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Old January 23, 2022, 05:09 AM   #1
Brit
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Modify/Or not?

In discussions with fellow shooters, over many years, the question of the advantage, or not of changing your new unmodified pistol, with modification, re the advantage, disadvantage in its view in a court case, after a fatal self-defence shooting.
My modifications with IDPA Mods was to gain an advantage in matches, but not alter my Glock 19-4th gen pistol to disqualify the pistol. And to make the pistol more the combat weapon in a Gun Fight!
First an absolute must. Night sights, steel construction tritigen inserts, to be much more visible in poor light. The factory plastic sights are pretty much useless in this regard.
As a right-handed shooter, the magazine release dug into my second finger, a slice off with a shark knife, fixed. A little polish here and there in the internals, nothing drastic, reduced the trigger pull from 10 pounds to 4 lbs. Replace the horrible lined trigger with a smooth-faced one.
(Should be a factory job!) and finally, the smallest butt plug is a visible advantage and helps in magazine changes. Sorry forgot the Glock factory purchased extended slide release, a must for smoother magazine releases.
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Old January 23, 2022, 08:11 AM   #2
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Never saw much sense in modifying pistols, other than adding a light or night sights. With as many great gun choices as we have these days, I should be able to buy the gun I want and shoot it without needing to modify it.
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Old January 23, 2022, 11:59 AM   #3
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Respectfully, Brit, having opened your post by mentioning the potential legal liabilities of carrying a modified pistol, you then omit any discussion of that question in the rest of your post.

Personally, I am risk averse. For example: I own an Argentinian FM Hi-Power. Like the originals (the FM is a license-built copy), it has a magazine safety. I would love to remove the magazine safety so I could try the Hi-Power in IDPA. However, there's always a chance (a very small chance, but a chance) that I might carry that pistol some day, or use it in a home defense situation. I would not want an anti-gun prosecutor (of which there are many, since I live in an anti-gun state) to tell a jury that I removed a factory safety device to make my pistol "more deadly."

This is why I am interested in the Springfield P-35: no magazine safety from the factory.

This debate will never be "won," IMHO, because there is no right answer. Each person who carries a firearm or keeps one in his or her home for self-defense has to decide how tolerant they are to risk.
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Old January 23, 2022, 05:38 PM   #4
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One of my favorite self defense pistols is a Colt Combat Commander chambered to the .45 ACP. For all practical purposes the gun is strictly stock with two exceptions. One, the throat and feed ramp have been polished to insure better feeding with all types of ammo and two, the short tang factory grip safety has been replaced with a Colt beavertail safety. I got tired if the hammer digging holes in the web of my hand. Yes, I have the scar to prove it. The gun still need a better set of sights, but if I never get them changed over it won't be all that big a deal.
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Old January 23, 2022, 06:03 PM   #5
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I am also risk averse, and I tend to shy away from modifying a pistol in certain ways. Things that I don't think will be seen as a "making it more deadly" thing by anti-gun prosecutors.

I put a bobbed hammer on my carry pistol to reduce snagging, but I did not fiddle with safeties of any sort. Have also polished the feed ramp to make it a much less picky eater. It has tritium night sights and positively functioning grip and thumb safeties.

OP, I also weigh those options depending on what the intended purpose of the pistol is. My target pistol/safe queen?? Heavily modified. New barrel, new grip safety, internal guts, grips, hammer, magazines, etc. The whole kit and kaboodle.

Nightstand gun? Fed with a full magazine and put there in case.
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Old January 24, 2022, 10:18 AM   #6
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I think mods to a gun, making it more accurate and/or more reliable, show a sense of responsibility; I want maximum control over any bullet I'm required to launch.
At the same time, fitting your self-defense pistol with Punisher grips, or engraving your AR with Let God Sort It Out, is probably not a good idea.
As long as there is no question that a self-defense shooting was justified, mods shouldn't matter, but it is popular to claim justified shooters were reckless or unintentional, and then you might face a claim that your "hair trigger", less than half the pull weight of a stock gun(!), contributed to your unintentional discharge!
You couldn't even clearly see the deceased in the near total darkness, but your tritium sights allowed to easily kill him!
A guy in California, some years ago, did suffer in court for having used an extra-deadly 10mm, rather than something more friendly, apparently, but I don't think it was a problem in isolation, but claimed to be part of a pattern.
Anything can be claimed, but being a rational person, acting responsibly, is going to be the best defense.
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Old January 24, 2022, 11:04 AM   #7
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The lawyers can explain the concepts of "reasonable man" tests in the legal system.

That said, in a package of sufficient training bringing about proficiency and a sufficient level of threat, one can not make a lethal weapon more lethal by modification to be more conducive to the owner.

The gun community tends to hang on things in the weeds (off the road and in the ditch) instead of focusing on those things that matter. Lots of regular training with the gun you shoot the best. Getting off the X when you need to and actually, avoiding those circumstances which may tend to put you in harms way.

I can reasonably articulate, in a narrow hypothetical, that the use of night sights diminished the ability of the shooter to ID the threat properly. If the night sights were not there, the shooter would have seen it was a phone in the perceived threat's hands, not a gun. Furthermore, since SD shooters don't recall even seeing their sights, the use of night sights offered no tactical benefit, and only diminished the ability of the shooter's eyes to see the fine details of the perceived threat. THIS IS A HYPOTHETICAL LACED WITH HYPERBOLE!

Mods need to follow reasonableness. Do they compromise safety or reliability? If not, do they make the firearm better suited to the owner and enhance their ability to shoot it fast and accurately? If those can be affirmed, then there is NO legal jeopardy. I have stated such in actual cases in which I was a retained expert and frankly, it was not challenged.

Most LEO or civilian shootings I work on professionally come down to two questions. 1. Did the shooter act in a manner to protect himself from a threat? 2. Was what the shooter believed was a threat actually a threat when they fired? Do I still examine the casings, bullet path, bullets, guns and all that? Yes, of course. But most of my time is spent evaluating the information available to the shooter up until the time they pulled the trigger, and in a few cases, subsequent trigger pulls.

Remember the 4 Laws of Gun Safety. 1. All guns are always loaded. 2. Never point a firearm at anything you are not prepared to destroy. 3. Be sure of your target and beyond. 4. Keep your finger off the trigger until you want to shoot (your sights are on the target). Follow those 4 laws and you will be good.
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Old January 24, 2022, 01:02 PM   #8
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I can see things like sights or ambidextrous safety and in some cases even grips, not nothing razzle dazzle like springs or new barrels (unless the old one was worn).
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Old January 24, 2022, 02:06 PM   #9
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I view every potential modification on a sliding scale of risk vs. reward. Night sights, IMO, pose little additional legal risk, while having a (potentially) large reward. By contrast, having the slide engraved to say "Kill 'em all and let God sort them out" poses substantial additional legal risk, while offering little if any reward.
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Old January 24, 2022, 03:49 PM   #10
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Some time back I asked a similar question. The tread went several pages,with a lot of serious,useful input.
In the past I have generally started with a frame,or a basket case,a used gun,or something like a Philipine 1911.

Then I make it "mine". The mainspring housing that work for me.(Arched compromises the grip safety for me..Has to be straight,and checkered)

I make them feed empty brass from the mag.

Slide stop will likely be a "Bulletproof". I install a Trijicon front sight. I'm OK- with a NM U-notch 10-8 or Harrison rear.

Whether Cylinder and Slide, EGW, etc I install a "Duty and Carry" matched fire control set.
I prefer to install them untouched. If I have to adjust something,I have a Marvel sear jig and a Browne and Sharpe toolmaker microscope.
Generally,any trigger parts mods is followed by fitting a new Colt thumb safety..For mysef,"Duty and Carry"means a 4 lb minimum pull,measured.
And,of course,a range test for safety.
Oh,and I have and use the tools for proper frame modification to install a beavertail.

I have faith in my work. I do not have an FFL and I do not take in any work.I have no customers. I will recommend a local professional gunsmith.

All that said, I have set my Milt Sparks SummerSpecial and my Commander Clone Aside for in favor of a S+W M+P 9C .First gen. One problem. My LGS ordered it for me. I got the one that came. My trigger pull gauge would not read high enough to measure the pull. Off the scale.
The trigger would lift an unopened 8 lb can of powder. It would not quite lift a Garand. HMMM. This M+P 9C has a thumb safety. What to do?
I ordered and installed an APEX Duty and Carry kit. All good,and over 4 lbs.

But over time...I had a nagging feeling to re-install the original the original S+W parts back to box stock. They DO wear in, the trigger gets better from use.

Two events occured. I watched the Rittenhouse trial. Enough said.

And,S+W came out with the Shield Plus. I bought one. IMO,its a sweet spot in EDC design. I will put Tritium sights on it. I intend it will remain otherwise box stock.
I would prefer to have an Apex aluminum trigger shoe. Just the shoe. Trigger pull is fine stock. But,I think it will remain box stock.

Its more comforable to carry an unmodified pistol.

However...if a crisis demanded it, I'd still defend my life with any of my "Modified" 1911's, even if the rounds in the mag were (gasp) home cast 200 gr wheelweight SWC hand loads. It might be what is at hand.

Intent?? I have no "intent" to shoot anyone. If I'm attacked and defending my life, I'll use my teeth, a cane,a Bowie Knife, any handgun, a glass of 151 rum and a BIC lighter..My Garand,or my Krag..or my Ruger SBH..When the dust settles,if I'm ALIVE, We'll work out the details. I might get screwed. Or not.

My EDC is a box stock ShieldPlus with factory loads. That states my "Intent"

The best laid plans of mice and men...
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Old January 24, 2022, 05:00 PM   #11
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If I'm ever on a jury in a case like this and somebody says "more lethal" or "more deadly" there's a good chance I'd roll my eyes, hang my head and some kind of expletive like "OMG!!!", or "Geeez!!!" would escape my lips and I'd probably find out whether or not a judge can put a jury member in the slammer for contempt of court.

Now that I think about it, could a judge jail a jury member? I suspect he'd have to do something to them.
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Old January 25, 2022, 12:53 AM   #12
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while I'm no legal expert, I think the judge can find anyone in the courtroom in contempt, if they feel the behavior warrants it.

Also, I am curious about the claims, particularly the "easier to shoot" being "more deadly" and such tripe.

If you are in court, and your claim is self defense, doesn't that involve admitting that you intended to shoot someone and did shoot someome and that is was justified due to .....

Now, I can see a case where you are in court due to an accidental shooting, and in that case, modifications to the trigger/safety etc. could be an issue, but I don't see how they could be an issue in a self defense case.

And, just for the record, I refuse to call the magazine disconnector a "safety" because, it isn't one.
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Old January 25, 2022, 08:04 AM   #13
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....If you are in court, and your claim is self defense, doesn't that involve admitting that you intended to shoot someone and did shoot someome and that is was justified due to .....

Now, I can see a case where you are in court due to an accidental shooting, and in that case, modifications to the trigger/safety etc. could be an issue, but I don't see how they could be an issue in a self defense case.
Yes. If you claim SD, you effectively have to say that "I intentionally shot him, but I had a really good reason."

Negligent or accidental shootings are a different kettle of fish altogether, and most lawyers will wait until the criminal case is resolved before pursuing the civil case. That's due to 5th Amendment issues, primarily.
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Old January 25, 2022, 09:06 AM   #14
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Having spent 5 years, 1960 to 1965, as a Doorman (Bouncer) on Liverpool UK Night Clubs, never was punched, but stabbed twice! I am very happy with using my fists, feet, whatever to fight with.
Now as a legal resident of Florida, I carry a Glock 19 4th Gen 9mm pistol, every day.
That does not mean I have not used my fists/feet a time or two, since leaving the UK to settle arguments! No, I am not a trained martial artist. But definitely have fast hands.

A right cross, to the point of the jaw, nearly always lights out! And a straight left to the nose! Tough to recover from a broken, blood flowing nose.
Must say at 86 years of age, never go anywhere without my very lovely 5ft 2" Wife. And my focus is on the well being of that Lady.
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Old January 25, 2022, 11:03 AM   #15
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As a right-handed shooter, the magazine release dug into my second finger, a slice off with a shark knife, fixed.
I think I'd get a different gun before I'd cut my finger off.
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Old January 27, 2022, 03:35 PM   #16
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I think I'd get a different gun before I'd cut my finger off.
Well (Just the wee sharp piece of plastic!) that was digging into my second finger! That was an error. Sharp, not shark.

The average Lawyer (Or rather Crown Attorney I met in Court in Canada.) had no idea about Firearms or ammunition whatsoever. For instancourt room, to his Mothers arms. being quite surprised that the whole cartridge, did not all fly out of the cylinder! On discharge. That did not come out in Court. But rather in a conversation, I had with him.

The biggest self-defence case in 300 years, was in which the presiding judge told the accused young man, he was free to go! And he walked across the floor of the court, and out of the door! To his mother. The Jail Officers wanted to take him back to the Don Jail.
to obtain the suit he had borrowed back, I believe.!

"You are free to go"
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Old January 27, 2022, 04:47 PM   #17
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It never ceases to amuse or perplex me. Excuse my cynicism for a moment, please.

People say it's a carry gun just for self defense, and then they try to dress it up like something out of a Steven Seagal movie. Night sights (I have no idea what tritigen is), extended safety, extended magazine release, extended slide release . . . Wow, just wow. You'd think you were going to a gunfight with a drug cartel.

Look at the data. The FBI says that the average self-defense shooting occurs at less than 10 feet, and involves fewer than 3 shot fired, and fewer than 1 hit. Why? Because that's the statistics, that's the typical outcome. Once the first shot is fired, somebody usually beats feet.

So, at 10 feet, I would bet money you are not using the sights, so night sights will make absolutely no difference. If your situation unfolds according to the usual description of events, you will fire 3 shots, so you will not need a high-capacity magazine, or an extended mag latch, or even an extended slide stop. It's not a TV show!

My carry pistol has factory night sights, a 15-round magazine, and a flat slide release. When I bought my holster, a friend asked what kind of mag pouch I was going to get. Nothing, I said, I won't need it. People have been carrying revolvers for decades, with the same results: less than 10 feet, fewer than 3 rounds fired. But you have 3 mags, he says. I won't need them. I won't!

I have watched new IPSC/IDPA shooters when shooting a timed drill, and I am betting most shootings go down just like that. People forget to use the sights when they think they are under time pressure, and a SD shooting has the most time pressure. A friend of mine who was a detective said that in a lot of shootings the shooter didn't even know where they had shot, they just popped one off and the BG ran off so they were done and just walked around in an adrenaline fog until the cops showed up.

Long way to say "add anything you want, but it won't make a difference in a SD situation".
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Old January 27, 2022, 05:58 PM   #18
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The problem with averages is that they're always a 50/50 thing. Either you are in a situation where the average apples, or you aren't.

And if you're ready for the "average" what happens when you're not in an "average" situation??

As far as the FBI and "averages" goes, do remember that by the averages, half the people at the FBI are under average intelligence.

And, by the same rules, half are over average intelligence.

Based on what they say and do, which half do you think is writing their conclusions??

Now, I don't see the point in putting all the "racegun" accessories on a carry gun, but if it makes you better using it, what's the harm??

if it doesn't, and is merely a snag producing affectation of your ego, then there would be some potential for harm.

Your gun, your butt, your choice ....
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Old January 27, 2022, 06:14 PM   #19
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The problem with averages is that they're always a 50/50 thing.
Statistics have very little to do with averages. Think normal curve (bell curve). And the chances of being outside the +/- 3 SD is extremely low.
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Old January 27, 2022, 07:01 PM   #20
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It never ceases to amuse or perplex me. Excuse my cynicism for a moment, please.

People say it's a carry gun just for self defense, and then they try to dress it up like something out of a Steven Seagal movie. Night sights (I have no idea what tritigen is), extended safety, extended magazine release, extended slide release . . . Wow, just wow. You'd think you were going to a gunfight with a drug cartel.

Look at the data. The FBI says that the average self-defense shooting occurs at less than 10 feet, and involves fewer than 3 shot fired, and fewer than 1 hit. Why? Because that's the statistics, that's the typical outcome. Once the first shot is fired, somebody usually beats feet.

So, at 10 feet, I would bet money you are not using the sights, so night sights will make absolutely no difference. If your situation unfolds according to the usual description of events, you will fire 3 shots, so you will not need a high-capacity magazine, or an extended mag latch, or even an extended slide stop. It's not a TV show!

My carry pistol has factory night sights, a 15-round magazine, and a flat slide release. When I bought my holster, a friend asked what kind of mag pouch I was going to get. Nothing, I said, I won't need it. People have been carrying revolvers for decades, with the same results: less than 10 feet, fewer than 3 rounds fired. But you have 3 mags, he says. I won't need them. I won't!

I have watched new IPSC/IDPA shooters when shooting a timed drill, and I am betting most shootings go down just like that. People forget to use the sights when they think they are under time pressure, and a SD shooting has the most time pressure. A friend of mine who was a detective said that in a lot of shootings the shooter didn't even know where they had shot, they just popped one off and the BG ran off so they were done and just walked around in an adrenaline fog until the cops showed up.

Long way to say "add anything you want, but it won't make a difference in a SD situation".
That is not cynicism...that is (for the vast majority) just the truth. If I were to want to pile on, I'd add that caliber does not matter in the vast majority of cases either.

When I teach my CCW course, there are a few things I will do to students. One is to load a magazine for them with only 2 cartridges. Let them load it in their pistol to start a new drill (yes, most don't realize it is not full) and then give them a 6 shot drill. Most, when they try to fire the third round lower the gun, look at it, look at me, smile sheepishly. "I thought we were training!" They of course agree..."Then you just trained to die." Yes, hyperbole, but it makes the point.
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Old January 27, 2022, 09:28 PM   #21
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Two topics.
As I stated earlier, I have currently chosen a box stock Shield Plus for EDC.
no bells and whistles.
In the past, I was of the 1911 school . I,personally prefer them lean and clean,respecting JMB's genius.
I prefer the critical parts be of the same quality as the $2000 plus custom guns.
I might use the same slide stop or link or grip safety as Wilson uses. Upon occasion,I bought 2 or 3 till I was satisfied I got it right.
I need certain parts to suit my hand, so I do not get hammer bit and so the grip safety functions right.
If a Philippine part looks Harbor Freight/low bid, I don't fret about it,I replace it. I use tested,high quality magazines,too.

But I do not add skateboards or gas pedals or a big adjustable sights to a carry gun. And I agree with a 4 lb + carry trigger pull.

Second topic, I agree with all the practical wisdom regarding the "typical" SD scenario.
Except for: When the guy entered the New Life Church in Colorado Springs,Col in 2007 ,killing people with an AR-15.
Or another incident where an older Gentleman with a handgun took out a mass murderer in a Church.
Sometimes you need to be able to quickly hit a canteloupe size target at 40 or 50 feet. David and Goliath style. Your handgun against an AR-15,AK,or SKS. It DOES happen.

And its not unusual for trouble to happen at night. Jeff Cooper taught "Find your front sight" I prefer to at least have a Tritium Front sight I can find like a shotgun bead.

That may not be important at 7 feet,but people miss falling steel plates at 7 yards on any Saturday. Under very little stress.
Its not wrong that finding the front sight is an integral,muscle memory part
of the draw.

Life is like a box of chocolates,Forrest's Mom used to say...
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Old January 29, 2022, 10:42 AM   #22
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Except for: When the guy entered the New Life Church in Colorado Springs,Col in 2007 ,killing people with an AR-15.
True Story Bro, at the New Life Church shooting Jeanne Asaam engaged the shooter from about ten feet away. With a bone stock Beretta 92FS. She EMPTIED her magazine and he killed himself.
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Old January 29, 2022, 11:30 AM   #23
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True Story Bro, at the New Life Church shooting Jeanne Asaam engaged the shooter from about ten feet away. With a bone stock Beretta 92FS. She EMPTIED her magazine and he killed himself.
The Wikipedia article on the event (yes, I know -- Wikipedia!) says Asaam shot him ten times and killed him. It does not report that he killed himself. My fuzzy recollection from the time of the incident tells me that there were conflicting reports regarding whether or not he killed himself after having been shot multiple times by Asaam.
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Old January 29, 2022, 01:59 PM   #24
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Second topic, I agree with all the practical wisdom regarding the "typical" SD scenario.
Except for: When the guy entered the New Life Church in Colorado Springs,Col in 2007 ,killing people with an AR-15.
Or another incident where an older Gentleman with a handgun took out a mass murderer in a Church.
Sometimes you need to be able to quickly hit a canteloupe size target at 40 or 50 feet. David and Goliath style. Your handgun against an AR-15,AK,or SKS. It DOES happen.
Sure it does. And that is why one size fits all is a fools errand. I have three long guns and 6 handguns that I may, usually in pairs, have/carry depending on the circumstances.

When it is just me running an errand, a small singlestack 9mm, a spare mag and some support stuff (med, lights etc.) that are in the vehicle.

When I am working in one of three capacities, I will change my choices. I worked a VIP protection detail in December. I had a team, but I was the only one outside on the path from the coaches to the venue. Backup was a radio call and 30 seconds away, including uniformed LEOs. Lighting was not great. I had a few LED lights on a wifi plug connected to my phone, a wifi camera pointed into a hidden area, and a long gun. I stayed near the vehicle and carried a full sized pistol and a light and spare mag on my belt. I modified my environment to my benefit and prepared for the worst. When I work security at the school, different set of gear. When I travel out of my zip code, different set of gear.

When I am in "self preservation only" mode, I think and act in a different manner than when I am slated to protect a large group/venue or an EP/VIP detail, as your "second topic" brings up. Neither of those were "typical" SD scenarios. Both of those people who stopped the attacks were part of a team and were there to fulfill a role that was larger than self-preservation. Let's not become clouded in mixing load outs into circumstances for which they are not intended.
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Old January 29, 2022, 02:16 PM   #25
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Simple polish here and there can make a 10lb Glock trigger to 4lb? I want to know how. 4lb pull is pretty light for a pistol.

In dim / dark condition, don't we need to identify the target before firing? Night sight may not help much.

I keep my Glock 23 mostly stock. I have conversion barrels for 9mm and .357 sig, just for added flexibility.

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