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Old September 12, 2009, 09:39 AM   #1
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Shooting with an injury

I'm still very new here, so I will try my best to keep this short and on topic .

To make a long story short, I cut my thumb using a pair of scissors earlier this week, and I have been essentially without the use of my thumb for three days. It has made me aware of just how awkward it would be to shoot with such an injury, and if I was carrying concealed (I do not CC now, as I'm not allowed weapons on my university campus) I would have trouble drawing the gun properly, let alone shooting accurately under pressure.

Are there any techniques for shooting, drawing, reloading, etc. with a variety of injuries. A cut thumb is no fun, but a gunshot wound during a fight for my life would be magnitudes more dangerous.

Thanks for the help!
Don't kill me with my own gun!! -Tallahassee, Zombieland
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Old September 12, 2009, 09:43 AM   #2
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I think the first step is to practice shooting with both hands while changing the strong hand, then practice shooting with each hand by itself. I assume that the more advanced handgun defense courses may go into drawing a weapon with the offside hand, but having never taken one I am not sure.

Edit to add. Most of the courses (handgun defense) I have read about do cover racking the slide with only one hand, things of that nature.
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Old September 12, 2009, 09:44 AM   #3
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shooting with injury

This is a good reason to practice shooting and reloading with your weak hand. When I first tried to shoot with my left hand it felt really awkward but I surprised myself, although not as good as my right hand my accuracy wasn't that bad.
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Old September 12, 2009, 09:59 AM   #4
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After an injury to my right hand a few years back I decided to practice weak hand shooting at each and every range session to build muscle memory so in the event that I needed to fire weak hand I could do so instinctively. As for drawing I continue to use an IWB holster on my strong side 4 o'clock. I find I can draw right hand with no adjustment and left hand from behind the back with ease. As for reloading I fight with what I have in the gun. If you carry an extra mag you should allow the pistol to achieve slide lock, dump the empty mag, reholster or secure between legs, then insert fresh mag, draw and release slide lock to chamber. Reloading will vary with weapons choice though as all dont lock open on the last shot or remain open during the above proceedure. Then you'll need to learn how to chamber your specific pistol with one hand.
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Old September 12, 2009, 11:44 AM   #5
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I was surprised at my first PPC match when I had a couple of stations where I had to shoot left handed. After that my training sessions were right hand, left hand and two hand in that order. About a year later I broke my right wrist and couldn't even load my own guns so my fellow shooters would load me up and I shot for the next few weeks left handed. Surprising once you get the sight picture figured out how comfortable and natural it gets. Consider this your excuse to get in some left hand training. Try dry fire drills before you go out on the range to help familiarize you with the feeling of the gun in wrong hand. That is why we are bi-pedal, 2 feet, 2 hands, 2 eyes...if one doesn't work we have the other. Good shooting.
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Old September 12, 2009, 12:50 PM   #6
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As others have pointed out, it is not that difficult to learn how to shoot, reload and even draw with your "weak" hand.

I do recommend to learn from someone experienced, better if he is a qualified instructor, and certainly do some dry practice first.

Once you learn the basics, with training once can become very proficcient with either hand.

Another advantage to being able to shoot well witheither hand is that in certain situations it will allow you to shoot from behind cover without having to expose much of your body.

Get well soon


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Old September 12, 2009, 02:39 PM   #7
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WiredAl: I'm assuming your pistol is an auto? I would like to know how difficult it is to get one in the chamber having to use the injured hand to work the slide. What you have is a real world scenario ...where you are jumped going to your car, carrying a bag of groceries in each hand, and an attacker slams your hand in your car door, or has a knife or broken instinctively throw up your hand and he cuts you in the hand/thumb badly. If you didn't carry one in the tube, and you were instantly in danger, how cumbersome is it to draw with your good hand and get your pistol loaded with the injured hand. ??? Real situation knowledge is good to know.
I look forward to yur reply.
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Last edited by Ohio Rusty; September 14, 2009 at 05:43 PM.
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Old September 12, 2009, 05:29 PM   #8
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Back in about 1977 I was in LE and insured my right(shooting) hand. Not only couldn't I shoot, but I couldnt write, Even the bank had me sign another siginiture card with my left had so I could write and cash checks.

I was back at work with my hand all taped up wearing my duty holster and sevice revolver on my right side. The Sgt asked me if I could draw, I showed him my cross draw using my left hand, he wasnt impressed and sent me to property for a left handed holster. Then to (our indoor) range to practice. I spent two days about went through about 2000 rounds, getting to where I was somewhat respectable.

Since the I practice extensevely with my left hand. Even retired I dont want to be caught like that again. I was a range officer, and made everyone shoot a few rounds weak hand to play the game, but nothing like I pushed weak hand shooting after injuring my shooting hand.

You just don't know how much you miss you strong hand until you loose the use of it, we can preach all day that you need your left or weak hand but people dont take you serious until its too late. Thats one reason I like one hand shooting (with both hands). Its easier to shoot off or weak hand I think. It drives me nuts seeing people shooting weak hand in a two handed grip. Think about it. If your strong hand is injured to the point you cant shoot with it, chances are you arnt gonna beable you help your weak handed grip.

Another reason I like Bullseye shooting, it drums in the fundements regardless of what hand you use. Another thing that helps is laser sights.

I know, long winded, but its a pet peeve of mine.
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Old September 12, 2009, 06:00 PM   #9
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When I worked a specialized anti gang unit on the department we trained quite a bit with everything, including guns of course. The instructor would have the person next in line to shoot stick his weak hand in ice water, then when it was your turn to shoot you removed you your hand and qualified using your weak, cold and wet hand. He explained what this would do but it escapes me. I do know it made me a better shot with my weak hand!
Just food for thought.

However you do it it always pays to prepare for all contingencies, including shooting with the weak hand.
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Old September 12, 2009, 07:58 PM   #10
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I guess I'm pretty lucky. I'm right-handed, but left-eye dominant so my strong shooting side is my left. I shoot all handguns, rifles, and shotguns left-handed which over the years has developed me to be almost completely ambidextrous. The only thing that I do exclusively with my right hand is writing. These days, just about all of my range trips and trap sessions include almost equal practice (a bit heavier on the left side though) on all guns with both hands and both eyes. For whatever reason, I am not able to shoot well with both eyes open, so if I'm shooting lefty, I use my left eye and close the right one. If I'm shooting righty, I use my right eye and close my left one.
"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them." -Richard Henry Lee, Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress, initiator of the Declaration of Independence, and member of the first Senate, which passed the Bill of Rights.
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Old September 13, 2009, 01:52 PM   #11
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I broke my strong hand a few years ago and was weak-only for a while. The only gun I happened to have weak-side holsters and gear for was one I hadn't carried in a while and it was a struggle to get up to speed. If you carry something common like a 1911 or Glock, it's probably easy to find gear in stock locally on short notice. If you carry something odd or uncommon it may be hard to get leather and gear in a hurry.
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Old September 13, 2009, 05:46 PM   #12
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It's very difficult but you can practice in many positions and holds at home

The best is to practice livefire but of course due to limited range restrictions this is not at all possible.

The first step is to practice with Strong and Weak hand (one haned shooting). Then incorporate reloads while using a limited ability of the other hand (so if you are shooting with your regular or stong hand the reloads are simpler but try it the other way around). This scenario holds if you are wounded on either arm/shoulder.

Now once you mastered the Strong / Weak hand try doing on your back, sitting, on your side and on your stomach.

So, if you carry do the same while trying to unholster and reload.

Practice is what is needed to get familiar with unfamiliar situations and conditions.

If you ever shoot any IDPA or USPSA or other types of pratical pistol (steel plates and such) there may be a scenario involving strong and weak hand.

Have fun, relax and practice until you are comfortable.

Remember to be safe when dry firing - no ammo in the room.
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Last edited by oldkim; September 13, 2009 at 05:56 PM.
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Old September 13, 2009, 06:16 PM   #13
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I broke a "spinal process" (I think I'm spelling that right, at least that's what I think the doc called it...) off of my spine in 2006. I was folded past ninety degrees backwards at one point (my body armor wouldn't allow me to flex) in a HMMWV rollover. Between the bone pieces floating around, the broken back, and the medication, I was pretty messed up. I worked my way back, and I am once again a first class PFTer (for an 18 year old, thank you very much), expert on the range (I couldn't get into the sitting or kneeling positions until I healed), and I feel pretty darned good.

I am lucky, and I am blessed to be largely unfazed. Don't get me wrong, it hurts every morning, but I can deal- a hot shower usually takes the pain away. It isn't THAT bad anymore, and it keeps getting better as I strengthen the body core around the injury. Some days are bad, but left foot, right foot, keep on marching, right?

What I learned was this: With any serious injury, DO THE THERAPY... STRETCH DAILY... use as little pain medication as YOU can stand- it makes you too "wonkie" to care if you go overboard. I'm probably WAY off the OP's original thread, but I felt I had to add what I learned. Stay safe. Thank you.
Trigger control: The skillful manipulation of the trigger, which causes the weapon to fire, while maintaining sight alignment and sight picture.
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Old September 16, 2009, 12:13 AM   #14
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I broke a "spinal process"
Doctor was saying spinous process. Its the little spur on the back of the vertebra that sticks out and down like a spur and is what the muscle attaches to. I believe the pain part and you are right, the stretching and core exercises never stop if you want to keep walking and keep shooting. It changes your stance and makes you get fatigued quicker because the other muscles have to compensate.

Bad back never completely stopped my shooting but shoulder surgery for a rotator cuff repair and a torn ligament in my neck from being rear ended at a stop sign stopped me cold for several months. Still can't turn my head all the way to the left but the shoulder surgery was a success and one of the reasons I gritted my teeth and went through the therapy was to get a gun back in my hands. If you want to bad enough you will figure out a way to shoot.
Good intentions will always be pleaded for any assumption of power. The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern will, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.
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Old September 16, 2009, 06:59 AM   #15
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When I first started shooting, my best friend was a State Trooper. We shot together often and he insisted practice with my off hand. I shoot better today with my right hand than my natural left, rifle and pistol. Shotgun - no.
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Old September 18, 2009, 06:16 PM   #16
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Its a good habit to practice with both hands, one handed, handgun and weak side with a rifle. A torn ligament in the right thumb made me shoot left handed for several years. I had already been shooting left some, so it wasn't that tough to pick up. It's a bit awkward compared to strong hand, but works. A few bricks of 22's through the Smith helped get up to speed, and stay functional. An imbedded metal particle in the right eye made shooting long guns left handed mandatory for a while. Having shot wrong handed some helped there also.

Not a bad idea, to have some weak handed gear around for unforseen events.
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Old September 18, 2009, 06:27 PM   #17
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Practice is key to achieving proficiency in any nonstandard shooting technique. I broke my left tibia and fibula during trap season and learned to shoot from a wheelchair until sufficiently healed. If you're thinking about overcoming tactical wounds it's harder to prepare for the unknown but it's a good plan to consider the 'what ifs'.
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Old September 19, 2009, 01:39 AM   #18
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yea u can always be like the spetznaz and cut yourself deep and long so you can practice sowing it up. that way you can practice shooting in pain lol
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