Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The Liability of Self Defense Gun Modifications

In my post "How to Make a Glock NOT Suck", I talk about reducing the weight of a trigger pull, and smoothing the action of a gun.

Some folks are concerned about the liability of modifying your trigger system, either in defensive usage, or from AD/ND (accidental or negligent discharge) with the lighter trigger.

I carry a Custom Springfield Champion when I have apropriate cover garments (I live in AZ, you might have noticed it's hot down here) or for open carry. Yost did the trigger and action job, and my pull is just about 3lbs; about the same as the modified Glock (but of course much crisper).

I do sometimes carry the G21 (like I said it's a bit bulky, and I use an IWB), and it has a 3lb release on the trigger, and a very short takeup. Before I sold it, I regularly carried a G19 with the exact same things done to it, and with the same 3lb trigger.

My S&W 686p .357Mag has about a 3lb pull as well, and is so crisp that it releases with a hard thought.

I'm not worried about accidental discharges with any of them. I've defended myself, and others with firearms. I know what it's like; the stress, the loss of co-ordination etc... and I'm still not worried about AD/ND.

Proper trigger discipline, and the four rules are drilled into me so strongly that they are pure instinctive reflex. Like I said in the referenced post, guns aren't for the stupid, immature, or irresponsible; and to my mind having a lighter trigger pull makes no difference in this, so long as the trigger is safe and reliable (meaning it will NEVER release without a deliberate action).

I DO think of the liability issue, but that's life. Unfortunately, in our current legal environment in this country, actions that are clearly in self defense, or the defense of others are often taken by those who are ignorant, fearful, or who have a political agenda; to cause problems, either legal or social, for those who commit those acts.

Many of us in the gun world know folks who have been prosecuted improperly for defending themselves, wheterh with a gun, a knife, or their bare hands. Prosecutors have ENORMOUS discretion in choosing who to charge, and what to charge them with. A prosecutor looking for healines, or looking to get out from under tham (especially if they are generated by antii-gun groups in anti-gun states), can pretty effectively ruin a mans life.

All I can say to that is, at least we aren't in england.

In my case, I'm reasonably certain that any time I defend myself, I will be arrested, and may be charged. Let's break this down a bit:

  • I load with Glasers, which have no purpose but to inflict maximum tissue damage with a reduced risk of collateral damage (I don't recommend them for others unless you can afford to shoot a couple hundred of them like I have).

  • I make no bones about my shooting practice, I train to shoot human beings, two to four hours at a time, firing several hundred rounds just about every week. Other than the time when I lived in California and Ireland, I have done this almost every week since I was 18. I do this so that I can kill people better. Sure I compete, but I primarily shoot for defensive purposes, and as indelicate as it seems, that's about killing people who are trying to kill you or yours.

  • I am a veteran. The very idea of military experience makes some civvies go apeshit.

  • I'm a graduate of several advanced firearms training schools, all of them defense oriented

  • I hold multiple black belts or have had advanced training in martial arts specifically designed to rapidly and effectively disable and/or kill without being injured yourself ( Jiu Jitsu, a little Aikido, a little Ninpo, and Ken Jitsu).

  • I've worked in principle protection and I'm a professional security contractor (both physical and information security).

  • I am an active participant in several online forums where I talk specifically about defensive shooting techniques, and I use no euphemisms. I talk about killing people as quickly as possible while not being injured yourself.

  • I have a history of defensive violence. When I was 13 I killed two junkies in self defense, in a fight where my younger brother and I were jumped. A few years ago I put a guy into the hospital for a week when he came after my friends and I with a box cutter (he's in prison now, another fucking junky).
This is just a small sample, there have been other incidents. When you're the biggest guy in the bar (6'2" 265-325lbs depending on the time) and have visible military and Irish tatoos; and a personality like mine (I'm easy going and laid back most of the time, but I'm agressive, confident, and loud with a lot of unpopular opinions) people pick fights with you. I also have a MAJOR problem with rapists, child abusers, wife beaters and the like, and I've expressed this disapproval directly more than once.

Given these factors, no matter what I do, no matter what gun I shoot, no matter what I'm loading, if I shoot someone outside of Texas, Montana, or Arizona, I'm going to court even if the guy had a gun to my head. Hell, even in the good states unless a cop or a judge seems me take the shot, I'll probably catch a charge; I'll just have to get a good lawyer, call Mas Ayoob, and take it as it comes.

But honestly, none of that is important. What it comes down to is this:

When it comes down to speed, accuracy, and wounding capability in the tools I use to defend my life; I'll take any advantage I can get without regard to the potential consequences. Better to be judged by twelve, than carried by six.