As a former US Army small arms armorer and a life-long shooter, I find “tricked out” firearms very interesting. Not only do all the various forms of AR-15’s catch my eye, but also ones for shotguns, SKS’s and others all the way down to Ruger 10/22 and the AR-7 survival rifle.
But by the same time I realize that I also live in the real world and that what may be an advantage in some situations might bite you on the butt in others. In this case, you may have to decide the risk of tricking out a particular weapon.
I live at the foot of the mountain, at the end of a road in a small town in NE Pa. This is hunting and shooting country. But the country seat is in a medium sized city some 20 miles away, where there is a less friendly attitude about gun ownership.
Let’s say we have to deal with a home invasion. If possible we will retreat upstairs and call 911 (as required by law) where I will also be waiting for the bad guys with my plain vanilla 12 gauge pump shotgun. It will have only two rounds in the chamber (but five more on a butt sleeve.)
If I should have to fire on the attacker or attackers, I may have to go before a court in the city. I can’t count on a “jury of my peers”. The prosecutor may also be anti-gun and want to make a “political statement”. There may be other “social” issues involved.
What I do NOT want to do is hand them any ammunition in the form of a tricked out shotgun that can be played to the jury as evidence of my “bias, bigotry, murderous intent,” and so on. It also gives my attorney points to help me as it can be shown that there are NO modifications of any type.
So then, I don’t trick out any of my firearms? Now, NO, but I am ready to convert them over within minutes with the kits and such when the time comes. Various rifles and shotguns I have will be modified to meet the “brave, new world” Until then, they stay in the gun safe, and on the wall as they came from the store, with one or two exceptions that are kept hidden as a “ready reserve”.
There is also the question of letting too much information out. If you want to post photos of you “tricked out beauty” online, more power to you. I prefer the idea of needing to know. I let as few people as necessary know what I have and I take care when I go out on the mountain to shoot that no one else really sees what I have, especially if it is tricked out. Even a simple zippered gun case provides a measure of security.
I go by the idea of “Better stealth now for better survival later.”
But then again, it’s tricky. Isn’t it?
Richard P. Maida
A book about Pro-Guns & Pro-Hunting