Pitfalls of Modifying Your Carry Gun

Gun owners have been modifying their firearms, well, as long as there have been firearms. Some modifications can be a good thing if they reasonably add to the function of said firearm for it’s intended use. Night Sights are often one of the first and potentially most useful upgrades. However, it’s important to take in to account the intended purpose of a firearm when making the decision whether or not to mess with the original factory specs. Yes, I have fallen into the trap myself, wanting to improve the trigger and such, but you really have to be careful when it comes to your carry gun. Now, if this is simply a range toy, then have at it, but do you really want a 2 lb trigger on a gun you carry in your waste band?

A friend of mine recently shared a story from years ago that does a good job of illustrating how some of these ‘cool mods’ can actually work against you. He was shooting a highly modified, ‘tricked out’ 1911 at the National Championships, when his magazine fell to the ground immediately after the first shot. Embarrassed at best, he realized he had accidentally hit that cool extended mag release button as he drew from the holster. Ouch! Yes, it could have been worse, he could have been drawing a firearm in self defense when that happened!

Grip Glove

I recently posted that during a training class I was taking that I realized the ‘glove‘ that I had installed on my Glock 43, that worked wonderfully at the range, didn’t work nearly as well in a real world scenario and that I had discarded it for that reason. The glove made the compact 43 fill up my hand more giving the sense of more control, but in real life it dragged a bit on my clothing when drawing from concealment. Other modifications can have much more detrimental effects such as your gun not working when you need it most. Again, if it’s just a range toy its not a big deal, but if you rely on it for self defense you need it to go bang every single time.

Trigger kit
Ghost Trigger Kit

That Trigger. Trigger work isn’t difficult to do on most firearms, and there are lots of kits and mods to choose from, but it also can have the most pitfalls. As a certified Glock Armorer I’ve seen some pretty tricked out Glocks, but more often than not, simpler is better and more reliable. Far too often I see a firearm that is so overly tricked out that it suffers regular light strikes or even accidental double taps, that gets a little scary. Everything in moderation. Yes, I have a Glock 19 with night sights, a minus connector, a 4.5 lb striker spring and good bit of polishing on the trigger. Modest changes rendered a lighter trigger ( 4 lbs) and a crisper reset, without compromising safety or reliability. These same changes to my little Glock 43 left me with a firearm that was way too touchy and unreliable and were quickly removed and discarded.

As a little side note, the AR-15 and it’s variants are often chosen for their light weight and simplicity only to be loaded up with extra hardware. Sure, a nice scope or red dot can be a definite improvement over fixed sights (or no sights at all), but always keep in mind the original purpose of the gun. Adding 20 lbs of gear to a 7 lb gun just might make that nice light little rifle something no one would want to carry through the woods.

Bottom line: sometimes your better off skipping the modifications and simply learning to use the firearm as it was designed.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

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