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useless ccw gun mods

5 Gun Modifications That Do Concealed Carriers No Good

There are a number of gun modifications out there, as not everyone is satisfied with the stock models - just like for cars. However, just like with upgrades for cars, not every aftermarket producer is as good as OEM and not every mod is worth it.

In fact, some mods are practically useless for concealed carry though they may have great use elsewhere. Here are five common modifications that are going to make carrying a pistol in a concealed manner next to impossible.

Extended Magazines Hold More But Print Like Crazy

extended magazine pistol mod

Extended magazines are very popular accessories and one of the easiest "gun mods." In fact, it doesn't really modify the gun per se; these are just longer magazines. However, they are still something of an aftermarket upgrade.

They also are - mostly - worthless for the concealed carrier. With certain exceptions aside (more on that in a sec) a pistol fitted with an extended magazine is not going to be easily concealed in any position. Whether you use a regular old IWB holster or an AIWB holster, the extended magazine is going to print like crazy if you essentially even breathe.

That said, a lot of people will notice aftermarket magazines that hold one extra round or that have an impact pad on them, which the OEM magazines lack. (Good examples include aftermarket magazines by MecGar and Wilson Combat.) Technically, yes, those are extended magazines...but not exactly by much. In fact, they really aren't at all. So those are perfectly fine, and won't really impact concealment.

Really, if you're going to carry extra ammunition, just get extra magazines of the correct size and carry them in a magazine carrier. Leave extended magazines for your home defense gun or the range.

Easy To See Pistol Optics Aren't The Most Practical

bad pistol optics

Again, there are some exceptions, but not that many - so yes, pistol optics are not the most practical for CCW pistols. Novak ramp sights and fiber optic don't count.

Instead, the red dot optics that are wildly popular among the competition and handgun hunting set are really more what will cause problems for concealed carry.

For starters, these require holsters that won't cover the portions of the gun where the optics are mounted. Some pistols - such as some recent editions of Glock pistols - are made optics compatible by the factory and can be easily holstered with the optic. However, not all holsters will. Furthermore, concealing an optics-equipped pistol inside the waistband is going to be awkward as the optic may dig into one's side unless the holster has a sufficient sweat guard.

Concealed OWB carry can get around this, though not all OWB holsters are easily concealed without outwear, which is problematic during the warmer months. Your mileage may vary, but you may want to leave the optics on your home defense pistol and/or range gun.

Threaded Barrels Can Snag While Drawing

Threaded Barrels

Another mod that one may want to avoid on a CCW is a threaded barrel, either as an aftermarket mod or the OEM edition. Why? For one, no one conceals a gun with a suppressor (because they can't) and for two, those are not likely going to draw too well.

One of the reasons why is that the threaded barrel can snag, either on the holster itself (if drawn in the wrong manner) or on one's clothing.

Granted, the right holster deployed in the right manner can get around this, but there are so many pistols available that don't have a threaded barrel. Many are designed for easy concealed carry. You should buy one of them instead for a CCW.

Compensators Fantastic For Range, Not For CCW

handgun compensator

Compensators are likewise another modification that the concealed carrier may wish to avoid. Compensators, for those unaware, are essentially ported muzzle extensions. There are some benefits to having them, such as increasing accuracy and reducing recoil, which is fantastic for a range or hunting handgun.

However, since they are attached at the end of the barrel, they can be a bit awkward to conceal. The same issues posed by threaded barrels - more difficult concealment, potential for snagging when drawn - are equally posed by a compensator.

Laser Sights Are Very Useful But Can Make Holster Shopping Hard

holsters that accommodate lasers

In fairness, there are some laser sights that don't really interfere with concealed carrying. Crimson Trace grips, for instance, are very easy to carry, since the grips typically sit outside the holster and thus there's no big deal.

However, a number of other laser sights will make concealed carrying a bit more difficult, largely because finding a holster that fits correctly is much more difficult. Most holsters are not designed to accommodate a Viridian laser along with the gun. Have a pistol with a rail and carry a laser or other light? Good luck finding a holster for it.

Granted, there are some companies out there that make holsters for laser-equipped pistols (Alien Gear is one of them!). However, many of them specialize in tactical gear only, so forget finding one that isn't a drop-leg holster. Not that you can't find one...but it's going to make it very difficult.

For effective concealed carry requires holsters that are comfortable, concealable and securely holds the concealed carry gun. If gun baubles make that difficult...they may not be the wisest choice for a carry gun.

Sam Hoober

About The Author

Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.