Ok, so get this from the onset of this post. I am not advocating that you all go out and modify your guns, period! I am however discussing modifications that may help with speed, accuracy, and comfort for experienced shooters. Modifications to your gun should never be done in the name of “coolness”. Any mods need to have a purpose and above all work reliably.
Before I really get started, let me get the safety and legal bits out of the way. Trigger discipline is trigger discipline and the bang switch doesn’t go bang until you pull it. Light weight triggers don’t cause negligent discharges, negligent shooters do. Having said that, if you aren’t an experienced shooter, get the basics down before you have a gunsmith make any changes to your weapon. Notice I said gunsmith, DON’T WATCH Youtube AND GO MONKEYING AROUND with a tool that is meant to save your life and the lives of those you love! As far as the legal end of things, if you are involved in an incident, expect everything to be questioned by the prosecution. A legal shooting in self defense is a legal shooting in self defense. The Zimmerman case showed us all that. If you are within your rights, and defending your life or the life of the another then you are on as solid a footing as possible legally. Will modifications be questioned? Yes they will, but your training, experience, caliber, and every aspect of your life will be questioned. I will definitely advise against barrels with “wait for flash” or skulls, etc. Don’t give any credence to an attorney painting you as a gun crazy killer. The bottom line is that you are in deep waters if you have to use your gun, so use common sense when making any modifications and have them done by a professional that can testify if needed.
Let’s talk about my personal modifications to my daily carry gun, the Beretta 92. The trigger spring has been converted from a mouse trap spring to a cam/coil set up. I made this modification for two reasons, the first and most important is reliability. Wolff Spring actually developed this modification for INS and border patrol because they were experiencing broken trigger springs. So this modification makes my gun more reliable. It also makes the trigger pull smoother and slightly lighter which both assist in speed and accuracy. Speed and accuracy is what wins a gun fight. The person that gets off the fastest accurate shots is the one that wins, period. The “D” spring conversion is a lightened hammer spring that also makes the trigger pull lighter and smoother. Another reason for these modifications is that my wife couldn’t use my gun due to the weight of the trigger. it was just too heavy and she wasn’t strong enough to pull it.
The other major modification I made to my daily gun is the magazine release button. I replaced the small circular button with a very large over sized knurled pad. Under stress your small motor skills go to hell in a hand basket, and the body is functioning on muscle memory. I made this modification to assist in magazine changes under stress in the event of a high stress shoot out type of incident. I carry high capacity magazines and if I have gone through 21 rounds, then things have gone from SHTF to plan B survival mode. This isn’t a huge mod that is super stylish, nor are the trigger modifications. Neither of these modifications look cool and Joe Average would never know the difference. They were made for usability and reliability, not looks.
Do you see how I can justify these modification if I was on the stand in court? As a firearms instructor and former police officer, I can with confidence explain why these are not frivolous mods that they are not dangerous. I haven’t turned my daily carry handgun into a full race gun meant for competition. It is useable and within reason when it comes to trigger weight and such. While on the subject of trigger weight, in my opinion there is no such thing as a “duty/carry” weight trigger and a “competition only” weight trigger. As I said before, the trigger will not pull itself and is not a safety hazard unless the shooter is negligent. There are no accidental discharges, only negligent discharges by negligent gun owners. A person can have 50 safety devices attached to their weapon and still experience a negligent discharge because of their own ignorance or carelessness.
Ok, so you want to make a few modifications but don’t know where to start. In my next post I will give you a few good ideas that are backed by solid information. Stay tuned!