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Old November 23, 2011, 07:44 AM   #1
Join Date: December 8, 2008
Location: Eastern Missouri.
Posts: 51
Training for senior citizens ...

As I entered my 60's, realizing that I could no longer "kick ass and take names" like I was in my 20's, I took up carrying a handgun for SD and keeping a .410 for HD. Got my CCL and a little training. Had earlier NRA and Army training, so I had the basics covered. But I still had a pack of disabilities, from arthritis in my hands to PAD and COPD. Life sucks sometimes, but it's a damned sight better than the alternative!

Most public classes include all ages and many seniors are at a serious disadvantage. We can't load a magazine as quickly or efficiently (why I bought the UpLula), can't chamber a round as well as the young'n's in a semi-auto, can't break down a weapon for cleaning like we did in Basic Training in the 60's.

Are there regular specialized classes around the country that take our physical issues into consideration? I'm sure many senior citizens would pay to be in a like-aged group to learn better ways of doing all that, at a pace and using techniques that would work for us.

Last edited by MissouriShooter; November 23, 2011 at 07:49 AM.
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Old November 23, 2011, 07:56 AM   #2
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As I entered my 60's, realizing that I could no longer "kick ass and take names" like I was in my 20's, I took up carrying a handgun for SD and keeping a .410 for HD. Got my CCL and a little training. Had earlier NRA and Army training, so I had the basics covered. But I still had a pack of disabilities, from arthritis in my hands to PAD and COPD. Life sucks sometimes, but it's a damned sight better than the alternative!
I share this situation too. I am in my mid sixties, and the neurapathy in my hands interferes with me reloading magazines in a SA handgun, so I stick to revolvers. And the arthritis in my hands is a problem too. And now that we
are there we have to worry about predators out there who target the elderly and the disabled. But with all my problems there is no problem with my trigger finger.
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Old November 23, 2011, 09:18 AM   #3
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I'm of the "over the hill gang", 64 as we speak.

But I don't believe us old guys have to stop shooting. As other's mentioned, we don't move as fast, we can't keep up with the youngin's when it comes to reloads, but we don't have to quit.

There was a TV commercial talking about old guys and Newtons theory, "things at rest tend to stay at rest, things in motion, tend to stay in motion"

I find that true when it comes to the shooting sports also.

Captain Edward Crossman addresses this, age as well as other disabilities, in his book "Military and Sporting Rifle Shooting". His contention is age is only a liability if we let it become a liability.

My opinion is, "get out and do it". Sure we are going to be slower the others, but we can still do it.

I have COPD, it just recently cost me a pretty good job with the State Department teaching Firearms and Bomb Disposal in Never Never Land.

I've found, the more I get out and do something, shooting, and walking back and forth to change targets, the easier it gets. If I let the weather keep me setting on the couch, then my wind gets worse.

I tend to slow down quite a bit in the winter, but as spring gets here, and I get out more, shoot more, I loosen up and my endurance increases. I can go longer before I get winded.

Because I don't shoot as much in the winter, I get sloppy, not so much with accuracy because setting on my butt I still dry fire a lot. But in getting out, engaging targets, throwing in reloads, I slow down.

I shoot pistol with a club that has an action type match every other week starting in March (weather permitting) through out the summer. I start out slow, but as the season progresses I speed up, not as fast as the kids, but a heck of a lot faster then when I started.

Same with rifle shooting. My position shooting starts going south until spring when I start working on it.

Its not age that causes me to slow down, its me because I let age get to me.

If I was to work at it through the winter, dry firing, getting into positions, drawing, dry firing, dumping empties and re-loading with dummy rounds and dry firing again, working on my speed from the holster, then I can still enjoy shooting sports and be respectable about it.

We don't have to let age slow us down, if we keep up with it, work at it every day, then Age, COPD, arthritis, or what ever, doesn't have to slow us down. We can keep going. Maybe not as fast as when we were 18 going through jump school, but more then respectable for our age.

Remember what Mr. Newton says, "A body at rest tends to stay at rest, a body in motion, tends to stay in motion.
Kraig Stuart
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Old November 23, 2011, 08:10 PM   #4
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Many of the instructors have group rates so you can organize your own age, family, or interest group to take whatever course you choose. There's a guy in SE Iowa who will come to you and give training(don't know how the cost runs).
I guess I'm more fortunate than I realize. After two hand surgeries, I still have numbness but regained a good portion of the strength back. Haven't shot the 44 mag much but can if I want. I spend a lot of time outside both working and right now, trapping and hunting. Today I pulled all my traps and reset part of them which took most of the day. Probably walked 3+ miles with about 1/2 that packing 10-40#.
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Old November 23, 2011, 09:37 PM   #5
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Keep active--do the 30 minute cardio walk, work your way up with dumbbells till you get a routine with at least 15 pounders, do some stretching exercises.

I moved down from 12 ga. to 20 gauge. It's no big deal because 20 ga. has plenty of stopping power.

When joint pain is bad I try not to go out in public alone because I know the crooks smell weakness. When I feel good I make up for it.

Yes I can't run or kick like I used to, so more caution is in order. Go armed as much as you can, even if it's only a walking stick.
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Old November 24, 2011, 12:46 PM   #6
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I'm a good example of one that let age get to me. I got so slow and weak that I couldn't even aim my 12 gauge to take a shot. I started going to a weight trainer and he started me off with no weights at all, just some mobility exercises. And even that was work. But I've kept it up and I'm finally working out with 10 pound weights. He increases me by 2 1/2 pounds just about every other session. I can sure see the difference now but believe me it's work. So it can be done. I darn sure can't say it's fun either but definitely doable.
Do things as if your life depends on it. It COULD!

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Old November 25, 2011, 01:27 PM   #7
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Welcome to the world of being a senior with perceivable disabilities. One of the suggestions was to organize a class which is an excellent idea.

I am a NRA Instructor, 65 years old, and suffer from a severe spinal cord injury. It might be worth contacting the NRA to see if they can provide you with a list of senior (older) Instructors that can appreciate your disabilities. I think they will have more patience and understanding and could better relate to you. Not to say the younger guys couldn't... just a thought.

Like you, when I was a lot younger, I would kick butt and take names. If only I could do that today..... And, as you observed, you take the hand that is dealt to you as it sure beats the alternative.
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Old November 26, 2011, 08:46 AM   #8
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Amen to all of the comments.

Now that the sins of my youth, fast motorcycles and jumping out of helos, have caught up with me, I require a cane. It is one more item to use in your defense. A number of Martial Arts instructors offer training in using the cane as a defensive tool. they also make good shooting sticks.

My advice is to recognize your limitations and change your tactics.

If you can't reload mags, get a loading tool and carry more mags.

If you are unstable, us a support.

Mostly, never loose your love of life and your will to live.

I remember the story of an 86 year old Aussie grandmother whose grand daugter was raped. The cops could not locate the perp. Grannie took her husbands WWII Browning High Power,which in her dotage she had forgotten to surrender to the Police, and attempted to apprehend the perp. He resisted and she killed him.

This tough old bird exhibits all of the qualities I hope to have at her age. Determination, will to live, and a deep sense of justice.

Good luck and push on.
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Old November 27, 2011, 10:10 AM   #9
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I'm 66 and have been a CHL holder for about 8 years. I have a few back issues but otherwise don't feel much more beat-up than I did in my 40s. Still ride my Harley hundreds of miles in a day, still love to be outdoors and still love shooting, work out with weights several times a week and walk two miles a day with my dog (get a dog, they will force you to get out and get your heart pumping).

Age affects everyone differently; I have no arthritis problems, strengthen my grip every day with a GripMaster and practice hard at the range. Physical problems teach you to work around them as best you can; there's no reason to stop shooting because you're not 25 anymore. Armed old-timers are a great resource ...
"The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants." Albert Camus
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Old November 27, 2011, 12:15 PM   #10
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I have been working with my dad since he recently retired at 62. He is still in prety good shape. Though he knows his limits most times. He stared working on what to do if knocked down. Shooting from a downed postiton, and getting back up while keeping the target covered.

It seems to be a good starter point. We have also worked on seated in the car draw and fire as well. Arthritus is his biggest limiting factor. Seems he is making the ibuprofen makers richer every day.

I almost fear what is going to catch up to me. At 35 I burned the candel on both ends for a long time. Have had one hip shattered when I was a kid, had more broken bones than I care to list, as well as have been shot. Also the constant falls from breaking horses is already catching up to me in my back. With a case of gout thrown in for good measure.
No matter how many times you do it and nothing happens it only takes something going wrong one time to kill you.
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Old November 27, 2011, 04:51 PM   #11
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I feel you pain guys. I am 67 years old, but I am really very fortunate that I am still in pretty good shape for my age. I have had a CHL for many years, and currently carry a 1911, M&P 45C, and or S&W 340PD on a daily basis. I am starting to get some intermittent arthritis in my left hand that could slow me down if it moves to my right hand. I have switched to reduced recoil 00Buck in my HD shotgun.

I think if I had to fight my way out of trouble today my hands would suffer much worse than my adversary therefore it is not an option. After hearing the old adage "Never try to fight with an old guy, because he will just kill you" makes more sense to me now.

As far as senior training, I have never seen any in Texas, but then again most seniors around here were raised with guns and are pretty proficient by the time they are seniors. It would not be a bad idea to have some training on working around disabilities like arthritis, etc.

Good luck to you all and keep fighting to stay young.
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