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Ever heard of legal problems with modified guns?


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  • Ever heard of legal problems with modified guns?

    I'm only asking this because on another board I visit, there is a lot of paranoia about modifying a concealed carry gun from it's stock form. Their fear is that if you modify a gun from it's stock form, and need to use that gun in a self defense situation that they would get nailed to the cross for having a gun modified out of it's stock form.

    Now i'm not talking about modifying them for full auto, or anything crazy like that, but the other board I visit is based around Glocks, and since I am sure a lot of you shoot Glocks you probably know that some 3 of the most common modifications to these weapons are as follows:

    1. Replacing the factory connector with a 3.5lb connector, which lowers the trigger pull from 5.5lbs to a little bit under 4.5lbs (not 3.5lbs as you would think).

    2. Replacing the factory serrated trigger that come on the compact and sub compact Glocks with a smooth trigger that comes on the large frame Glocks.

    3. The 3rd modification that is done is a procedure best known as the .25 cent trigger job (look for it on youtube if you haven't heard of it), which involves polishing the trigger bar, connector, firing pin, and firing pin safety. This is an extremely easy procedure that, if done correctly, really cleans up the mushy feel in the stock Glock trigger, and (according to my trigger pull gauge) is usually good lowering the trigger pull about 1/2lb.

    Right now I have a Glock 27 that I have put a connector in and done a .25 cent trigger job on, and the trigger breaks clean and smooth and pulls at just a hair under 4lbs.

    So, to my question...has anyone here heard about someone using a firearm that was modified from it's factory setup in a self defense situation, and get nailed to the cross because of the improvements they made to their firearm?

    Personally I don't see how they could nail someone to the cross over it, because a good shoot is a good shoot. However there are a few guys on the other board that seem to be armchair lawyers and swear that using a modified gun to end a life threatening situation will result in prison time. I know a lot of shooters trick out their 1911's to enhance their characteristics or make them more reliable for every day carry, or simply trick any gun out to make it look and/or feel better with custom engraving, stippling jobs, grip reductions or lasers, etc.

    Any advice would be helpful.

    Edited to add that the connector and trigger can both be purchased using factory Glock parts. Although I personally use the Ghose 3.5lb connector.
    Last edited by Contact; 09-10-2009, 10:38 AM.
    A true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.

    -GK Chesterton

  • #2
    Far too many people who don't know what they're talking about worry about things that only happen in their imagination.
    183 FBINA


    • #3
      Originally posted by ISPCAPT
      Far too many people who don't know what they're talking about worry about things that only happen in their imagination.
      X-2, with an additional thought(s). The modifications you reference, if done at all, should be done only by a qualified Armorer or Gunsmith. While there would probably be no criminal liability with regard to your "modifications", there is the potential for all kinds of malfunctions with the weapon. Additionally, there's a good chance, any warranties on the weapon could be voided. It's true, modifications are made to weapons routinely. Once more though, they should only be attempted by qualified personell.


      • #4
        I have heard of lawyers in civil cases going after a person (in a good shooting) & trying to prove the shooting was premeditatede after the lawyer found the gun was modified for quicker or more efficient deployment (night sites, shotrened grip) or even based on the ammo or name (i.e. "bodyguard", Defender", whatever) of the gun. The argument went something like this : the shooter knew the purpose of the gun or ammo was more lethal than necessary based on type or name (whatever that means) so he didn't plan to STOP his assailant but actually intended to kill him.
        I can't recall it ever actually working, but who needs the extra hassle in a civil trial?


        • #5
          I can't speak to private/personal-defense/CCW matters in this regards, but for police officers using either an issued or "department-approved weapon" they set themselves up to be cut loose and on their own in a civil matter, should their department choose to severe ties because they altered a weapon....if the shooting looked bad to begin with. But, as has been said, do I know for sure it happened anywhere, no.

          However,a few years ago, many LAPD officers were taken by surprise when we were all ordered down to the armory to have our weapons examined for modifications like trigger-jobs, etc. We're told when they issue the weapon, or approve it before we carry it, "Do not do a thing to this weapon, leave it as it is, or face discipline!"
          "You're never fully dressed without a smile."

          Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

          Three things I know for sure: (1) No bad deed goes unrewarded, (2) No good deed goes unpunished, and (3) It is entirely possible to push the most devoted, loyal and caring person beyond the point where they no longer give a 5h!t.


          • #6
            Civil attorneys can try to bring up the type of underwear you had on, doesn't mean its going to change a good shoot to a bad shoot. You may be giving some ammo to the civil attorney in a wrongful death lawsuit, but if that's all they've got to go on they're covering their weak case. Its the equivalent of "did you Mirandize my client before you took his photos, officer?" Sounds good, totally meaningless.

            Criminally, its immaterial. If you use a $5000 custom race gun or a cap and ball doesn't affect your justification.
            I miss you, Dave.


            • #7
              As long as it's a good shoot. Accidentally hit a bystander and they will hang you with those modifications...if they don't hang you anyway.
              “Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves. What is equally true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on.” - Robert F. Kennedy.


              • #8
                The only time I could see a case where you could be up a creek is with a lightened trigger pull and you suffered a negligent discharge.
                Today's Quote:

                "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."
                Albert Einstein


                • #9
                  In the 30+ years that I have been hearing this, NO ONE has been able to produce a court case where this was a factor. I carried modified or custom guns for all but the first 2 years of my career.
                  As I used to teach, if it's a good shoot (per your report and witnesses), using a modified gun and oddball ammo does not matter. If it's a bad shoot, having used your issued gun/ammo, with your entire chain of command standing there telling you to "shoot him" is not going to help.

                  In fact, I recall the article that started this myth, written by a self-appointed "expert" who makes most of his living as an 'expert witness'. He was just scaring people into putting him on retainer "just in case".
                  BTW, in my wrongful death suit, they tried to make an issue of the make, model, and color of the truck I drove! It did not help them.
                  "A man who has nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the existing of better men than himself."
                  John Stuart Mill


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