Everyone likes to accessorize handguns. From the cosmetic to the cultural, from the benign to the bold, when you modify your handgun you grow closer to making it an extension of your hand: the goal of every practitioner of pistol craft. With so many options available, which accessories should you absolutely avoid?
#1 Sights and Sight Systems. This one should be obvious, but it’s #1 because it’s so important. There’s a reason that your handgun came with the sights it did. That’s because they are ballistically matched to YOUR gun! Changing the sights will negatively affect your ability to send lead down range with the desired combat accuracy and could result in hitting more bystanders than with the factory sights.
#2 Grip Surface. The grip surfaces on your handgun are specially designed to help with the harmonics encountered during the weapons system recoil cycle. Aside from just letting you maintain contact with the gun, the grip surface prevents harmful harmonic distortions from interacting with your hands. Ask your chiropractor about what they’ve seen from long-term exposure to bad harmonics. Don’t ask them for pictures, though, unless you think knuckles are decorative accessories.
#3 Magazine Release. A replacement mag release, especially ones marketed as “extended” releases, are really troubling. You know the purpose of the mag release? To eject the spent magazine so you can insert another full one. In the courtroom, that’s evidence of premeditation. So if you want to be executed by the State, go ahead and install an extended mag release. “Members of the jury, the man was so intent on shootin folks that he made it even easier to keep shootin over and over again.” That’s a time you’d prefer to be carried by six than judged by 12.
BONUS! To keep this from being a completely pessimistic article, here’s something that is completely safe to do: polish your feed ramp. Ever since Dremel released their gunsmithing rotary tool, pistol crafts have improved every year. Using any of the grainy can-shaped tool heads, just dig into your feed ramp until it’s wider and more shiny. Your gunsmith will smile when you show them your handiwork.