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0246-22 Smythbuster - You Shouldn't Modify Your Carry Gun_Thumb

Smyth Busters: Is It OK to Modify Your Carry Gun?

Author Steve Ostrem
one year ago

Steve and Caleb take on a persistent line of thinking that's gone around for years: You shouldn't modify your daily carry gun.

The theory is that if you shoot an attacker with it in self-defense, the modifications can be used against YOU in court. Is that true? Before we proceed, let's just make it clear the guys are NOT providing legal advice here. They are offering their opinions based on research and discussions with actual defense attorneys, rather than what gun writers and firearm instructors are saying.

Remember, there is a situational element to any prosecution. If you are charged in an anti-gun jurisdiction or get a judge who's none-too-friendly to the Second Amendment, things about the firearm may be brought up in the case against you that would not be used elsewhere. Still, the key question in court is going to be whether or not you were justified in using deadly force to defend yourself.

What counts as a modification? Changing the factory "iron" sights to fiber optic or Tritium night sights? Sights have no material effect on how the gun functions. What about a trigger job? If you have not altered a safety function of the firearm, a trigger upgrade probably isn't going to work against you. For an extra measure of CYA in court JIC, have a professional gunsmith do the trigger job for you. Or use a drop-in kit like those from Apex Tactical.

Modifications that HAVE been brought up at trial are cosmetic changes to how the gun LOOKS. Clever sayings on the inside of an AR-15's ejection port cover or laser-engraving "Smile, wait for flash!" on the muzzle of your pistol is not a good idea. Even painting the gun a different color can be brought up by an overzealous prosecutor. These are all things the jury member who doesn't understand guns can SEE. Don't make it appear to them you were "looking for a fight."

In the end, Steve and Caleb could not find a court case where the outcome went against somebody because the firearm they used in self-defense had been modified. So based on their research, the myth is BUSTED. A self-defense gun can be modified, within reason. For those who want to be extra cautious but also want upgrades on a carry gun, consider a gun like the SIG P226 Legion. It comes from the factory with a ton of upgrades, but it's still a "factory stock" pistol.

NOTE: Products in this video are to be used only for lawful purposes, including hunting, self-defense, and competitive or recreational shooting. If you purchase any of them, you are responsible for understanding and complying with all federal, state, and local laws that apply to the purchase, possession, and use of these products.