Gun Upgrades: Games Versus Reality

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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Comments (44)

  1. Hank says:

    I’m not sure about the bajonet. When you’re firing shot, isn’t that going to hit the blade as the cone expands.

    It’s not going to expand all that much as it leaves the barrel of course, but it’s going to start expanding quickly. I’d be nervous about ricochet.

    • I firmly believe that the bayonet reached its peak in 1918. Anyone who puts one on now is just posturing.

      Have you seen the pistol bayonet?

      • Hank says:

        Ok, that’s just stupid. Who in their right mind would want something like that attached to their gun?

        I could still see the use of a bajonet on a rifle in close quarter scenarios where you wanted to have some reach. I don’t know how many times that would be useful though.

        This toothpick is doing nothing but impress the people that are impressed by such a thing. The serious people, whose actual plan is to put someone into the ground, will see this and realize someone with this on their gun is nothing but a poser who’s actually scared to be there or doesn’t know what he’s doing. It screams “I’m an easy target, take me!”

        This is one of those times where you can graphically demonstrate that just because you can do it, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

        Plus, however light it is, and for me this is the one that counts the most, it’s going to affect the balance of the gun. You have to compensate for it.

        I really can’t get over how stupid this is. It looks like an excellent way for someone to get hurt by using their own gun. You forget it’s there, you cut yourself, or someone who’s standing next to you.

        Features that enhance the weapon’s performance are just fine with me, but this kind of thing really makes me question some people’s sanity. Sweet mother mercy…

  2. I can use Google says:

    It peaked long before 1918, considering WWI still had Gatling guns of many varieties. Anyone who throws it on now is just thinking like they are supposed to. You should stop using absolutes when you talk about other peoples’ positions and opinions.

  3. Judas says:

    Bayonets are the manliest thing in the world. I don’t give a rat’s ass if they interfere with aim or other such shit that will never matter to us pasty losers; a bayonet screams “if you’re LUCKY I’ll kill you with a bullet. If you’re not, here’s a stainless steel one-way ticket to Corpsetown, population: you”.

    Then you put on aviators and moonwalk away.

  4. StabnCabn says:

    So because we have machine guns, a bayonet is not useful? Tell ya what, in close quarters, I’ll take the bayonet and you don’t have to worry about it. I’ll be sure to write letters to your families!
    Considering the bayonet was used in ww2 and may still possibly he used in basic, I doubt it is completely useless.

  5. ak49 says:

    Wow… so these are the two weapons you’re going to use to demonstrate Games vs. Reality? That’s some arsenal you got there. You couldn’t do maybe an AR-15 to demonstrate all the heavy unnecessaries that people buy, and then do a light weight model to show what you’d actually want.

    Also, when it comes to glass, you get what you pay for, and the cheap man pays twice. If it switches between red and green, or has multiple reticles, that means it’s a knock-off. Aimpoint and EOTech have never had those options.

    Meet me over in r/guns at reddit if you’d like to discuss this.

    • You’re right. An AR-15 would do a pretty good job of demonstrating this. I quite enjoy the AR’s I’ve had the opportunity to play with.

      But you know what else I enjoy?

      I enjoy having an apartment thats thirty miles from my parent’s basement and overlooks the park.

      I enjoy having a university education and a car that gets me around town.

      I enjoy being able to go out for a drinks at the end of the week, and buying over-priced specialty cheeses every now and again.

      Simply put, I can’t really afford an AR right now. If you’ve got some shots of yours: go ahead and put them up.

  6. Janx says:

    I think the two items chosen illustrate the reality side of things very well.

    How many people have an AR kicking around their house, really?

    Now, how many people have a hand gun or a shotgun kicking around?

    … a lot lot lot lot more.

  7. telvox says:

    on a side note, you might want to look at duracoat for your shotgun, easy to apply and you’ll never have to worry about the bluing again.

    • I saw a booth advertising slash selling this at the local gun show a year or two ago. I wasn’t very interested at the time, not having a gun and all.

      Now . . . I should really look into it again.

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    Arizona Diamondbacks give Justin Upton $51.25M deal | MLB

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    Reds, Baker have deal through 2012

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    Ken Griffey Jr. says he left because he was “a distraction” to team

    Ken Griffey Jr. says he retired abruptly last year because he felt he’d become a distraction to the team.

    “I’m not upset,” he said. “I think people thought I was upset about certain things, but that’s not the case.”

    Griffey said he merely feared that people he’d grown close to on the team would try to talk him out of retirement if he stuck around for a press conference. griffeys 2012

    So, I asked him, if everything else was fine, why hasn’t he spoken to former manager Don Wakamatsu since he walked away from the team and the game back on June 2?

    “My phone rings,” he said, implying that Wakamatsu should have called him. “That’s just the way it is.”

    Players and Wakamatsu himself say that the pair didn’t speak for the final two weeks of Griffey’s career. One player told the Times last summer that Griffey erroneously believed that Wakamatsu had been the source of the Sleep Gate story in which the future Hall of Famer was said to be napping in the clubhouse during a game in May.

    The player said Griffey shared his opinion with others on the team and only realized weeks later — after he’d already retired — that Wakamatsu was not the story’s source. But today, Griffey merely says he wasn’t upset at the time and left because he feared he’d become a distraction to the team.

    Griffey was asked what he has to say to fans disappointed by his abrupt departure. ken griffey shoes 2012

    “You want me to apologize for something that I felt was right? I felt that it was right for me to leave. I’m not going to do it. Because it’s not intended to hurt people. It was a decision that I made. I made that 15 years ago…there are some people who are upset and some people who are not. I can’t worry about it. I had to do what I thought was right for me.”

    Griffey had indeed spoken for a long time of retiring without fanfare or a press conference. Again, though, one wonders why — if he insists he left with no ill feelings and had simply planned to leave this way all along — he didn’t extend his manager or general manager the courtesy of a phone call. And why, to this day, he still hasn’t spoken to a manager he had a close relationship with in 2009. He did call team president Chuck Armstrong, but, typically, if nothing’s wrong, the manager and GM do get calls and are offered an explanation when a player suddenly retires.

    So, today, the question was asked and answered. Griffey’s phone rings is his answer. That’s all he’s prepared to say about it. We can keep asking the same question over and over again, but I doubt we’ll get a different answer.

    So, that’s his explanation. Whether or not you accept it is up to you. cheap griffeys

    The bottom line, as I’ve written before, is that this franchise needs as many of its few icons to come back within the fold. It says a lot that one of the most popular, if not the most popular, public figures for this team was not a player, but a broadcaster. The death of Dave Niehaus left the Mariners reeling back in November, not just because of the human being they lost, but also because a part of the organization died with him.

    Griffey said it will be hard for the organization and those who met Niehaus up-close to get over his death from a heart attack last November at age 73. He was asked whether it will be odd not having Niehaus around on Opening Day.king griffey shoes

    “Yeah, it’s odd,” he said. “If somebody tells you it isn’t, it is. Definitely, looking around and not seeing those white shoes, those tight pants he wears and that semi-tight shirt. And that voice. I think that’s the biggest thing. That voice saying hello to you, teasing you, having a good time at the ballpark.

    “I think that’s the thing that a lot of the guys who were here over the years are going to really miss. And even the guys who knew him for a year or so, they’re going to miss him, too. But I’ve known him since 17, so like I said, in Seattle he’s like the grandfather to a lot of guys. I know he was one to me, so I’m going to miss that. You’re not going to be able to replace that. You can replace a player, but that voice, you can’t do it. It’s going to take 50 people and even those 50, it’s still not going to be the same.”

    Griffey may not be the most popular guy for some fans right now, but he is a future first ballot Hall of Famer and arguably the most famous face for the franchise around the world of baseball and at-large.

    He just got back from a trip to the Philippines, where he was serving as a goodwill ambassador on behalf of the United States government. Now, he’ll be an ambassador of sorts within the organization, especially when it comes to spreading the message to younger players about what’s expected of them.

    “This is the organization I grew up in,” he said. “So, if there’s going to be an opportunity for me to be in baseball, it’s going to be here. I had an opportunity to get a chance to do it. It’s a lot of learning because it’s a little different. It’s not going to change. I’m still going to be the same person. You’re going to know how I feel.”

    And what’s his main message going to be?

    “Hard work doesn’t start during the game,” he said. “Hard work starts the night before.”

    Regardless of what happened last year — and several good people did lose jobs because of the events of 2010 — the organziation has to try to put it in the rear-view mirror. It will take time for some to forgive Griffey. And some fans may never do that. That’s their choice.

    But in my view, you do have to put the events of last year into the context of a 20-year career. If some of you want to include 1999 in that context, again, it’s your right.

    You’ve read my stuff about Griffey and know how I feel about what went on last season.

    But you also know, if you’ve kept reading this space, that I believe the organization, in the wake of Niehaus’s death, had to find some way to bring Griffey back into the fold. That he was too important a part of Mariners’ history — good and bad, but mostly good — to be estranged from the city he spent most of his career in.

    Griffey said he has no regrets about coming back to play in 2010 after what could have been a storybook sendoff in 2009.

    “No,” he said. “I mean, things happen. Through no fault of its own, things happen. I got to meet some great people last year. If I wouldn’t have done it, I wouldn’t have had an opportunity to meet some of the people in Seattle that I did meet…and who still call me today. So, no, I’m not sorry that I came back.”

    It may take time for some to get the appreciation back that many fans felt in 2009. And some may never get it back. But the team had to try.

    Griffey came today and offered his explanation. It may be enough for some, not enough for others, but it’s a start. And it’s as good as it’s going to get.

    We’ll see where things go from here.

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