Many modifications and upgrades can be done at home. At the very least, you’ll need a set of basic tools to remove fasteners.
Many aftermarket upgrade items come with instructions for installation. It’s worth the time to read any instructions and familiarize yourself with what you’ll be doing before you start.
Much of the time, there are also YouTube videos or how-to articles with pictures available online that detail the processes you’ll be going through.
Or, if you know someone who has already made the modifications you have in mind, it may be worth asking them if they ran into any unforeseen problems.
Research doesn’t have to take hours. These days, a simple Google images search for your gun model “+desired modification” will yield hundreds of pictures of the very same modification you’re planning to do.
Image searches are helpful for taking the guesswork out of things and ensuring that you have all the information you need before starting a project.
Internet research is especially important if the gun being modified is your primary carry weapon. You don’t want to have your gun taken apart and in pieces only to find you are missing a part or special tool needed to complete the job.
Some firearm modifications should only be performed by a qualified gunsmith. This is doubly true if metal is going to be removed or added or if work is to be done on the firing mechanism. A good gunsmith will have tools and experience that most people haven’t been trained for.
Research is just as important when picking a gunsmith. If you have a person you trust who has already done good work for you, then definitely stick with them. Even if their waiting list is weeks in advance, it’s worth the wait and a good sign if a gunsmith is busy.
Author Duane A. Daiker talks about choosing someone to do gunsmithing in his article “Ross Sporting Goods Glocksmithing” on USConcealedcarry.com:
“As good as the Glock platform is, there is a lot of room for improvement and personalization. The basic Glock can definitely benefit from some attention by a quality gunsmith. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who think that owning a Dremel tool qualifies them to start grinding plastic off of your G-17.” (Read more about finding a good gunsmith at USConcealedCarry.com)
If you don’t have a gunsmith in mind, start by asking around for recommendations. If possible, find someone who has already had the same work done that you want done. Visit a few gunsmiths before making a final decision. Some may even have photo albums of their work for customers to look at.
And of course, if you are a daily carrier you probably don’t want to be without your gun for a week or even a couple days. Plan in advance and invest in a backup gun to carry while yours is in the shop.