The Legal Brief – Carrying a Modified Gun

The Legal Brief has continued to build upon its successful launch into a fantastic no-nonsense resource for the gun community. Attorney Adam Kraut, an associate at the Firearms Industry Consulting Group and Prince Law Offices, P.C. takes the years required to earn his J.D. and boils critical legal topics relevant to the gun world into practical snippets.

Unfortunately, I am late to publishing one of his latest Briefs, a review of the legal basis of modifying one’s firearm. Mr. Kraut, Esq. breaks down the due process that one will go through post defensive encounter and basically so long as one used their weapon in legal self-defense, one is free to modify their weapon as they see fit.

That said, if one is charged there is the potential that one’s modifications could be used to show the intent of the shooter, but its nearly unheard of (Adam states he’s never heard of one, which as a firearms attorney is a significant statement).

The key is, as always, the totality of the circumstances is the key. A modified firearm, assuming the modification does not cause a negligent discharge, is only a minor issue, if its an issue at all.

My take? Modify away on functional bits such as triggers and non-functional aesthetic options such as colors. However, stay away from items that could be construed to show intent such as a “Smile, Wait for Flash” on the crown of a barrel, etc.


Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • Slim934

    Or those Glock slide plates with the Punisher insignia on them. I would think that nonsense would make a prosecutors mouth water.

    • Younggun21

      Whether it does or not is irrelevant because it has never and never could be used in a court of law to change a good shoot to a bad shoot. You would have to convince a jury that a simple graphic somehow conveys some type of malicious intent and that is dubious at best. The only way I can see any modification of a gun to do anything in a courtroom would be if it was in conjunction with a bad shoot that was already determined.

      So lets say there is an already bad shoot “the gun just went off” type of thing. If you had a crazy 3.5lb trigger in your Glock and your finger was on the trigger, I could see that being brought up. However, this is not turning a good shoot into a bad shoot which was the original question. All it would be is contributing evidence to an already bad shoot that could be used to build a case of negligence by putting in parts that made the negligent discharge more likely. At the end of the day though, the shoot was already bad.

      • SPQR9

        You don’t understand several things. First of all, the light trigger issue comes in when a prosecutor claims that your “good shoot” was your story as an excuse to cover up a negligent discharge. There was some years ago just such a prosecution in Florida of a police officer.

      • Joseph Goins

        It is clear to me that you don’t have much experience dealing with attorneys, especially prosecutors. Any modification you make can somehow be used against you. The fact that no modification resulted in a conviction (I’m not even arguing that premise) could be explained numerous ways:

        — The guns used may not have been modified at all.
        — The prosecutor may not have brought it up because he had a solid case.
        — The investigators may not have even noticed the modification. (This is the likely reason for non-visible modifications as taking the gun apart to find out if it was modified is by definition tampering with evidence.)
        — The modification may not apply to the shooting. (Example: a neo-Nazi used a gun with a swastika to kill a white man and the circumstances were not clearly self-defense.)

        Did you change your trigger weight? Prosector: He wanted it to be easier to kill the deceased.

        Did you add Punisher symbols like an idiot? Prosecutor: He wanted to punish the criminals for attacking him just like his murderous hero in the comic books.

        If you think that is very thin, you may want to consider some cases where the defendant’s use of the Fifth Amendment (as commonly understood at the time) was used against him.

        Prosecutor: Officer Smith, did you talk to the witness at all before you arrested him?
        Witness: I did until he stopped talking to me.
        Prosecutor: He stopped? What did you think that meant?
        Witness: He was cooperative until I really pressed him hard which made me grow more suspicious that he was trying to hide something.

        As idiotic as that sounds, that is the fundamental basis of a recent Supreme Court case (Salinas v. Texas). This case changed two hundred years of jurisprudence that understood silence is a tacit invocation of the Fifth Amendment by stating that individuals must now announce they want to stop talking because they wish to assert that right. Since that ruling, courts have since said that even your demeanor as you invoke that right can be used as evidence of guilt.

    • Paul White

      yeah. I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to upgrade sights, triggers, etc….but things like that? Uh, no.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Screw that, I want one of those barrels.

    I live in Texas, ill take my chances.

    • ??

      What barrel are you referring to?

    • Hoplopfheil

      Just go full-retard and get one that says “Gee whillickers, I hope I get to kill somebody with this.”

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Well I don’t but anyone who does gets shot will have been an unwanted visitor to my house so that’s on them.
        Get your humor chip upgraded dude.

        • Hoplopfheil

          That was my humor chip operating at max capacity… :C

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            It’s just a joke dude.
            I don’t want to shoot anyone.

          • Hoplopfheil

            My thing was a joke too, just not a good one, apparently. 😉

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            It’s cool

          • retfed

            It’s “cool,” and it’s “just a joke,” but if you’re in court it will take your attorney an extra day of testimony, and cost you an extra ten grand, to make the jury understand that.
            If you’re in court, you’re in trouble. Don’t bring more trouble into court with you.

      • James Young

        What about Spike’s Tactical Crusader? It has something like “Blessed be the name of the Lord my rock who trains my hands for war and prepares my fingers for battle.” Which is part of a Psalm. Lol

        • Anomanom

          Deus Vult

        • iksnilol

          Could work if you wear a crusader costume.

  • Joseph Goins

    Oh, how quickly we forget Philip Brailsford’s “You’re Fuçked” dust cover.

    http://www . abc15 . com/news/region-southeast-valley/mesa/daniel-shaver-update-officer-philip-brailsford-describes-moments-before-he-fatally-shot-unarmed-man

    • Adam Kraut

      Except for the fact that the article states “[p]rosecutors concluded the shooting was not justified.” Not to mention the dust cover was on his duty weapon and was a violation of the department’s policy.

      So his dust cover had nothing to do with the shooting being found to be not justified. It was just something that was widely reported on.

      • Joseph Goins

        Is it a component which can be construed in some way to infer guilt? Would you want your client to not have this on his gun (compared to a blank dust cover) should he use it in a self-defense shooting?

        • Younggun21

          Except that was not the finding. Guilt for the bad shoot was not predicated on the presence of the dust cover, nor was it a significant part of the prosecutions argument. The shoot was determined to be unjustified, the dust cover was brought up as a separate matter that certainly makes the individual look even worse in light of _already_ being determined to have conducted a bad shoot. This of course is in conjunction with the fact that it was placed on a duty weapon in violation of the departments policy. If the dust cover had a quote from the bible that was completely non-related or a picture of a smiley face it would be just as much in violation of the department policy.

          • Joseph Goins

            You didn’t answer my questions:
            Is it a component which can be construed in some way to infer guilt? Absolutely.
            Would you want your client to not have this on his gun (compared to a blank dust cover) should he use it in a self-defense shooting? Hell no.

            The prosecutor’s decision to charge (remember: the case is on-going) is based on a totality of evidence, including the dust cover. Is it a primary factor? Probably not. Is it a factor? Absolutely. Could it have been a contributing factor to increase the charge from manslaughter to murder? You bet.

            A modified piece of equipment will never be (and, as Kraut researched, has never been) the sole factor in a case. The potential for it being used as evidence is always present, but that doesn’t mean that the prosecution has to bring it up. The actual likelihood that they will find out about a non-visual modification like a decreased trigger pull is very minimal anyway.

          • Younggun21

            To answer the first question: NO. Guilt was inferred predicated on other evidence NOT the dust cover. The dust cover was in violation of his departments policy on altering duty weapons. There is a difference between making you look like even more of a jackass and inferring guilt. Inferring guilt would mean that you hear someone got into a car accident, you look at the bumper and see a sticker that says “I brake for no one” and infer that they are guilty of intentionally running into the other car because they don’t brake for anyone. This is moronic and it is for this reason we have never seen a case like this regarding firearms. If that person was going to be charged for the car accident, they would be charged on other evidence that had nothing to do with them placing a particular bumper sticker on their automobile.

            To answer your second question: In a case like this; no. However, that is because this person has already been deemed to have conducted a bad shoot. If it was deemed to be a good shoot, I don’t care either way. HOWEVER, again we must recognize that this was a law enforcement officers duty weapon which is a whole different scenario. A private citizen with a modded out gun at home defending himself and his family is a lot different than modding a gun that will be used for potentially offensive purposes in the line of duty. I would not want my client to have this dust cover if he was a law enforcement officer because now the jury knows he doesn’t give a damn about department policy already.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Whoever owns the gun in the picture deserves to go to jail.

    • Joseph Goins

      No. They deserve to be shot with it.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Thats harsh.
        I say just remove them from polite society until they learn.

    • Hinermad

      Probably belongs to one of those feral clowns that are popping up al over the place.

    • alex waits

      I believe it is Pattons gun from TGC. I think he was crowd sourcing color choices at one point

  • Bill

    “…but its nearly unheard of (Adam states he’s never heard of one, which as a firearms attorney is a significant statement).”


    Just because a gun hack dreams it up doesn’t mean it’s a thing, unless selling articles, magazines and classes is a thing. It’s hucksterism worthy of Trump.

    If you are a defendant in a shooting case and have an attorney who can’t get objections regarding relevance upheld pertaining to gun mods, the problem isn’t the gun, it’s that you have an incompetent attorney.

    • Joseph Goins

      Just because it hasn’t been used before as evidence does not mean that modifications are innocuous.

      • Bill

        I’m not sure what you mean. Some mods are pointless and more about the owner’s ego and personality than utility. No way I’d put a Punisher skull on a gun, or wear the T-shirt, but a lot of people do, and don’t murder anyone.

        I fully acknowledge that there is a difference between what’s right, and what’s legal. As an aside, the only times I’ve found weapons with these types of mods in the field, as opposed to on the range or in a collection, have been cases involving sovereign citizens and right-wing extremists, including some winner who decided to Dremel swastikas on a GLOCK. He didn’t use it in the commission of a crime, so it never was introduced in court. He was a meth dealer, and his attorney did object to a couple photos that included the gun that we took as typical trophy photos, arguing that a jury would perceive him as a nazi, which he sorta was anyway. They weren’t even needed in court.

        My issue has been with a certain gun writer who started a theme based on imaginary bad things happening because a gun had a certain model name, or that mechanical mods such as an action job could be used to paint a user as a bloodthirsty monster. It just doesn’t happen.

        • Joseph Goins

          There are classifications of alterations; here is what I call them:

          — Modification (swapping out required parts like springs and trigger assemblies)

          — Customization (enhancing performance by disregarding the standard gun design like adding compensation holes or carving out space for an RMR)

          — Personalization (adding your personality to the gun through means of color, inscription, etc.)

          Swapping out the factory sights on a Glock to some Trijicon HDs (a type of [necessary] modification) is not going to raise any eyebrows. Swapping out a standard backplate to a Punisher backplate (a type of personalization) could be construed as evidence that you sought to punish criminals for their wrongdoing against you.

          Out of curiosity: which gun writer? He may not be necessarily wrong. As the Miranda warning goes: Anything you say can and will be used against you…” The same could potentially be said for many alterations you make. Adam pointed out that (through his research) no one has ever been convicted because of a alteration; he focused simply on what has happened. He did not even mention that it could happen. I will personally argue that the rise in technology and e-commerce has created more ways to change our guns today than ever before and we are going to see more charges involving alterations as add-on evidence. Consider this on-going case: http://www . tucsonnewsnow . com/story/31480834/questions-over-assault-weapon-used-by-mesa-officer-facing-murder-charge

          • Bill

            See my response to your earlier response. How would a prosecutor, or civil attorney even establish the materiality and relevance of a Punisher backplate? They’d have to convince a judge, and even the worst attorney for the defense would object that the other attorney was attempting to prejudice the jury.

            The writer was/is Massad Ayoob.

          • Joseph Goins

            It goes to state of mind.

            You still didn’t address what I said. Just because it hasn’t resulted in a conviction does not mean that isn’t damning.

          • Bill

            “Just because it hasn’t resulted in a conviction does not mean that isn’t damning.”

            In court, the only thing that counts is conviction vs acquittal. It may be damning, but if it doesn’t contribute to a conviction, so what? You could make the argument than in civil proceedings with a lower standard of proof, it might have more impact, but even then I don’t know of any cases in which is was a factor.

            Ayoob tends to consider anecdote as empirical data and predictive. The fat that he’s an expert witness doesn’t mean much, (it doesn’t for most expert witnesses) and he’s never said or no one knows how many times he was proffered as an expert witness and the court declined to recognize him as such. I’m also leery of expert witnesses who only work one side of the courtroom. He seems to only work for the defense, which implies a certain bias. I’m unaware of him being involved in the prosecution of bad shootings. Strictly speaking, he’s more of an advocate than an expert.

          • Gun Fu Guru

            “In court, the only thing that counts is conviction vs acquittal. It may be damning, but if it doesn’t contribute to a conviction, so what? “

            You equivocated. You started off talking about how it could be used as evidence, and now you are talking about how the evidence might not be damning enough to lead to a conviction.

            Moreover, the assertion that “just because it hasn’t resulted in a conviction does not mean that isn’t damning” is quite accurate. The lack of convictions where a gun was modified can be easily explained has he mentioned in another post you didn’t comment on:

            — The guns used may not have been modified at all.
            — The prosecutor may not have brought it up on purpose.
            — The investigators may not have even noticed the modification.
            — The modification may not apply to the shooting.

            This is the failure of using a lack of evidence as proof in the affirmative. All it really means is no one has been convicted primarily because of a modification (which is all he said in the video).

    • SPQR9

      Bad news for you: first, judges uphold thinner relevance arguments all the time. And since in any self defense shoot, the shooter’s state of mind is at issue in the elements of self defense, relevance isn’t that big a hurdle. Second, objections are ruled upon by the judge, not your attorney.

      • Joseph Goins

        As the Miranda warning goes: _”Anything you say can and will be used against you…”_ The same could potentially be said for many alterations you make to a gun. Adam pointed out that (through his research) no one has ever been convicted because of a alteration; he focused simply on what has happened. He did not even mention that it could happen.

        • Bill

          Your point refutes itself. Miranda is based on the 5th Amendment barring a person from being forced to testify or incriminate themselves, ergo, if you performed a modification to a gun, under your theory, it could not be used to imply anything. I doubt the point would fly, but it does raise another potential objection or appeal.

          • Joseph Goins

            You really have no clue of what you are attempting to discuss nor did you actually address what was said.

      • Bill

        …And the point stands that it’s never actually happened. My point regarding objections is that if you have an attorney who can’t craft an objection to the prosecutor claiming that your a maniac because you shot someone with a Combat Elite, and get the objection upheld, by the judge, your attorney sucks.

        And don’t confuse state of mind with intent or culpability. State of mind is essentially unknowable, whereas intent or level of mental culpability can be demonstrated by actions, words or deeds which are directly connected to the incident at trial.

        • Joseph Goins

          I guess you never heard the statement that “there’s a first time for everything.”

          • Bill

            I suppose I could be killed by a falling chunk of blue ice from an airliner, but I’m not worried about that, either.

          • Joseph Goins

            Fair enough.

  • JD

    so you can’t touch this topic, without also touching its cousin. Using your own reloaded ammo. Curious what if any cases out there exist that touch on reloaded ammo in self defense shootings.

    • Anonymoose

      I believe Mass Ayoob came up with that one decades ago. He said that his PD had guys who were using their own reloads and the department told them to stop. Since then the myth has morphed to become “if you reload the prosecutor will say you used special evil babykiller bullets!” I don’t believe that for a second, and unless you point out that they were reloads, the prosecution probably wouldn’t ever even find out. I doubt they have a list of which manufacturer’s JHPs are used in different shootings, or can determine one JHP in some dead guy from another, or if the coroner is going to take the headstamp and an (expanded, fragmented) ID’d bullet and see if they match up, and even then it’s possible nowadays that you got reloaded JHPs from Freedom or someone, or some boutique company that loads someone else’s JHPs into someone else’s cases. It’s kind of silly, like that scene in the first Death Wish where they pull the bullets out of the dead guy, and the detective glances at them and goes “.32s!” (with no size reference nearby) and then instantly thinks to chase down Charles Bronson because he has a .32 (just like every other person of criminal persuasion in the city).

      • Dave Y

        There was actually a print article, I believe it may have been Guns (?) and I think Ayoob was the author, in which the author recounted a case in which a prosecutor did in fact make “a thing” of reloaded ammunition.

        Of course, the case wasn’t a “perfect” example of self defense, and of course as a result of this imperfection, the shooter was prosecuted, and the prosecutor discovered from analysis of the gun, ammo, etc. that the ammunition was not factory and did make incredibly silly assertions in court about intent, lethality, etc.

        Of course, we know as readers of TFB that ammunition doesn’t become more deadly as a result of reloading the case and provided the loads are within reloading manual specs, it would be hard to say they’re “extra lethal”, but that doesn’t stop an unethical prosecutor from making untruthful arguments in pursuit of a conviction. A jury of your peers however does not mean gunnies, it means people in the same voting jurisdiction as you. If you live in suburbia and are the only gunny around, you have an uphill battle to prove self defense.

        Prove? Yes, because most places where there is no statutory castle doctrine / no retreat law, self defense is what is called an “affirmative defense” in which you admit to the crime, and in so doing you relinquish the presumption of innocence and YOU must prove to the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the shooting was either justified, or excusable.

        so in this context, all an unethical prosecutor has to do is introduce an element of doubt that YOU weren’t in the right.

        Prosecutors are immune to their exaggerations in court and only unless they are grossly negligent – see Mike Nifong – can they be held accountable. They can play up your “Rambo wannabe vigilante” fantasies in front of the jury and make you out to be a cold blooded murderer with impunity. Sometimes, they can even get away with holding back exculpatory evidence or worse.

        So take nothing for granted.

        I thought the video was well balanced and a fair statement of the current situation. Sobering discussions of cautionary tales usually have some element of truth to them. Provided they originate from the internet… 😉

    • Joseph Goins

      That is really irrelevant because:

      #1. the bullet will not fire unless the trigger is pulled (assuming you aren’t shooting a Nambu or other hideously made firearm) and

      #2. The use of firearm is considered deadly force in every jurisdiction regardless of any factors present (excluding less-likely-to-be-lethal projectiles used by law enforcement). It doesn’t matter if you shoot someone with more/less powder than you should have loaded, a lighter/heavier bullet, a harder/softer primer, or a FMJ/HP/etc bullet.

  • Sasquatch

    I can’t take that ar seriously.

    • Paul White

      I still want it. Garish colors are fun.

      • Sasquatch

        It looks like a frozen treat out of a freezer.

        • Evan

          Definitely the gayest gun I’ve ever seen.

        • Cymond

          That is where I’d expect to find frozen treats …

  • Gun Fu Guru

    Here is my take:

    Adam said he researched this issue, and his could not find any convictions based on modification as evidence. He did not say that modifications are neutral (which is what people are concluding from his video). I can’t think of any attorney who would be happy to see “infidel” grips during a shooting of a muslim or Punisher grips where a criminal died. I asked two of the attorneys at my church (one is with Latham & Watkins which is the largest law firm in the world) what they would think if they had a similar issue. They simply said that it would make them richer due to the extra amount of hours that they would need to prepare defending the grips should it come up at trial.

    • Riddick

      RE: He only stated that he could not find a single incidence where a modification was a contributing factor to a conviction.

      Ayoob published an article about 3-4 years ago where he cited at LEAST TWO cases where trigger modification were contributing factors to convictions. He said there are other convictions as well.

      He did not say not to modify, he simply cited cases and convictions and advised to know your surroundings, in other words state you live in and possibility that AG is anti-gun, as well as such possible jury make-up.

      As much as FL state is easy on gun laws, as one recent and known example, first thing AG verified was if Zimmerman’s gun had any modifications to it. Not saying nor suggesting that jury would then act upon that, had any mods been actually done, but one really never knows.

      And I’d really stay away from ANYONE saying that trigger modification have never led to a conviction. Rather very poorly researched and informed.

      • Frank Grimes

        Ayoob is a crackpot who lies in court and gets laughed off the bench and invents all kinds of crazy theories to scare all the Chicken Littles who read his crappy articles.

        • Riddick

          And who cares one way or another?

          The main point is that THERE ARE CONVICTIONS based on trigger modifications. What part of that is questionable?

          • Frank Grimes

            The part about Ayoob making the claim is why people should care.

            Him lying in court means he’ll lie ANYWHERE.

            I don’t know the exact context in which those alleged “convictions” happened based on alleged “trigger modifications” but if it’s in the context of an otherwise legally justifiable shooting being somehow rendered non-justifiable based on a “trigger modification” I’m calling BS.

            If you make extraordinary claims be prepared to provide so extraordinary proof.

          • Riddick

            IIRC, in one case it was as self defense.

            Once again, look up Zimmermans case, who the hell cares if you or I value Ayoob’s opinion on any of this, he was not involved in that case, was he?

          • Frank Grimes

            Oh ok, well it’s good to know that your statements are based on something you MIGHT just “(R)emember” “(C)orrectly”.

            Pretty solid evidence there, broski.

            I apologize for doubting you.

            Not sure what any of your fantastic claims of convictions based on “trigger modifications” have to do with Zimmerman though.

            “IIRC” Zimmerman wasn’t convicted at all, let alone convicted for these mysterious “trigger modifications” that you brought up.

          • Riddick

            Well, it WAS self defense, if you really want to push it. My (photographic) memory is rather clear, I just wanted you to have a benefit of a doubt.

            Anyway, your gun, your decision. I do live in a state where I am not that worried about mods, but had I lived in Marxist states of NY, MD or CA, for example, I’d be really giving it some thought. Just pointing out the obvious to any legend in his mind and those “pretty sure” out there who somehow cannot find CONVICTIONS based on mods WHEN THEY DO EXIST.

            If AG checking into Zimmerman’s gun is not an issue for you, I’d recommend you get a grip on reality.

            Have a nice day.

          • Frank Grimes

            So let’s get this straight here, you’re saying Zimmerman was convicted because of “trigger modifications”?

            Because that sure didn’t happen and I’m still waiting on some proof of your ridiculous claims of “convictions” based on “trigger modifications”.

            Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

            You probably shouldn’t go around making comments that people are suppose to make sense of what you’re talking about if even YOU do not know what you are talking about.

          • Lance Shoemaker

            Could you please provide evidence that Mas lied in court? That seems like a wildly unsubstantiated claim!

      • Joseph Goins

        With respect to Ayoob, did he give any case citations? He typically relies on unverifiable anecdotes instead of cold hard facts.

      • Gun Fu Guru

        Ayoob is well known for anecdote over fact. Many of his claims are too highly misinformed to be trusted. Consider this woefully inaccurate claim: “I cringe when I hear people advise others to say nothing to the police after a self-defense incident, because the decades have taught me that ‘don’t talk to the cops’ only seems to work well for guilty people. Using a guilty man’s legal defense strategy is a good way to end up with a guilty man’s verdict.”

    • ChrisJ

      “He only stated that he could not find a single incidence where a modification was a contributing factor to a conviction.”

      Actually that’s not at all what he said. Go and re-watch it, he said, “I have been unable to find a documented instance where a modified gun was the entire basis for a criminal charging and conviction in relation to a self-defense shooting.”

      “Entire basis” is about as different from “contributing factor” as it gets.

      He can also weasel out of it further if he wanted, because if there were a conviction then it was successfully ruled not self-defense.

      Instead, he does provide evidence of such things being a contributing factor in the trial, (ex. Zimmerman, albeit not modified). In short, it’s absolutely a factor in that they WILL hold it against you.

      • Gun Fu Guru

        You are accurate. I left out the word “major” and it changed the context. Good catch.

  • Jim_Macklin

    Fifty years ago I posted a sign on the gate post on our country 100 yard long driveway. The sign was funny and not an issue fifty years ago. Today I would not post it or wear a similar T-shirt.
    The sign said…
    NO Trespassing
    Trespassers will be shot.
    Survivors will be shot again.

    Triggers should not be reduced below 3 pounds, a smooth 5-6 pound trigger is fine.

    All safeties must work.

    A nice pink pistol says I’m against breast cancer or maybe my masculinity is not an issue or in question.

    • Paul White

      I still see those around, particularly in rural areas

    • AD

      Heh, I used to have that on my bedroom door.

  • missourisam

    I have never carried a gun that has not been modified, be it a trigger job, polished feed ramp, extended slide release, enhanced safety, or modified recoil springs and enhanced sights. The one time I had to use my duty weapon in self defense the trigger job did not even come up. Strangely the modified grips were the issue. Fortunately the judge was a retired FBI agent who was an agent before they became political pawns. He explained to the defense attorney that any more frivolous attempts like that would be considered contempt of court. End of idiotic motions.

  • mr38135

    Wow… you guys are into some serious bickering. After reading all these legal ramblings, I reckon to resort to my wooden-handled hammer for defense from now on. God forbid I use the one with the custom fiberglass handle with rubberized grip.

    • Gun Fu Guru

      I think you are overstating the effect of modification. There is nothing wrong with changing the oak grips on your revolver to a nice pair of mahogany ones. People are only saying things about adding silly stuff (e.g. Punisher-themed grips).

      • mr38135

        Sorry… I meant HAMMER – as in claw, ball peen, framing, etc. Seems I should have been more specific. It’s late & I’m better at sarcasm in the mornings…

  • There are a lot of people yellin’ about “might be” and “could be” and “hasn’t so far” in here, but all I’m takin’ away from it is that I don’t really feel like being some sanctimonious prosecutor’s Gary Fadden, especially not during the next Four Years Of Unpleasantness. Being found Not Guilty at trial because you clearly acted in justified self defense might put a damper on a Dem DA’s re-election bid, but it sure as hell ain’t gonna put a hundred thousand+ dollars back in your pocket.

  • Pete Sheppard

    This refers to a *criminal* case. In most instances, this is followed by *civil* cases, where the real hell resides. Ask a lawyer.

  • stephen

    Fan boys quoting Massad Ayoob in 3, 2, 1…


    • Joseph Goins

      I’m not an Ayoob fanboy. He’s said good things and bad things. On this issue, he tends to be hyper-vigilant but he isn’t really wrong. Modifications can potentially bite you in the ass, but it is very rare indeed.

      • maodeedee

        Ayoob lives in New Hampshire. On the East Coast in anti-gun states like Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New Hampshire this issue has a great deal of relevance.

        In states like Tennessee, Kentucky, Arizona, Idaho, and most states that are not on the Eastern seaboard or part of the People’s Republic of California, it is indeed very rare that modifications or the type of ammo used in self-defense are an issue.

        But that’s not to say that this will not change because the Liberalism is that infects places like Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New Hampshire is like a disease and it’s infecting more parts of the country all the time.

        • kevinp2

          New Hampshire is not an anti-gun state. Like its neighbors Vermont and Maine, it is a very pro-gun state.

  • scaatylobo

    BUT remember that the really pretty and REALLY expensive custom that you EDC —– WILL be taken and “engraved” with the arresting officers I.D. number.
    Then thrown [ yes THROWN ] into a bin until ALL the court hearings are over.Years = or decades.
    AND you will only get it back [ in whatever condition ] IF your completely exonerated.
    See a good reason for a stock gun now ?.

    • Bill


      We don’t do that anymore, and even when we did we’d pull off the stocks and do it under them. Then we figured out that guns have “serial numbers” that we could “write down.” Next an evidence tag is put on with a zip tie.

      I’ve seen evidence rooms in which guns have been messed up, but those guns were typically recovered guns, not guns held as evidence, which tend to be wrapped in paper to preserve touch DNA and other fragile types of evidence.

      • scaatylobo

        Happy to hear “we” dont do that anymore.
        WE,being the key term here.
        Sorry but that in no way encompasses ALL agencys and jurisdictions.
        Having 26 years as an LEO,I came to see that if you EDC a custom gun,you are most likely going to lose it for a PROTRACTED time .
        And if and when you do get it back,it will have been handled [ NOT in a sweet way ] by too many that have no appreciation of your time and money put into it.
        As well as too many that can barely figure out how to load & unload it.
        I was a firearms instructor and was too often tasked in figuring out how to unload a gun taken off the street by a cop that was not a ‘gun guy’.
        That also went for the I.D. people that were not ‘gun guys’ either.
        Just my inside 00.02 cents worth

  • De Facto

    While I would love to have this as a conversation piece… this is a prosecutors wet dream. Can you imagine if George Zimmerman had been carrying this?

    • Billy Jack

      Yeah, he’d have sold it a lot quicker than the POS he actually had.

  • Pod

    Hypothetically, what would be the legal wrangling if one used a legally-owned suppressed firearm in a home-invasion scenario?

  • noob

    What do you think of the recommendation that you should buy whatever the local police have on their approved list of duty and undercover weapons, right down to the approved mods and ammo?

    That way you can say “these are exactly the same brand and model of rounds that that police officer there has in their weapon.”

  • Tom Currie

    Perhaps TFB would like to host a panel discussion with Adam Kraut and Massad Ayoob to debate whether or not modifications to a defensive gun have ever been a significant point in the criminal and civil court cases following a legitimate defensive shooting incident.

  • Tom Currie

    Those who say that stuff like “Infidel” or “Punisher” logos and other trivial nonsense don’t matter have apparently forgotten that court cases are not decided by lawyers or by firearms experts. The cases are decided by twelve people who were dumb enough that they couldn’t think up an excuse to get out of jury duty.

  • L. Roger Rich

    This subject is for Snowflakes.

  • maodeedee

    It all depends on whether you live in a free state or a slave state. “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.” Free states are primarily Red States like Arizona, Idaho, Alaska, and even Washington state where gun ownership is common and in cases of self-defense, the prosecution does not focus on what gun or ammunition was used in a case of self-defense, but rather whether or not the shooting itself was justified.

    But in Blue states like New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California anyone using a firearm for self defense is basically guilty until proved innocent and the courts will use anything they can find to prosecute any would-be victim who refuses to submit to feral recidivist predatory humanoids and instead uses lethal force rather than to be victimized.

  • Zebradun

    It is a clown gun, no matter how cool or static toy it appears it looks like something a clown in a full clown suit would carry. Notice how clowns are portrayed these days?