When we talk about upgrading our carry guns, there’s always the debate of swapping out various parts and carrying it daily on your person. Whether it’s a new set of sights, new barrel, magazine release, or aftermarket trigger, there will always be benefits and disadvantages with changing out parts on your carry gun. The biggest issue with changing parts on your concealed carry gun is the liability if you ever have to use it to defend yourself.
Whether this is new sights or a new light trigger, typically you will have to explain why you swapped out standard components for your own. In most cases, this is fairly easy to defend because certain upgrades make the gun more accurate or benefit in safety. Where things begin to become murky is when you start adding aftermarket triggers. Let’s dive into the good and bad of swapping out triggers on a carry gun.
The Positives of an Aftermarket Trigger
Customizing your gun to make it exactly how you want it can be rewarding and fun. Personal preference is a big deal when figuring out your exact carry gun and what you want it to be. This is the gun you’ll more than likely be carrying every single day. Because of that, you’ll want to set it up whatever way works best for you. Personally, I’ve added several aftermarket flat-faced triggers to my guns. I tend to have a better experience figuring out when the trigger will break, which makes it more consistent. When changing out the trigger shoes and small parts like that, it’s helping you become more accurate and ultimately safer. Having confidence and control in what you carry is key. Small changes like the trigger shoe can be a big benefit to the shooter’s ability to make accurate hits on target.
Having upgraded triggers from the factory is a safer option than installing one after the fact. This way, you can defend yourself in court by saying it was a factory option. Triggers like the SRT kit from SIG Sauer and other manufacturers are a great factory option that can improve the overall quality without putting you at risk legally. Changing the aesthetics of a trigger or shape is a great way to make your gun shoot better to your personal taste without adding aftermarket parts that will change the overall trigger weight.
The Negatives of an Aftermarket Trigger
Keep in mind that every modification you make to your daily carry gun, you will need to defend if you ever use it in a self-defense situation. Changing the trigger shoe or minor components that don’t affect the overall trigger weight aren’t as big of a deal. Things like lightening the trigger pull weight or shortening the trigger bar, are tougher to argue. In court, the hardest thing to justify when making aftermarket upgrades is justifying why it makes you a safer shooter in a self-defense situation. Often times after a self-defense shooting, a number of persecutors will look at whether or not the gun has been modified. Prosecutors start looking at the gun when a shooting isn’t beyond a doubt self-defense.
When talking about lightening trigger springs and trigger bars in a carry gun, oftentimes it will remove the take up and extra weight that typically will be in a factory trigger. Adding lighter springs to your trigger is a grey area. Historically though, if you leave the take up space in the trigger it’s more defendable in court. Changing out something like the trigger bar is one of the riskier items on a concealed carry firearm. Keep in mind, I’m not giving legal advice and writing on personal experiences with conversations I had with prosecutors. I also reviewed self-defense shootings in college while working on various research projects in the judicial system. It’s important to weigh the benefits and disadvantages of aftermarket parts when you’re modifying your concealed carry handgun.
At the end of the day, one of the greatest things about living in America is the freedom of choice. No one will ever say you’re not allowed to modify your carry gun exactly how you want it. That’s some of the most fun in building up your concealed carry firearm. There are definitely things to keep in mind when making modifications. It’s a very small aspect of a shooting in self-defense, but it’s definitely worthwhile to think about when modifying your guns.
The most important aspects of a self-defense shooting are how sound the self-defense claim is, your legal history and overall handgun modifications. Having a punisher skull and a half dozen prior arrests will likely be harder to defend than a modification in court. It’s really important to keep the overall bigger picture in mind when conceal carrying. People need to remember it’s important being the best version of yourself when carrying a concealed weapon in public. Let me know what your thoughts are on modifying your carry guns in the comments below. If you have questions, feel free to send me a message on my Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there!