Style vs. Practicality
A gentleman came into the sporting goods store yesterday to trade in one of those medallion grade rifles for a heavier calibre for bear. The rifle wore a simpler synthetic stock, and the claro original stock was carefully secured in bubble wrap. We made the comment that he didn't want to scratch the unique stock.
He admitted that was part of the reason. But he was of shorter stature, sort of a bulldog kind of a guy, and he related that most stocks just didn't fit him. I also admitted that with a heavy winter jacket, I sometimes found the 'youth model' of a rifle a lot easier to mount for a quick shot.
For years, Jeff Cooper wrote about 'sawing off stocks,' buying rifles with smooth turn-bolt knobs and dehorning 1911 combat guns. I don't know if he coined the phrase, but he said handguns should feel like 'a worn bar of soap.'
Taking his advice, most of my custom handguns have been 'melted' or 'buttered.' I also find that some times my custom .380 ACP is just handier and more comfortable.
I spend a lot of time picking out blue jeans, adjusting handler bars and foot pegs, however 75% of my firearms are box-stock.
As for style, the lastest issue of Blade magazine has a deeply recurved knife on the cover called a "Spyker." Now, a recurve blade is harder for me to sharpen, and that's how I make my living. After some use, many folks will just carry the knife dull because it's a hassle to fix. The style of the knife has trumped practicality.
Do you ever purchase or modify a gun or knife, simply for your ease of personal use, despite the fact its overall appearance is unique to the breed?
If so, what got you to make the decision?
I don't do much to my firearms.
I'll change wood grips to rubber or rubber to wood, depending on what feels and looks better on the particular piece. Some people like to checker their front and backstraps, I don't - it can be rough on my dainty hands. :silly: Sometimes I'll change out sights, like replacing the ones on my USPc with XSSights Big Dots. I haven't gotten any dehorned; I haven't had the need or the inclination to spend the money on it. I have sanded the plastic molding lines on a Kel-Tec P32 I used to own.
I've had people recommend shorter stocks for me, and a person even recommended that I sand down the side of my shotgun stock so it doesn't get in the way of my chest. I've handled so many long arms since I was a runt, so I've just gotten used to the standard stock lengths and short stocks actually bother me, and I'm not that big, so I don't worry about stocks bumping into various body parts. :silly:
The "fanciest" thing I own is probably my Bushmaster, and it came stock with the picatinny rail, tube stock, flip up rear & front sights and fluted barrel. Since it's the 25th anniversary edition, it's got some pimped out nickeled parts. I added a Surefire with pressure switch and lock out tail cap, and I have an EoTech 512 on the way.
My hawkbill MOD Ladyhawk can be difficult to sharpen, but I like the little knife for it's palm-sized punch and ability to gut things with ease, not to mention it was another fun, unique blade to add to my collection.
Mostly what i change is grips safety for lefty if isnt set up that way and Sights ..
Never had on dehorned or anyother work
Yep - handguns - grips. These days many cases of that change have been to fit CT's and on SIG those grips feel just awesome. I have added Hogue Handalls too to good effect - don't do a lot for the gun's aesthetics but functionally - major improvement.
Rifles etc - my most usual change is just an add-on - a slip-on butt pad like a Pachmayr. Not sure how you'd count a bipod - that too is on some rifles.
Changes are thus all geared to ''better'' fit in essence. Functionality will always win over pure aesthetics, tho I hate to make a permament change if avoidable.
I'm not a collector, so my reasons and rationale for purchasing a handgun or knife are perhaps a little different from those of a collector. After I determined to start full-time carry, I spent a long time selecting the right handgun for me. I wanted it to need little or no customization and to be a solid shooter right out of the box. Aesthetics were not as important as fit and function, to me. Same with a knife. I'd rather spend a little extra time finding the right tool for the job, than buy something less than what I want and modify it to make it right (unless the right tool doesn't exist).
I'll replace grips if I need to - I learned to shoot my Sigs with the old style grips, and it's one of the reasons I've stocked up on the old-style internal extractor models that take the original grips. I shoot the new ones fine, but it just feels _wrong_.
I hate the way rubber grips feel in my hand on most guns except revolvers, so I swap those out whenever possible as well.
All depends on the gun and the gun's vibe. Some guns I have to mod... others I don't.
My 1911's I have to put in standard length guide rods if they have a FLGR.
My CZ's I have to put in Stainless FLGR's from Jackash Custom.
I'll replace the grips or add some night sights if needed.
The only gun I tweeked a lot was my Ruger SP101. Added a spring kit from Wolf that made the DA pull a lot lighter and smoother. I chopped off the hammer spur and polished the trigger for a better DA pull.
Some guns you have no choice but to de~horn them.
My early Stainless Walther PPK/S .380 was machined so "Crisp & Tight" that it would slice pieces of skin off my thumb every time I racked the slide.
All of the edges & corners were so knife sharp for a "pocket type" pistol.
It felt like a "bar of soap" with razor blades & porcupine quills stuck in it. :biggrin:
Some people will purchase a pistol and then have $1800 worth of custom work done to it.
Now I like custom stuff, I've considered having work done on several occassions, but ulimately I come to the realization that it's either fine in the first place and I'm just indulging my fancy, or I go buy something that does what I wanted in the first place.
For example, if I ever purchase a 1911 it will either be the GI or the Mil Spec. There's a great thread here where someone took a GI and made it suit him.
I considered this. However, as I began to consider exactly what I'd change, I realized I was making a Mil Spec.
I make very boring changes. I switched from black plastic grips to ergonomic black rubber grips on two guns. I like synthetic stocks and furniture and either a stainless or parkerized finish. The only thing have with wooden furniture is my shotgun, and that's just because I've determined it's a better return on my investment to simply invest in another shotgun.
If I want something configured a certain way beyond a superficial change, I'll buy it already made that way. I don't buy a .40 just so I can convert it to .357 SIG.
Now if there's something you want or must have, and lots of custom work is the only way to get it, I hope you have a deep wallet and lots of patience.
I might be the one Euclidean was refering to. I have many hand guns and for the most part I have left them alone except for the grips and sights on some. But my favorite of them all is my SA WWII GI Champion. It was actually my first 1911 style gun. I had several other .45acp's but no 1911. I bought the gun because first it was cheap, manufactured by a reputable company and the size gun I prefer. I wlso wanted a gun I could modify to my liking and not spend a fortune doing so. I never plan to sell this gun so recouping the money invested is not an issue. I also want to learn the ins and outs of the John Moses Browning design and still be able to shoot it when I want. The gun is very accurate out of the box. I have read in several forums that if the barrel is not held with the JMB style bushing it is worthless. Well I disagree as do most manufacturers since they all seem to offer one. Even the great Wilson Combat is offering their Professional as an unbushed barrel 1911 style gun. Now off my soapbox. I have several good manuals and even a DVD coming to assist me in the finer arts of the 1911. I would love to go to the Cylinder & Slide school and learn under Bill Laughridge but those sell out way before I see them. Anyway I have made some drastic changes to the Champion, new beavertail grip safety, combat hammer and I just finished a heavy dehorning job on the slide. I am sending it to Springfield to have it reparkerized and a set of Novak Extreme Duty Adjustable Low Profile Tritium sights installed..Whew what a mouthfull. This is the only 1911 style gun I have that does not carry the Houge Finger Groove Neoprene Wraparound Grips!!!
It has been my primary CCW since I bought it, even though I change guns in the holster about every 6 months, I come back to this gun. I am really looking forward to getting it back from Springfield and carrying it again.
I love 1911's, and they all need work. The triggers have lots of take-up and creep, the bushings could be better, and almost all frames have parts that need to be re-staked. But in a perfect world, it could easily be my only gun.
I do have one near perfect revolver, a box-stock 629-5.
These items to me are more than weapons, sort of like my bike is more than a bike. And it's mine, and no other 1911 will be like mine.
I look at it this way. Some guys spend thousands on Cuban cigars.
And burn them.
I usually go through a gun that I buy. It will usually get looked over and maybe some slight tuning if it needs it. My 1911's get more because I understand them a bit more.
1911's are different
My 1911 is the only gun I have done much with. I switched my Makarov to fixed sights, and put on a pierce grip, but otherwise left it alon. My S&W was given a pair of hogue boot grips. The Buckmark has had nothing done to it.
But the 1911 is different. The 1911 right out of the box is a grand design. However, people like to customize them to fit their individual traits. My 1911, although it was a "loaded" from SA, has had the guide rod retrofitted for the original length, grips changed twice, and when I get alumagrips they will change again. The sights have had tritium inserts placed in them in an straight-eight configuration. The internal safety had to be repaired and recut since I swapped out the ILS system, and the smith "forgot" to put in some sort of firing strut retainer pin or something causing an almost catastrophic failure, and a slamfire. I am looking into getting the rails and barrel a microlon metal treatment, or maybe CorrosionX. I also want to have a trigger job done. Then, once I get a commander, I will screw with the damned thing again, turning it away from carry duty, and more towards my ideal of a combat handgun.
The thing about 1911s is that they have a near infinite number of variations. You can take a 1911 and tune it to fit you, and only you. This is something that is just not very available in almost any other type of pistol. It is unique to the 1911, IMHO, and is one of it's great strengths.
I have not done any sort of mods to any rifles.
The only handgun that I make changes to is the 1911's. I always do something - it's fun creating your own special gun. Since I already know that it will end up in the shop, I buy the least expensive variety, and Geezerize it to my satisfaction. From a basic SA GI, the only changes I wanted to make was grips, sights, beavertail safety/ hammer, and a mild dehoning. These minor changes were $260.00. Doesn't look like a GI anymore. It suits me fine, and will eventually be my carry.