In most video games, upgrading your weapon is a radicalizing affair. Over the course of the game you move from your basic rifle to a monstrosity of lasers and gadgets that is hell itself in your hand. I’m looking at the Call of Duty multiplayer right now and am simply astounded by the weird gun upgrades that are available to the players. What possible use is there for that scope on the machine pistol? Hitman Blood Money, (one of my favorite games of all time) demonstrates this particularly well with its pistol. What starts as a pretty nice 1911 is upgraded into an entirely different device. By the final shoot out it has become a pocket sized fully-auto silenced sniper rifle. A far cry from its humble beginnings.
My 1911 pistol on the other hand, starts pretty basic. In the real world, gun upgrades usually mean a few minor tweaks to make the gun a little bit more “yours” rather than a total overhaul of purpose. In theory I could put a box clip, scope, and laser sight onto my shotgun, but why make it pretend to be something it’s not?
My ambitions are minimal for my pistol. It’s a cheap Chinese knock-off, but it’s still my favorite purchase of the past six months. My list of personalization goes something like this:
- Rosewood Grip: The standard grips are black and perfectly fine from a functional perspective. But the 1911 is a classic gun and I’d like it if mine looked a little less like the knock-off that it is.
- Tritium Night Sights: The sights that come with this gun are terrible. They’re a faded orange that looks like old graffiti. Putting something nicer in there would go a long way to making me a better shooter. The tritium glows bright with a radioactive core, so no matter the light you can find your target. To be honest, I’ll probably just get bright nail polish and a fine sable brush and redo the sights myself.
- Skeleton Tigger and Hammer: I really don’t know why certain guns have these and others don’t. They’re kinda sexy looking and in theory would reduce weight? As if it matters in a gun this small. Really I’d just like a more sensitive trigger so it didn’t feel like I was moving so much to get each shot off. Looks are just a bonus.
- Extended Magazine: The 1911 is a single stack pistol, so the standard is a seven round magazine. But my ten round mag is nice and shiny and sticks out past the grip. So, if you’ve got especially big hands the extended clip is kind of a bonus as well. This is the only portion of the pistol upgrades I’ve actually completed. In fact I bought the magazine about a half hour before I bought the pistol at this year’s gun show.
My shotgun on the other hand, has reached a satisfying height of modification. My first love was my Fabarm Martial 12 gauge shotgun. I had the good fortune of finding one that had been modified by the gunsmith at The Shooting Edge. He’d tried to re-finish the barrel and mucked it up a teensy bit towards the end, causing them to knock a few hundred dollars off the price. Now, I have to clean my shotgun immediately after it’s exposed to water, but it’s a tactical shotgun, so it can look a little rough. The upgrades have been useful but subtle.
- A rail mounted red dot sight: The regular ghost ring sights work just fine, but I like the brightness of a red-dot. I’m actually ordering a vortex scope that will switch between both green and red dots. Plus, it has a handy low-brightness setting for use with night vision.
- A stock shell holder: This thing makes reloading much easier and faster. It holds six extra rounds right by your cheek. Particularly helpful if wanting to carry multiple load types as described in the first issue.
- A flashlight with barrel mounting: The streamline scorpion has an output of 120 lumens, which is pretty damn bright when you’re on the receiving end. For the sake of the photograph I flipped it onto the visible side, but when normally installed it sits just above my left thumb when holding the pump.
I’m considering getting a three point tactical sling. The sort of thing that lets you hold the gun in-front of you against your chest and move into a firing position without undoing any straps. But I’m worried I might get carried away if I do that.
I don’t want to inflate my shotgun into a multi-limbed monstrosity. While taking these photos I pieced together other gear from around my house to form two weapon combination’s you’d likely see in the Call of Duty video games. I would be mortally embarrassed if a serious sportsman saw me holding either of these.
- The Scout: Featuring a 7-21 power 60 mm lens to put those heavy slugs on target, and a built in GPS mount for fast and accurate maneuvering through the bush, the Scout is the ultimate in wilderness ridiculousness. For when you need to take a single shot, then run like a frightened rabbit over a hill and across a river for safety. Best designed for maps with many different escape routes and long canyons to shoot down.
- The Final Charge: Using the ring mount designed for a flashlight, the Final Charge has the largest and most savage bayonet to ever grace a firearm. The ghost ring sights and extra supply of buck-shot make this one a close quarters winner. Useful for fast sprinters indoors, or for anyone who feels inadequate in other areas.
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