I know a lot of us like to customize our guns. I haven’t bought a gun I didn’t add something to. And if I did buy one and leave it stock, the odds are that gun won’t last long. I know I’ll keep it if I do something to it to make it mine. It just gives me that personal touch that says “This is mine, I made it so.” But it’s possible to take that too far. Some things you might do in the name of convenience can actually end up doing more harm than good. Now the race gun in the video obviously isn’t going to get picked as an every day carry weapon by very many people unless they live in a steel target shoot house but even some of the small things you do to a gun can ruin an otherwise functional workhorse.
A little customization can make a gun a lot more shootable and that’s always a good thing. My favorite carry piece is my first weapon, a Glock 23. I bought it just after my 21st birthday and have at least looked at almost single aspect of the gun and considered if an aftermarket part might be a better option.
Currently it wears Trijicon Bright and Tough night sights, an extended slide stop and takedown levers, a brass plug in the butt, a 3.5lb trigger connector, a Wolff trigger springand a .357 Sig barrel stainless steel guide rod and an increased strength recoil spring of 20lbs over the factory 18lbs for all 9mm/.40S&W/.357Sig Glock compact models. The gun’s my baby and for all I’ve done to it, I find it performs flawlessly and much more ergonomically for me. But that wasn’t always the case. I had a couple bad calls as far as changes that I ended up regretting.
The first thing I did as a new shooter was complain that the gun wasn’t accurate. Obviously this wasn’t the case but I attacked the most obvious thing to me at the time, the trigger. I went in for the 3.5 pounder and loved it. I also bought an overtravel stop.
My gunsmith, a certified Glock armorer and long-time fan of the product line, (this was our first meeting) warned me about the overtravel stop. He told me that since it’s made of aluminum, it would affect the ability of the part to remain stable and that it wasn’t a simple drop in part.
He has a stance about any aftermarket part that requires a lot of fitting: ditch it. And he let me know that beforehand. His major concern was that the screw holding it in place would work itself out and the part would end up loose in the gun. He mitigated this with Quick-Tite on the screw and offered to remove the part for free if it gave me trouble.
I took the gun to the range, loved the new lighter trigger, figured it was a spectacular thing and called it a day. My next shooting session a few weeks later was the same…all the way up until the closing minutes.
I was clearing the weapon and upon releasing the slide, the trigger refused to reset. I figured it was a one-time error and racked it again. Still nothing. I panicked. I mean I had just bought the gun and now it’s broken so what did I do? Where was that Glock “perfection?”
I racked it again and was about to strip it when a part fell out. Sure enough, the overtravel stop had worked its way out of the weapon and kept the trigger from resetting. Charging it again, it seemed fine but better safe than sorry. I had it checked out the next day and fortunately nothing else was amiss. The moral: be leery of aftermarket parts that adjust or change the way the gun was designed to operate.
Since then I’ve tried the +2 magazine floor pad and tossed it for reliability issues. Then I tried the magazine finger extension and found I didn’t really need it. I did some trial and error with recoil springs a few years back and got some failures to feed until I settled on the weight I have now that works with both .40 and .357 (I have a stock 18lb spring for my 9mm conversion barrel).
Just today I had the extended magazine release I’d installed earlier removed; the button kept engaging every time I set it on a table and reached for it so the mag would be hanging out or drop free when I went to holster it. I let that issue slide for about…5 years (may as well be truthful) and it was today that I finally realized that I wasn’t carrying it nearly as often simply because I was worried about the release button accidentally engaging.
Through all this time, I’d bought other guns I was comfortable with carrying and didn’t give it much thought. But none of them were weapons I really wanted to replace the G23 as my EDC choice. Today I realized what was happening and felt it was a crying shame but part of me prided myself on replacing almost every stock part.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is where I went wrong. All of that over-customization – in most cases – isn’t a great idea for an EDC weapon. Flash, panache and bragging rights need to take second place to ease of use, carriage, and reliability. I’ve more than doubled the cost of the weapon in the amount of do-dads I’ve put on it but the bad guy won’t know that and certainly doesn’t care. I finally took that to heart today when I picked up one of my other weapons I hadn’t done anything to and realized it was more trustworthy than the Glock I’d put all of that work into. Which defeated the entire purpose of customizing in the first place.
Lesson learned. The expensive way.