Every year technology is getting better and better and gadgets are getting smaller and smaller. I remember when cell phones were a rare sight and if someone did have one they were bulky and in black and white.
The gun industry wasn’t left behind in this technological revolution and new products are hitting the market all the time. Each year guns are becoming more compact and sophisticated and companies are making new accessories to go along with them. This is all fine and dandy but with so many different choices on the market one can go overboard in accessorizing their firearm.
Take a look at this Glock pictured above and ask yourself if it would be a good concealed carry piece?
The answer to that should be simple; of course it would not make a good weapon for everyday carry (EDC). This weapon setup wouldn’t even be practical for home defense, unless you are waiting for the zombie apocalypse. It is probably a fun weapon to show off to your buddies while watching The Walking Dead but the logistical usage would stop there. Even the 28 round “high-capacity” magazine wouldn’t be feasible in a concealed carry or even open carry role. It is just too bulky and would print no matter how many layers of clothes you wore (and don’t even think about sitting down to drive with that puppy in the magwell).
Carrying two separate magazines also offers you the advantage of having a backup magazine already loaded and ready to slam into the magwell if the one you’re using happens to have some type of mechanical failure. I know everybody isn’t going to go out and put a Ka-bar Bayonet and 30 round magazine on their everyday carry pistol but it illustrates my point that people can go a little overboard trying to make their guns more “tactical.”
Now that we all had a good laugh, let’s get serious and discuss some accessories you might be able to use in a self-defense situation.
Flashlights or Lasers for your handgun
Shown here is a Glock 23 with a Streamlight M6 Illuminator attached. The Streamlight M6 is an older model and there are newer models available but it will serve this discussion just fine. Not only does this illuminator have a flashlight but it includes a laser sight making it a dual purpose accessory. I believe that every accessory or modification done to a weapon should serve a purpose or it’s not worth doing. Alien Gear Holsters makes concealed carry holsters that accommodate laser lights. Take a look here: holster for pistol with laser
So you proceed to go out to the garage but it turns out that you forgot to change the light bulb when it burnt out the day before. Well, luckily you have that illuminator attached to your pistol or you would be going into the situation blind.
On the inverse of that situation above, let’s say that you were concealed carrying the same pistol while traveling to the corner store one night to pick up some milk and cookies or whatever else you may have forgot while shopping at the supermarket. There aren’t any parking spaces open in front of the store so you have to park around back.
Now, you are in a bit of a conundrum because you have your weapon drawn and are using it as a normal flashlight. They don’t know what you are doing and the situation could escalate very quickly getting you in legal trouble or worse.
Common sense would dictate that a person shouldn’t be using their pistol illuminator as a casual flashlight but sometimes even the best of us slip up and make mistakes. Even in your own home it is not a good idea to use your pistol illuminator without precautions and go around flagging people every time you hear an unsettling noise. Make sure everyone in the home is accounted for and proceed from there if needed and no other light sources are available.
As with any modification you need to get acquainted and practice with it before you are forced to use it in a real-time self-defense application. Laser sight aren’t always pin point but they can give you a general idea of where the bullet will go. In a high stress situation a laser sight could mean the difference between life and death. Once again precautions need to be taken, make sure you have fresh batteries and don’t go around using it as a laser point like New York’s Jerome Hauer.
If you don’t like the idea of putting a bulky taclight or laser sight on your pistol, night sights might be the best route for you to go. Companies like Trijicon, Meprolight, HiViz and Ameriglo make night sights for just about every make and model of handgun on the market. They are easy enough to install and don’t cost an arm and a leg either. Trijicon Tritium Sights are guaranteed from 5-12 years and Meprolight Tritium Sights are guaranteed for 15 years making them both an excellent value while giving you peace of mind. As the old adage goes: It is better to have them and not need them, then to need them and not have them.
Last but not least in our tactical or practical discussion is grip modifications. The grip is one of the most important parts of a pistol in my humble opinion. If a gun doesn’t feel right in your hands chances are it can very well affect your accuracy and accuracy is everything when it comes to shooting whether in self-defense or just plinking on the range.
Since then, I have put over 3,000 rounds through my G17 and not looked back. Manufactures are starting to catch on to the consumer need for a well fitting grip. Some are even offering interchangeable back-straps but for those of us with older pistols a slip on grip might be the perfect solution.
There are ups and downs to doing any type of modification from a stock setup. Accessorizing your pistol can be a good thing if done properly. It may even give you a tactical advantage in some situations or it can become a liability in others. Just try and remember, don’t go overboard and become “tacticool.”
About The Author
Travis Box is currently a college student studying American history with a concentration on the Constitution, Revolutionary War, politics and legislation. As an active hunter for 5 years and a recreational marksman for over a decade, his writing brings with it years of real world experience from both the field and the range.