If you build it should you use it?

So, here is a thought that has been bouncing around my head. There is the thought that for your EDC, one should have a bone-stock handgun shooting factory ammo. And given today’s political environment, one has to wonder how that transfers to other firearms that may or may not be used for say home defense or used as a truck gun.

How does the line of thinking that a defense firearm be stock translate to an AR? First, I have a number of AR’s that I have built from bare receivers. So, are these stock since I built them? Or how about the whole cottage industry that has sprung up for the customization of firearms such as the AR platforms? On other forums I participate on and people I have met, it is amazing to me the number of people who go out and buy an AR (good for them, all for it) but are already out shopping around for upgrades and customization before they have even fired their first round. Now, for me, great, its your money and your firearm, do what makes you happy with it. But do the same rules apply as a carry gun?

Now, I am picking on the AR as an example, but think of all the other firearms that are routinely modified? How many used 870’s and 500’s are converted for home defense? How many AK’s are built from imported parts kits? I am seeing tactical parts for lever action rifles even. The list goes on. I know, it shouldn’t matter one bit, but common sense left the courts decades ago. Just for the sake of discussion, are modifications of other defensive firearms held to a different standard than a person’s EDC?


I’m not a legal expert, but you should have a reason for making any modifications and for choosing or manufacturing your ammo. An attorney can help you determine the likely impact of your decisions.


As far as ammunition I use name brand that is commonly used by law enforcement.

Gun modifications have been minimized to a sight upgrade.

With my AR’s all assembled from stripped lowers. However I do not use bump stocks, binary triggers or any other item that wouldn’t be found on a duty level rifle.


The less reason I can give for anyone to be interested in my defensive weapon. The better I feel. So for home defense a light is about the most I would consider.

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Agreed. I have a handgun with light, an AR pistol and rifle with lights but my edc I just carry a good quality independent flashlight

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Be able to articulate why you did what modifications you made to any firearm - whether you built it or bought it. For instance, I upgraded my sights so that I would be as accurate as possible to increase the safety of using my [insert gun here].

Trigger pull is one of the things that I would be very cautious about changing/making lighter. Use what the manufacturer recommends or be able to articulate why you made any changes you made.

Will it be called into question? Possibly. Any firearm/ammo/shot/comment you made on social media may be called into question if you ever have to legally defend your physical self-defense. Being able to articulate why you did what you did can help greatly in your legal self-defense.

So I guess the blanket answer applies here: it depends. :innocent:


Are you thinking legally? Or functionally? I think they are held to the same standard, but it depends on what it is you are modifying.

Using Glock as a pistol analogue to an AR15 since there are tons of aftermarket parts available.

Legally, if your aftermarket trigger is “too light” you may have an unintentional discharge (or a prosecutor may imply you did), and that applies to both ARs and Glocks.

Functionally, if you get a Glock pistol slide with too many lightening cuts you affect the speed of the slide reciprocating and then to ensure proper operation you have to get a different spring. That would be the equivalent to getting a lightweight BCG in an AR and then having to fiddle with gas pressure or buffer springs/weight to compensate.

There are lots of mods that I think you can do without compromising yourself legally or functionally. A grip modification like stippling or Talon/Hogue grips on a pistol is totally fine, as is changing the AR pistol grip to a Magpul MOE or K grip. Those don’t affect the function of a pistol or rifle at all. Ditto for changing the sights or adding lights/lasers.

As others have said, you have to be able to articulate why you changed this part out (or picked an aftermarket in the first place) instead of using the stock version. If whatever you pick is, for whatever reason, less reliable or legally questionable then keep that one as a range toy.

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This is just my opinion, but I suspect stickers, and/or engravings that do not affect the performance of your firearm (you know which ones I mean) are going to hurt your legal defense more than any internal or external performance modifications.

BTW, I doubt many of us have actually “built” our own firearm. Buying parts and “assembling” is just that, assembling. Unless you fabricated that barrel or other part, you are at best an integrator.


IMHO (I have not been in a civilian gun fight and had to deal with it in court) and I asked @MikeBKY to look and see whether the internet rumors were true and to the best of my recollection he came up with nada “reload’s” as I believe was the search term for using reloaded ammunition. I suspect similarly “modified weapons” will also result in the same answer. IMHO ANY performance enhancing modification made to your personally carried fire arm that makes you more proficient and more capable is easily defensible in court. These wives tales are much the same as cleaning after every use and dry firing.

“Could” a prosecutor go after you for modifying a weapon to make it more comfortable, better functioning or more capable, Yes.

I debated this in my public speaking class some many moons ago with a die hard anti gunner who happened to be a motor head (Car Girl if you will). She hit me with every assault weapons, machine guns talking point that was around in 1994 and I hit her with every speed demon, drunk driving, reckless driving talking point I could come up with in response. It was a spirited debate and in the end I got a ride in her VERY nice 68 Camaro and I took her to the range. I agreed that I like cars (not Chebbies so much) and she found out that shooting was fun, relaxing and that a custom gun was a much better fit than a stock one, much like her car. The instructor was SERIOUSLY distressed that the young lass enjoyed shooting, so I took the instructor to the range. I got an A :blush:

In short there is no law or proscription to carrying a modified firearm as an EDC as long as it does not become illegal or hazardous, it makes you more proficient in it’s safe use. Many of us shoot hundreds of rounds a week/month/day/year does that level of ammo expenditure make us out to be trained killers? No it means we are seeking to be proficient in a tool that we choose to have available to us. We belong to forums, associations and clubs that support the 2A does that make us terrorists? No it makes us people that enjoy shooting as a personal challenge/hobby and sport and that we enjoy the company of other similarly minded people. Do all shooters hunt? NO. I know a great many shooters that do not hunt as they don’t believe in the principle. I also know a great many hunters that do not shoot regularly.

In short … actually that was kind of long as I waxed poetic a bit. Run what you brung, if the odds are in your favor you will be there to defend yourself.




I’ll be your Huckleberry :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: :blush:




:grinning:, I figured you’d be one of the few :+1:

I’ve never built my own firearm, but I have built a few spearguns :smiley:

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My friend I’ve not built a spear gun but I have built a few fishing rods. The guy that got me into it is a long fin diver and my best friend from the Navy. He’s one of those guys that lays on his back ventilating then flops over and goes 100’ down and pokes a fish. He got one made of Koa or Teak from this cat in Oahu and went and dove with him. As soon as he got it back we tore it apart. I have the mechanical’s down but that is his baby. I don’t know all the players names anymore but the spear world is one incestuous bunch of back stabbers. I think my bud gave up on the whole free diving thing due to the politics above but he still has a good time hanging out on the bottom of a 20’ pool for like 4 minutes and freeking out the students.




That could be one of several people, but probably my buddy Daryl Wong. From my perspective Daryl is is a great guy.

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YES!!! That’s his name (I suck at names), isn’t he a practicing Dentist too?

Yep he and Geo poked a nice moon fish and a yellow fin while they were there. I’m impressed with his metal bit’s as well as his wood inlay.



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Shortly after the pandemic hit, I went out and got a new Glock 19 MOS. While there, I had the factory sights replaced with night sights. This was a good decision based upon having used night sights for over 25 years and I know they are very effective in low light situations. It was a poor decision because I did not get raised sights and I had the plan to add a Vortex Viper to it and have since and can no longer see the front sight. I need to put on suppressor height sights for when the red dot is not on or fails.

I have not done trigger jobs but have added grip extensions, mag extensions and other small mods to firearms. Most of what I do make the gun easier to hold and control. I have specific reasons for continuing to use them, they make me a better shooter.

But the same thing can be true of any modification S&Ws EZ line help folks who have a problem chambering a round in a semi-auto. This once “custom” feature became a standard feature.

The key will always be assuring that you are able to articulate what modifications were made to your weapon and why. That information is provided to the police and your expert witness to explain the rational to a jury if necessary.Used

I apologize to everyone else for the de-rail, but yes he is a dentist.

I was doing some work at Schofield a few years ago so I took a mask and a pair of fins. I met Daryl at his house, borrowed one of his guns and went out in 8’ seas on his boat. Talk about a difference in point of aim vs. point of impact, I couldn’t hit the side of a barn much less darting live targets! It didn’t help that I was recovering from shoulder surgery and struggling to load the bands (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it :slight_smile:). I wrapped up a great day cooking and eating dinner with his family.

“sued” or “used”? :rofl:


Thank you for catching that! I have never sued night sights!


So to be on the safe side:

  1. Don’t make any modifications to firearms you might use in a self-defense situation.
  2. Use only factory firearms and factory ammo.
  3. Never post anything about firearms on the internet i.e. USCCA Community.

Did I miss something?

  1. Send all reloaded ammo and modified firearms to @Zavier_D

Whereupon I am sure I will have a small :sailboat: accident and “lose” them all


@Zavier_D Just trying to adjust my CCP “Social Trust” score by bleating inanities.

p.s. I just got my complete upper in yesterday for my M4E1-A5 build. Sweet! :smile_cat: