After-Market Weapon Accessories for Pistols, Rifles & Shotguns?

By John Farnam

Pile of Guns Firearms Stack Bench
After-Market Weapon Accessories for Pistols, Rifles & Shotguns?
Defense Training International, Inc
Defense Training International, Inc

Ft Collins, CO –-( After-Market Weapon Accessories:

I am regularly asked about after-market “accessories” for production pistols, rifles, and shotguns, weapons that we recommend for serious use.

The vast majority of after-market add-ons do not enjoy my recommendation, and I advise students that reputable guns come from the factory in eminently usable condition, and adding things to them seldom enhances their utility, nor reliability.

Replacement “trigger/spring kits” abound, and sometimes do represent an improvement, but most consumers are not sufficiently sophisticated so as to be able to discern a wonderful trigger from an average one, nor is their trigger technique developed enough to take advantage of refinements offered.

Accordingly, I advise most students to extensively use their plain-vanilla production guns, just as they come from the factory. When one thus becomes “salty” enough to be able to take real advantage of legitimate refinements, then he might consider them and the minuscule (mostly insignificant)advantages” they may offer, assuming he has nothing better to spend his money on!.

As in the game of golf, many are lured into believing they can “buy” and improved score by spending large sums on “advanced” golf clubs. Of course, there is nothing wrong with wanting, and using, good stuff, but the real work, arduous self-discipline, professional training, and endless repetitions necessary to genuinely improve one’s game cannot be avoided, nor “replaced,” by merely throwing money at expensive equipment and accouterments.

Likewise with serious gun skills.

My advice for most students is to spend less on dubious after-market “accessories” and more on ammunition, professional instruction, and disciplined range time!

When tempted to spend money on glamorous after-market weapon accessories, always ask yourself:

  • 1) What is it for?
  • 2) What problem does it “solve?”
  • 3) Will it break, fall apart, fall off, or otherwise make my gun less reliable than it is now?
  • 4) Is my motivation legitimate, or am I just being duped by slick marketing?

“The sole purpose of marketing is to sell more to more people, more often, and at higher prices. There is no other reason for doing it.” ~ Zyman


About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc
As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor John Farnam will urge you, based on your own beliefs, to make up your mind in advance as to what you would do when faced with an imminent and unlawful lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance, if any. Defense Training International wants to make sure that their students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or inactions.

It is our duty to make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to the Planet Earth. Mr Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit:

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so I should have gone praire dog hunting with a mil-spec trigger in my ar?

Raton de la frontera

True upgrade geniuses abound in the firearms world. Never be afraid to ask questions, state “show me”, or try something new. The reason the industry has so much great stuff available, is because of the millions of unafraid shooters who are willing to risk their hard earned wampum to try something new. And- what may be junk for a 99th percentile shooter, may be a world of improvement for a 10% shooter (most LE). Misinterpreted problem analysis is a big one. Look at the current crop of micro dot pistol sights! Fantastic! Helps all with less that steely blue 25… Read more »


I believe Mr. Farnham is saying that if you DO have the requisite experience and discernment to understand where your firearm is lacking, then it is not out of bounds.


Don’t believe everything you read on the internet!


Yep, I read that somewhere, where was it? Oh yeah, I remember now, it was on the internet!
Seriously. Mr. Farnam brings up a good point, changing something without a compelling reason is generally NOT the solution to improving a firearm nor the shooter.
Of course if a person wants to spend their money for doo dads, it is entirely up to that individual.


Sure, and your showroom stock 69 camero is going to out perform my resto-mod LS 69? Tricked out firearms are expensive and out of reach for most people. I agree, they are not needed to learn the fundamentals of shooting. Some of the aftermarket products are amazing and will help u move to the next level a little easier. To tell people not to put aftermarket parts on their gun to help them become better shooters doesn’t make sense. Trigger jobs, grips, sights, porting, fitting of a firearm all make the shooting experince a little more enjoyable and fun. How… Read more »


I like the golf analogy! My golf buddies are giving me grief because I wont buy new clubs very often. I usually post one of the best scores when we play and I tell them its not the clubs. Same story when I go to the range and shoot with my 1911. There are always folks who call my pistol an antique, yet I get better groups on target than most of them. Disciplined practice is always the difference between golfers and shooters.


Uh, yeah… I meant to finish by saying that practice is the difference maker.


Some after-market accessories are obviously better. A good example would be the Ruger 10/22 BX trigger!

marc disabled vet

To you maybe ! But that’s the point of the article .
Some may not agree or like that product , Factory
original may fit them better .
the author is just trying to make a point , If it’s not needed
don’t throw away your money on frills .