We recently ran a story about a cop who shot someone with an AR inscribed with the words “You’re F*cked.” A modification that was used against him in court. Responding to that incident, the Yankee Marshall advises against modifying your handgun’s trigger. “If you ever have to use that gun for self-defense and it’s a questionable shoot, a prosecutor could easily say ‘Maybe you didn’t intend to shoot them but you made your trigger so light you fired accidentally.'” Yes, well, I’m generally pro trigger modification . . .

Other than a handgun’s ergonomics (how it feels in your hand), the trigger is the key to user accuracy. A gun with a heavy, gritty and/or unpredictable trigger is difficult to shoot well. A handgun with a light, crisp, perfectly predictable trigger brings out the best of any shooter’s ability.

Think of it this way: you can play a lousy piano well. But a Steinway automatically ups your game.

So why wouldn’t you modify your handgun’s trigger to increase your shooting accuracy? Because you bought one with a Steinway-class trigger. The FNS-9c, Walther PPQ, SIG SAUER Legion, any Performance Center Smith & Wesson revolver and the Ruger LCR spring immediately to mind (so to speak). Why mess with perfection? Which reminds me . . .

While GLOCK detractors point out that Gaston’s gats don’t have a natural point of aim, the Austrian handgun’s trigger is the real “challenge.” So as not to antagonize firearms fanboys, let’s just say a GLOCK 19 with a Ghost trigger is a blessing whereas a stock GLOCK’s trigger-related accuracy issues can be a curse (especially if you’re a New York City police officer).

Again, you can master a less-than-wonderful trigger. Jessie Duff could outshoot me with a NYPD duty GLOCK, regardless of what handgun I had to hand. But if you want to improve your shooting accuracy and pleasure without trading in your gun, I say go for it. Modify your trigger. Lower the pull weight (if you like) and improve its function. Enjoy the extra accuracy — which could save your life.

That said . . .

If we’re talking about a handgun used for self-defense, the Yankee Marshall’s case against modifying your handgun’s trigger pull weight isn’t entirely wrong.

Under stress, blood flows away from your extremities towards you internal organs; you can’t “feel” your fingers as much. Or maybe even at all. Worse, under stress, most shooters “register” their handgun’s trigger (i.e. place their finger on the trigger before they intend to shoot). This is not an ideal combination.

If you think it’s impossible to trigger a gun before you consciously decide to fire, try switching straight from a standard GLOCK to a Walther PPQ. I’ve seen it happen lots of times: that surprised look of “Holy sh*it, the gun went off before I meant to shoot!” Once a shooter acclimatizes to the trigger, all is well.

The way to avoid that unfortunate occurrence: consider buying a gun with a DA/SA trigger (heavy initial trigger pull, followed by a lighter one). Alternatively, recognize the danger and train accordingly. I know of only one way to know you’ve got that sussed: force-on-force training. If you can keep your booger hook off the bang switch under that kind of stress, you’re good to stow.

As for a prosecutor suggesting that your modified, lighter trigger indicates a cavalier attitude towards human life or a lack of ballistic control, I’ve never heard it argued. More than that, as the Yankee Marshall rightly informs, a judge or jury examines the totality of circumstances surrounding a defensive gun use.

If you don’t have Molon Labe tattooed on your forehead or some other indication that you’re an irresponsibly hot-headed gun owner (e.g., “You’re F*cked” inscribed on the inside of you AR’s dust cover) , it would be hard for a prosecutor to argue that making your gun more accurate makes you a trigger-happy killer. Which, of course, you’re not.

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95 Responses to The Case for And Against Modifying Your Handgun’s Trigger

  1. Haven’t considered modified my carry guns trigger for this exact reason. Nor would I disable grip safety or anything else like that (is a 1911). Note that I don’t even want to change my trigger, it seems to work just fine as it is.

    I did put Magpul grips on it and added some grip tape on front strap and am thinking about changing sights – that’s all I would do.

  2. Some DAs in my area will use your address, your clothes, your car, your high school, your age, your wealth class, your gun and all its parts) in an effort to convince a jury you are an incompetent nincompoop at best, a raging vigilante at worst. If you go to trial, forget honor, forget justice, forget fair, forget understanding, forget everything other than the prosecution acts out of hate for gun owners. If you can afford a lawyer, get one with successful significant gun discharge and self-defense experience. Be prepared to go bankrupt hiring experts (BTW, not guilty but bankrupt is a successful outcome for the prosecution).

    • You have just made a powerful argument for investing in legal insurance for self defense. In my opinion, the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network is the best of them.

      • This actually makes a good case for getting the hell out of that place! No matter what insurance you have, a nasty piece of work prosecutor may decide to light you on fire. Many of these folks believe in treating any self defense no matter the situation with what might be described as punishment prosecution. Their excuse when they are done is something like “well, he did prove himself not guilty, in the end” and they will act like what they did to you was perfectly fine.

      • That is why I am a member of Texas Law Shield, I might be whizzing away $12 a month but if I do need a lawyer for any DGU (I hope that never happens) they will represent me free of charge for any and all criminal/civil actions related to said DGU. As they put it, and I believe them whole hearted: The police are not there to be your friend, they care nothing for fairness, justice and what is right, for them their job is to provide the prosecutor with enough evidence to get a conviction.

        • Good for you Scott! I’m also a member of Texas Law Shield. The updates on Texas gun laws and Seminars is worth the membership.

          Only handgun I’ve modified is a vintage SS 9mm Ruger SP101 , replaced spring to lessen double action from 15lbs to 10lbs. It’s a range gun, not an EDC. I carry Ruger LCR for conceal carry for self defense, The newer 22lr & 9mm LCRs have white stripe on a stock blade front sight, Ruger .38spl. has an XS standard dot Titanium front sight for bedside service, if ever needed. I have changed out grips on all my LCRs for better pinkie grip. More comfortable = more practice

    • Does anyone have a link to an actual case where trigger weight was used against someone in court, civil or criminal, beyond the wisdom that has been passed down through the ages from the gun gods?

      I mean, I’ve heard alot of “I know a guy” stories, and I know a few lawyers who advise against modifying the trigger for the standard reasons often given. But are there any actual examples?

      I ask this because I can’t find one with my Google Fu, which is pretty good after 20+ years in the IT business. And apparently neither could Mad Duo at BreachBangClear (http://www.breachbangclear.com/a-critical-look-at-trigger-pull-2/) in 2013 searching Westlaw and LexisNexis, neither of which I currently have access to in order to see if I could find anything since then.

      And I’m talking strictly about trigger modification here…not stupidity like “Smile and wait for the flash” on the barrel, or the aforementioned “you’re fucked” which would certainly be questionable.

      Anyone?

      • Here is something that does reference a couple of actual cases where trigger pull was introduced:
        https://www.armedcitizensnetwork.org/gun-modifications

        Given the lack apparent lack of care claimed by many posters on gun forums, the idea that a light(ened) trigger can spell doom even for a “good shoot”, prudence would seem to argue that a gun owner not blindly go about fiddling with a gun just because it can be fun.

        Depending of some sort of cosmic justice that will overrule gun owner smugness doesn’t seem like a winning strategy. Upshot? Know the mindset of law enforcement and the judges in whichever jurisdiction you live. Be prepared to answer for any act or act on a gun that can be construed as out of the ordinary for a “reasonable person” (remember, jurors are likely to not be tolerant of guns, believing a “reasonable person” would not have a gun, and would definitely not ‘fool with it’). If one plans to possess a firearm in a jurisdiction other than the one familiar with, you tread dangerous waters.

        Fiddle with your gun(s) all you want, who cares what you do to it? Just be prepared to deal with the issue in court.

        Oh yeah, in preparing for the civil trial following the criminal trial, be sure to inform your attorney of everything you did to make your gun more better.

  3. “Because you bought one with a Steinway-class trigger. The FNS-9c, Walther PPQ, SIG SAUER Legion, any Performance Center Smith & Wesson revolver and the Ruger LCR spring immediately to mind (so to speak). Why mess with perfection?”

    Why oh why are CZ’s always left off lists like this?

    • Some CZ factory triggers come out of the factory pretty good, others not so much. That said making a stock trigger almost excellent is not that hard with some polish and or upgrade parts.o
      My personal 75-b stainless has a 2.8# single action, 7.5 double with a very short reset. That trigger feels normal to me, but give it to someone who only shoots striker fired and they will have a few surprises until they get used to it.
      I don’t carry it as my ccw but wouldn’t hesitate to use it in the house.

  4. I’m not sure if the idea is valid or not, but I think it’s worth thinking about. Makes me wonder what a prosecutor would do with the prevalence of words like “tactical” or “combat” in the model names of some of the firearms out there. Probably try paint me as some sort of SpecOps wannabe who was looking for trouble. I’m very interested to see how the trial of the overly expressive cop turns out.

    • That ideology is along the same lines as higher insurance rates for a RED sports car. The thought that a specific cosmetic marketing ploy makes an object more desirable to do bad things with sounds like a sleazy lawyer’s dream. And, if we give them that inch, they’ll try to get the mile.

  5. “A modification that was used against him in court.”
    False.
    So far, it has been used by the “victim’s” lawyer in a public statement.
    We’ll have to wait to see if it’s ruled to be admissible in a court of law.

    • Even if it did come up in court, I think it could just as easily be argued that the “you’re f***ed” is directed at the shooter, not the recipient. As in “my dust cover says that because once the brass starts flying, I know that I’m in a serious situation and there’s a good chance something bad will happen to me (like a double feed, causing me to check the ejection port). Hence why it’s readable by myself, who is near the weapon, and not the recipient, who would never be in a position to read it.”

  6. Anything you do to improve your firearm a prosecutor can hold up in court and say you wanted to kill people. Makes a self defense case a little harder. Just my 2 cents worth.

    • The same prosecutor will say that carrying a weapon, any weapon, means you want to kill people.

      Take your argument to its logical conclusion, and it means you shouldn’t carry at all.

      Juries will do what juries will do. In the end, judged by twelve > carried by six.

  7. My carry Glock has a Ghost trigger connector.
    Immediately after installing it, my groups tightened up noticeably.
    If needed, I will swear under oath that accuracy improves the odds of hitting the threat and not innocent bystanders. It makes the gun safer.
    So help me God.

    • If it comes to a criminal trial you need an ‘expert’ to testify to that in your defense. Even a public defender will know better than to let you be cross examined by the DA over your ‘theories’ about firearms.

  8. This is exactly why I bought the Ruger LC9s Pro over the standard model. I didn’t like the magazine disconnect, but I don’t want my removal of it (which wouldn’t have been that hard) to be able to be used against me. As a small bonus, the Pro also lacks the manual safety.

  9. The second hand Glock gen 3 I bought that was a police turn in. Had some mods done to it by the police department that had it before me, what appears to be a first generation green New York trigger with a Ghost connector, the result is not light at 7.5 lbs but is very crisp for a Glock and has zero over travel. This was my primary carry gun until I bought my Walther PPQ which blows it away stock and unmodified. The only downside is the PPQ doesn’t have one of those nifty 33 round extended magazines you can get for the Glock.

  10. if you’re just that concerned about what a hypothetical prosecutor might use against you one day, you’re better off just not owning guns.

    • It’s not about what I think…I carry a no mod LC9 IWB an awful trigger (compared to my HK P2000), magazine safety and stupid chamber indicator, with standard rounds precisely because I live in CA. No prosecutor will leverage my gun or ammo in DGU.

      The only thing I will be convicted of is mastering my weapon. I shot over 2000 rounds and report shot placement and trigger control is enough to get the job done.

    • +10,000

      Good grief the degree of “worry” people invent or let others invent for them is just out of control.

  11. This issue is something I’m passionate about. My advice always is: don’t modify your carry gun!

    If you ever have to use your carry gun, and the police and prosecutors are looking at your gun, you want it to be a complete non-issue. “Nothing to see here. Move along.”

    No trigger jobs, aftermarket triggers or spring kits, no zombies, no skulls, no rebel flags, no Superman logos (yes, Yankee Marshal, I’m serious). Use brand name self defense ammo. No handloads, no zombie ammo, and definitely no G2 RIP ammo, or even Black Talon (if anyone still has that).

    Sights? Well, night sights, or fiber optic sights are fine. Generally, though, they should look like they belong on the gun. Grips? Find a carry gun that fits. If you just have to do anything, put some Talon grips or skateboard tape on it.

    If you have to shoot someone, you want to do everything you can to avoid giving the police and prosecutor even the slightest sliver of a reason to charge you with a crime. Make your gun a non-issue. “Generic” should describe your gun, holster and ammo.

    • I share this view as well. Modifying your gun for better control and manipulation is one thing: better sights, better grip, etc. that’s fine. Even modifying the trigger is fine as long as it’s not lighter than the factory trigger pull, but I would be wary about even that.

      One article I can recall cited a case of a self defense shooting of a man that used a revolver. He shot his attacker dead, he shot him between the eyes… only he didn’t mean to. He had lightened his trigger, and admitted to not meaning to pull the trigger at that moment. For that reason he was convicted (this was New York, after all) despite what would otherwise have been a justifiable self defense.

      For that reason it’s best to modify your carry gun as little as possible if at all. If you don’t like how your carry gun is from the factory I would advise you to get a new one. If you do modify it, make sure you can justify doing so to your attorney.

      • “admitted to not meaning to pull the trigger at that moment.”
        Seems like it’s not his gun that got him in trouble, it was his mouth.

    • “My advice always is: don’t modify your carry gun! “

      Who are you to give advice? Are you a lawyer with DGU trial experience? A cop (or former) with investigations/court experience?

      I’m the latter. And I call BS on this whole line of reasoning. Yes, it CAN come up…but any defense attorney worth his salt (which outnumbers the number of prosecutors worth a dang) will rip that whole line of reasoning to shreds. That’s my experience anyway.

      You people saying the prosecutor can do this and that seem to act like the prosecutor owns the courtroom. To that mindset I offer…Shapiro, Dershowitz, Cochrane, et al for defendant OJ Simpson as Exhibit A against…no argument is ever a ‘done deal.’

      What basis do you have to make such rigid claims?

  12. If you feel you have to make technical modifications to a carry gun perhaps you have chosen the wrong gun. Why would you buy a Glock and then run out and buy a trigger when you can get a Walters or Springfield that is ready to go right of the box? Because Glock? I think the Glock trigger sucks but it is still perfectly serviceable for self-defense unless it’s the NYPD trigger. If you want a competition ready trigger for your carry gun than just buy a reasonable priced 1911.

    The Yankee Marshal’s other point about putting childish decals or logos on your firearms is well taken. Shooting is an adult activity. Act like one.

    • Because Glock?
      Because there is no perfect gun.
      There is also no perfect gun for me on the shelf.
      If Walther or Springfield made perfect guns, no one would buy a Glock.
      (No question, Walther and Springfield make some darn fine guns.)
      There are more aftermarket companies making sights, holsters, magazine extensions and everything else you can think of for Glocks than any other brand. So if you want to buy a gun and make it perfect, you might want to start with a Glock.

      • You are not buying perfection; you are buying protection. The single most important attribute is will the gun perform its function out of the box. If it can’t do that to your satisfaction, then it is the wrong the gun to buy for a carry gun. A person who goes to his LGS picks up a Glock, loads the magazines, places one the gun and holsters it has purchased the right gun. Someone who buys a Glock and then feels that there are things wrong with it that need to be fixed did not buy the right the gun. If you are going to use the Glock in competition, then by all means get competition grade trigger. In a self-defense situation it won’t make any difference.

        • Excellent comment. The biggest thing firearms enthusiasts need to avoid is choosing their carry gun the same way they choose their shooting guns. It’s a tool for your protection. Do you know anyone who has trigger work done on their household fire extinguisher? (If you do, let me know, cuz I’d sure like to meet that guy).

          Here’s another way to look at this: think of a Smith & Wesson 642 revolver. Centennial. Airweight. Something like that. It’s double action only and has a long and heavy trigger pull, along with a snubnose barrel. If you’re shooting at someone in “self defense” who is far enough away that you’d have a hard time hitting him with a 642, you’ve very likely got a problem. Self defense shooting is most often done at “bad breath” distances.

          Your carry gun does not need a trigger like you’d find on a $3,000 Ed Brown 1911. If you can find a carry gun you like that has a stock trigger that you like, that’s a bonus. But don’t be modifying your carry gun trigger.

        • On the subject of triggers:
          Bill Geissele builds several triggers for AR-15s. He has a lengthy video during which he explains that the best trigger for long distance marksmanship is very different from the best trigger for combat. As fine motor skills degrade during an adrenaline dump, well, things change. So your point is well-taken, to an extent.

          I have shot some 1911s with very sweet triggers that I would never want to carry for defensive use. Still, it is possible to improve some triggers while keeping them perfectly suited for that role. Hint: It’s not just about pull weight.

  13. I was lucky to have local retired Judge do a part of my CCW class, and he made it very clear that modifying carry gun is a bad idea. His basic explanation was, that if you shoot in self defense and kill someone, because you had to protect your life, can be done legally, but if your statement to cops will be “I didn’t mean to shoot, gun just went off” is considered negligent homicide and carries a minimum prison sentence, regardless of the reason you had your gun out in the first place. I’m not a lawyer and just repeating what I heard to best of my recollection.

  14. I am perfectly happy with the DAO trigger in my Kahr–sure it was hard at first, but you get used to it pretty quickly. And I am happy with the 4 lb trigger on my 1911, even if I never carry it. I haven’t seen the FNX I bought my daughter for Christmas yet, by I understand that the DA pull is severe. She told me her firearms instructor couldn’t pull it, but then, despite being a retired Navy Seal, he is a Glock fanboy. The single action mode is very nice. So maybe it is like my (unshot for years now) Sig Mosquito–impossible DA, sloppy but light SA trigger.

    Personally, I think the story of the cop with the fancy dust cover is overblown. The words on it state a simple truth: if that cover is open (the only time you’d see the words) the gun is hot and ready to go, and if you are at the wrong end of that rifle, you are indeed good and truly F**cked.

  15. Damn, I just put in my SW MP9 the Apex trigger kit. And it is a big improvement.

    I guess I have to go back using my stock G26.

    • Wouldn’t it be a good thing if the Apex trigger (not familiar) provided better trigger control, like, if you had bad arthritis, or a damaged hand or something? I would want my attorney to know I had terrible control before, and now I was able to avoid possible unintended injury to bystanders. Not being a lawyer, I don’t know how he/she would get that into the testimony, but I sure would expect that somehow the jury would learn that without that new trigger, I would not have been able to defend myself.

  16. Glock makes several different connectors and striker springs that are “stock glock” parts. While you’re not going to get the same effect as a $200 drop in kit, anyone comfortable disassembling their pistol could modify the weight and characteristics of the trigger pull without delving into the realm of an “aftermarket” modification by swapping a few of these out, and it’d take a competent Glock armorer to determine the difference.

    I hear this discussion go round and round and round. There’s a pretty significant difference in implied attitude between a gun whose trigger is modified to make it more accurate, and a gun whose dust cover has been modified to say “you’re F****d” when the shooter starts firing.

  17. This is one of those cases where I would rather risk losing in court in order to save my life, the life of another person, and/or to prevent missing the threat and hitting an innocent. I can live with going to jail when I know it was the right thing to do. What I would find hard to live with is not making the modifications to my gun that would help me save a life or prevent a miss that injures another.

  18. You could point out that as a “civilian” if you draw your firearm, you have already met the conditions required to use lethal force. A LEO may draw their firearm many times without actually using it, for the rest of us this is called brandishing.

  19. I wonder if those 10 pound NYC triggers aided NYPD hitting bystanders (multiple instances) instead of the suspect? Just a thought.

  20. I have a hard time believing dropping in a trigger will get you in trouble. How do they know unless you volunteer that information? Even in Cook County,Illinois…I do agree about stupid decals.hats and tats…

  21. I don’t know why you would buy a gun as an EDC if you hated the trigger to begin with. Modifying parts on the firearm like removing factory safeties will not hurt you in a court case, with good precedent. The weapon is either legal or not, and it either was fired or it was not. The prosecution is just trying to demonize the officer. Having two words on your firearm doesn’t prove intent.

    • Stephen J., first off, yes it will hurt you in court. Second, it could very likely be the last straw that gets you IN court. Once you’re charged, even if you are acquitted your life as you’ve known it is gone forever. The idea is to not get charged in the first place. Having a really generic gun is a really, really good idea.

      • “Stephen J., first off, yes it will hurt you in court.”

        Case citations, please. Your fantasies don’t count.

        The reason this is so hotly debated is because it is SUPPOSED that it will cause problems, but generally doesn’t.

        Go ahead…provide case citations where this sort of thing is documented to have made the difference between acquittal and conviction…on the court record or in jury post-trial interviews either one.

        We’ll wait.

        Until then, shut up with the absolutist statements like it will cause problems, because you simply do not know…no matter how much smarter than the rest of us you think it makes you look.

        And yes, I’ve testified in quite a number of homicide cases…never seen anything even CLOSE to this come up in court. From my own experience thus mentioned, it’s a non-issue. Prove me wrong with actual evidence and we’ll talk…

  22. Swap for a better trigger, but not for a lighter trigger. Your defensive handgun should have, minimum a 4.5lb trigger (excepting SAO) to be sure to stay out of trouble.

  23. As a rule, I agree with everything that has been said above. I have been considering modifying a recently purchased M9A1 with some Wilson Combat and Beretta parts but I keep hesitating because this will become my EDC firearm.

    While I think most of the modifications would be perfectly innocent (single sided safety/decocket, oversized mag release, steel guide rod, steel trigger) I am hesitant to install a D spring. The D spring would make the trigger pull a much smoother affair and increase accuracy which could help avoid unintended consequences but I have always believed such things should not be changed on a carry gun. I still haven’t reached a final decision on the subject.

    • Caution is always prudent. Understanding the terrain is critical. Knowing your enemy’s capability is paramount. Risk/reward.

      Making a gun more efficient to operate is de facto admission you want to use it to shoot someone. A “reasonable person” would not want to shoot someone, and would not have a gun that would efficiently do so, just to give them that extra moment to decide if shooting is a good idea. Making a gun efficient is just the opposite. In the game of words, make sure your defense attorney is skilled and successful at defending lawful self-defense shootings.

      Never forget the adage, “If you want a gun, it is prima facie evidence you shouldn’t have one.”

  24. That is why I am a member of Texas Law Shield, I might be whizzing away $12 a month but if I do need a lawyer for any DGU (I hope that never happens) they will represent me free of charge for any and all criminal/civil actions related to said DGU. As they put it, and I believe them whole hearted: The police are not there to be your friend, they care nothing for fairness, justice and what is right, for them their job is to provide the prosecutor with enough evidence to get a conviction.

  25. All factory triggers are “modified” by the quality control tech at the end of the production. They are “adjusted” to be within a RATHER LARGE factory tolerance. That is what the Performance Center improves on. They “adjust” the trigger to another smaller set of tolerances. Sometimes they use a file, sometimes they use “different” parts. If the gunsmith is a pro, he should be able to defend his work. In fact, he should guarantee that he will be an expert witness for his customer at no additional cost. If you are concerned, hire a gunsmith who does lots of police work. Juries love the police.

  26. Ok, any trial lawyers here? Because when I think about this evidence of gun modification as proof that you wanted to kill someone, I can’t see how the prosecutor could overcome a Rule 404 (Federal Rules of Evidence) objection for improper character evidence.

    The way I see it, any decent defense attorney should be able to keep all that evidence out.

    *Full disclosure: I’m not a lawyer, but I’m a second year law school student focusing in trial advocacy.

    • You don’t want your client IN court. You don’t want your client charged. By the time you’re in trial, your client’s life is totally toast.
      Once you do get to court, the gun will be in evidence, along with testimony about any modifications done to it.
      Once you start doing trial work you will discover that many decisions made by the trial court do not necessarily go “by the book.” Just as anything can happen in a horse race, so it is in court. Appeals can take years, and even if you win, by that time your client is screwed.

      • “You don’t want your client IN court. You don’t want your client charged.”

        Wait…which is it? Is the argument that the prosecutor will use it against you in court or the mere act of getting charged?

        I see you don’t tell the guy “I’m a trial lawyer and I see this all the time.”

        I’ve been involved in numerous homicide investigations where SD was claimed. The decision to charge a suspect was made on this little thing called “totality of circumstances,” and quite franky I am trying to imagine a set of case fact that equate to “no homicide charge” without a trigger mod but with the trigger mod gets a charge.

        ” By the time you’re in trial, your client’s life is totally toast.”

        Huh? Histrionic much?

        “Once you do get to court, the gun will be in evidence,”

        But above you said you want to stop the thing at the point of being charged?

        “Once you start doing trial work…”

        Do you mean you do trial work and are speaking about this from experience? Or, are you speaking hypothetically according to how you think things are?

        “you will discover that many decisions made by the trial court do not necessarily go “by the book.”

        My experience is court is that there is not “book.” So, stop being melodramatic.

        What happens in court is both sides make arguments. In theory, the jury discerns “the fact” from the cases presented. Prosecutors try to make mountains out of molehills all the time. And defense attorneys try to shoot them down and make their own mountains out of molehills. The prosecution tries to shoot those down.

        At the end of the day, if you getting a bona fide gunsmith to make industry accepted mods to your trigger is an issue at trial and your defense attorney doesn’t rip that theory a “new one,” your attorney failed. There are simply 1000 ways to show that does not matter…

        What matters for SD is one simple thing: was the shooter, at the time of the shooting, in fear for his life or that of another innocent person. Period.

        A “good” defense lawyer will keep that focus and hopefully have the physical and other evidence to back that up.

        The dirty little secret no one claiming the trigger mods and decals matter wants to talk about is that every case where it comes up as “an issue” is a case landing in a huge grey area for other reasons.

        In other words…charging, going to trial and in some cases conviction was not about the decal or whatever…that was just “piling on” a bad set of facts. Or, provide case citations showing otherwise. I do know that Ayoob has been challenged many times to provide citations where handloads were the sole deciding factor in a case and he hasn’t done so. He did pull out two cases once, but neither fit the criterion.

        The cop story mentioned in the article, for example, has a whole bunch of other stuff wrong with it…he ain’t in legal jeopardy SOLELY because he had an etching on his dust cover.

        A righteous shoot is a righteous shoot. No prosecutor is going to turn a “good” DGU into a bad one because you have a sticker on your gun or whatever other fantasized “problem” comes up.

        • Thanks for the remarks JR. This is some silly histrionics on display. Where I live(Cook County,IL) I have never heard of any prosecutors going after “modified” guns. Only justified /not justified. And they’re pretty busy with gangbangers/ punks & 7year olds shooting themselves to death(like today).

        • Sir, in my part of the country, there are several municipalities very near one another. Gun ownership in two jurisdictions is anathema to the populations, but laws haven’t yet become draconian. Two DAs publicly announced (at different times) they will charge every SD shooter with a crime, and anything else they can come up with. Point being, “We want to send a message that gun ownership is not wanted here, and gun use will get you arrested and tried. Winning the case is not the goal, but bankrupting gun owners will discourage others”. (words to that effect, it has been about 3yrs since the statements).

    • OK, here’s some trial experience for you….first the objectionable characterization has to be put forward (never done pre-trial). Then the objection comes. Jury cannot “un-hear”. Defendant is not in the well of the court, not being examined/cross-examined. Objectionable statement is put to a witness of some sort. Defense is then reactionary. Secondly, opening and closing arguments cannot be objected to, they are not evidence. Character statements, supposition of state of mind and/or intent are all available to the prosecutor. When it comes to guns, expert witnesses will be asked questions in a way that the question and the answer will point to the conclusion you are the criminal, not the person who attacked you. Never, never forget that much criminal law is predicated on “reasonable”. Who decides “reasonable”? Jurors, no one else. In gun cases, jurors believe themselves to be the standard-issue “reasonable person”, and they would never own a gun, much less use one.

      Since you are second year, you may still presume the law is about right/wrong and justice. Not so. The law is about the law. Meaning, practicing law is about getting a desired result, nothing more.

      • Trust me, I’m no disillusioned snowflake. In some circumstances, the law is about right/wrong and justice. In the courtroom–and when preparing to go to the courtroom–the law is a tool, as are the rules of evidence and procedure.

        I understand the scenario you explained…but a pre-trial motion in limine to exclude any such character evidence under 404(b)(1) would preempt the whole problem. Further, if the prosecutor wants to use character evidence under 404(b)(2), it must provide notice before trial.

        But perhaps the lesson is to have your gun “stock” so as to avoid the whole issue and prevent a crooked prosecutor (or crooked judge) from admitting the evidence.

  27. I put Wilson Combat springs in both my GP100s including my EDC Wiley Clapp. I’m not too worried. The DA is still probably around 7-8# and probably 3.5# in SA. They’re a touch lighter than my Blackhawk in SA. It’s not a drastic reduction from stock though and I doubt any cop or DA would figure out the difference. Unless I thumb cock the hammer I shouldn’t have to worry about the ‘the gun just went off’ defense. And if I do thumb cock the hammer it will be completely intentional. Probably more worried about a DA trying to make an issue out of thumb cocking than the lighter springs, even if I do it to avoid injuring innocent bystanders. Most DAs aren’t gun guys.

    • Hey easy fix for your blackhawk. Take of the grips, youll see two dog legs on the return spring, hooked to a stud. Take one of them dog legs off that studd, big difference and it still makes INHMSA rules,its not after market. Worked for me in the 80s.i still have that firearm. Its a superblack hawk with 10 inch barrel. Lord knows how many rounds it seen, had a bit of throat errosion, but I cleaned that up with emory cloth on a drenel. The cylinder pin latch would work loose with heavy, locktite fixed that, filed the front sight down too a little, it was easier to sight at 200 yrd. That way, because my elevation screw would have to be run up so high it didnt have many threads in the hole. Ive also killed 8 deer with that gun, I like the 180 grain soft points for that, 7 clicks up from bottom, 240gr 11 for one hundred zero. I took off about 1/16 one the front sight. Dont kniw bout 357 this is in44 .

      • The Blackhawk is the anniversary .44 mag so it more or less the original flat top, 6 1/2″. I’ve heard of that trigger fix but it’s light enough for me as is. For the sights I put on a white nail polish stripe. For 180gr I line the bottom of the stripe with the top of the rear, with 240gr I use the top of the stripe, and with .44 special the top of the sight. Works pretty well for me and I don’t have to fiddle with the rear sight height.

  28. I must be one of the few that can’t hit the broad side of a friggin’ barn at 15′ with a Sig. They just don’t work for me. Had zero issues with a Glock or a Xd. Wound up with the Xd, did a little trigger job on it, good out way beyond reason with it.

  29. “A gun with a heavy, gritty and/or unpredictable trigger is difficult to shoot well.”

    It’s waay more accurate to say that a trigger you are not familiar with, is difficult to shoot well. Pushups are hard as well, until you’ve practiced them enough.

    For those who are competing at the top of their respective gun game class (or perhaps whose job description includes hostage rescue shots at 50 yards with a handgun), trigger work can make a difference. But to claim a stock Glock/Sig/CZ/HK/M&P/Ruger/Taurus/Bersa/Kahr/Revolver trigger is holding back one’s ability to defend oneself, is just, let’s say, silly. Building handguns aren’t exactly cutting edge rocket science anymore. No gun currently sold in the US, is some sort of unusable junk. Anything from an HiPoint on up (and probably quite a ways down), are perfectly fine if you just bother practicing with it.

  30. Why would you take this dick’s word on anything? The Yank-off Marshall reviews guns he’s never even shot so how what does that tell you about his opinions.

  31. Jessie Duff could outshoot me with a NYPD duty GLOCK …

    … and a hell of a lot better looking in the process.

  32. I am not an attorney but I do work for one regularly who is a big time criminal defense attorney who defends cops and civilians on shootings. Every DA and civil case, the issue of modifications comes up. He has been able to hold the bad guys at bay in nearly all of the cases. But you better be prepared to spend some big money if your shoot is anything but righteous. The civil side is far worse than the criminal side. BTW he is a former US AG prosecutor and always went after modifications when he was prosecuting. He carries an unmodified Glock.

  33. I get a hall monitor feel from this thread. I also have 10 dollars that says a crap ton of modded guns have been used in defensive situations and no one knew because the shooter kept his mouth shut.

    If you go with this line of reasoning why stop with gun mods? Why not ammo choice? To the uninformed (like the entire state of New Jersey) hollowpoints or +p ammo might seem like a big deal.

    And what about firearms choice? That can and has been used in court (Harold Fish case).

    Next someone is going to tell me not to use oil or grease because that could be used against me.

    As pointed out earlier the same people who would use this line of reasoning would challenge someone using a weapon at all. If you want to mod your gun, but are afraid to because of potential legal issues in a DG encounter, then you probably should not be using any gun ever for defense. Or post on a website like TTAK as that could be used against you in a court of law . . .

    If anything this thread is ammo for the argument to KEEP SILENT!

    • Ammo choice is important. I recommend to people that they use a good quality brand name hollow point self defense ammo.

      Do not use zombie ammo. Do not use something like G2 RIP that looks and sounds sinister.

      • I believe someone has already asked and you have not responded. But what evidence do you have to support your positions on gun modifications? Would be very helpful if you provided that.

  34. Do people really have that big a problem with Glock triggers? My gen 3 G19’s trigger feels fine, pretty similar to my XDS9’s other than the short striker loading stage at the beginning. It’s a little heavy, maybe 6.5lbs, but it breaks like glass. Been playing with springs trying to get my apexed M&P9 heavier.

  35. Perhaps the argument of stress = less control may not always be true.

    Having carried for decades…. once… a situation materialized so fast, it was a total adrenalin dump. During this approximately one minute event, of defending someone being attacked, I have never… EVER experienced this level of a hyper-sense of awareness. It was the exact opposite of not being in control and was like a state of extreme sense of awareness and focus on every detail of myself, the surroundings, and everything in between and beyond. Its amazing how fast our brains can process so many things in such a small moment in time. I’m not a trained soldier or anything like that, just a regular guy.

    now.. trying to recover 20 minutes later was a different story… shaking uncontrollably and nearly vomiting from the experience. LOL

    Anyone else have anything to add along these lines?

    • That’s the very same thing I experienced during rescues when I was a lifeguard: everything was incredibly sharp and clear, the relationships of everything around me obvious, and the time between heartbeats seemed like an eternity in which I could analyze and respond.

      Once, afterwards, after making sure the guy I’d hauled out of a wild current to safety on shore, I puked out my guts; another time I sat shaking so bad I literally could not stand.

      I never, ever want to have the same experience due to a DGU!

  36. Does anyone have any real evidence or case history of people who have been convicted or even whose case was impacted by use of a modified firearm for DGU? I would love to know because I haven’t found any. I modify all of my firearms to suit myself. Although, my carry piece only has a trigger polish job done.

  37. Got the trigger modified with an Apex kit on my M&P9 Shield. Did this because in Massachusetts, it is a standard 10.5 lb trigger pullby law…..which is ridiculous for a sub-compact handgun. Feel much safer with the lighter pull than the stock 10.5 lb.

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