considered a trigger job?


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mbruce
February 18, 2011, 12:16 AM
I installed a Ghost 3.5lbs trigger bar on my Glock 10mm. This is my SD gun that comes from the factory with a 5.5lbs trigger.

From a legal perspective would this aftermarket trigger bar be considered a "trigger job?"

Facts are:
1) trigger components are no longer "factory"
2) aftermarket part lightened the pull by 2lbs (up to)

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NavyLCDR
February 18, 2011, 01:02 AM
If you intentionally pulled the trigger, what difference could it make?

If you were claiming "accidental discharge", I could see trigger pull weight coming into play.

You are going to get some posts that will claim it is an automatic conviction for you, though, regardless of the justification for the shoot.

Frank Ettin
February 18, 2011, 08:13 AM
I know an LEO who is also an armorer and firearms instructor for his agency, and several others in his area who, if engaged as an expert by the prosecution, would testify that (1) a 3.5 pound trigger in a Glock is intended for target and competition use; (2) a 3.5 pound trigger in a Glock is unsuitable for service (self defense or carry) use; (3) as an armorer, he would set up a Glock intended for service use with a 3.5 pound trigger; and (4) he would consider it reckless to do so. I don't think his opinion in this regard is particularly unique, but rather is pretty common among LE trainers and armorers.

If you were unlucky enough to have been involved in a shooting in which you are claiming self defense, and if the DA decides to prosecute because he thinks he could convince a jury that your use of lethal force wasn't justified, do you think that testimony along those lines from a prosecution expert would help you or hurt you with a jury? How would you plan to deal with that sort of testimony?

It's not an automatic conviction, but it'll be no help to you in court either.

It's up to you.

mbruce
February 18, 2011, 08:55 AM
If you intentionally pulled the trigger, what difference could it make?


That's my perspective as well....I just can't phatom why it would come into play.

Also I was just curious if that change was considered a "trigger job."...

None the less I'll minimize risks and reinstall the factory bar.

Off-subject --sorta
Now if you want spooky then install the 3.5lbs bar with a light springs kit....the trigger safety is disabled by a short trigger reset and you have no play in the pull...

mbruce
February 18, 2011, 08:56 AM
Thanks for your input, fiddletown. Ill go back to factory...

TexasRifleman
February 18, 2011, 09:15 AM
Thanks for your input, fiddletown. Ill go back to factory...

To be fair though understand that what fiddletown describes has never actually been documented to have taken place in a self defense shooting case as far as I know.

It's widely talked about on gun forums but no one can ever cite a case where it mattered.

Could it? Sure, almost anything could happen if a prosecutor decided to go off the deep end, but this one has never happened.

Same with using reloaded ammo, everyone frets about it but there's not one case where anyone can show that it even came up.

And, if any changes at all from the original design constitute a "trigger job" then there are thousands and thousands of defensive weapons in that category. Consider the case of a factory 1911 from some of the high end makers. You buy an Ed Brown, it's going to have a "custom" trigger job. You buy a Wilson Combat, it's gonna have a "custom" trigger job etc.

Like fiddletown says, it's up to you but consider NavyLT's point as well, if you intentionally pulled the trigger what difference would it make? And, to claim self defense, you pretty much HAVE to claim that you pulled the trigger on purpose.

mbruce
February 18, 2011, 09:39 AM
Thanks TexasRifleman

If there isn't a case or very few at best....then wonder why there are countless threads and posts on trigger jobs and legal issues..... just gives us something to discuss hypethetically?

LiENUS
February 18, 2011, 09:49 AM
mbruce I think there are so many threads about the legal issues because there is the perception that there are quite a few people out there waiting to be attacked so they can kill someone and by lightening their trigger they are moving themselves that much closer to having pulled the trigger.

The reality is the few people like that are going to make a bad shoot regardless of whether they have a trigger job or not and the facts of their shoot will likely reveal this.

Even if they don't have a firearm they are going to end up doing something stupid to get in trouble.

If you are more comfortable with the 3.5 lbs trigger pull and feel that your firearms safety features are still working properly then go with it. If you have any doubt in your mind then go with the stock trigger pull. The most important thing is that you don't spend your time looking to shoot that gun and instead spend your time making sure you are safe.

627PCFan
February 18, 2011, 10:17 AM
IMO, the whole idea of a modified gun topic brought up in prosecution is a stretch. 1st, you did a trigger job on the gun to make it more accurate for you, so you dont have bullets missing the target........If the trigger job helps you shoot better, it made the gun safer in your hands.
There is no argument that can be made for a negligent discharge so thats a non-issue-
The same idea with the handloaded ammo in a self defense situation. You shoot the ammo you practice with, are familiar with, and are customized to your guns so....you dont have bullets missing the target

NavyLCDR
February 18, 2011, 10:59 AM
One could claim that if you did not use handloaded ammo or did not have a custom trigger than you recklessly endangered bystanders because you did not do everything within your power to ensure your own accuracy and increased the risk of hitting an innocent... just sayin' it could be argued...

gatorjames85
February 18, 2011, 11:09 AM
In a case of an AD/ND it would be very relevant. In a case of otherwise justifiable self-defense, I don't see how it would matter. For the purpose of self defense, you are conceding that you intentionally shot the person.

Kenneth
February 18, 2011, 11:12 AM
New York penal code article 35 DEFENSE OF JUSTIFICATION makes no mention of anything related to hardware, only of conduct and circumstances. If in doubt, look up your state's penal code.
I've heard different things from different people like "don't use handloads!" or "don't use a gun that's been (legally) improved in any way" for self defense. But, the only thing that matters is what is in black and white on paper.
I cant recall any recent civilian defense shootings, or bystander witnessing a crime shootings, in which the shooter has been prosecuted. At least not in Western New York:what: (this may have come as a shock to you. Sorry about not warning you to sit down first)

In the case of an accidental discharge that results in injury or death, its TOTALLY different. Modifications, improvements, and function will weigh HEAVILY. You may want to do a little research in the area of civil liability issues.


"Our wrongs we must right if we can through the Ballot Box, and if this fails us, through the Cartridge Box."

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story wrote;

Old Fuff
February 18, 2011, 11:21 AM
It often depends on where you happen to live, and the statutes therein, but you may (or may not) be in greater risk from an after-shooting civil suit then criminal charges.

The Glock pistol does not have a manal safety, and simply touching the trigger makes it ready-to-go. There is some caselaw where lawyers have won cases by convincing a jury and/or judge that the shot that "did the deed" was fired unintentionally when the shooter had a revolver cocked and touched the "hair trigger." :rolleyes:

After a number of law enforcement agencies and departments (not to mention individual officers or agents) got hit with substantial judgments it became a common practice for these departments/agencies to have they're revolvers modified to double-action-only (DAO) and/or purchase new handguns that were originally made that way. It should be noted that in urban areas it didn't seem necessary to prove what happened, just convince the judge/jury that what they claimed was true.

I would suggest that lowering the trigger pull on a defensive pistol, in particular the Glock, is a mistake - because in the event of a shooting it can bring up issues that might best be avoided. As it is, other consequences are more then enough.

Al Thompson
February 18, 2011, 12:04 PM
Mr. Ayoob wrote a few years back, that part of the issue was that counsel didn't have a "pat" answer to firearm modifications. I.E., "Yes, I lightened the trigger so I could place my shots more precisely and score more hits than the 30% hit ratio most police departments have with unmodified pistols. By hitting only the bad guy, this modification prevents danger to innocent bystanders who I may be unable to observe".

Frank Ettin
February 18, 2011, 12:52 PM
...If the trigger job helps you shoot better, it made the gun safer in your hands...Is it really going to? In that case of taking a 5.5 pound standard Glock trigger down to 3.5 pounds, you'll get a lot of debate on the point, especially from guys like the LEO/trainer/armorer I mentioned earlier.

Yes, if you're using a DA revolver with a gritty 15 pound trigger, smoothing it out and taking down to 10 pounds or so makes a lot of sense. You will manage it much better. And guys like the LEO/trainer/armorer I mentioned earlier will support the change. But a 3.5 pound Glock trigger in a high stress situation like a violent engagement is another matter.

Is one saying that he can't shoot a Glock with a standard trigger accurately? Maybe more training or practice is in order. And if one insists on a 3.5 trigger on his carry Glock, how much training and experience does he have and will he get managing the gun under stress?

...I cant recall any recent civilian defense shootings, or bystander witnessing a crime shootings, in which the shooter has been prosecuted...How about --

Larry Hickey (http://www.armedcitizensnetwork.org/images/stories/Hickey%20Booklet.pdf), in gun friendly Arizona thought it was a "good shoot." He was arrested, spent 71 days in jail, went through two different trials ending in hung juries, was forced to move from his house, etc., before the DA decided it was a good shoot and dismissed the charges.

Mark Abshire (http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=391091&highlight=mark+abshire) in Oaklahoma thought it was a good shoot. Nonetheless, despite this happening on his own lawn in a fairly gun-friendly state with a "Stand Your Ground" law, he was arrested, went to jail, charged, lost his job and his house, and spent two and a half years in the legal grinder before finally being acquitted.

Harold Fish (http://www.haroldfishdefense.org/), also in gun friendly Arizona, thought it was a good shot. But he was still convicted and sent to prison. He won his appeal, his conviction was overturned, and a new trial was ordered. The DA chose to dismiss the charges rather than retry Mr. Fish.

It's probably true that most of the time justification will be fairly apparent and the matter will be quickly cleared up favorably for the defender. But there are no guarantees, and there's no way to know if your self defense encounter will work out so neatly.

The relatively small number of self defense gun uses that get to court probably is the reason there are few, or no, cases readily found in which people used modified guns or handloaded ammunition. Most people who have guns for self defense are probably not enthusiasts. They have box stock guns and use factory ammunition.

...almost anything could happen if a prosecutor decided to go off the deep end...[1] If one is on trial following his use of a gun in what he claims was self defense, there is disagreement on whether his use of lethal force was justified. The investigation of the incident did not establish with sufficient clarity that his use of lethal force was justified. Now it will be up to the defender to affirmatively establish a prima facie case that his use of lethal force satisfied the applicable legal standard for justification.

[2] In that case, the prosecutor will use whatever is available to secure a conviction.

[3] That could include your training (or lack of training), the ammunition you used, the type of gun you used, modifications made to the gun, etc.

[4] Some things might have a predictable downside but also have an upside in the street and can be managed in court, e. g., the use of JHP ammunition or having sought out training.

[5] Some things might have a predictable downside with no real upside, like a hair trigger (learn to shoot well with a good service grade trigger).

If you really want to stack the deck against yourself, be my guest. Personally, I try to stack the deck in my favor.

mbruce
February 18, 2011, 01:15 PM
the cases above are the cases in the "grey.."...is what I mean by grey is armed vs unarmed and not inside your house. It's those cases that have engrained in me to run or do whatever i can to avoid an unarmed vs armed confrontation -- the first and 2nd case -- i'm sure they could have went inside their home before it escalated. The Fish case -- not saying he could have ran away...but I would have ran away from a "crazy dude" running at me...but I'm a runner -- i can run for miles and odds are in my favor. There's always going to be an investigation when you shoot someone unarmed, in the woods.

Although Fiddle -- with everything mentioned -- I took my glock back to 5.5lbs factory....heh
I'm thinking about removing the light and laser show I have on it too -- Heaven for bid that be used against me.

Frank Ettin
February 18, 2011, 01:43 PM
...I'm thinking about removing the light and laser show I have on it too -- Heaven for bid that be used against me.... The light and laser are kind of a toss up.

The light can be controversial. One problem some trainers have with a gun mounted light is that in order to use the light you're pointing the gun at something, and that something might not be something you'd want to shoot (or be justified in shooting). On the other hand, it looks like more and more law enforcement agencies are having patrol officers mount lights on their duty sidearms.

Lasers also are controversial. The last time I was at Gunsite (2006) many of the instructors had Crimson Trace laser grips on their sidearms. I talked with them about lasers. They were actually mounting them because they were in the process of evaluating their use. The consensus at the time was that they were useful under certain limited circumstance. (And remember that a laser is no substitute for basic marksmanship skills. If you jerk the trigger it won't matter whether you're using a laser or not -- you'll still miss.)

I think that if one is going to mount a light and/or laser on his gun, he should get some specialized training using either or both, as the case may be. If one isn't trained and practiced in the safe and effective use of these aids, they would probably be more of a disadvantage than a help in the street.

Standing Wolf
February 18, 2011, 02:02 PM
I've done trigger jobs or had them done to all my carry guns, and nearly all the rest, as well. I like precise, predictable triggers, and refuse to live in fear of lawyers or their machinations.

Frank Ettin
February 18, 2011, 02:14 PM
I've done trigger jobs or had them done to all my carry guns, and nearly all the rest, as well. I like precise, predictable triggers, and refuse to live in fear of lawyers or their machinations. I like precise and predictable triggers too. I carry a gun whenever I legally can, and most often I carry a 1911. The triggers on all my 1911s are precise and predictable -- and about 4.5 to 5.5 pounds. My LEO/trainer/armorer friend approves. And I don't live in fear of lawyers.

mbruce
February 18, 2011, 02:39 PM
For me, the best scenario is to be fired upon -- hope that hits vitals and I pass quitely, my wife collects life-insurance proceeds, she find a suitable replacement... the dogs will love whoever...we have no children. At least she'll be set!

How did the law get like this....oh well...Zombie war is coming soon anyways and laws will no longer be applicable.

TexasRifleman
February 18, 2011, 02:42 PM
And we end with zombies....

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