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Old September 29, 2022, 10:55 AM   #1
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Arthritis and shooting

I have some pretty significant onset arthritis both in my spine and hands. I also have my left hand thumb that I can hardly bend anymore without sheer pain. I wear a brace most of the time.

I recently took a few guns out I that had a lot of trouble with. A 1911 that I could hardly rack the slide on anymore. Can hardly pull the charging handle back on my AR-10.

I have not gone through all of my guns to see what I am having trouble with. Nearly all are semi-auto, though. I know my bolt guns, of course, are very easy. I am going to unload and see which ones I am having problems with this weekend. Needless to say, in a defensive situation especially, this has me concerned.

Has anyone else dealt with this? Could you share your experience and how you modified your firearms and shooting to meet your disability?

Thanks.
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Old September 29, 2022, 11:19 AM   #2
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The Golden years !!???

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Has anyone else dealt with this? Could you share your experience and how you modified your firearms and shooting to meet your disability?
As for me, not yet but one of my shooting buddies is having increase problems. It's to the point where he cannot pull back "any" slide. His primary home defence is now a shotgun. For carry, he bought a new Kimber 4" revolver. He also has some trigger work done on a couple of other revolvers. .....

Be Safe !!!
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Old September 29, 2022, 11:56 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Pahoo View Post
As for me, not yet but one of my shooting buddies is having increase problems. It's to the point where he cannot pull back "any" slide. His primary home defence is now a shotgun. For carry, he bought a new Kimber 4" revolver. He also has some trigger work done on a couple of other revolvers. .....

Be Safe !!!
Thanks Pahoo. I am not sure how bad this will get, but it has gotten progressively worse over the last year. I was almost thinking if I could change springs out in my semi-autos, it might be easier to rack the slide. I did notice, it is much easier, for some reason, if I rack from the front and it has serrations.

That's the thing about triggers, if I move to a revolver, I would have to have something with a lighter trigger. It sucks because I have about 10 different semi-auto pistols and am actually having a 1911 built by my LGS. Started that project before my hands got so bad. So, I need to talk to the gunsmith about the springs.

Oh, and realized I cannot hand load magazines anymore. I did get me one of the magazine loaders to help with that.

Last edited by USAF Ret; September 29, 2022 at 12:04 PM.
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Old September 29, 2022, 12:41 PM   #4
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kimber k6s

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That's the thing about triggers, if I move to a revolver, I would have to have something with a lighter trigger.
On that subject, take a look at the new Kimber k6s, even though it's kind of pricey. JMHO but it's the best revover, out of the box, that I have ever handled.
Also, my buddy has a Ruger GP-100 that has a trigger job and it's mighty fine. He had a stroke and it's the only revoalver, he can shoot. .....

Be Safe !!!
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Old September 29, 2022, 01:16 PM   #5
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A 1911 that I could hardly rack the slide on anymore.
Have you tried thumb-cocking the 1911 before racking the slide? With the spring compressed from cocking the slide effort is much lower because you aren't cocking with the slide movement.
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Old September 29, 2022, 02:36 PM   #6
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Before you start messing with changing springs, try a couple of different methods of racking the slide.

As mentioned, cock the hammer first, that alone may be enough.

The other easy thing to try is to not try and pull the slide back.

HOLD the slide, and push the grip forward. That makes a big difference for a lot of people.

Alternately, while it takes a little bit of care, use the edge of a table, (or something similar) to press the pistol against to push the slide back.
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Old September 29, 2022, 04:53 PM   #7
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Inputs most appreciated. I will try those and see if it is easier.
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Old September 29, 2022, 07:17 PM   #8
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Kathy Jackson's book, The Cornered Cat: A Woman's Guide to Concealed Carry, has tips on firearms operation for women that may be useful for people afflicted with arthritis.

First line of defense is a dog. There's your early warning system. Unless it was like my dog who couldn't be bothered to be wokened. RIP Sarah.
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Old September 29, 2022, 07:41 PM   #9
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Much depends on where in the hands the arthritis is located. Many people rack the slide on semi-auto pistols by pinching the slide between the thumb and forefinger. Arthritis would almost certainly make that a painful experience.

But racking the slide using the overhand method doesn't involve the thumb at all.
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Old September 30, 2022, 11:39 AM   #10
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I have dealt with rheumatoid arthritis for years and recently osteo-arthritis, especially in my hands. Also have degenerative disc disease which adds to the pain and weakening of my hands. I think I have been having the same experience USAF Ret is having. One thing you don't mention is recoil. I have found that recoil affects me a lot more than it used to.

I first attacked the problem by buying a Glock 42 about 7 years ago. Racking that slide is a chore, but I use 44 AMP's method of holding the slide still and pushing the gun forward. With one-round extensions on the magazines, the .380 is very comfortable to shoot. Lately I, too, have found that loading the magazines is getting harder to do but so far have just taken a handful of aspirin and toughed it out.

But, I don't carry the Glock much any more. A few years after Glock introduced the 42, Ruger started making their LCR in .327 Mag. I snatched up one of those and that is my EDC now. I carry it loaded with .32 H&R Mag so the recoil is much easier on the hands. Because it's a magnum it has a steel frame, which adds a few ounces but it's still light enough to be an easy all-day carry. Those few ounces help a little bit with the recoil. Loading a revolver is a piece of cake as far as hand pain and strength are concerned.
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Old September 30, 2022, 02:22 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by reteach View Post
I have dealt with rheumatoid arthritis for years and recently osteo-arthritis, especially in my hands. Also have degenerative disc disease which adds to the pain and weakening of my hands. I think I have been having the same experience USAF Ret is having. One thing you don't mention is recoil. I have found that recoil affects me a lot more than it used to.

I first attacked the problem by buying a Glock 42 about 7 years ago. Racking that slide is a chore, but I use 44 AMP's method of holding the slide still and pushing the gun forward. With one-round extensions on the magazines, the .380 is very comfortable to shoot. Lately I, too, have found that loading the magazines is getting harder to do but so far have just taken a handful of aspirin and toughed it out.

But, I don't carry the Glock much any more. A few years after Glock introduced the 42, Ruger started making their LCR in .327 Mag. I snatched up one of those and that is my EDC now. I carry it loaded with .32 H&R Mag so the recoil is much easier on the hands. Because it's a magnum it has a steel frame, which adds a few ounces but it's still light enough to be an easy all-day carry. Those few ounces help a little bit with the recoil. Loading a revolver is a piece of cake as far as hand pain and strength are concerned.
Thank you for the input. Yes, I have degenerative spine as well. Also had a titanium rod put into my neck last year. I also have issues with both pistol and rifle recoil. 270 Win without a brake is about all I can handle. Everything else I own has a brake on it.

I built a 6.5 Grendel from a HOWA barreled action from Brownells. That thing is like shooting a 223. When I start reloading I am going to work up some deer loads. Right now I have Hornady SSTs which group fine for deer hunting.

How is the trigger pull on the LCR?
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Old September 30, 2022, 02:23 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca View Post
Much depends on where in the hands the arthritis is located. Many people rack the slide on semi-auto pistols by pinching the slide between the thumb and forefinger. Arthritis would almost certainly make that a painful experience.

But racking the slide using the overhand method doesn't involve the thumb at all.
I had to use the overhand method on the 1911, but it was still hard. I have lost much of my strength, especially in my left hand.
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Old September 30, 2022, 06:41 PM   #13
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I had to use the overhand method on the 1911, but it was still hard. I have lost much of my strength, especially in my left hand.
https://www.brownells.com/search/ind...cker&ksubmit=y

https://www.egwguns.com/1911-parts/a...slide-rackers/

https://www.ebay.com/itm/193767423302
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Old September 30, 2022, 07:35 PM   #14
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Thank you. Looking at those now.
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Old October 1, 2022, 10:49 AM   #15
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Worth consideration are the S&W 380 EZ or the 9mm EZ. We have the 380 version. Very easy to rack. And, due to the ground being further away than it once was, and semi brass being on that ground, I shoot revolvers more than I used to.
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Old October 1, 2022, 11:10 AM   #16
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Worth consideration are the S&W 380 EZ or the 9mm EZ. We have the 380 version. Very easy to rack. And, due to the ground being further away than it once was, and semi brass being on that ground, I shoot revolvers more than I used to.
Much appreciated. I have looked at those as well. I have decided no new firearms unless I get rid of some, so if anything in my bunch is too much I may do some trading. Been thinking I should add a revolver as well.
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Old October 1, 2022, 11:28 AM   #17
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reteach - I recall Mel Tappan writing about wrist pain developed from shooting heavy loads (1970-80s all the gun rag writers talked about shooting magnums and how unmanly you were if you didn't). Well, Tappan got to a point where all he could comfortably handle was a 22 LR. He was the only man who manned up to admitting that pain hurts and can cause limitations.
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Old October 1, 2022, 11:59 AM   #18
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Much appreciated. I have looked at those as well. I have decided no new firearms unless I get rid of some, so if anything in my bunch is too much I may do some trading. Been thinking I should add a revolver as well.
Try a couple of revolvers before you buy. Double action triggers are usually rather heavy, and require a long pull. Thumb cocking to shoot single action may not be easy with advanced Arthur-itis.
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Old October 1, 2022, 12:21 PM   #19
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Try a couple of revolvers before you buy. Double action triggers are usually rather heavy, and require a long pull. Thumb cocking to shoot single action may not be easy with advance Arthur-itis.
Went through a few pistols. It's really the 1911 I have the most issue with. My striker fired pistols are good, especially using the push/pull method suggested. My late son's S&W Shield has been in my safe since he passed away, but that slide seems the easiest to rack and IWB at the 1-2 O'clock position is super comfortable. I think he would appreciate his old man carrying his CC pistol.

Probably overreaction on my part, but I am having to adjust to things. Might check revolvers out anyway and get one after I get rid of some firearms that don't get any use. Probably head to the range and see what they have for rent.
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Old October 1, 2022, 12:35 PM   #20
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How is the trigger pull on the LCR?


I meant to include that in my post. Arthritis in my brain too, sometimes.

The Ruger LCR and LCRX have very smooth triggers. They have a "patented friction-reducing cam" that, in my experience, makes for a consistent pull. It's not a lighter pull than other revolvers, but truly smoother. No stacking. You do have to be mindful about letting the trigger reset. Not much tolerance there.

Some say there is a marked difference between the LCR and LCRX triggers, with the X version somehow not being as smooth.. I have shot both and do not find that to be the case. Mine is actually an LCRX and Ruger's claims seem to hold true in that one sample.
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Old October 1, 2022, 12:45 PM   #21
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4V50 Gary - I did shoot a lot of .357 back in the day. I'm sure that contributed to the current condition. In my 60s, when I practiced with revolvers, I was still able to shoot mostly with .38 spl and wrap up a range session with a couple of cylinders of .357. I wasn't worried about carrying .357 in an edc revolver. Like Tappan, it got to where the stouter loads were resulting in poor technique at the range. So the switch to various .32 loads.
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Old October 1, 2022, 12:55 PM   #22
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Aguila Blanca said
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Thumb cocking to shoot single action may not be easy with advance Arthur-itis.


I have a couple of single actions, including a Ruger .327 Birdshead Single Seven. You're right about the thumb protesting when cocking the hammer if I use my right (shooting hand) thumb. Most of the time I'm using a two-handed grip and use my left thumb to cock the hammer. The Arthur in the left hand isn't as severe, plus the angle is better for that action.

I think everyone who has dealt with arthritis has nick-named their condition Arthur.
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Old October 1, 2022, 03:01 PM   #23
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Aguila Blanca said

I have a couple of single actions, including a Ruger .327 Birdshead Single Seven. You're right about the thumb protesting when cocking the hammer if I use my right (shooting hand) thumb. Most of the time I'm using a two-handed grip and use my left thumb to cock the hammer. The Arthur in the left hand isn't as severe, plus the angle is better for that action.

I think everyone who has dealt with arthritis has nick-named their condition Arthur.
Luckily, the thumb issue is on my left hand. Saving grace for cocking a firearm, not so much for racking a slide.

I have been looking at the LCR and LCRX for my late son's girlfriend. She is missing one arm and that came highly recommended with her disability.
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Old October 1, 2022, 04:28 PM   #24
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I did a few mods for some of my aging clients.

I put strips of anti slippery tape (feel like sand paper) on pistol slide, so that they could better grab hold of it. I installed sturdy fixed rear sight that can catch on table edge to rack the slide. Hook can be used to pull back op handle, similarly can a piece of string around wrist or neck. There will be a way if you are determined.

-TL

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Old October 1, 2022, 07:03 PM   #25
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I did a few mods for some of my aging clients.

I put strips of anti slippery tape (feel like sand paper) on pistol slide, so that they could better grab hold of it. I installed sturdy fixed rear sight that can catch on table edge to rack the slide. Hook can be used to pull back op handle, similarly can a piece of string around wrist or neck. There will be a way if you are determined.

-TL

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
I like the idea of the tape on the slide and an oversized sight to help. Thanks.
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