Concealed Carry & Home Defense

CCW Weekend: Stock Pistols Are Just Fine, But Customize Away

By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters

There is an enormous aftermarket for gun components, including everything a person can imagine. Heck, look into some of the stuff for Glocks; there are companies that specialize in entire slide assemblies. Pair it with an aftermarket frame, sights and eventually you start to wonder if you can even still call it a Glock.

Back in the day, people on the competition circuit would upgrade parts in their Colt 1911s until the only thing that really was made by Colt was the slide!

Such, of course, is the joy of most things mechanical. With a bit of knowledge – or at least a competent technician you can go to – and some cash, you can take a stock example of a gun, car, guitar, whatever, and turn it into your dream machine. Treeshade mechanics that tuned up V8 Fords in the 30s and 40s eventually produced the first NASCAR racers and so on and so forth.

One can’t tell a person not to do so. There are even the occasional folks who caution not to modify their guns; a lighter trigger could be used against you in court, the refrain goes (which is hogwash) and so on. On the contrary, customize away and enjoy. That’s what a hobby is for.

Instead, let us temper the idea that modifications are needed for a carry gun that you might pack in a concealed carry holster or other working gun. Some people insist that a stiff trigger pull must be tamed, else you will certainly miss in the moment of truth. You simply must have the upgraded sights, and so on.

Granted, semi-autos in decades past indeed had to be modified to shoot hollow point ammunition, this much is true. The feed ramps on Browning Hi Powers, 1911 pistols, S&W Model 39s and so on weren’t conducive to feeding hollowpoints, leaving civilians and police officers to either load hardball and pray it worked or get the feed ramp altered. However, the BHP and 1911 pistols now come with an appropriate feed ramp and Smith and Wesson fixed the 39 in 1971 with the 39-2 model.

Today? Not so much. In truth, the stock gun is fine.

As to triggers, plenty of reviewers will go on about how some newfangled plastic pistol has a gritty pull or excessive creep. Setting aside the silliness of expecting a $500 mass-market pistol to have a custom-shop trigger, in actual fact it isn’t going to matter in the moment of truth. If you have good trigger technique, you’ll shoot true, which doesn’t require a tuned trigger group.

As to sights, the standard 3 dots are probably fine. Now a good deal of shootings do happen in low-light conditions; this is true. However, the vast majority of defensive shootings occur in public places (which are almost always well-lit) or at one’s home – and the same applies. In fact, far more occur at residences than in public places or workplaces. Odds are you’re going to have a light or two on. In short, odds are pretty good that the stock sights are likely just fine.

If anything, spending less to get out the door at your local gun store is a good idea because you probably won’t get the gun back from police if you ever have to use it.

That said, if you want to customize your gun and dress it to the nines…you go right ahead! Enjoy! It’s your gun; do what you want with it. Hopefully it runs like greased lightning and drives tacks like nobody’s business. But you can totally depend on a stock pistol if you need to.

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Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for AlienGearHolsters.com, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit aliengearholsters.com.