Not pictured: Limits.
The title contains one of Dirty Harry’s more memorable lines.It also has real-world relevance to firearms- and i’m not talking about oversized S&W revolvers.
The Beretta M9A1 in the above picture is the handgun equivalent of a rescued stray. I strolled into the local big box store-in my area, a Scheels- and noticed it in the used case next to a lime-green cerakoted Glock 22 with a Punisher slide cap. Between the two guns, the Beretta was actually the one worse off.
I took it out of the case-WHOA. That’s a LIIIGHT double action trigger. I suspected the previous owner changed the spring. I hoped it was a proper D spring or Wilson Combat setup.
Further inspection turned that hope quickly into a pipe dream.
The front sight was painted pink. Wonder what class the previous owner took to decide that was the best color? /sarcasm.
The magwell was beveled to a mirror sheen. Bubba didn’t have steady hands-the grips have gouges where his Dremel overran the magwell area. He further decided to polish the frame clearance underneath the barrel , an area not directly involved with feeding rounds into the pistol. Fortunately , unlike a 1911 where dremeling the frame-clearance area is a death knell for the pistol , it only poses a cosmetic problem for this design.
Unfortunately ,since bare aluminum is exposed in the magwell and part of the top of the frame the pistol is only fit for range duty until I can send it off for professional refinishing.
Given those “improvements” this Scheels store , normally comfortable with pricing used guns $50 more then the prevailing market value ,discounted the Beretta heavily.
I felt i’d be doing the universe a favor , taking this abused gun and using my Beretta fanboy knowledge to give it a great home.
I took it to the range. After repainting the front sight orange, I loaded my third magazine and discovered my worst fears. Bubba indeed cut the factory spring to lighten the trigger weight. He also cut the odds of the pistol functioning without multiple light strikes.
The photo above is my personal installation of a set of Wilson Combat Battlesights, reviews soon to come. I include it to make the simple point that as people all of us have various degrees of knowledge and experience. I’m comfortable installing sights on a pistol. I’m NOT comfortable or trained in perfecting trigger jobs or modifying fire control parts on a pistol while still preserving safe function. For those tasks, i’ll box up my gats and take them to a professional gunsmith.
By taking on firearm modification jobs which are beyond our skillsets, not only do we risk damaging the end product (see above story) but we put ourselves and others in danger as well. Assume for a moment I didn’t buy my M9A1 and left it in the case. Some poor soul could have read all about the bulletproof reliability of the M9 series, spotted the discount price (easily $100 less then the price of most used M9A1s locally) and decided it was time to try out a new home defense gun. He would have bought an unsafe, poorly modified pistol which could have choked on him at some inconvenient point.
Like using it to defend their home, or shooting a competition.
Further ;unless the buyer was a Beretta geek such as myself, they’d have to spend probably $100 in parts and labor at a gunsmith desk to fix the trigger spring /light strikes problem. Had it been a 1911 and it was treated the same way, the frame polishing would have ruined the pistol and the poor guy/gal would be the owner of a beautiful paperweight.
There’s no shame in knowing your limitations. Even Dirty Harry endorses that message.