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Disabling factory safety devices on defense handguns.

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by bestseller92, Oct 15, 2006.

  1. bestseller92

    bestseller92 Participating Member

    Nov 7, 2005
    I think this is a horrid idea, not because it necessarily makes the gun unsafe, but because of the legal trouble it could lead to. I see Ruger P345 owners posting about how they've disabled their mag safeties, and I cringe. This seems like a good way to go to court or prison, should you ever have to use the gun for a serious purpose. If you don't want a gun with a mag safety, or another factory installed safety feature, purchase a gun without it.

    On another board, someone asked if there are cases where people have been sued or imprisoned as a direct or indirect result of disabling a factory installed safety device on a handgun. I don't know any off hand, but I imagine they do exist. Does anyone else here have any true life examples like this?
  2. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Senior Member

    Nov 30, 2003
    Lightened triggers have definatly sent a few good men up the river. If an innocent person was killed as a result of a gun firing without a magazine in it, then yes, your up the creek as well.
  3. ribbonstone

    ribbonstone Member

    Jan 26, 2006
    New Orleans
    As most court cases are a matter of public record, I'd like to see a specific case where that was a major issue.

    But I do agree with you...removing any factory suplied safety feature seems like a very bad idea. Why add one more hill to climb in the courtroom?

    On the other hand, having been out in the woods camping with a friend who lost the magazine for a semi-auto with a magazine safety, I can ssure you that it can takes good long while to whittle a chunk of wood into a shape that will trip that mag/ safety and at least give you a single shot pistol.

    (BTW: in almost all mag. safetys, you can defeat them. Don't think it's useful information, can't seen were this would ever come in handy. If you were to start trigger pressure on a chambered round..hold that pressure and eject the magazine..will be able to continue the started pressure and fire the chambered round.)
  4. 10-Ring

    10-Ring Elder

    Dec 24, 2002
    Here in the land o' liability, I tend to keep my defensive guns stock. I want to be judged on the facts of what happened & the spirit of the law not just the technicalities of me & my tools.
  5. Josh Aston

    Josh Aston Active Member

    Apr 12, 2006
    Mountain Home, ID
    Well then leave them stock. Me, however, I'll continue to remove magazine safeties and internal locks from any firearm I own.
  6. GregGry

    GregGry Active Member

    Jun 28, 2005
    Milwaukee, Wi
    If the shoot was justified, it was justified. If some perp is comming at you with a knife, stabs you and you shoot them in self defense, then it really doesn't matter if you had XXXX saftey, or XXXX brand ammo. I don't understand why people get so caught up with things like "if you have a light trigger, your going to be going to jail" or "If you have altered your pistol, your going to jail". If the shooting was justified, it was just that.

    Sure its possible that some laywer will bring up the fact you were using hollow point ammo, or possibly altered your firearm. Tell me what jury will convict some person for murder, or what DA will charge someone, for having a legaly modified gun (such as mag saftey removal), or certain ammo. In my state, its not against the law to have most any handgun ammo, and its not illegal to modify your pistol short of full auto and such.

    I have yet to see any proof that there has been a case where a person was convicted of murder rather then self defense, when a legaly modified gun was used. If they got convicted, the case was bad from the get go. Meaning a unjustified shooting.
  7. abarth

    abarth New Member

    Aug 3, 2006
    PO2Hammer, I want to see proves also, on what you claimed. My SD gun have a lighten trigger pull. I just don't see the logic of people go to jail on a justified shooting with a lighten trigger pistol. It is like saying I punched and killed the BG in self defend, but I am going to jail for it because I wear a ring in my hand. Hmmmm.
  8. Nightcrawler

    Nightcrawler Mentor

    Dec 24, 2002
    Utah, inside the Terraformed Zone
    A lightened trigger means nothing in court when you state that you were deliberately pulling it.

    A disabled magazine safety is irrelevant if the magazine was in the weapon.

    A deactivated internal lock has no bearing as it wouldn't be activated for carry in any case.

    I can see these things become a *potential* liability if you leave the gun around and some fool shoots himself with it. These things will be a liability if you turnaround and try to say you didn't mean to shoot him, or that the gun "just went off". If you're doing that, you've got problems anyway, and pretending to be incompetent probably won't help.

    The rest of it...I don't know. I think we're grasping at straws here. Show me one case where the fact that the gun was modified turned a justified shooting case around on the shooter and I'll reconsider.
  9. SDM

    SDM New Member

    Dec 16, 2005
    Richmond VA (SWVA too)
    GregGry, abarth, Nightcrawler -
    Your arguments have one flaw, LOGIC. In this case you are using it. If logic was being applied in these cases most of the time they probably wouldn't ever make it to court. If the lawyer has a personal agenda driving them, I have to think they will use modifications against the shooter. I'd say it depends on the location, NY/CA vs. TX/VA.
  10. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine Mentor

    May 29, 2003
    I'll remove or modify a gun in any manner I see fit (within the law) to get it to function the way I decide is necessary for the job.

    A "good shoot" is a "good shoot" and if I ever have to justifiably kill someone, I could care less about some scumbag lawyer. If he thinks he can outsmart me in court about guns or their use, let him try.
  11. JDGray

    JDGray Mentor

    Sep 16, 2005
    SW MI.
    If you leave a gun laying arround, and a kid shoots himself, or someone with it, do you really think its gonna matter if you disabled the mag safety? Responsible gun owners, keep guns away from kids. If I pull the trigger on my gun, I want it to go off. My state doesn't require a mag safety, so whats the big deal? By the way, my P345 has no mag safety. Lets hope your P345 goes bang, when you need it to!
  12. tantrix

    tantrix New Member

    Mar 2, 2004
    Louisiana, CSA
    No, I make sure they don't have anything to disable to begin with. I carry Glocks and pre-lock revolvers. :D
  13. RecoilRob

    RecoilRob Participating Member

    Sep 30, 2003
    Around these parts, if you find yourself defending your actions in court, it is HIGHLY unlikely that anyone involved in the prosecution knows ANYTHING about weapons.....and the lack of mag safety or lightened trigger pull would probably go un-noticed. Unless you tell them.

    I bought my P345 lightly used and....what do you mean it was supposed to have a mag safety? I never noticed.

    And, what do you mean the trigger is 'too light'? This is the only one I have handled and it seemed fine to me.

    As long as you don't spill your guts and admit to being a 'Fiend' who purposely modified the gun to be better able to spill blood, I wager that you would be fine in court....so long as it was a good shoot and you have competent council.
  14. berettaman

    berettaman Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    "yes sir mister prosocuter,my gun was altered from the factory specs,but in my defence sir,my attacker didn't assult me in the factory manor that I've been lead to believe he was supposed to.He acted like he was going to hit me,and then pulled a knive real quick"

    "so sir,you've had extensive self defence training"?

    "yes sir several,I've seen the monty python sketch about being attaced by a banana,a bowl of rasberrys and a tiger.My attacker had none of these".

    :neener: :neener: :neener:
  15. JLStorm

    JLStorm Participating Member

    Jun 19, 2004
    I am a fence sitter on this issue. I have a 1911 that I have modified which I carry often and I have an HK which is stock that I also carry. However I am required to be armed for some part time work I do, and I only carry the HK while working. I decided to do this simply so that if anyone inquired about my firearm they would find it is approved for police and military use as is. It may mean nothing, but it makes me feel a bit more at ease I guess...
  16. .38 Special

    .38 Special Senior Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Orange County, CA.
    Well, here's an article in which a cop's attempt at producing a "hair trigger" is/was apparently admitted as evidence against him. http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05073/471106.stm

    Here's a post from THR about a similar incident. http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=152458

    Finding such events, BTW, is not nearly as easy as some of you think it should be. It would be an exhaustive search through the actual texts of literally millions of cases. An easy statement like "court cases are a matter of public record" (not trying to single anyone out) doesn't begin to cover the difficulty in going line-by-line through every relevant case -- and no, the legal summaries do not usually include every single factor involved in the decision, so you really do have to read every single word.

    Moreover, I'm surprised at those of you who don't believe there's even a reasonable possibility of such foolishness being factored into a jury's decision. I mean, this is a world where juries award people for cutting themselves on wondow glass they'd just broken while climbing into a house they intended to rob, or people who spill coffee into their laps and then claim it was too hot. You obviously cannot count on sanity in the jury pool, so blanket statements like "They could never logically convict me" or "Good luck trying that against an expert like me!" strike me as very poorly thought out.

    And for the cherry on top, ask yourself how many police departments allow their officers to carry weapons modified with lighter triggers or deactivated safeties. Then ask yourself why that might be.

    Now after having said all that, I'll make myself look a bit foolish by claiming that I don't really have a dog in this fight: I think the odds of having to discharge a firearm in self defense AND having to then defend against "standard" modifications are so small as to be pointless. My guns are all modified for the simple reason that they are toys, not tools. (I know I'll catch some flak for that -- "Guns are not toys!!!" -- but whatever. I'm a gamer and I modify guns to suit the games.) But the idea that it couldn't possibly happen - or even that it's unlikely to happen or hasn't happened already or that it can easily be defended against with knowledge and logic - seems to ignore a long tradition of courtroom foolishness.
  17. Sgt Stevo

    Sgt Stevo Active Member

    Feb 25, 2004
    Campbell ca
    I took the mag safety off a browning. MY wifes practical. I also got a trigger job. I dont think if she shoots some one in the midlle of the night breaking in our house. That it will be a problem. However, I dont use my Glock 34 for defense with the 3 pound trigger,, Glock says not to. That would be asking for it. There would a turd , that some lawyer could point at. and try to mess with you.

    Thats why I use a stock 1911 detonics. It is good enough from the box. Sig too.
  18. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Elder

    Aug 11, 2005
    Elbert County, CO
    Same reason they are all required to carry the same gun in many agencies. Manual of arms and user familiarity, as well as magazine compatibility. That, and most LEO's are far from experts WRT firearms. Comparing cops to armed citizens is truly aplles and oranges in every way.

    Modifications to your firearm will not matter. If it was justified, it was justified, regardless of how hard you had to pull the trigger. Likewise, if you are charged with homicide for shooting someone you shouldn't have, you're going to jail for homicide/manslaughter, etc. Whether the trigger was 10 lbs or 2, or the ILS disengaged or disabled, you still dropped the hammer.
  19. denfoote

    denfoote Senior Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Near the border of occupied Azlan and Mexico.
    I read that article and I think the issue was more of him being a really bad apple anyway, than modifing his trigger. There was also the issue of witholding evidence.

    That said, I generally leave my guns stock. The only exception being Glocks. I install the minus connector. This being a stock Glock part anyway, I don't see a problem. My current carry pistol, a Walther P5, has a stock 20lb DA trigger pull!! I've practiced enough to be accurate with that all important first shot. The same holds true for my PPK/S.
  20. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2002
    Centennial, CO
    I didn't remove the magazine disconnector, I gave it a trigger job!

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