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View Full Version : Legality of lightening up the trigger & reset


Kodemonkey
10-05-2010, 9:33 AM
I have a HK USP 9 and use it for IDPA, so I was interested in getting the following work done on it:

HK Competition Short Reset $300 (Competition Pistols Only)

As above with the reset reduced to approximately 50% of the factory reset and a 10lb main sping. Firing Pin Block integrity and other factory safety values will be maintained as well.

http://grayguns.com/gunsmith-services/heckler-koch-usp/

My question is: If I use it for a HD weapon and end up having to use it, am I going to have a problem because I made the gun "more dangerous"? I have a friend that keeps telling me that if I modify the gun to make the trigger lighter and a shorter reset I shouldn't use it for HD. Also the fact that Bruce Gray describes the job to be for Competition Pistols Only maybe my friend has some merit.

I want to use the gun I am most comfortable with and that would be the one I use the most at IDPA.

shooting4life
10-05-2010, 9:46 AM
I don't think it would he a problem as long as you did not accidentally shoot the person and the trigger made the accident mote likely to happen. If you are intending to fire then the weight of the trigger does not matter. Also reliability is paramount and don't forget that you will have an adrenaline dump while it is allgoing on

Old4eyes
10-05-2010, 9:56 AM
Here's my take on gun modifications:

1. They should not reduce the reliability of the weapon.
2. They should not reduce the safety of the weapon for an accidental discharge.

The lawyers will always try to sway a judge/jury to their point of view. So I would prep my defense lawyer in the following manner:

Why did you modify the trigger: So I could shoot more accurately and NOT HURT INNOCENT PEOPLE.

Why did you put on night sights: So I could shoot more accurately and NOT HURT INNOCENT PEOPLE.

Why did you put a light on your gun: So I could correctly identify my target and NOT HURT INNOCENT PEOPLE.

Why did you use hollow point ammunition: So I could prevent over penetration and NOT HURT INNOCENT PEOPLE.

Noah3683
10-05-2010, 10:03 AM
When your adrenaline is high, a 10lb trigger feels like a 3lb trigger anyway. An actual 3lb trigger is opening the door for you dropping somebody you don't intend to. Just my opinion though. However my neighbors dad is assistant DA and that's precisely the things they look to expose when prosecuting after such an event "The defendant modified the already dangerous weapon to have a hair trigger"

Sam
10-05-2010, 10:30 AM
This has been discussed before. While the civil and criminal arenas will produce
different results I have consistently failed to get
someone to cite a case that such a modification was a factor in a guilty
verdict.

Spdjunkie
10-05-2010, 10:34 AM
IMHO:

I would call ahead and see if you need to use Federal Primers only with their Competition Short Reset Package w/ 10lb. Mainspring.

Certain applications if you use a lightened mainspring below a certain lbs. point you can get light primer strikes.
Federal primers cups are softer and ignite with less FP impact.

Kodemonkey
10-05-2010, 10:43 AM
IMHO:

I would call ahead and see if you need to use Federal Primers only with their Competition Short Reset Package w/ 10lb. Mainspring.

Certain applications if you use a lightened mainspring below a certain lbs. point you can get light primer strikes.
Federal primers cups are softer and ignite with less FP impact.

Actually, I have a 10lb wolff spring in it already now and have not had any issues with over 500 rounds of different factory ammo. I think the stock is 12# so it wasn't a huge difference but it made the DA more usable IMHO.

Ed_in_Sac
10-05-2010, 10:44 AM
I have heard that warning made by some in the self defense business. Would hope that if you use that same firearm in competition AND for self-defense it would seem a logical "enhancement" by a jury. But I suspect the real key is who the DA is and if there is any question as to the shooting being justified and deliberate...JMO NOT AN ATTORNEY!

Kodemonkey
10-05-2010, 10:48 AM
This has been discussed before. While the civil and criminal arenas will produce
different results I have consistently failed to get
someone to cite a case that such a modification was a factor in a guilty
verdict.

Yeah, I did some searching as well and couldn't find anything. I do have a friend that is a LA Deputy DA, although I know he hasn't prosecuted anything like what I am talking about. I will have to ask him next time I see him if he has anything on this - but my guess there isn't any case law on it and I am not going to task him with finding it for me.

Shenaniguns
10-05-2010, 10:57 AM
Unless it is a pure game gun I'd go with this one:
HK Reduced Reset Carry Perfection Package – $300

Noah3683
10-05-2010, 11:00 AM
I would suggest researching some of Massad Ayoob's articles. He has been a expert witness on many such cases. Not saying there has been convictions due to this, but I've seen it mentioned in his articles before that the prosecutors have used it as a tool trying to do so. Just like they target Hollowpoints

Grumpyoldretiredcop
10-05-2010, 11:01 AM
You might take a look at Massad Ayoob's writings. He's the only nationally recognized expert witness that I've ever heard about who makes the assertion that modifying a defense weapon creates liability in civil court. Sorry, I don't have a link to include. Edit - Noah3683 and I posted at the same time - great minds think alike lol

Droc101
10-05-2010, 11:03 AM
You could always use the defense that a 186 gr 40s&w flying at 1186 fps is just as deadly whether shot from a gun with a 3# trigger or a 6# trigger.

Shenaniguns
10-05-2010, 11:13 AM
You might take a look at Massad Ayoob's writings. He's the only nationally recognized expert witness that I've ever heard about who makes the assertion that modifying a defense weapon creates liability in civil court. Sorry, I don't have a link to include. Edit - Noah3683 and I posted at the same time - great minds think alike lol


And many other firearm instructors disagree with much of what he says, so what he says is not fact.

Bill Carson
10-05-2010, 11:18 AM
Here's my take on gun modifications:

1. They should not reduce the reliability of the weapon.
2. They should not reduce the safety of the weapon for an accidental discharge.

The lawyers will always try to sway a judge/jury to their point of view. So I would prep my defense lawyer in the following manner:

Why did you modify the trigger: So I could shoot more accurately and NOT HURT INNOCENT PEOPLE.

Why did you put on night sights: So I could shoot more accurately and NOT HURT INNOCENT PEOPLE.

Why did you put a light on your gun: So I could correctly identify my target and NOT HURT INNOCENT PEOPLE.

Why did you use hollow point ammunition: So I could prevent over penetration and NOT HURT INNOCENT PEOPLE.

best post I ever read

TangoCharlie
10-05-2010, 11:28 AM
With a modification that can make the gun - or the perception of the gun- less safe, it means your self defense shooting needs to be that much more legally in the black. If the gun is stock, then any argument made by a DA as to the inherent safety or lack of safety is easily passed right over you to the manufacturer.

It should be said too that lightening the trigger on a self defense gun is likely making it less safe since you are making it in fact easier to discharge the firearm accidentally during a high stress, adrenalized situation.

Stick to a good stock gun for home defense.

scarville
10-05-2010, 12:38 PM
As long as you don't say the discharge was accidental I don't know of any reason it would hurt you in court.

Ed_in_Sac
10-05-2010, 12:43 PM
Last thought, then I shut up :rolleyes: Masaad recomends the NY trigger mod on Glocks. My understanding of him is that he feels this heavy trigger is safer and more consistent in actual use. He states that he uses it in competition on his Glocks. I put a lot of stock in what he says, but in civil court that mod might be used to argue that the homeowner was trying to be like the NYPD and was obsessed with shooting someone to emulate being a cop.

I can imagine that using full metal jacket rounds instead of hollow points might be construed in a lawsuit that you were trying to be like the military. I almost exclusively use the NATO 9mm loads for practice and have many rounds on hand at any time. If I have to load my gun quickly and grab a clip of those, what does that make me look like to a jury?

You're going to be subjected to a lot of personal scrutiny if ever called upon to stop a threat with a firearm. At some point you just have to man up and do the right thing. Not saying to be stupid, but neither should one expect life to just roll on without any clouds in the sky.

btw, don't construe anything I said to be critical of Masaad or any one else who cautions against altering a firearm...this is just my opinion...and I own it!

UserM4
10-05-2010, 1:01 PM
Straight from the horse's mouth
http://proarmspodcast.com/2009/04/12/022-light-triggers/

ragenmoan
10-05-2010, 2:26 PM
seems to me that modifications to any handgun on the current DoJ's "safegun" list would make them now "unsafe". for those handguns off the list, seems to me that since these guns are no longer "safe", any modification would be moot.

bussda
10-05-2010, 2:37 PM
There is the Magliato case where modified (reduced) trigger pull on a revolver caused a DA to charge and win a murder case that was more self defense then murder.

Gryff
10-05-2010, 2:49 PM
And many other firearm instructors disagree with much of what he says, so what he says is not fact.

Or it is, but these few other guys are wrong.

d4v0s
10-05-2010, 2:57 PM
A Jury can be swayed into getting you jail time because you modified your gun to be more lethal and kill people, they will not listen to hallow statements such as "and to not hurt innocent people" No offense at all there im just saying hoping that works is not where i would put my life; because who will protect your family if your on the inside.

Do not ever shoot someone with a modified gun, or anything that looks evil, you are better off killing a murderer with your daughters pink 10/22 lr, than your pistol, or Ar15.

With that being said, I would not worry about these things in a true home defense situation, shoot first, neutralize the threat, and stand among your peers for judgement.

I also believe alot of gun owners overlook hand to hand combat training, you should have a well rounded Defense Arsenal. You never know if your going to have to fight your way to your pistol, so you can fight your way to your rifle.

Moto4Fun
10-05-2010, 3:21 PM
It appears to me that the prosecution can make an argument about anything. But if I had a competition gun, I think I would probably have a separate HD gun with similar operation but set up for HD purposes.

stix213
10-05-2010, 3:26 PM
IANAL

I lightened the trigger pull on my Glock 26 because I found with such a small and light pistol I had difficulty staying on target with the standard 5LB trigger, same trigger pull used on the full sized version. I felt it would be irresponsible of me not to address the problem, and if I ever have to use it I would think the circumstances of my use would be far more important than a modification to the firearm.

Noah3683
10-05-2010, 3:57 PM
IANAL

I lightened the trigger pull on my Glock 26 because I found with such a small and light pistol I had difficulty staying on target with the standard 5LB trigger, same trigger pull used on the full sized version. I felt it would be irresponsible of me not to address the problem, and if I ever have to use it I would think the circumstances of my use would be far more important than a modification to the firearm.

You see it that way, I see it that way..... the DA and a jury may not. Especially in your county ;)

Sam
10-05-2010, 4:20 PM
There is the Magliato case where modified (reduced) trigger pull on a revolver caused a DA to charge and win a murder case that was more self defense then murder.

Got a cite?

Old4eyes
10-05-2010, 4:40 PM
A Jury can be swayed into getting you jail time because you modified your gun to be more lethal and kill people....

Warning shot first, then shoot to wound? How do you get to more lethal with a deadly weapon?

What about using a shotgun as opposed to a pistol. That is certainly more lethal.

What about using a DA/SA such as the Beretta 92. That first trigger pull is a lot harder than the subsequent pulls. Does that mean that a district attorney could argue you are negligent or pre-meditating when you fire off rounds 2 - n?

How about I use a stock 1911 rather than my stock revolver? The trigger pull on that 1911 is certainly less than my revolver.

Unfortunately those who argue that a DA could argue a case that modifications are an indication that you are a blood thirsty mass murderer may not be far off the mark. But I'm still keeping the light on my self defense gun although it didn't come that way from the factory.

bussda
10-05-2010, 4:59 PM
Got a cite?

Google search: magliato, gun
Website: thegunzone.com

This topic previously discussed on calguns. See http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/archive/index.php/t-156312.html
(This came up when I did google search for magliato and gun)

bussda
10-05-2010, 5:46 PM
Warning shot first, then shoot to wound? How do you get to more lethal with a deadly weapon?

...

Unfortunately those who argue that a DA could argue a case that modifications are an indication that you are a blood thirsty mass murderer may not be far off the mark. But I'm still keeping the light on my self defense gun although it didn't come that way from the factory.

This is a bit off topic, but for legal purposes, think shoot to stop. Where does that warning shot go? Wounding implies you wanted to injure him, not stop him. And a firearm is not truly deadly. I seem to remember an estimated statistic of 95% of those wounded require no medical care (Point Blank Kleck). And more people die from the .22 then any other. :)

Back on topic. And if you want to add a light to your weapon, go ahead. Just use it for target ID ONLY. Accidents will happen. That is why a separate light makes more sense.

3GunFunShooter
10-05-2010, 6:01 PM
I have 3 competition pistols, all have had trigger work. I would never use these for HD.
Only competition or EOTWAWKI. As others have written the legal ramifications if used could lead to real problems.

scarville
10-05-2010, 6:24 PM
Got a cite?
The Magliato case turned on the fact the defender cocked the gun and then claimed that it went of accidentally when the deceased charged him.

http://www.thegunzone.com/ayoob/magliato-ayoob.html

Noah3683
10-05-2010, 6:37 PM
The Magliato case turned on the fact the defender cocked the gun and then claimed that it went of accidentally when the deceased charged him.

http://www.thegunzone.com/ayoob/magliato-ayoob.html

Eh you are much better off owning up to it then saying it was an accident. I think accidentally going off would further push them to vilify they weapon mods. I would be straight forward. "Well our lives were in danger. When forced to protect my 3 innocent little daughters and my wife. Well he was expendable"

bussda
10-05-2010, 7:55 PM
The Magliato case turned on the fact the defender cocked the gun and then claimed that it went of accidentally when the deceased charged him.

There were other factors. But if the revolver had not been modified to a "hair trigger" would there still have been an accidental discharge? I don't know, but it is one less contributing factor.