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Removing magazine safety

Discussion in 'Maintenance & Gunsmithing' started by jordanka16, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. jordanka16

    jordanka16 Albany, OR Active Member

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    My S&W model 4006 has a magazine safety that I want to remove. Is it possible for me to do this myself? Or do I need to take it to a gunsmith?
     
  2. rsmccsman

    rsmccsman Hillsboro Go Blazers!

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    I'm not an attorney but I have read that removing a magazine safety from a gun opens you up to liability and being sued if something were to ever happen. Removing any safety feature makes you look reckless to those nasty lawyers. If a safety feature is available on a gun and you don't use it same thing. If it didn't come with the safety no problem. Also I would not recommend this modification as it probably voids any factory warranty too. If you don't like magazine safeties on your gun maybe you can find one you like without this feature. Some people hate the magazine safeties but if you carry for a living there is something to be said for being able to pop the magazine out if someone were trying to grab your gun so that they can't shoot you with it. Just my 2 cents worth. Also if you go through with it have a gunsmith do it.
     
  3. Silver Fox

    Silver Fox Puyallup, WA Well-Known Member

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    +1. Not worth it Bro.

    SF-
     
  4. torpedoman

    torpedoman land of corrupt politicians Member

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    +2 sell it and buy one that does not have that feature. You know when they can't sell the nanny guns they will quit making them
     
  5. jordanka16

    jordanka16 Albany, OR Active Member

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    If you could show me where you read that it opens you up to liability please let me know.

    I never actually said that I intended to use the weapon for self-defense, but if I did, I would rather have a gun that if worst comes to worst, I could use as a single shot weapon.

    A lot of people say that you shouldn't use reloads because of the liablity (I don't just so you know) but to my knowledge there's never been a case where someone using reloads had an effect on the outcome. If you could find a case where the magazine safety caused someone who was otherwise in the right to get sued, I would love to see it.
     
  6. .45's and .38's

    .45's and .38's Happy Valley OR Well-Known Member

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    Just dissassemble it reguler. No point in messing with something if it is not broke. I imagine it breaks down like my 908. Just the slide stop.
     
  7. ZachS

    ZachS Eugene/PDX Active Member

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    Can't find any cases where removing opens an individual up to liability - but courts in some product liability cases have considered the lack of a magazine safety to be a potential design defect worthy of examination by a jury.

    Smith v. Bryco Arms, 131 N.M. 87, 33 P.3d 638 (2001)
    Hurst v. Glock, Inc, 295 N.J.Super. 165, 684 A.2d 970 (1996)

    Manufacturers are held to a much higher standard in product liability cases than individuals are held to in negligence cases.

    A manufacturer may be held liable in an accidental shooting where somebody fired a gun after removing the magazine and thinking the gun was therefore unloaded.

    An individual would most likely be held liable only under circumstances like the following:

    A removes the magazine safety from a gun, and then gives the gun to B. A does not tell B that the gun has been modified. B believes that the gun still has a magazine safety. A knows or has reason to know that B would believe this. B shoots himself or somebody else in reliance on his belief. A can forsee that B might do this.

    In short, probably nothing to worry about. But I'm only a first-year law student, and this isn't legal advice.
     
  8. ob1

    ob1 49th parallel Well-Known Member

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    I think the point that they are trying to make here is not that you will be sued for just disabling a safety feature. However, if you ever find yourself in an incident where you do need to employ lethal force, more likely than not, you will eventually find yourself involved in a civil action, regardless of whether you were justified or found criminally liable (remember OJ Simpson ?). It's just another facit of our litigation happy society.

    In a civil action, the side that wins, is the side that comes up with (or manufactures) the most evidence to support their position. This means that the opposing attorney only needs to tip the scale slightly in his favor. The judge or jury is to consider who has presented the stronger story, ie... the side who gets 51% wins over the other side left with 49%.

    Now we return to you and your S&W 4006. You have just been involved in a shooting incident and you now find yourself in court. After the initial police response, your weapon (and ammo) has been impounded and probably sent to the crime lab where it's condition was documented in a report. The opposing side has a copy of that report and has noticed the findings listed in the weapon analysis. Your reloaded ammo has now automatically become a dangerous "non-factory" load, intentionally manufactured to increase it's lethal effect...you are now "blood thirsty", just looking for a chance to kill.

    He then further observes that your weapon has been altered by removing a factory installed safety feature. He now engages in a rant about how you have exhibited an attitude of reckless disregard for proper safe firearms use by modifying the weapon.
    You now find yourself in a defensive position, having to justify your departure from "industry standards" with your firearm. Small points you might think, but definitely fodder for an attorney experienced in making mountains from molehills. (aka B.S. manufacture)

    This is the point as I see it anyway, you avoid future complications before they become an issue. By staying within "as manufactured" conditions, you will deny your potential opposition the ability to portray you in a negative manner. BTW this is exactly why most LE agencies frown on their officers from making any personal modifications to their carry weapons.

    If you can be absolutely positive that you will never be in a situation where you will need to depend on that weapon for self-defense, than go-ahead and make whatever modification you can imagine. But you may not have much luck in finding advice on how to make that mod. here on the site, as most of us cant predict what might happen in the future.
     
  9. ZachS

    ZachS Eugene/PDX Active Member

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    I concur as to reloads, but most police agencies use weapons without magazine safeties. Because of that, a civilian will be able to argue that it's normal to carry a weapon without one.

    As a matter of law, modifying a feature like that shouldn't affect a party's negligence in an intentional shooting - accidental, quite possible, but not intentional. For that reason, a prosecutor or plaintiff's attorney will not likely be able have information about such modifications admitted into evidence, as its only purpose would be to prejudice the jury.
     
  10. ob1

    ob1 49th parallel Well-Known Member

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    Yes I agree, most LE duty weapons now (IE glocks) don't have mag safeties, but that is not the point. The problem arises when you start with a factory installed safety feature that is then removed. The owner places himself in a position that he may need to defend for making that mod. It doesn't matter that the mod. didn't cause a malfunction or the like, a proficient trial attorney can use this to "color" the attitude of the shooter as "aggressive or reckless"

    This is also why you see police armorers carrying "Factory Certification" for any make and model they work on. Any work or possible modification that is done to a particular weapon is performed by an individual who has been "trained by the factory" to do so, to include a log of any work done, not Bill the gunsmith down the road. The factory "certification" infers parity with manufacturer's standards which serves to avoid challenge in court. You may find some smaller departments not doing this, but that is a result of budgetary constraints.

    I don't agree that an attorney could not gain access to a crime lab analysis of a weapon, it could be relevant to the incident. As for an argument that such a document would be prejudicial, sure it could be, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't be admissible, that would be the judge's decision.
     
  11. ZachS

    ZachS Eugene/PDX Active Member

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    Perhaps... but I still think it's unlikely.


    The best course of action, you must agre, is just to avoid purchasing guns with features you don't like.