Trigger Job Liability

Trigger Job Liability

This is a discussion on Trigger Job Liability within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I just fired a M&P 40 with the new Apex sear and the trigger is so much better than my stock trigger. I would love ...

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Thread: Trigger Job Liability

  1. #1
    Member Array Back 40's Avatar
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    Trigger Job Liability

    I just fired a M&P 40 with the new Apex sear and the trigger is so much better than my stock trigger. I would love to do the same to mine but I have heard horror stories about DA's and civil lawyers going after guys because they have " made the gun more deadly"

    I know we have some very knowledgeable guys and gals here and I wanted to check the consensus. If I have any trigger work done, and God forbid I ever do have to use it in self defense what liability have I caused myself?


  2. #2
    Distinguished Member Array Tally XD's Avatar
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    I am not a lawyer, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night . . . .

    As long as the gun is not rendered unsafe and passes all safety and performance functions, there should be no room for any liability.

    Attorneys will pursue any avenue for a win regardless of whether it is factual or not. If you were to use your gun in a situation that had a high probability of you being charged with anything, other than justifiable homicide, then there might be a possibility of jury having issues with a "trigger job". In a defense shooting where you are likely too be, or would be found, not guilty or never charged they would likely not even know it had been modified.

    Still, even without a "trigger modification" there would be other reasons, plausible or not, that the prosecution would try to hang on you just to win their case.

    Get a professional job done, use quality factory made ammo for defensive carry and follow all rules of proper self defenseive measures according to your local laws.
    “I am consistently on record and will continue to be on record as opposing concealed carry.”
    - Barack Obama Chicago Tribune, April 27, 2004

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    VIP Member Array Madcap_Magician's Avatar
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    A very small amount, if any.

    If you do have a defensive shooting (highly unlikely) that is sufficiently vague that it ends up in court (mostly avoidable if you do the right thing), if the PD even notices that your gun has non-factory parts (highly unlikely), there is essentially no reason for it to be brought up.

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    Member Array Back 40's Avatar
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    I am under the same mindset as your self. I have had several NRA instructors as well as some guys that I respect at out local range tell me they would strongly advise only carrying stock guns for concealed carry. I feel that your are making your weapon more accurate, thus being less likely to send rounds flying in an unintended direction.

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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Any good lawyer is going to pick you apart any way they can plain and simple. There are some common sense principles on trigger jobs, and some common sense excuses for having done work on your pistol. Pistols vary widely among manufacturers and their parts and functions mechanically. Truth be known.......when you draw your weapon in a self defense situation, this should ultimately mean that you intend to pull the trigger, save your life, and stop the threat. Bottom line is, should it matter if you have a 1.5lb trigger pull on a 1911, or a 3.5lb trigger pull on a Glock? Stock and modified pistols. Again, there are a lot of pistols manufactured specifically for competition, and many of those are modified from the factory to have lighter trigger pulls. Who's to say you can't carry them as a personal defense weapon? If the legal system wants to make you liable for something...it will no matter what. Makes no difference whether your prosecuting attorney is a novice or an expert, matters lie with the judge and the jury. The important part is, if you have to use your weapon in self defense, and do what's necessary for the best outcome......you'll still be alive! Society, the judge, the jury, and your mind may put you through hell for trivial reasons amongst a mile of red tape and a confusing legal system. Hair trigger? Skull and crossbones etched on your carry pistol? What makes you a hunter as opposed to a survivor in the eyes of the law and all that nonsense? Bottom line is you need to survive by your own means. Thoughts of what you do and how you do it in order to facilitate your survival, and thoughts of what other overbearing and controlling humans will do to you in a court of law, or what Bubba might do to you if you're sent to prison shouldn't ever enter into your mind with the end goal of your continued survival when confronted with a life or death situation. If all of the possibilities of what could happen after you do what you need to to survive are clouding your mind, then you are waving the white flag on the field of battle, and this will be known by your aggressor, and make you weak and indecisive at the moment you'll need to focus the most on the matter at hand. Always do your best. Remember....you won't need to worry about any of this stuff when someone intent on taking your life does just that. Stay above ground!

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    Member Array Crucible's Avatar
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    If you meant to shoot someone, you meant to shoot someone-whether it took 22 pounds of trigger pull from a rusty revolver or a 1.5 pounds of trigger pull from highly tuned 1911 trigger.

    If you accidentally shot someone, well, it seems then you might have some culpability of your overall guilt if it could be prortrayed that a "irresponsibly" slight trigger contributed to the accident more than your general negligence/dumbassedness in causing it. But you'd still be guilty, right?

    C-

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    VIP Member Array Majorlk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Back 40 View Post
    I just fired a M&P 40 with the new Apex sear and the trigger is so much better than my stock trigger. I would love to do the same to mine but I have heard horror stories about DA's and civil lawyers going after guys because they have " made the gun more deadly"

    I know we have some very knowledgeable guys and gals here and I wanted to check the consensus. If I have any trigger work done, and God forbid I ever do have to use it in self defense what liability have I caused myself?
    I could be wrong, but I don't believe anyone has ever cited a case where an altered firearm had any significant bearing on the outcome of a trial. If it's a righteous shoot, it's a righteous shoot, no matter what the issues revolving around the firearm used.

    If you want to keep carrying a gun with a 12 lb trigger (for example) please feel free to do so. I don't have any pistol with greater than a 4.5 lb SA trigger pull. Some were that way out of the box and the rest were the result of a so-called trigger job.

    My match .22s have trigger pulls measured in ounces, not pounds, and although I would never consider one for carry, if that's what I had in my hand when someone came through my window, I certainly wouldn't put it down to find something with a heavier trigger pull "just in case". Larger caliber, maybe ...
    An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life. - Robert A. Heinlein

  8. #8
    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    They are drop-in parts made by a reputable gunsmith for the purposes of improving the shooter's ability to control the gun safely. That part is okay.

    I would suggest you find a local S&W armorer and pay him the $30--$40 he might charge to put the parts in, and keep the receipt to prove you had a legit gunsmith do the work.

    That would meet the "Ayoob" test for carry gun enhancements, based on the discussion of the subject in LFI-1.
    “What is a moderate interpretation of [the Constitution]? Halfway between what it says and [...] what you want it to say?” —Justice Antonin Scalia

    SIG: P220R SS Elite SAO, P220R SAO, P220R Carry, P226R Navy, P226, P239/.40S&W, P2022/.40S&W; GSR 5", P6.

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    Triggers and guns aren't deadly; bullets are. Well, I guess you could beat someone to death with a 1911, but....

    Trigger smoothing and weight adjustment are long-accepted improvements to firearms of all types.

    I'd be more concerned about a modified trigger in a civil liability case of negligent discharge, where you "altered" a trigger that the maker had tested and deemed safe. That would immediately let the maker off the hook. ("Wasn't our trigger that made it fire!")

    But lawyers, being who and what they are, well ... they'll steal from their momma to win a case.
    Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
    Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... "For What It's Worth" Buffalo Springfield

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    Senior Member Array kb2wji's Avatar
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    Hi there. Devils Advocate here Here's a different spin on it....

    Ya shoot a guy in self defense. He lives. Or maybe he dies, but his family still hates you. Either he, or his family, is gonna sue you. No matter how much of a turd he is, his family is gonna say he's an angel, and you gunned him down in cold blood. So now your're in Civil Court. Turd's family hires an attorney who says "i'll get all the money outta this guy as I can for you, and all I want is a percentage. OK. Now the turd's lawyer goes to work. One thing he'll want to see is your gun. Number one thought being "how is this gun different than OTHER guns" and "what does THIS gun tell me about the guy who used it against my client" (there is a small part of most people who are going to think a guy shot in self defense with a .38 snub than a 24k gold 1911 with pearl handles....know what im saying?) Wrong, yes....human nature, probably to a degree. Just sayin, the guy with a Hogue gripped, laser equipped hi-cap CCW is gonna be the guy "looking for a fight". Again, wrong? Yup. But a good lawyer can spin this to anyone he wants to. Now this lawyer has his expert check out ur piece, and find it has a "hair trigger" (note: you no longer have a trigger job....now you have a custom made "hair trigger") Whats a hair trigger for?? For someone who wants to blow someone away as easily as possible. Also for someone who wouldnt think twice about popping off a few rounds. So no, a trigger job isnt wrong. Would it hurt you in court? Probably not, but maybe. Can it help? Nope.

    As I wrote this, I re-read the replies, and realize that a few people have similar things to say. But I spent too much time typing this out to not post

  11. #11
    Distinguished Member Array Tally XD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kb2wji View Post
    Hi there. Devils Advocate here Here's a different spin on it....

    Ya shoot a guy in self defense. He lives. Or maybe he dies, but his family still hates you. Either he, or his family, is gonna sue you. No matter how much of a turd he is, his family is gonna say he's an angel, and you gunned him down in cold blood. So now your're in Civil Court.
    Not in all states. In Florida, where I reside, if the shooting is justified the family cannot pursue litigation of any kind (over the shooting injury or death).
    “I am consistently on record and will continue to be on record as opposing concealed carry.”
    - Barack Obama Chicago Tribune, April 27, 2004

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    Senior Member Array Super Trucker's Avatar
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    I always hear the "stories" about the DA giving life sentences to people that have trigger jobs (even though it was otherwise a good shoot), but common sense says if granny has a J-Frame with a 25# trigger and can't hit the side of a barn when inside of it, as opposed to a modified 8# trigger that she can keep 5" groups at 10 yards, I don't think that the jury is going to penalize you for your trigger job.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Majorlk View Post
    I could be wrong, but I don't believe anyone has ever cited a case where an altered firearm had any significant bearing on the outcome of a trial.
    The Gun Digest Book of Combat ... - Google Books

    One infamous case - Alvarez in Dade County, FL, 1982.

    Alvarez was ultimately acquitted,, but his alterations to the firearm were a central issue in the trial.
    Smitty
    NRA Endowment Member

  14. #14
    TOF
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    An Apex sear and safety plunger in my M&P 45 has reduced the number of hostages I hit when competing in our local IPSC matches. I consider that proof positive my gun is safer with the trigger work.

    "Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not." - Thomas Jefferson

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    If you can demonstrate that the modification did not in any way alter the safety features of the gun or its operation and you should not have any problem. My carry gun's trigger is set at 3.5lbs and breaks like a glass rod. i can demonstrate my proficiency with the gun as well as being able to hit what I am aiming at.

    The biggest hurdle you will face is justifying why you pulled that weapon and used it in the first place. THAT is where an effective legal defense of your actions begins.
    "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined". - Patrick Henry

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