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Thread: Does modifying the trigger really cause legal problems?

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    Does modifying the trigger really cause legal problems?

    I'm just wondering if modifying the trigger on a carry weapon can cause extra legal problems. I have an M&P 9c that I really like. The trigger is fairly good but it could be better. I would especially like to have a shorter more defined reset. It sounds like either Bowie (not to far from me) or an Apex sear would be good options. My concern is that this will be a carry piece. Do you guys know if there have actually been cases where this kind of thing caused extra problems for a defendant? How may departments really have guys inspecting the weapons involved in a shooting that can tell if it is the original sear?

    I've heard the argument that with adrenaline trigger pull doesn't matter. But, it still seems that I would be more accurate with a better trigger pull. Wouldn't that be better? I'm responsible for where my bullets go regardless of how the gun is set up. Seems to me that they best options might be to have a good trigger and then keep my finger off the trigger till I'm ready to shoot. Any thoughts?

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    I couldn't tell you if it's ever made a difference in a case, but if you're worried about it you can spend a bit more and have a performance center sear put in by S&W. Having any changes done by the manufacturer would probably look better if something like that came under scrutiny.

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    I've always wondered this myself. I can't see how it would matter to the person on the receiving end of the discharge. Either you've shot them or you haven't. To my way of thinking, if that mattered then wouldn't if you used a 12 gauge versus a .22lr matter too?

    M_P

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    Quote Originally Posted by timbo813 View Post
    I'm just wondering if modifying the trigger on a carry weapon can cause extra legal problems. I have an M&P 9c that I really like. The trigger is fairly good but it could be better. I would especially like to have a shorter more defined reset. It sounds like either Bowie (not to far from me) or an Apex sear would be good options. My concern is that this will be a carry piece. Do you guys know if there have actually been cases where this kind of thing caused extra problems for a defendant? How may departments really have guys inspecting the weapons involved in a shooting that can tell if it is the original sear?

    I've heard the argument that with adrenaline trigger pull doesn't matter. But, it still seems that I would be more accurate with a better trigger pull. Wouldn't that be better? I'm responsible for where my bullets go regardless of how the gun is set up. Seems to me that they best options might be to have a good trigger and then keep my finger off the trigger till I'm ready to shoot. Any thoughts?
    Really it shouldnt matter too much. when it comes to legal pyrotechnics, its all about how you articulate things. IE: you can say "wanted to make sure if i had an off trigger pull (assuming everything else is fine...grip, stance, sight pic, etc.) i wouldnt yank any shots and hit an innocent bystander"

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    Quote Originally Posted by timbo813 View Post
    keep my finger off the trigger till I'm ready to shoot.
    Yeah; this is a pretty important part of the whole "I dont want to get sued/hung out to dry for shooting someone that didnt need to be shot" thing.

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    A lot of it depends on how anti-gun/anti-self defense your jurisdiction is. It may never come up in Oklahoma, but you can bet it might in Mass or Cali.

    At normal SD ranges your trigger pull quality will be irrelevant. The odds of needing a precision shot in a SD scenario are pretty slim. Of the trigger preferences for a SD gun, a smooth consistent pull is far more important than pull weight or reset. I'd consider long and hard whether you're looking for better groups on paper, rather than a real SD need before having the geometry of your trigger system altered.

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    Quote Originally Posted by glocktogo View Post
    I'd consider long and hard whether you're looking for better groups on paper, rather than a real SD need before having the geometry of your trigger system altered.
    Good point. I will admit that I partly just want better groups on paper. Having changed the sear on other guns I've always been surprised how much better I could shoot them with a lighter pull. I also know that with practice I could improve my groups with the existing trigger.

    But, a shorter reset would allow for quicker follow up shots that could be helpful in self defense. I am considering the Apex sear with or without a heavier spring that would get me back close to stock pull weight. I'm sure Bowie could also shorten the reset without dropping the pull weight to much.

    I'm just wondering what if any legal ramifications there really are.

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    I am not a lawyer, and I have spent the sum of one afternoon looking up self- defense shootings looking for instances of pistol modifications, or using re-loads for self defence having any bearing on the out-comes in these cases.

    It seems it's either a justified shoot or it is not a justified shoot. No doubt aggressive prosecuters have pulled out all the stops in some cases, it just doesn't seem to come up in the limited research I have done.

    I certainly wouldn't dis-engage a grip safety on a defensive pistol, but enhancing a trigger to improve accuracy seems to be small potatoes. I would, as someone mentioned, have it done by the manufacturer.

    I have heard the M&P triggers smooth out pretty nicely with shooting and dry fire practice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moyler View Post
    a justified shoot or it is not a justified shoot. No doubt aggressive prosecuters have pulled out all the stops in some cases, it just doesn't seem to come up in the limited research I have done.
    exactly.. the only time it's going to be an issue is in the event that you've shot when you shouldn't have shot. the detectives investigating the shoot aren't going to look at modifications on the weapon to help them decide if th shoot was righteous- they're going to look at the circumstances surrounded the decision to fire.

    if they decide, or the grand jury decides (depending on where you are), that it wasn't a righteous shoot, then of course the prosecuter is going to pull any and all tricks available to him to convince a jury you're a bloodthirsty animal who jacks off to snuff porn.

    make the pistol the best pistol it can be. but you really should quit the snuff porn.

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    The criminal case is one aspect but the civil case afterwards should be a consideration. We're fortunate here in Oklahoma that if your shoot is justified, the suspect or their family are barred by state law from filing a civil suit. That may not be the case in your jurisdiction. Remember that OJ was acquitted in the criminal case but found liable in the civil case.

    I'd think the issue of a modified trigger might be more likely in a civil case where the burden of proof is a preponderance of evidence rather than beyond a reasonable doubt.

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