Pistol Modification Justifications

Just about forever, I’ve been a “keep the gun stock” sort of guy.  My introduction to pistolcraft was at a Modern Technique type range.  Mike Dalton and “Uncle” Scotty were the godfathers, and I worked with their Apostles.  Everyone carried 1911’s strong side in a Avenger style holster.  It was a good, solid foundation to have and a great group of guys (and gals.)  Now regardless of the fact that damned near everyone’s 1911 “Hogue” electropenciled on some interior surface I was instructed to keep my gun stock and learn to shoot it well.  Scratches and worn bluing were a sign of character.  Ammo was cheap and I was blessed to have a job that both paid well and was results oriented.  As such, I spent a lot of time at the range.

In retrospect, I did a lot wrong.  The money I turned into noise and sent downrange is shameful.  The firearms purchased chasing the hot new fad, just as rough.  All of this experience drove me to where I am today.  One of the key pieces of advice was to not customize a gun – learn to shoot it well stock.  One of the first pistol matches I went to the difficulties I had hitting a half an exposed IDPA target at maybe 10 yards was insightful.  An action job and new sights would surely… No.  It’s not the bow, it’s the Indian – and then old timers would prove it to me.  Ironing out my problems meant that I could manage most any pistol unhindered.

…and yes, it worked out.  While typing this out I questioned if my pistol skills have degraded since these golden memories.  While I may be suffering a temporary “winter set back” I can say with the authority of a shot timer that I am as good of a pistol shot now as I ever have been.  Now, on to the common reasons not to modify your pistol:

Reliability

This is a totally valid reason not to modify a firearm.  If your firearm doesn’t function reliably, it’s worthless.  Trigger and firing controls may result in legitimate accidental discharges (hammer following slide) or light strikes.  Safeties may be unintentionally disengaged, engaged or fail all together.  Extended magazine releases may cause magazines to be unseated or dumped unexpectedly.  Oversized or extended slide stops/catches/releases may result in a failure to lock back.  Even miniscule changes may negativley impact performance.  The after market slide-stop in a Glock that causes the gun to fail to go into battery, the grip sock that retards the magazine release, adjustable sights that loosen up.

Masking Shooter Deficiency

Of questionable merit.  The standard line is that modifications that make the gun “easier to shoot” will result in poor fundamentals.  I agree with this to some extent.  If a shooters ultimate goal is a comprehensive understanding and deep skill of the pistol, then a stock gun will perform just as well as a “riced out” gun.  If the shooter has limited interest (or time) but still needs to be proficient then make their equipment as easy to operate as possible.

Under stress…

Under stress you will be unable to operate (choose your favorite:  slide release, safety, magazine release, trigger.)  Of questionable merit.  You hand someone whose never shot a gun with an external safety a Beretta 92 and they’ll fuck it up.  I’ve seen jackasses fail to execute a double action trigger pull and start down the “Dis aint werkin!” decision tree.  Again, this comes down to the shooters desire.  Being able to execute a robust, “works with anything” response to a weapon failure is a strength.  If you have the time and dedication, executing weapon specific responses can reduce that “down time.”

I’ve strayed from the core intent of this article.  It is clear a dogma/Manual of Arms post will need to be written in the near future.

Like F1 racing, there’s a point where minimal increases in performance involve enormous costs.  Or, alternately, you start breaking some rules.  I have some “soft” requirements for when this path was traveled on:

Concealment, for me, means concealed.  You’ve seen those folks who consider a shirt over a firearm “concealed.”  My expectation of concealment is that under a “I’m looking for a gun” inspection and inadvertent “bump” frisking I’ll pass unnoticed.  Tactics and techniques to minimize exposure will be taken.  Life is not the IDPA’s “scarecrow” rule.

All purpose usage.  Night, day, home, camping, summer, winter, et al.  I want to run one gun.  This is an organizational simplification.

With some encouragement from the peanut gallery I’m going to pursue the following:

A G19 with the grip reduced to a 26 length.

Pro – Conceal-ability of a G26, sight radius of a G19, rail accessory capable.
Con – Situational; reduced magazine capacity (15 rounds to 10.)Risk – Feeding and reliability*

A “tuned” magazine release.

Pro – Ability to maintain master grip without having to shift grip**
Con -None
Risk – Inadvertent magazine dump.

A TLR-1 (this is why G-19 frame is butchered)

Pro – WML, additional weight.
Con – None
Risk – Feeding and reliability*.

Frame Stippling

Pro – Increased traction under all conditions.Con – None
Risk – None

The immediate inconsequential risk is the guns resale value.  This is irrelevant to me, should this work this will be the gun I carry, low profile, ever day.

*Feed and reliability concerns.  I’ve chopped a G17 to 19 length and hung a TLR-1 on it and tested it.  There would be a period of time where I would be interested in proving the G16/26 w/ TLR1 would be functional with G26, 19, 17 and 33round mags.  This concern stems from an abundance of caution and some understanding of the Glock 22’s difficulties with particular WML’s and standard capacity magazines.

**Typically there’s some grip shifting on a magazine change on a G26.  The pinky has to uncurl from underneath the magazine.  Will a tuned magazine release assist with this?  I don’t know, but I’m willing to test it.

I will strive to verify reliability, expect the gun to be as functional as a G26 under stress and feel that this franken-glock has the possibility to become the one gun, with me all the time.  More to come as the project proceeds.

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