Back To The Well Armed Woman

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hands


Each of our hands consists of 27 bones, 29 major joints, 34 muscles, 123 ligaments, 30 arteries, and the zillions of nerve and blood vessel branches. These all work together in such amazing ways, you have to marvel at how they all collaborate to do the most intricate of tasks.

Our ability to handle and shoot our firearms is dependent on all of these parts working together perfectly. How well we can manipulate the controls of the firearm and handle the recoil depends entirely on the strength and coordination of our hands.

I think we take our hands for granted. They are just there and they do what we tell them to do - effortlessly. But many shooters, whether due to aging, disease or injury, struggle with hands that are not functioning properly, leaving them in pain, frustrated and in some cases, unable to operate their firearms. On The Well Armed Woman Facebook page, this issue comes up repeatedly. Women struggling with arthritis, carpal tunnel and others, share their frustration with the inability and the discomfort of working the action of their firearm. Lauri shares"carpal tunnel has taken a lot of strength out of my hands."Tena writes"when I went to rack the slide... I couldn't do it! I have arthritis in my hands and I just could not muster the force to slide it." Jay says"I have had to back down the caliber because my hands just couldn't take the beating of my .40 and .45 anymore."

Beretta Bobcat
There is no doubt that some adjustments need to be made when dealing with these types of issues, so shooters can continue to shoot effectively, protect themselves and safely continue to fully enjoy shooting.

Along with medical attention, there are some things that can perhaps minimize some of these difficulties, including: gel shooting gloves, wrist braces, and   the changing of caliber. One of the solutions that have proven quite successful for these ladies is a semi-automatic with a tilt-up barrel. Both the Beretta Bobcat (.25 auto, .22 LR) and the Beretta Tomcat (.32 ACP) have this Tip-up barrel feature which thankfully allows rounds to be loaded directly into the chamber without slide retraction. (Racking). The .32 Tomcat, when using 60-grain .32 ACP (7.65 mm) hollow-point ammunition, provides firepower equaling the punch of a .380 (9mm Short). Other great benefits are that it also assists in the safe clearing of the pistol, by allowing a live round to be easily removed from the chamber and the bore quickly checked. Jamming and stove-piping problems are virtually eliminated as well, by the open slide design. Nice benefits in addition to being well priced.
Beretta Tomcat














Perhaps you have some experience with this issue and have found ways to alleviate some of the difficulties. Please comment and share what has been helpful to you or your thoughts, as this is an issue with many shooters, both male and female of all ages.


Back To The Well Armed Woman Website

15 comments:

  1. These are great little firearms, easy to use, lightweight and accurate at close range.

    My wife has very small hands so these type of firearms are perfect even though she has no ailments like you speak of.

    Another nice pistol is the Taurus PT25 poly pistol, very lightweight, holds 9+1 rounds,is very reliable and affordable.

    Keep up the good work here!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ann Rider McMainsMay 14, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    I find the Star BM 9mm is a great gun for a woman's hand. Easy to grip, heavy enough to avoid much recoil, and plenty of stopping power. I have owned two of them and each was as good as the next. They are inexpensive, $200-250 range for a used one. I highly recommend this firearm. As a female instructor for over 25 years in both rifle and pistol, I have often found myself as the only 'girl' on the range or in the classroom. I have recently begun writing a column called "GALS n GUNS" for Ohio Valley Outdoors Magazine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When my late husband and I use to go to the range, I was always the only female on the range on "ladies day" when I could shoot for free. I always went thru 100 rounds of ammo or more if I had the time. He had a 9mm but it kicked too hard for but I did like his 380, will have to check this out.

      Delete
  3. I have RA quite severe and I have had several weapons that were billed as the easiest to rack and some were but as my disease progresses I find it just easier to shoot a regular old Ruger .357. I use auto loaders and I am going to look into the gel gloves. Perseverance is the key to aging and damaged hands.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wonder if that would help with my shoulder. I have mild carpel tunnel along with neck problems then the added inconvience of being in an auto accident and tearing everything in my in my shoulder. I can't do alot with my right shoulder (and yes I am right handed) and to be honest I haven't fired my handgun since my accident except for one round. So I need something with very little kick and easy to use. I had just taken the carry conceal class and was getting ready to shoot when I was in the accident and haven't gone to get it yet. Ant suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not making a smart azz remark here, but learn to shoot well Left Handed.

      Delete
    2. I can shoot with my left hand but I also hold the weapon with my right hand also- so it does get some kick (not being a smart azz here either just safe)

      Delete
    3. I've given up almost all semi autos because of arthritis, and carpal tunnel has made my right hand weak in general. I'm sticking it out with revolvers, and practicing that left hand shooting. also practicing the draw/intuitive shoot, right and left. It gets easier and better with practice - AND carry two so regardless of what happens, one is in reach, or I won't have to reload. Oh yeah, I do practice two hand intuitive shooting. getting better and better.

      Delete
  5. Hello!
    I have a small gun shop in AZ. I have seen a lot of the things brought up here. From Heath problems to age and small framed women! One lady had Heath, size and age. Lol but she was still wanting to shoot. There is lots of neat things out there to help all of us shoot better and more comfortably! In most cases small guns have more recoil then larger guns. Revolvers are great all around guns! You can find them in most commen calibers as your favorite autos. If your having trouble finding a auto just for kicks look at some revolvers. Down side holds less rounds! The up side Easter to use more reliable! Don't buy something your not a 100% comfortable with. Ask your firearms dealer any and all your concerns about the firearm your looking at. They should be able to help you or know of someone who can!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hello!
    I have a small gun shop in AZ. I have seen a lot of the things brought up here. From Heath problems to age and small framed women! One lady had Heath, size and age. Lol but she was still wanting to shoot. There is lots of neat things out there to help all of us shoot better and more comfortably! In most cases small guns have more recoil then larger guns. Revolvers are great all around guns! You can find them in most commen calibers as your favorite autos. If your having trouble finding a auto just for kicks look at some revolvers. Down side holds less rounds! The up side Easter to use more reliable! Don't buy something your not a 100% comfortable with. Ask your firearms dealer any and all your concerns about the firearm your looking at. They should be able to help you or know of someone who can!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have degenerative arthritis in my shooting hand. Shooting my Lady Smith .357 became too painful and the gun is heavy. I purchased a Ruger LCP.38 because it is double action, lightweight and fit my hand very well. Well, the sweet little gun was beating up my wrist too so I switched hands last week and was pleasantly surprised that I shoot better, I think partly due to the lack of pain. The switch wasn't as difficult as expected but takes practice.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have nerve damage in my left hand due to a dog bite in 1987. About 15 years ago, I bought a Beretta Tomcat .32 specifically because of the tilt up barrel. Worked great! Years later, I bought a Glock 26 to step up to 9mm. I discovered that a small gun usually equals a stiff spring. Racking was difficult and locking the slide back was impossible. Moved up to a Glock 19 which works for me. However, I will always keep the Tomcat. Works great in a pocket holster. BEFORE YOU BUY anything make sure you can operate it! Mistakes are expensive! P.S. Also make sure you can load the magazine. I can't, so I use UpLULA loaders for both calibers.

    ReplyDelete
  9. As far as racking the slide, one thing I learned is not to use your support hand to pull the slide back but rather use your trigger hand to PUSH the slide forward. It takes less effort to push than to pull.

    I also have small hands but still find my full size semi-auto 9mm and even my 1911 easier to shoot than my little .380. That double-action takes a lot of effort. Whenever I am in a firearms store and hear the clerk recommending a .380 for a new woman shooter because "it's small" I just cringe. It may be small but it takes a lot more effort to shoot and certainly isn't as much fun as a good semi-auto 9mm.

    I am also dealing with basal joint (thumb) arthritis. Also painful but hasn't kept me from shooting yet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so right about racking the slide being a push not a pull Jazcat! Yes, smaller isn't necessarily better. Small has its place for difficult concealed carry issues, but the larger more weightier guns absorb much of the recoil and are more accurate. Thank you for sharing!

      Delete
  10. I have a bobcat and a tomcat. i love them both I had weak hands prior to my stroke. Noe I carry the tomcat or a 38sp. revolver

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.