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 7 Pistol Shooting Tips for People with Arthritis

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LittleBill Posted - May 25 2018 : 1:21:49 PM
From NRA online: some are obvious, some not so much.

Here are the headers, see the full article for the details:

1. Increase the diameter of the grip.

2. Increase the friction between your hand and the gun.

3. Try a smaller caliber, if you can.

4. Try a "cooler" load, if you can.

5. Reload.

6. Change your recoil springs.

7. Port your barrel.

25   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
LittleBill Posted - July 12 2018 : 8:02:36 PM
One of the surprising things scientists have discovered about our human brains in the last decade, is the unexpected degree of ‘plasticity’: our brain’s ability to ‘re-program’ itself when it has to.

For example, when someone permanently loses their eyesight, their brain starts putting together new neural networks: taking over areas formerly used for vision, and re-connecting them to networks serving touch and sound.

So re-programming yourself to shoot with your middle finger should be entirely possible.

flc Posted - July 12 2018 : 6:59:25 PM
Just saw this thread but it pertains to me. At 76 yrs old my right hand trigger finger has arthritis so bad it's almost frozen straight out. I have arthritis in both hands but that's the worst of it. Recoil is not an issue to me - just pulling the trigger. I have recently alternated between shooting left handed and shooting right handed with my middle finger as trigger finger. Actually both work quite well. Anyone else tried this? I primarily shoot SIGs 9mm and .45 both DA/SA and DAK.
arty Posted - June 09 2018 : 09:39:25 AM
Wide rubber grips help, especially when shooting with just a single hand.
It is a good idea to have a clone in 22LR for lots of practice. A model 18 makes for a good practice gun for a larger revolver. This doesn't mean I advocate giving up practice with the center fire round, but sometimes it is good to avoid the beating you get with lots of recoil and muzzle blast. I have nasty arthritis in my left hand. I am a righty, fortunately. It is just time until it hits both sides.
Frogfoot Posted - June 09 2018 : 06:36:10 AM
quote:
Originally posted by Jim Higginbotham

quote:
Originally posted by Frogfoot

Maybe a 1911 style pistol in .22 TCM might work? Light recoil, fast shot recovery times, high capacity and relatively cheap ammunition prices on the plus side, but only one load on the minus side. With the 9R version of this round, you can get a conversion kit for your Glock 17 or 22. It's too bad there's not a smaller, more affordable pistol in 5.7x28 though.



I have one of those - it is indeed very light recoil. I'm not sure I'd trust the 40 gr. bullet for self defense though.

Jim

You've got a point there. I retrieved one round each of the Armscor .22 Magnum and .22 TCM loads and they appear to use the exact same bullet in both. Perhaps a better constructed bullet would be in order such as ones used in the Hornady Critical Defense line.
Jim Higginbotham Posted - June 06 2018 : 08:00:36 AM
quote:
Originally posted by jle3030

Perceived recoil effect can even vary considerably depending on which grips (oops...stocks) are mounted on the gun. For example: The factory Ahrends grips on my S&W Model 21, shooting the .44 Spl Skelton load [Rule 4 observed] hurt my hand. Rubber Hogue Monogrips are better. The wood Monogrips are distinctly wider than the rubber ones and distribute the recoil to the point where my early arthritis no longer objects at all.

For the Model 19, 2.5 inch barrel, I'm good with the factory grips and Tyler T-grip up to its preferred .357 Remington Golden Saber load. On the infrequent occasions I shoot full-bore .357 loads in that gun the backstrap covering Pachmayr Compacs go on first. On the other hand, the skimpy Pachmayr Professional Compacs with a poorly fitting open backstrap, start to hurt with .38+P's.

In 1911's I much prefer wider grip panels to the extra thin "more concealable" style.

Before downloading the gun, changing to a lighter caliber, or moving up to a heavier all steel model, a simple grip swap might solve the problem.

Jeff







I do something odd, I test stuff. I find that not only must the gun fit my hand, the material matters as well.

Someone gave me a prototype of a set of stocks (that shall remain nameless as they may well work for someone else).

I was doing a class at Rangemaster so I put them on and went out and shot a controlability test - my groups doubled in size!

I took them off and gave them back thanking the fellow for the offer. Later in conversation I told Tom Givens about my results and he told me he did the same thing.

That "your mileage may vary" thing is true

Jim H.
Ace Posted - June 05 2018 : 11:34:51 AM
Reminds me of something I've learned over the years: I Daddy/husband/boyfriend buys his girl a gun as a surprise gift, and it's something she really doesn't like, she'll let you know--sometimes in 'no uncertain terms'. Then it's time for a trip to the gun shop with her and the gun so she can trade it for what she wants.
If Momma/wife/girlfriend buy her guy a gun as a surprise gift, it could be a Jennings .25 or a Hi Point .45, and we'll be so tickled at the thought, we'll keep it and treat it like part of King Tut's treasure.
I guess girls just aren't as appreciative as boys. Ace
Jim Higginbotham Posted - June 05 2018 : 06:48:30 AM
GW,

My wife is not a shooter, but she is a good shot (if that makes any sense).

Everything she picks up she does well with. Might be because when it comes to shooting she does not think she was born with "the shooting gene" like most of the guys from around here.

When she used to go to the range with me she would like to shoot my 6.5" 29 with full charge loads - my guess is just to show that girls can handle it. Though she has not shot it in some years now.

I bought her a little .38 with pearl stocks. She looked at it and said "that's not a .45, I don't want it"

Oddly enough my Mom was the same way, I have her Colt 1911 Commemorative with Ivory stocks that she sometimes carried. She too was a good shot with a pistol and .22 rifle - but then she grew up on a farm.

Jim
Ace Posted - June 02 2018 : 11:02:25 PM
I did; it's on my .45 revawver. Gonna try it at the range this week coming, but I won't put much stock in it unless it works good. Ace
LittleBill Posted - June 02 2018 : 4:24:30 PM
Ace.... get a grip....

jle3030 Posted - June 02 2018 : 3:45:08 PM
quote:
Originally posted by Ace

Jeff, could we call that a 'stock trade'? Ace

I'll need a few minutes to come to grips with that question.

Jeff
Ace Posted - June 02 2018 : 09:53:42 AM
Jeff, could we call that a 'stock trade'? Ace
jle3030 Posted - June 02 2018 : 09:00:26 AM
Perceived recoil effect can even vary considerably depending on which grips (oops...stocks) are mounted on the gun. For example: The factory Ahrends grips on my S&W Model 21, shooting the .44 Spl Skelton load [Rule 4 observed] hurt my hand. Rubber Hogue Monogrips are better. The wood Monogrips are distinctly wider than the rubber ones and distribute the recoil to the point where my early arthritis no longer objects at all.

For the Model 19, 2.5 inch barrel, I'm good with the factory grips and Tyler T-grip up to its preferred .357 Remington Golden Saber load. On the infrequent occasions I shoot full-bore .357 loads in that gun the backstrap covering Pachmayr Compacs go on first. On the other hand, the skimpy Pachmayr Professional Compacs with a poorly fitting open backstrap, start to hurt with .38+P's.

In 1911's I much prefer wider grip panels to the extra thin "more concealable" style.

Before downloading the gun, changing to a lighter caliber, or moving up to a heavier all steel model, a simple grip swap might solve the problem.

Jeff



Charlie Foxtrot Posted - June 02 2018 : 01:11:45 AM
Yesterday, Massad Ayoob published an article called "Arthritis and the Shooter" on his Backwoods Home website where he linked this thread, so we might see some additional (new) traffic here!
Chris Christian Posted - June 01 2018 : 5:47:32 PM
quote:
Originally posted by gw

With standard pressure ammo, I find "controllabilty " between the g17 and lightweight Commander to be very close myself.

my wife shoots her g19 with +p+, she won't touch a 1911

I think the muzzle flip bothers her, that and she's a big sissy.......


Every shooter is an individual. And, when it comes to guns... just like shirts, pants and shoes... "one size doesn't fit all".

Perceptive recoil can vary between gun platforms. One platform may certainly "fit" better than another. We just have to all seek our own personal salvation. Sometimes a change of platform results in salvation
gw Posted - June 01 2018 : 4:20:21 PM
With standard pressure ammo, I find "controllabilty " between the g17 and lightweight Commander to be very close myself.

my wife shoots her g19 with +p+, she won't touch a 1911

I think the muzzle flip bothers her, that and she's a big sissy.......
Jim Higginbotham Posted - June 01 2018 : 09:15:32 AM
quote:
Originally posted by gw

quote:
Originally posted by Chris Christian

I have to respectfully disagree with "apples & oranges". The gun design does play a role in the level of recoil. Some just 'kick' more than others, even with smaller calibers... grip angle, weight, bore axis, etc.

It's not something to lightly dismiss. The gun model itself can be a factor for those who can no longer tolerate higher levels of recoil



true enough, but a loaded 1911a1 is about 10oz heavier than a loaded g17

I tried the same comparison and found I was a bit faster with the g17, and I like 1911s

I've seen video of Jim shooting, he's got the 1911 down pat, others maybe not so much

try a lightweight 1911 against a g17, the g17 is a little tamer.....



That last is a good point, we failed to try a LW Commander in our tests and I'd agree it does have both more muzzle rise and "flip" - I find my LW Commander is really close to my G-17 though I cannot shoot the G-17 as fast (that might be an indication of how much time I spend on each platform though).

BTW - all the little .380s we tried went off the paper in recoil.

Jim
Jim Higginbotham Posted - June 01 2018 : 09:10:56 AM
quote:
Originally posted by gw


kind of an apple to oranges comparison, G17 to 1911

you want to see a clearer difference, try a 9mm 1911 against a .45 1911

all things equal, the 9mm recoils less

I don't run over power recoil springs in my 1911s

I use stock springs with a square bottom firing pin stop, the way JB set it up.

the 1911a1 changed to a radiused firing pin stop to ease thumb cocking, but it takes the mainspring out of the recoil cycle

a square bottom stop changes dwell time, adds the mainspring back into the cyle.

it also loads the hammer strut, but doesn't batter the frame like heavy recoil springs, so a trade I suppose.

maybe you don't step down from a .45 for carry, but pickup the 9mm version for training, load the big gun for all other.

might save your joints for a few more years.....




GW - that was the point I was trying to make (and failed) - it is an apples and oranges thing - so sometimes one can just change platforms rather than caliber.

Tom G. and I once had a lady student who read gun magazines who came to a week long class with her husband - she insisted on shooting an AMT Backup .380 because she had read .380s had less recoil.

We begged and pleaded with her to use another gun. Finally on the last day I persuaded her to shoot one of her husbands spare Colt Combat Commanders - she shot it, one hole group in the A-zone but the target was only about 21 feet.

She said : "I thought .45s were supposed to kick hard?".

Yes, I find a 9mm 1911 to be very mild. Oddly enough I cannot find much difference between a Glock 17 and a Glock 21 in recoil though. I do sense a little but it is not as great as with the caliber change in a 1911. OTOH, a Browning HP is considerably harder to control than a 1911 .45 (on any reasonable controllability test - but it might have a lot to do with trigger reset).

The relationship seems to change when you change platforms - I think it might have more to do with slide velocity (and the relationship between the weight of the slide and frame) than it does caliber... again within a range. .22s are always easier to control and .44 Magnum harder.

Just Ramblin'

Jim
Chris Christian Posted - May 31 2018 : 4:13:22 PM
quote:
Originally posted by gw

the subject, coping with arthritis, is very interesting to me

I have lost some use of my left hand already, my right is hanging in there, trying to preserve what I got

can some guns be shot faster than others, probably

do some recoil more and cause joint damage, sure

is that joint damage permanent, yes






Seems like you might need to be 'seeking your own salvation', when it comes to handguns. I suspect that... if you seek... you will find it
gw Posted - May 31 2018 : 12:59:36 PM
the subject, coping with arthritis, is very interesting to me

I have lost some use of my left hand already, my right is hanging in there, trying to preserve what I got

can some guns be shot faster than others, probably

do some recoil more and cause joint damage, sure

is that joint damage permanent, yes

Chris Christian Posted - May 31 2018 : 11:53:04 AM
I have no interest in either of those guns. As Jim is fond of saying (and correctly so,IMHO) "We each have to find out own salvation".

Mine happens to be S&W M&Ps in semi-autos. Although I do have a Gen 1 G29 that sticks around for 'special purposes'.
gw Posted - May 31 2018 : 11:31:50 AM
quote:
Originally posted by Chris Christian

I have to respectfully disagree with "apples & oranges". The gun design does play a role in the level of recoil. Some just 'kick' more than others, even with smaller calibers... grip angle, weight, bore axis, etc.

It's not something to lightly dismiss. The gun model itself can be a factor for those who can no longer tolerate higher levels of recoil



true enough, but a loaded 1911a1 is about 10oz heavier than a loaded g17

I tried the same comparison and found I was a bit faster with the g17, and I like 1911s

I've seen video of Jim shooting, he's got the 1911 down pat, others maybe not so much

try a lightweight 1911 against a g17, the g17 is a little tamer.....
Chris Christian Posted - May 31 2018 : 11:13:51 AM
I have to respectfully disagree with "apples & oranges". The gun design does play a role in the level of recoil. Some just 'kick' more than others, even with smaller calibers... grip angle, weight, bore axis, etc.

It's not something to lightly dismiss. The gun model itself can be a factor for those who can no longer tolerate higher levels of recoil
gw Posted - May 31 2018 : 10:51:11 AM
quote:
Originally posted by Jim Higginbotham

I've done a little bit of experimentation with recoil - using both myself and quite a few friends.

I also have arthritis - but in my case, so far, it is not aggressive.

Sometimes when it acts up (usually during cold and wet weather) I run down to the range and test pistols since at that time I'm really sensitive.

Both our tests (which used slow motion film of a laser dot on a tall target) and my subjective "arthritic" test showed us that caliber, within a range, did not matter as much as pistol design.

A Glock 17 had about 50% more muzzle rise than a 1911 .45 and in our multiple shot test was slightly harder to control.

Now how much recoil is felt, I have no way of gauging other than just ask folks how it felt.

On the list, I'd certainly agree with #6 - I can feel the difference when I put in a heavier mainspring (I would not be using a buffer in a self defense gun - though none was mentioned).

I would also not go smaller caliber, or use a cooler load in a defense gun - but that may be just me.

That said, I'd take a .38 148 Wadcutter at 850 fps over many of the .357 125 JHPs for defense - I'm all about smashing the spine and many of the .357s don't have enough "steam" after going trough 8-12" of flesh and bone to smash the spine. I think the Cor-bon or Barnes DPX/VorTx might though. Rem. Golden Saber might as well.

For just general SD use, the various 125 /357s will get the job done, it is only the rare determined individual I am worried about - else I'd just carry my S&W #1 .22 Short, made in 1860 - after all it is only in around 10% of SD encounters you actually have to fire the gun and in another 3-5% where you do a miss will suffice - that is if you pay attention to some statistical studies, I don't (no offense to anyone that does hold them in high regard - my Dad was a professional statistician, he thought in most cases they were misused)

Just Ramblin'

Jim H.



kind of an apple to oranges comparison, G17 to 1911

you want to see a clearer difference, try a 9mm 1911 against a .45 1911

all things equal, the 9mm recoils less

I don't run over power recoil springs in my 1911s

I use stock springs with a square bottom firing pin stop, the way JB set it up.

the 1911a1 changed to a radiused firing pin stop to ease thumb cocking, but it takes the mainspring out of the recoil cycle

a square bottom stop changes dwell time, adds the mainspring back into the cyle.

it also loads the hammer strut, but doesn't batter the frame like heavy recoil springs, so a trade I suppose.

maybe you don't step down from a .45 for carry, but pickup the 9mm version for training, load the big gun for all other.

might save your joints for a few more years.....
Jim Higginbotham Posted - May 31 2018 : 08:26:46 AM
quote:
Originally posted by Chris Christian

Just a thought on practice/training... IMHO (based upon 46 years of competitive shooting,coaching and instructing)..... Brief training sessions (50 rounds or so) are more productive than 150+ round sessions. They key is to work on specific drills where you focus on specific skill sets....some examples would be:...
Double taps from carry holster 3 to 10 yards (two hands and strong hand)...3 round Failure Drill... precision head shots 10-15 yards... weak hand shooting from low ready.... and other practical self-defense drills.

The problem with pounding a lot of rounds down range is that recoil fatigue will set in... you get sloppy... develop bad habits... and may not gain much after that.

Focused drills... around 50 rounds... are IMHO a better bet. I know that when folks have to drive an hour of more to a range that they want to shoot their guns. But is all that shooting really beneficial in working on skills that will be used quickly, and relatively briefly.. with the attendant adrenalin rush?

Another free thought...so it's worth what you paid for it.



Amen. Been saying this for years! It was a hard won lesson though.

Jim
Jim Higginbotham Posted - May 31 2018 : 08:25:08 AM
quote:
Originally posted by Frogfoot

Maybe a 1911 style pistol in .22 TCM might work? Light recoil, fast shot recovery times, high capacity and relatively cheap ammunition prices on the plus side, but only one load on the minus side. With the 9R version of this round, you can get a conversion kit for your Glock 17 or 22. It's too bad there's not a smaller, more affordable pistol in 5.7x28 though.



I have one of those - it is indeed very light recoil. I'm not sure I'd trust the 40 gr. bullet for self defense though.

Jim

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