Upgrading a Defense Weapon - Should I?

I was recently informed by a friend that one should not upgrade their defense gun, whether this is the CCW or home defense gun. He was informed that defense weapons should be kept stock with factory defense rounds. Does anyone have any information on this? I really want to put a little money into my Glock 19 Gen 3, mostly just aesthetic upgrades and a light, but this currently my nightstand gun. Should I avoid doing anything to it for potential legal issues? Thank you


Upgrades, that make you more efficient are great, as long as you and your lawyer can articulate that fact. Better sights, better triggers, and better grips all help in the control of a fire, and the hitting of the intended target.


Welcome to the Community Anthony!

Sort of a hot, and convoluted topic. Heck, even the ammo selection alone could consume reams of electrons (and does). I believe that the general idea is to use purchased defensive ammo from a major maker for starters. Next, you can make changes to a weapon with the idea that it may help you, or make the weapon more aesthetically pleasing. Adding a light to your weapon is not only ok, but encouraged. Where that may become an issue is the trigger, such as making it a “hair” trigger. A lot more to it, however those are the basics.


Welcome to the family! @Anthony150 you’re in the right place.


Thanks for the responses and warm welcome!


@Anthony150, Welcome to the community, stay safe and train hard.


45IPAC makes a good point. As long as you (and your lawyer) can demonstrate a good, safe reason for upgrading, you should be ok.

However, if you live in an area with a… um… overly “zealous” District Attorney, an upgrade may not be worthwhile or advisable. A $200 weapon upgrade (even if it is just for aesthetics) is not likely worth a long and expensive trial after a defensive shooting… although that is a decision that each individual must make for themselves, particularly depending on their locality’s laws and enforcers.


I am not an attorney nor do I play one on TV. I didn’t even sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

Personal opinion and my opinion alone. I have a SD gun and a HD gun (I put a light on the HD gun) but other than that light my defense weapons are exactly as they came out of the box. I’ve asked local law enforcement what they carry in their off duty weapons. Answer I get most frequently is critical duty or critical defense. So that’s what I carry.

I even keep my defensive weapons in a different safe. So I don’t grab the wrong ones. They are box stock Glocks.


Welcome to the family and god bless you brother. I never upgrade any internal parts like triggers, or trigger spring because it alters the operation of the pistol. Makes it better and easier to operate. I do upgrade my sights on all my guns but that doesn’t effect how it operates. Legally it can always be used against you when you modify your guns internal parts. Prosecutors look for that in self defense cases. They say you improved your trigger to kill faster and those were your intentions. Now if it’s just a have fun at the range with gun, by all means modify it.


Welcome @Anthony150!

Just wanted to say “Hello”. All excellent points have been covered, so I won’t add to the clutter.

I actually just received a couple of upgrades for my G43 this week - Trijicon night sights and Vickers slide racker. Can’t wait to get them on.


Welcome @Anthony150. I cannot speak to your laws specifically, but from a lawyers perspective, every change to your edc needs to be thought out from the perspective of how will the modification be looked at by the judge, prosecutor and a jury. As others have stated, most changes that make the weapon more appropriate for its intended use are generally acceptable. Adding a light, improved sights and trigger modifications can all fall into this category.
The big thing to avoid is making modifications, especially aesthetic mods, that can be viewed as communicating a predetermined state of mind to a jury. A cerakote skull and cross bones would be a bad idea, as would a Confederate flag in our current environment.

Ammunition is similar. Zombie killers are fine ammo but probably not a good choice for your edc. Using major manufacturer LE or self defense loads would be preferred only because there would be a perception that those rounds would be a more acceptable choice to a reasonable person, I.e. a juror.

You should be able to articulate to your lawyer why you make any modification to a weapon you may use. For instance, most home invasions, rioting and looting happen at night in low light conditions. That’s why I have night sights, a laser, red dot and/or a light. Home invasions happen indoors and it is doubtful that the assailant will stop to allow me to put on eye and ear protection, that’s why I have a silencer on the gun next to my bed.


A lot of people think putting catchy sayings like “Smile, wait for the flash” on the muzzle of their EDC is funny. I would tend to think it just adds more ammo for the DA if you ever have to use it. I avoid adding anything like punisher skulls on any of my firearms. Think of your lawyer.


I have considered some of the copper rounds like the G2 RIP and Liberty Defense. This is the first time I have seen Lehigh Defense. I watched a couple of the videos on 9mm and would say that the general performance is not much different then the “standard” self defense or LE ammunition.

The only thing I can say from a courtroom perspective is that there is not much case law on all copper bullets as opposed to similar JHP rounds. The Lehigh and JHPs all have the same goal of maximum expansion, increased wound cavity and proper penetration. But, as you said, using what some would call an “exotic” round, that advertises increased wound channels, will be used by prosecutors.


Thank you and you’re welcome.


Massad ayoob has a video about this on his YouTube channel you might want to check out


Thank you all!