Current planned loadout:
Retaliator (primary) (not necessarily set on this-but i can get it cheap and from what I have read modding it seems easier than some of the other similar guns)
Hammershot (secondary) (have already bought this-so would like to use it, but again I got it cheap so not against dropping it that much. Here in case of jams, and because it seems like it would be easier to shoot while running away [1 handed])
Hopefully with 4 18 shot mags for retaliator reloads (that should be enough?).
I would consider a Rampage or EAT (if your area is not affected by the EAT shortage) versus a Retal; pump action and higher practical ROF. Retals for many users are a bit lacking in volume of fire for HvZ and ergonomically unfavorable to fire rapidly. Also, you need a stock on your primary IMO, and neither Rampage nor EAT come with one. Retals do, however, so if you wanted to consider Retal as a secondary that is an easy option.
4 mags is a good start and enough for a pump gun.
Be careful about "firing while running away" of the variety that would require a pistol over a rifle. Blind firing behind you, or shooting frantically at pursuers while sprinting in general, is a last ditch move with a low success rate. If you are chased, you need to control the engagement; dodge, get some distance, kite them, get them in a position to be shot successfully and start picking them off. Many scouts and skirmishers use pistols, however, so this is not too far off to want one.
I have seen on the forums that socks are also useful. I am yet to receive a full write up of the rules but it seems like socks were used in previous games and will be available. How easy are they to use? What is a good way of holstering them? Is it actually just balled up socks, or is there a more effective way of preparing them?
Yes, it's a sock ball. Most rulesets permit a "sock" to include 1 or 2 tape bands and velcro, but otherwise only sock material. Typical Florida socks range from a sphere smaller than a golf ball to a cylinder the size of 2 stacked golf balls and good ones are rolled tightly and are quite dense and hard but not hazardous to throw at players. Most players carry them with velcro belts and gear.
Now to mods:
The guide rules to how modded a gun can be is that you have to be able to shoot yourself point blank in the face with it. Doing this with the Hammershot hurts a bit, but if someone from a foot away shoots me in the back while i'm wearing a jacket I barely feel it. The 2 common mods I've seen for increasing power have been decreasing the space the spring has to compress, and removing the AR. Will doing this make it too powerful for the 'shoot yourself in the face' rule?
...Reloading mods: I've seen vids where the plastic at the bottom that comes over the revolver section has been removed-does this reduce structural integrity to a significant degree? Additionally I have seen modifications where the plastic that the elite darts sit on within the barrels have been removed. If I were to place the gun in a holster after a mod like that would the foam bullets still remain in the gun, or would they fall out? Supposedly this mod also allows for the use of multiple ammo types. I feel that that is somewhat irrelevant as I will likely stock up on tons of ammo beforehand anyway and put it in a bag or something.
This is a rule cloned from the early HvZ rulesets and a bit misleading. Shooting yourself point blank in the face with anything is potentially dangerous and painful and does not constitute a valid or relevant test, but the wording gets the message across about not causing injury/excessive pain.
So, you should check with the mods and ask for examples of other permitted equipment in your game for an idea of what is legal. Keep in mind that pain tests are subjective, so no guarantees. This is an ongoing problem and some games are chronographing guns now which is far more repeatable and fair.
Hammershot? I would remove the AR and pegs and leave it at that; reliability will be boosted, but velocity, not much. There isn't that much to gain from these, and as a sidearm I would use a stock spring and no spacers/shim pack anyway, for easy cocking. What you describe in the barrels are the pegs. Those do not contact the dart foam normally and removing them will not affect retention of darts. Problems with loss of rounds while holstered are the result of crushed foam from being left loaded (ALWAYS unload and decock when possible).
Additionally once I reach a distance of 5 meters (~16 feet) the shots tend to veer off course really easily (shot inside with no wind). Is there a way to increase accuracy on a revolver nerf product?
Only 16 feet and 70 fps stock guns and you are seeing accuracy problems? Ammo issues, perhaps, if you are shooting worn darts. Try some new Elite or ZS.