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 or load ammunition into a magazine. 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.”
There is no doubt that some adjustments can be made when dealing with these types of issues. 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. Hand strengthening exercises can make a world of difference. There are many tools out there that you can utilize to strengthen your hands and wrist. There are also products that might be helpful such as gel shooting gloves and wrist braces. Many women will select a revolver if they just don’t have the upper body and hand strength required to rack the slide of a semi-automatic handgun. Although before you give up, read this article. Many times it is simply a technique issue that can be corrected.
One of the solutions that have proven quite successful for those that just do not have the strength to shoot a “normal” gun 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. It allows a live round to be easily removed from the chamber and the bore quickly checked. Jamming and stovepiping problems are virtually eliminated as well, by the open slide design.
Perhaps you have some experience with this issue and have found ways to alleviate some of the difficulties. Please send me an email at email@example.com and share what has been helpful to you or your thoughts. This is an issue with many shooters, both male and female of all ages.