Let me guess: you own a GLOCK-brand GLOCK. Or maybe you bought a similar semi, like a Springfield XD, Smith & Wesson M&P, FN FNS-9, H&K VP9, Walther PPQ M2, Taurus Millennium G2, SIG SAUER P320, Kahr P45 or Hi-Point 9MM (chef don’t judge). Now you want to make your gun better. Here are the three best ways to do that . . .
1. Replacement Trigger
If you like your trigger, you can keep your trigger. Some of the guns listed above (e.g. the Walther and FN pistols) need a trigger job like Michal Idan needs to go on a diet. But there’s no question that a great trigger can transform an OK gun into a most excellent firearm.
The new modular handguns developed for the U.S. Army make trigger replacement the firearms equivalent of Close ‘N Play (ask your father). Whether it’s DIY or a gunsmith deal, a trigger upgrade really is worth the time and money.
Oh and about that “they’ll use the fact that you shot someone with a lighter trigger (or some other mod) against you in court.” Never seen it. But I have read stories about good people who lost a gunfight. ‘Nuff said?
2. Night sights
Many if not most violent attacks happen in low-light situations. If you use your gun for self-defense and it didn’t come with night sights, swap ’em out.
As the old expression goes, every bullet comes with a lawyer attached. Simply put, you can’t afford to miss your target. While point shooting is a thing, it’s not the best thing. The best thing: use your sights. Which you can’t use if you can’t see them (d’oh!).
There’s a huge selection of night sights in all the usual configurations available for all commonly available pistols, some from the original manufacturers, some from aftermarket suppliers.
If you’re going to change the type of handgun sights on your gun (e.g., from three-dot to JWT’s fave Heinie), rent a gun with the new set-up to make sure you’re comfortable with a different configuration. When you get your new sights, zero your gun — even if a gunsmith has to do the work.
I ‘m not a huge fan of lasers for handgun self-defense. I know: a laser is ideal for unconventional shooting positions (i.e. when you’re knocked flat on your ass), it helps you to focus on the threat, and it’s a ballistic boon in low-light situations.
I’m not going to debate the real-world pro’s and cons here. The reason I’m pro-laser is simple: training.
Shooting your gun with an onboard laser is an excellent way to master trigger control, grip and recoil management. You learn how to keep the gun steady to shoot what you’re aiming at.
Which is why I recommend a rail-mounted laser over a grip-mounted laser. You can take it off when you’re done training. Is that a modification? A temporary one, but one that can save your life.
There’s plenty of other ways to mod your handgun, from simple grip tape to improved barrels to lights and red dot optics. Most modern handguns don’t need modification; they work just fine without them. But there are very few handguns that wouldn’t benefit from some customization. As always, YMMV.