Sifting through the endless firearm options can be confusing. In this four part series, Carrie Lightfoot and guest Ashley Suris answer your questions to help walk you through making the right decision. In this video we discuss hand size and hand strength.
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Part 1 – Where To Start
Part 2 Transcription
Carrie: Hi, I’m Carrie Lightfoot from The Well Armed Woman and we are continuing our series on how to buy the right gun for yourself. So, we have been meeting with Ashley Suris who is here to help us again today and we are kind of covering step by step things we need to be thinking about. Last time we talked about the advantages and disadvantages of different types of guns and now we are going to talk about our hands. Because our hands are really an important piece in making the decision to own a firearm and also in how well we can operate some of the different mechanical parts that we need to do. So, hand size, I have very small hands. Let me see your hands… she’s got much bigger hands than I do, she’s got long fingers.
Ashley: Yea I have long fingers.
Carrie: So, your hands, obviously, it needs to fit the firearm. So, getting your hands on guns in the gun store, would you agree is a really great way to, because you can’t tell from the measurements you need to get your hands on them.
Ashley: Yea, you have to get your hands on them and try them in the shop to see what is going to comfortably fit in your hand,
Carrie: Right and so what that means is that especially we are talking about concealed carry gun here, is that our hand needs to fully wrap the grip and be able to reach all of the controls and comfortably reach the trigger as well. Getting a good grip, getting your hand all the way around as best you can so you can get ready for your two handed grip I think is really really important. I am just a believer that for your concealed carry gun I want to be able to manipulate all of the controls one handed.
Carrie: If I’m holding somebody, or a child or I am injured, everything I need to be able to do, everything one-handed.
Carrie: Now of course if I can shoot two handed I’m shooting two handed with a two handed grip. Hand size is really really important. We want to make sure that your trigger finger lines up well with the trigger.
Carrie: And we want the pad of our finger to be able to reach that trigger.
Carrie: Because we have to pull it all the way back
Carrie: So, anything else on hand size? What about people with larger hands, is it still a challenge for you with your big long, lengthy hands?
Ashley: It can be but I don’t think the challenges are quite to the extent as somebody with smaller hands.
Carrie: Because with a bigger hand you can still handle
Carrie: a smaller gun, but a smaller hand may have a harder time
Carrie: Handling the larger guns, alright good
Carrie: When I started this project a while ago I asked all of you for some questions. So, Ashley you want to read some of the questions for our viewers?
Ashley: Absolutely, Lynn asked “what semi-auto would you recommend for a person who doesn’t have a lot of hand strength and could also be a good CCW pistol”? Dyah asked, “What is the best personal carry for arthritic hands”? and Kitt asked about the challenges of racking a slide if you’ve got neuropathy or weaker hands?
Carrie: Boy, these are great, great questions and they kind of hit on a lot of different things. So, let’s talk about hand strength in general. We were talking about the advantages and disadvantages of each. So, hand strength I think really comes into play in racking the slide.
Carrie: And then potentially pulling the trigger.
Carrie: So, let’s talk about that a little bit.
Ashley: Sure, so I think biggest thing to consider about weakness in hands and racking the slide is sometime some of it can be adjusted by technique.
Ashley: You’ve got to learn the proper way to rack that slide. There is some little tips and tricks that I think we’re going to get into any future video on how to make racking the slide easier.
Carrie: Yea, I think one of the key things on that is that women we typically have weaker upper body strength. So, in racking the slide, just quickly because we have to touch on it because I know people are asking, is to get it in nice and close because we are stronger in here, we call this the work space so get in nice and close. And the other thing is with your strong hand is to punch out. So, use your strength to push out and that will release the slide.
Carrie: OK so hand strength is important and there are models that have easier slides to rack.
Carrie: Don’t you think So? I think Walther’s historically would you agree?
Ashley: I would agree.
Carrie: Walther’s for the most part, their slides are really really easy, the Sig Sauer the carry guns, what other guns do you think?
Ashley: Umm I find the Ruger slides to be fairly simple but I think Walther on the market, has the easiest slides to rack.
Carrie: They are very easy, even the new smaller Glocks are great slides. I think they are really paying attention to us as women. They know we have weaker upper body strength and they are starting to engineer features in that makes it a little easier for us to handle.
Ashley: I agree.
Carrie: So, what about, would a revolver be a better choice for someone with that kind of really weak hand strength?
Ashley: That’s where it can really vary and you will have to evaluate where your hand weaknesses are, because some of these revolvers have very very hard triggers to pull.
Carrie: So, if you have a weak or maybe arthritis in your fingers, that pulling that hard double action trigger may be really really hard.
Ashely: Yes, I think come back to get your hands on as many guns as you can, a lot of guns shops will let you dry fire or will let you rack that slide just so you can see where your ability sit and where you may struggle more or struggle less.
Carrie: Because the do vary, I mean they vary so much.
Carrie: There are exercises you can do to, those squeezy balls, you know where you can work your hands and strengthen them a little bit. Because we do, we want to be able to fully function and handle those firearms properly and safely and we can compensate. There are some things we can do buy the equipment that we buy that would help kinda compensate for our weaknesses perhaps. But hand strength and hand issues and hand size is really really important
Carrie: And I think I want to go back to one other thing we talked about earlier we were talking about hand size. When you are fitting a gun to your hand, it’s important that the web of your hand fit evenly on the back so that it lines up straight up your arm right? Let me close that…So if this grip was too big and I couldn’t get my hand around it, see how that now is pointing up here.
Ashley: Instead of having it straight back, its angled over to you.
Carrie: Exactly, so we want that to line up straight up your arm, so in part of finding the right grip you want to make sure that you can do that, that is what is accomplished.
Carrie: Anything else on hands, we talked a lot about hands… Loading a magazine can be really tough. So, the spring tension on the different magazines varies too. So, try the magazines as well. It’s not always just the gun it’s the magazine too. There are some guns that I cannot load and I have had some spinal surgery so I have real weakness and nerve damage in my support hand so it’s just really hard for me to do somethings. This is an important subject to me. So, ladies get your hands on as many of these firearms as you can. Try them, rack them, pull the trigger, dry fire with permission in the store please, and that will really help you make the right decision
Ashley: Yes. Our next set of questions comes from Tayla who is asking about compact versus full-size. She loves her Ruger SR 9C but finds it hard to compare full-size for hobby target shooting where she’s so used to shooting her compact.
Carrie: So, the question is which one over the other?
Carrie: So, what are your thoughts?
Ashley: I think it comes down where you’re willing to make concessions and the pros and cons of each. With the bigger gun, obviously, you’re going to have a higher capacity and you’re going to have more weight which is going to decrease your felt recoil.
Carrie: And you know it might be more accurate as well because the barrel length will be longer.
Ashley: Yeah where is with the smaller ones there a lot easier to conceal on your body.
Ashley: So, you got balance what your desires are and what your needs are against those pros and cons and also factor in what you’re wearing. Sometimes if you want that larger firearm to be your concealed firearm, you can make small concessions in your clothing or find the right holster that will allow you to hide that firearm.
Carrie: To hide that larger firearm. So, it is about kind of give and take and again weighing the different advantages and disadvantages. You know the smaller firearms too, they are harder to shoot. They are designed to conceal and be really really small and have on your body hidden when you need it but they are tough to shoot. So, the larger firearm is just more comfortable to shoot but harder to carry.
Carrie: Really trying to make this easier guys, really not trying to make it more complicated but there are a lot of things to think about.
Carrie: Well we have covered an awful a lot on the topic of hands haven’t we. So, thank you for joining us and feel free to leave comments or send us an email so we can make sure we answer your questions as well. And you know what hang on for part three because we have more stuff to come.