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Old June 12, 2014, 08:29 PM   #1
Kimio
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Questions about handgun weight & effects on arthritis

Not sure where to put this, so I'll put it here.

I'm fortunate enough to still have my health, however, a very good friend of mine, whom is an older gentleman suffers from pretty bad arthritis. Compound this with his general nervousness and unfamiliarity with handguns, he finds that shooting them has him shaking all over the place to the detriment of his overall accuracy.

Give him a rifle however, and he'll be swinging steel ringers out to 300-400+ with irons. He grew up with a rifle when he was younger, and is the most comfortable with them, handguns however elude him for some odd reason.

That said, he has frequently told me after shooting my relatively light GSG M1911 chambered in .22LR, that he feels a heavier gun will help steady his hands and help with his arthritis. Simply trying to grip the handgun is painful, and balling his hands in a tight fist is pretty much a no go.

For those here who shoot, and suffer from arthritis, what do you say about him desiring a heavier handgun? Does this indeed make shooting more tolerable? How does this affect you and your arthritis? The only thing I can imagine a heavier gun would do is reduce the felt recoil that the shooter would feel after firing a round, but wouldn't the weight also increase fatigue? How would one train if they suffer from bad arthritis but still wants to own a handgun for SD/HD purposes? Is there particular calibers or handguns someone such as my friend may want to look at over others?

I'm not terribly savvy with handgun shooting (or shooting in general) to really give my friend sound advice on this topic, so any input would be appreciated.
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Old June 19, 2014, 11:05 AM   #2
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Just my take from assisting with those over the years.

Best would be to visit a range with a variety of guns, or get a bunch of gun buddies to bring theirs out for him to try. See what fits him, and what he is most comfortable with.

My experiences, run to a K frame Model 10 with 4" bbl. Aftermarket stocks can be had, to better fit his hands, and to lessen felt recoil. Also, starting out with primer only cases. This allows him to focus on correct basic fundamentals, manual of arms, and without the "perceived" recoil, from the noise of a firearm discharged, and of course a live round itself.

Then move to live rounds, such a 148 gr Wadcutters, or even mild reloads.

Back in the day, when one could get a S&W Model 10 or Ruger Security Six police trade-in for a deal, these guns were often the guns chosen by those with arthritis or other similar frustrating issues.

Steve
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Old June 19, 2014, 12:19 PM   #3
Brit
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SM has it right.
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Old June 19, 2014, 03:54 PM   #4
g.willikers
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Does his ailment affect his fingers?
How are his wrists and elbows?
Can he work the slide of a pistol?
Can he operated double action trigger?
If he's not sure what his condition for shooting actually is, how about starting with an air pistol?
And a heavier weight mild caliber, like a .22, is a good idea for a firearm.
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Old June 19, 2014, 04:39 PM   #5
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While I am a semi-auto handgun fan, racking the slide will present problems to someone with conic arthritis. You may want to consider something like this 38 special with houge grips for him to use. The 38 special comes in many type of loads, soft or full power or +P and does not require a slide to be racked. It is not a light weight gun so recoil will be mild depending on type of load used. Trigger pull in single action mode is easy and will present no problems for someone with arthritis.

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Taurus Model 82 38 Special 3 inch barrel.
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Old June 22, 2014, 08:50 AM   #6
Kimio
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From my understanding, he can operate a slide well enough (He hasn't told me that it's painful at least), but seeing as the only handgun he's shot recently has been my GSG M1911 (which is SA only) I can't really say if he has the strength in his fingers or not to fire double action.

His fingers to my understanding is not what's painful, it's in his knuckles and his thumb joint that hurts him the most, which makes balling his hand into a fist or gripping a handgun painful. Granted, it is also possible that he's anticipating the recoil (even in my .22 GSG) and gripping the handgun too tightly thus exasperating his arthritis even further.

As for his elbows, shoulders and wrists, while this may not be as applicable, whenever he'd fire my M91/30 Mosin Nagant, the next day he'd be sore, but the day after that he'd be really hurting, where he'd have issues with his wrists and shoulder acting up (on really bad days, if I recall he'd have limited movement in them because of how bad his arthritis gets)

He's been looking at semi auto handguns, but he's not against revolvers either. Something in .38 spcl I think might be more his speed, he expressed an interest in 9mm handguns too (due to recoil, capacity and affordability reasons, since he won't be reloading)
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Old June 22, 2014, 12:04 PM   #7
g.willikers
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One thing he should absolutely be doing is hand exercises.
Yeah, they hurt, but without them the joints get worse and more stiff.
Have him use a soft foam ball and squeeze it while holding it out like a handgun.
Exercises loosen the joints and cut down on the pain.
Part of the pain is caused by the resistance to movement.
The more flexible the joints are, the easier they move and the less painful.
It's a vicious circle.
If he's not presently exercising his hands, he will not like it at first, guaranteed.
But he will thank you for suggesting it, in the long run.
Old age is definitely not for sissies.
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Old June 22, 2014, 06:32 PM   #8
Kimio
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Hmmm, should he do this in conjuction with his current work load? Right now he's a butcher at a local grocery store, so he's picking up and balling his hands all day around merchandise and machinery.

Probably a different motion I guess, what I have noticed is that he tends to "limp wrist" at times after shooting for a while when his arthritis sets in and the pain starts to worsen, should he look at wrist exercises as well?
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Old June 22, 2014, 07:05 PM   #9
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The heaviest gun he can shoot using the lightest loads that work in the gun will give him the lightest recoil thus not irritating his arthritis as much.
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Old June 22, 2014, 07:28 PM   #10
Jim243
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To counteract the wrist pain, I have used a wrist support to help give additional support.

http://www.braceplanet.com/McDavid-E...t-Support.html

It does work and help, mine is more from carpal tunnel than arthritis but there are days that it is so painful I can hardly pick up a pen let alone shoot, but then I can go out shooting. 325 mg aspirin also helps and should reduce the inflammation.

Just a suggestion.
jim
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Old June 23, 2014, 07:25 AM   #11
g.willikers
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Squeezing the soft foam ball, while the arm is outstretched, like holding and aiming a gun, involves the wrists, too, without aggravating the joint.
Many repetitive exercises can aggravate joint problems.
The idea is to strengthen the muscles and increase flexibility, without aggravating joints.
So, it's best to slowly squeeze and hold, rather than lots of quick repetitive squeezes of the ball.
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Old June 23, 2014, 07:36 AM   #12
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I have arthritis in my hands, elbows, and shoulders. I don't shoot 44 mag any more than is absolutely required for hunting nor do I shoot 357 mag in lightweight handguns. I don't find any 22 difficult or painful but lots of rounds will cause pain from the continued gripping stress.
I shoot Ruger 22 pistols both right and left handed w/o problems. My biggest difficulty stems from loss of strength and I've found I can no longer easily handle the DA trigger pull on my 9mm carry pistol while shooting weak hand.
Just my opinion but your friend's problems may stem from simple unfamiliarity with handguns.
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