Navigating the world of aftermarket parts, you can find just about anything for a carry pistol. Whether it’s new sights or a mini knife bayonet, the internet has you covered. Obviously, we all know having a mini bayonet on your handgun is a complete waste of time and if you think it’s a good idea, this article is not for you. Over the last 3-4 years there have been trends where people continue to add onto their guns to the point where it’s nearly double the weight. There are a number of great upgrades to make, but there are also a few to avoid. Let’s dive into the first part of our carry gun accessory guide.
Good Upgrade: Aftermarket Sights
Certain new pistols come with less than ideal factory sights. Some come with a large 3 dot configuration or sights made out of weaker materials such as composite polymer or plastics. Many people prefer a certain style of sights whether it’s a fiber optic front sight, tritium night sights, or other style sights that may not be super common. Having a preferred sight system you can use on a daily basis effectively will not only give you more confidence every day but in most cases will make you more accurate if you use a familiar system. It shouldn’t be an earth-shattering idea to switch out your carry gun sights to a sight you prefer in order to be more comfortable. It’s important to get quality sights and make sure they are zeroed before you start carrying the gun every day.
Bad Upgrade: Weight Reduction Slide Cuts
When the aftermarket support started to boom for Glocks and other popular handguns, one common trend that has stuck around is weight reduction slide cuts. Now I’m not talking about adding front serrations and chamfer cuts to your slides, these can add traction when you’re trying to grab the slide under stress. What I’m talking about is having a slide package where large holes are cut into the side in order to make it lighter. There are a few problems with reducing weight and opening up the slides of your carry pistol.
The first issue that affects your carry pistol is the fact you no longer have a closed sealed system. Having large openings in the slide will let material and debris collect inside the gun over time which is the last thing you want when carrying a firearm for self-defense. Lint, dirt and other materials can collect inside the gun and can eventually affect the reliability of the firearm. The second issue most don’t think about is spring weight’s reliability when you start lightening the slide. If the slide becomes considerably lighter while keeping the same spring weight, it can ultimately lead to malfunctions and stoppages. Having a slide cut for front serrations or an optics cut is totally understandable. If you’re looking at customizing your carry gun, I would consider staying away from anything with a large opening cut into the slide.
Good Upgrade: Red Dots On Carry Guns
In many cases, carrying with a red dot can aid the concealed carrier. Whether you’re in the older crowd and your eyesight isn’t as crisp as it use to be, or a new shooter who just thinks a dot is faster, a red dot can benefit a shooter tremendously. This is where I take my personal feelings out on red dots and stick with what can help the concealed carry crowd overall. Personally, I’ve never been a huge fan of pistol-mounted red dots since I have always used traditional iron sights. I have a few different optics mounted pistols in my safe but always go for handguns with just iron sights.
Red dots can be a simple addition to a carry handgun to help with accuracy and getting the handgun on target quickly. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen individuals with aging eyes switch over to a red dot system and instantly improve their accuracy with a simple change. One consideration of carrying a red dot is the learning curve of acquiring the dot consistently. Early on there tends to be a lot of wrist movement to find the dot which is completely normal. Dry firing and practice bringing the gun up at home is the best way to isolate that movement and get reps on presenting the handgun. Red dots aren’t for everyone, but when people are looking at a certain red dot for carrying, it’s an understandable upgrade.
There are a number of trends and popular aftermarket upgrades that are both positive and potentially harmful in the gun industry right now. I haven’t really dived into my worst upgrades yet so stay tuned for Part 2 which will be out in the next couple of weeks. What upgrades do you think are most important when it comes to a carry gun? Are there upgrades you think are a complete waste of money? Let me know in the comments below. If you have questions about carrying concealed or just firearm-related questions, feel free to shoot me a message on my Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there!