Is modifying your guns a crutch?

When I was first learning how to shoot, my father gave me an air rifle, specifically a Crosman Pumpmaster 760. This old gun could should BBs or lead .177 caliber pellets, and when you fed it the good lead pellets, it was fairly accurate. Being the ingrate that I was, I immediately asked for a scope to mount on the rifle. My father, in his wisdom, said “you need to learn how to shoot with iron sights before you can shoot with a scope.” So I did, and I eventually got pretty okay at shooting with the iron sights on that little rifle.

Of course, what does that have to do with modifying pistols (or rifles)? Well, some people claim that modifying your gun is a crutch – like you’re cheating the process of getting better at shooting, by putting a nicer trigger in the gun, or by making any changes that make the gun easier for you to shoot. I confess, there’s a certain appealing logic to that, right? “Well I had to learn how to the shoot the hard way, so should everyone else.”

But does that really make sense? Shooting, especially handgun shooting, is a fairly difficult task that takes years to get good at, and then even more years to really master. So just because we can learn to shoot well with crappy factory triggers and crappy factory sights doesn’t mean we should learn that way. In fact, one could make the argument that the best thing for a new shooter would be a gun that’s easy to shoot well. Something with a nice trigger, good sights, and a positive grip.

The idea behind modifications like these, are to get performance gains. The last Glock I bought from the store had a 5.9 pound trigger that was garbage. It had the stock Glock sights which are also garbage. So why would I want to deal with that? I already know how to shoot pretty well, so of course I’m going to mess with the tigger and fix the sights, because I want the gun to be easier to shoot well.

Of course, the real bottom line is this: who cares what someone else thinks about your gun. With constructing a custom build, the whole point of it is to make something you like, for reasons that make you happy. Don’t worry if someone calls your red dot or nice trigger a crutch. They don’t have to shoot your gun, you do. After all, life’s too short for guns you don’t like.

1 Comment

  1. I think there is some real wisdom to learning to shoot a particular gun as is, depending on your needs. If you are an LEO or carry an issued or department regulated pistol, or maybe an instructor, it makes sense to at least master the gun you have to carry or the gun your students will be shooting. It is also a good skill set to be able to pick up any firearm and be proficient with it. I have pistols that are highly modified and I have a couple Glocks that are box stock except for the sights. If you master a factory Glock trigger, you will be even better with a custom trigger. Just my thoughts.

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