Keep the Law on Your Side with Pistol Customizations
Anyone who’s ever seen a customized pistol realizes right away that it’s a significant step up from the factory-issued model. Having a handgun tailored to your own personal defense system is a lofty goal, but unfortunately, there are a few obstacles standing in your way. When a lawyer gets a case involving a modified weapon, it’s like feeding chum to a piranha.
As author Kevin Michalowski explains in his article “Customizing Your Defensive Pistol” at USConcealedCarry.com, anytime you or anyone else shoots someone, there is going to be a lawsuit whether there’s a customized weapon or not. Michalowski lists two rules to help keep the legal sharks at bay in shooting cases:
“To ensure that you don’t give an aggressive anti-gun attorney any MORE reason to go after you, just make sure that you don’t make any modifications to the safety mechanisms or the factory trigger settings on your firearm.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
Disabling or eliminating safety measures installed by the manufacturer is a recipe for disaster and will make your attorney’s job much more difficult when the prosecuting attorney charges you with gross negligence.
On the other hand, hiring a competent gunsmith to smooth out a trigger pull without changing the pull-weight should garner you brownie points since you have, in essence, made the gun more accurate and thus, safer. However, the prosecutor may counter with evidence that you created a more deadly weapon by customizing it with a hair trigger. The debate can go on ad nauseum, but the important thing to remember is to stay within the parameters of the law when you start customizing your firearm.
Tampering with safety features incorporated into a gun’s design by the manufacturer is obviously going to play a major role in any lawsuit or investigation following a shooting. Yet other customizations are much less likely to be noticed and if they are, they can be considered as additional safety measures.
For instance, a beveled magazine well on the 1911A1 acts as a sort of funnel where the mag is inserted, helping to guide the mag into the pistol for a faster reload under stress, which will result in safer shooting. Other examples of customizations that make the shooting environment safer include improving the magazine release or slide stop lever, adding new grips, or improving sights.
An old sports adage states that “the best defense is a good offense.” Tweaking your piece with a couple of customizations will bolster your confidence and make you a safer shooter. You can take that to court.