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Friend wants to modify trigger

Discussion in 'GATE Self-Defense Forum' started by markrb, Oct 16, 2011.

  1. markrb

    markrb

    11
    0
    Jun 12, 2011
    I am trying to convince my friend that modifying the trigger on his CCW is a bad idea, but he says I am being alarmist.
    He wants to clean up the "squishy" feeling of the trigger and not intentionally change the weight of the pull.
    Can you site any cases that this has been an issue for the person defending themselves justly with a modified firearm to help my case?

    Thanks,
    Mark
     
  2. Mas Ayoob

    Mas Ayoob KoolAidAntidote Moderator

    4,704
    377
    Nov 6, 2005
    Modifying the trigger by smoothing its surface, or by smoothing the gun's action, seems fine to me. I've never run across a case of opposing counsel claiming recklessness on the user's part because the trigger was too SMOOTH, but can't count how many times it was argued that the trigger was too LIGHT.

    Remind your friend that even if he keeps his finger off the trigger, that won't prevent a false allegation of unintended "hair trigger" discharge to support a bogus theory of Manslaughter or Wrongful Death. Unless the shooting was videotaped from the right angle, there will only be his word that he didn't fire by accident...and it will be tough to prove that he's a perfect human being incapable of making a mistake.

    Stay within manufacturer's specs for duty guns, and you should be very defensible. In the case of the Glock, the manufacturer has made it clear that this is in the 5.5-pound pull weight range, either the standard trigger in the commercial guns, or the 3.5/4.5 lb. connector mated with the NY-1 module.

    For an idea of how courts are likely to look at a 3.5/4.5 pound trigger pull, your friend might want to look at Santibanes v. City of Tomball, TX, 654 F. Supp 2d 593, 605-06 (S.D. Tex 2009), involving an unintended discharge of a Glock 21 with 3.5 pound connector, reported some months ago by an attorney here on Glock Talk.

    best,
    Mas
     


  3. markrb

    markrb

    11
    0
    Jun 12, 2011
    Thanks for the info.

    I wish to clarify my statement to include that he wants to use a "sear kit" to replace the factory trigger. I don't know what a sear kit is, but since it is aftermarket I am nervous that not being a factory part could cause him problems even if the pull is within factory specifications.

    He reminded me that I was about to modify my recoil spring and that this also is a gun modification. I have been having nose dive issues with my CM9 and I have seen evidence that Kahr has fixed this in the past by slightly shortening that spring. My friend argues that since I am not Kahr that this is not a factory modification and I could get into legal trouble for this. My argument is that this part has nothing to do with the trigger and cannot fire unintended. Is my thinking correct?

    Thanks again for all the great info,
    Mark
     
  4. Mas Ayoob

    Mas Ayoob KoolAidAntidote Moderator

    4,704
    377
    Nov 6, 2005
    The difference is, historically lighter trigger pulls have been associated with negligent discharges. Replacement recoil springs have not.

    Contact Kahr and see what they're currently recommending for your model pistol. Discuss any recoil spring modifications with a factory technician. If you have email records showing that you modified or replaced a spring on the recommendation of the manufacturer, no one could say you exhibited any sort of reckless disregard.

    However, I emphasize that where gun modifications get people in trouble is anything that creates what a layman would likely call a "hair trigger," or anything that gives opposing counsel the sound bite, "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the defendant is so arrogant and reckless that he deactivates the safety devices on lethal weapons."

    Best,
    Mas