouraging all these pistol modifications while having a AR15 rifle equipped with Troy Delta rail, Raptor Charging handle, and Magpul Bad Lever installed next to me seems kind of hypocritical doesn’t it? Probably safe to say I feel differently about gun mods on rifles than pistols. Being a southpaw shooter these mods are most for ambidextrous ease of use as well as attaching my weapons light. For me those mods have been performance enhancers without affecting or altering the internal mechanics of the rifle.
This is something that I think a lot of people over look that should be taken into consideration. We’ve all seen the custom back plates for Glocks and the custom dust covers for AR15s. If you ever find yourself involved in a justifiable self-defense shooting sadly you still will have to defend your actions legally. Years ago I read about this story of an officer involved shooting in which he used his personal rifle. His personal rifle had been approved by his department while responding to a call. Apparently the officer shot the man 5 times while being face down on the ground and was charged with murder. Needless to say this rifle had a custom dust cover inscribed with the words, “get fucked.” That inscription was brought up in court and used against him.
Point is even if you’re involved in a justifiable shooting you can still be sued. Evil lawyers could spin something as simple as the popular punisher skull into something sinister in efforts to make you look bad. While I like to believe that all those involved in a justifiable shooting make it out okay, let’s not give the enemy ammunition to be used against us.
Not discrediting all firearm modifications here especially ones that increase the combat potential of your weapon. Tactical lights, Lasers, Night Sights and even some rifle muzzle brakes can add versatility and capability. Modifications or add ons that improve versatility and capability would be considered a combat multiplier. Ideally such mods shouldn’t affect the function or reliability of your firearm. To ensure proper function avoid mods that alter or replace mechanical parts.