There are a ton of novelty accessories and ammunition types that are available in most stores or from online retailers. There are a few things that need to be taken into consideration before we start adding these to our firearms or our carry items. A big factor with these would be what specifically we are adding them to, our range firearms or our everyday carry firearms.
Our range firearms can be modified in different ways with little to no negative ramifications aside from catching slack at the range from other shooters. Our everyday carry firearms are a different story however. The slack we may catch could come from a much heavier source like our legal system and the courts.
Putting a back plate on my range Glock with a motivational saying like, “Shoot fast, don’t suck” is all in good fun. If I added that to my everyday carry firearm however, in the unfortunate circumstance that I may need to use it in defense of my life, how are the courts going to perceive that back plate? There are no specific laws prohibiting additions like this, however, perception is everything.
The same would go for the barrel end that states, “Smile, wait for flash…” These are fun additions we can do to our firearms, but they need to stay on firearms that we will not be using in self-defense and therefore would never be scrutinized by law enforcement and the courts.
Novelty ammunition is another popular gear addition in a lot of cases. There are a ton of marketing tactics out there like “Zombie Max” rounds. These rounds are for all intents and purposes just like most others except for the color of the tip and the annotation on the box. However if it comes to light that I was carrying these “Zombie Max” rounds and used my firearm in self-defense, could it be articulated that it was more likely that I was out “looking for a fight” due to the nature of the gear I was carrying? These are important aspects to consider for those of us who carry for personal defense.
There are a quite a few instances where this type of situation has even been detrimental towards careers. There is a case from 2016 where a Mesa Police Officer was involved in a shooting, and it came to light after the shooting that he had aggressive language inscribed on his rifle. This was perceived as an “insight” to his personality from the courts. He was subsequently charged with Second Degree Murder and the department has stated that they are taking the steps necessary to let the officer go.
Custom parts, insignia or inscribing motivational phrases into firearms is absolutely fine, however be mindful of what role these firearms will play. Perception is key and we must remember that anytime a firearm is used in defense, it will be scrutinized at length by law enforcement and the courts.