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Old November 2, 2010, 09:17 PM   #1
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Birth defects in hands and training with same

Ok, guys...I'm a frequent reader but new poster the forum..I have a Taurus 24/7 pro in .40, and an HK USP 45 compact I'm pickin up in a few weeks from layaway. Here's my question. In my left thumb, I have a steel pin, and some muscle added to the heel of my palm...My right thumb is nothing but cartilege..Soooo, two handed shooting is not bad. One handed, left, is very difficult, one handed right is almost impossible due to not being able to grip pistol tightly. Anyone know any tactical training schools and/or drills that I can do to improve my draw and my grip strength? Thanks for the input, everyone
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Old November 3, 2010, 12:29 AM   #2
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I don't, 27/7Fla, but I bet if anybody knows, somebody here will. As more and more people get CCWs and carry for self defense, the demand for training that takes physical disabilities into account is going to grow.
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Old November 3, 2010, 10:12 AM   #3
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Most of the top-tier instructors know how to deal with the tough cases. Try Tom Givens at Rangemaster in TN.

Kathy Jackson
My personal website: Cornered Cat
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Old November 3, 2010, 10:55 AM   #4
Jim March
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I seem to recall somewhere that in cases of disability you can get an exception to the NFA rules and run a forward pistol grip under the barrel. It's possible that would help - maybe a lot.

I have no idea the exact legal procedures involved...
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Old November 3, 2010, 12:33 PM   #5
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As usual Pax has very good advice.

You might want to find a physical therapist to work on hand strength.

But basically we increase our grasp by grabbing things. In an earlier thread on the subject I half jokingly said that people should get a job as a roofer using a hammer instead of a nail gun. Well recently I had to dig a trench on my property using a pick and shovel. I can tell you that my hands and forearms got a tremendous work out.
I don't expect you or anyone else to dig ditches or hammer down shingles. But the same motion using a weight or even a hammer should work.
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Old November 3, 2010, 12:42 PM   #6
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I have a set of grip ummm strengtheners? I dunno, the cheapie things you squeeze. And do that a ton when I'm off work. Don't use my trigger finger, though, since that's not part of my grip on my pistols
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Old November 3, 2010, 07:11 PM   #7
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Not an expert but for weight training in general, my understanding is that we can usually do at least 2 things:

1) work on endurance which means more repetition at the same weight.
2) work on strength by periodically increasing the weight/resistance.

There is probably some overlap in the categories when it comes to performance. Like: working our way up to be able to do 40 pushups without stopping will most likely help in some way if we were to attempt to do a pushup with a 20 pound back-pack on. Even though we've never tried it at that particular higher weight, that muscle mass still came in handy as compared to someone who didn't work their way up to 40 at all.

The hand-squeezer sounds great for endurance. It's also convenient. If you have dumbbells around or a barbell you'd be able work out your grip strength at increasing weights. Some things my friends have tried for grip strength: If you ever do bicep curls, before you begin the upward arc, "uncurl" your fingers a bit to let the weight drop a few inches. Then curl it up and start your rep. Pull-ups and chin-ups also demand grip strength. If you have some room you can do the "farmer's walk" by grabbing pretty heavy weights in each hand and walking forward. Careful if you're turning. I think the bounce of each step puts a little more stress on your grip rather than standing still. Also you can get a chair and hold a dumbbell and brace the back of your wrist on your knee and flex/curl your wrist up. And the reverse (much harder but still important) of placing the wrist palm down on your knee and curling up. There's always the good old weight hanging by a rope tied/nailed to a large dowel rod - curling it up in your hands palm up and then palm down.

Something I've noticed - have you ever tried a revolver with a slim grip? This might reduce the role the thumb has to play in gripping a gun if the other 3 fingers can wrap farther around the front of the grip. With a revolver the grip can be as skinny as you could want (sometimes too skinny) which might be good to experiment with. Big/heavy revolvers would recoil less than small revolvers, but big revolvers don't necessarily have to have large grips either - it all depends on what stocks you put on them. Just a fun thought.

Wish you the best! Nice guns!
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Old November 3, 2010, 10:31 PM   #8
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Grip strengtheners would help, but may be a little too much resistance at first.
The dumbell exercises stated by dyl are spot on.
The dowel/weight exercise is great for forearm and grip strength, but I would like to suggest a slight variation. Use a length of hockey stick instead of dowel. The square shape will help you grip it until your strength increases to the point where you can switch to the round dowel to make your fingers work more. But most people I know who have done this just stay with the hockey stick.
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Old November 4, 2010, 08:15 AM   #9
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cool, thanks for the input and ideas
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Old November 4, 2010, 09:40 AM   #10
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I work with a guy who lost half of his right thumb in the war, this makes griping difficult. He shoots ok, mostly seems by compensating with his left. Every case is different however.
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Old November 5, 2010, 05:51 PM   #11
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There's many techniques that do not require a strong hand grip in controlling a handgun.
Locking of the wrist, straight arming, getting the shoulder and hips involved, and lots more.
Most of the top shooter instructors have dvds for sale that will help.
Matt Burkett and Jerry Miculek have good ones.
Also look into the Reverse Weaver technique.
Hope this helps some.
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