Shooting and Getting Older


Phil DeGraves
January 22, 2008, 02:05 PM
For the over 50 crowd, what are good ways to equalize the deteriorating effect aging has on your shooting ability? Maladies include diminishing eyesight, slower eflexes, weakening grip strenght. I find that larger target sights help somewhat for the eyesight problem which is what bothers me most. Any one have any ideas?

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Just Jim
January 22, 2008, 02:07 PM
Red dots and optics help with the visual problem.


Standing Wolf
January 22, 2008, 02:09 PM
I always take a couple aspirin before leaving for the range.

All my match pistols now sport Ultra Dot scopes; in addition, I use an adjustable iris to help extend my dominant eye's depth of field.

I went to plugs and muffs a long time ago, but still can't hear well.

January 22, 2008, 02:14 PM
The good news is I can still outshoot (accuracy) many opf the younger puppies.

January 22, 2008, 02:15 PM
Training, conditioning, adjustments to equipment, specialty eyeware (billiards players do this a lot). Just like anything, adapt and adjust.

Grandpa Shooter
January 22, 2008, 02:55 PM
Biggest problems I have is arthritis in my hands and arms, and lack of overall muscle tone. I can still shoot well enough to keep all of it in a 3" circle (ten years ago was 1 1/2") but I just can't shoot as long as I did. Got to get rid of this baby fat (been babying myself and have gotten fat) and get back in some kind of shape.

Urbana John
January 22, 2008, 03:20 PM
Take the money from selling your toys and buy a "cannon"!!!!

You don't have to "see" your targets that well and you can use the "pull rope" to fire it with!!!! :)

I'm almost 60 and I'm in the same boat!!!

Better glasses for open sights, and scopes for all my fun "toys"!!!


Old Dog
January 22, 2008, 03:24 PM
Physical: Weightlifting has kept my arms and hands strong, although I've substantial arthritis in my shooting hand resulting from numerous old injuries and broken bones. I've kept my body in pretty good shape for an over-50 dude, but it's the eyes that have gone way south.

Found that keeping weight off is a key to staving off back pain, which used to be a big issue for me (and really hampers shooting), and aerobic exercise (I run and walk a lot, plus play hoops weekly with a younger crowd) sure aids in being able to enjoy all-day shooting sessions as well.

Equipment: In dim indoor ranges, I've resorted to sticking those bifocal +2.00 magnifying lenses in my shooting glasses just so I can see handgun sights clearly.

For handguns, I've really become fond of Hi-Viz front sights and the Tru-Glo TFO system.

I find myself doing more shooting ARs with an EOTech or a scoped rifle than using un-scoped lever-actions or milsurps since I developed geezer eyes.

January 22, 2008, 03:55 PM
Wow. THIS is such a fun thread! You guys are just a bundle of joy.

My favorite movie quote of all time fits this perfectly: Indiana Jones to his girl, Marian: "It's not the years, it's the mileage."

How true. Unfortunately, those of us who took advantage of our youth to ignore the principle of "Body as Temple" in favor of "Body as Amusement Park" have more aches in our golden years than others. Especially those who would frolic in the military. So you youngsters be warned!

I find I have grown a fond attachment for the 9mm instead of my rabid fascination with 45 ACP. I still have my 45's and would not hesitate to use them if the situation seemed to call for such employment, but mostly they rest and guard the safe. Shooting them has to do more with my ongoing issues concerning "tennis elbow" that I gathered in the study of Aikido (bending arms and wrists in unusual directions repeatedly), so recoil is more of a factor to me now. However I try to keep up with my Aikido nonetheless since it helps with all sorts of other issues mentioned like reflexes and problem solving as well as the all important flexibility.

For example: I went to the gun show on Sunday and fell in love with the H&K P30 9mm. It's a high cap (15rd) weapon that feels (to me) like Excalibur must have felt to the boy King. We were just made for each other! At the same time I handled the new H&K 45. That was good too, but just "okay." Nothing phenomenal. But that P30 is gonna be mine inside of a year. It'd be sooner but I still hafta save up my money for the trip to Blackwater next fall.

Of course the all important allure (again, for ME) in the 45 has been the fabled "stopping power." But I find as I age, the necessity for good rationalizations becomes an overwhelming compulsion. So I recently supplanted "stopping power" with accuracy and capacity. BINGO.

See? Simple.

January 22, 2008, 03:56 PM
For the over 50 crowd, what are good ways to equalize the deteriorating effect aging has on your shooting ability?

Longer barrels

January 22, 2008, 04:07 PM
Use orange dot stickers on your targets, they'll help you see what you're shootin' at.

January 22, 2008, 04:08 PM
With time comes maturity, experiences one can bring to the situation, the ability to think on one's feet, to think out of the box, and use some common sense.

Acceptance is one such valuable life skill set.
Being centered is another, meaning one has learned pride and ego will do more harm than good.

I am allergic to Aspirin, so no NSAIDs for me. Tylenol is what I can take if I choose to do so.
Those that can take NSAIDs, this is a good idea before any activity, as these are anti-inflammatory.

Bring the work to you - don't go to the work -Mentors.

Meaning, don't get all whomper-jawed around anything one is doing.
This causes one to get tensed up, put pressure and stress on the body, fatigue comes sooner, numbness can kick in, and one is not as steady or able to able control, finesse or stamina.

Applies to shooting.
Use the gun racks on a clay range between stations, allow the body to relax and not have to hold the shotgun all the time shooting a round of skeet.

You have walked your miles, use the golf cart if need b/t stations on Sporting Clays.
You feel like some walking - fine, if you don't feel like climbing that hill - don't.
Risk for falls is not worth pride and ego and then really getting down.

If the revolver is more comfortable to shoot, shoot it.
If need use standard or even softer rounds, shot placement is what gets the work done, +p loads that miss, are not worth spit.

Racking a slide can be difficult, no matter what method is used.
Revolvers alleviate racking a slide.
Tip up barrels are great! These too alleviate racking a slide.
If TEEM SEEL 37.5 makes fun of your .32ACP, or .380, just nod grin and know you know something they don't.
Also someday when they get down, or older they will remember the day they razzed you, and were so immature and stupid.

Practical and Traditional, have always worked, always will.
No matter how hi-tech, or how hyped guns, ammo, and equipment gets, Practical and Traditional will work.

Shoot with like kind, and assist with kids.

One always learns from others, and one always learns from a kid.
Others share experience strength, and hope.
Kids see things adults do not.

Bad day with arthritis flaring up, don't shoot, instead assist others that are.
Getting out self, does a lot of healing.
It may just pushing a wheelchair for another, watching a little kid color in the clubhouse, fetching coffee and such for others.

These folks will do the same for you when they are having a bad day and you are having a good one.

.22 rim-fire. Lots and lots of quality practice, along with Fun, can be done with a .22 rimfire.

Mind Pictures.
Cold, wet , and aches and pains gets Arthritis to act up...
Think about that nice pleasant day, porch sitting, down at the pond, the BBQ and how nice and pleasant.

Summer and hot, humid - again, think of the morning looking out and how pretty the freshly fallen snowed looked, sipping coffee and not one foot print....just little prints of birds, maybe a rabbit that hopped across.

You could not pay me to be a teenager again!

Over 50, and over the hill?
Just picking up speed, look out , I am coming in hard and fast!

He is over 40 and still wearing jeans - Middle Age Crazy, by Jerry Lee Lewis.

I am over 50 and still wearing jeans!
I am not crazy-

I didn't grow up, just got bigger is all - anon

Pat McCoy
January 22, 2008, 05:07 PM
As an over 60 rifle shooter I've had to go from aperture rear and front post in highpower to both apertures. Indoors I can't use aperture at 50feet, but am still fair at 33 feet (although having had to go to larger front inserts and a larger opening on the rear aperture). Going to scope has kept me in there with other shooters with the smallbore rifle.

Aches and pains come mostly from either being out of shape (I finally caved in an started working out at the local fitnesss center again, or just too many hours on concrete floors - OH the kness and feet). I have found Celadrin creme helps greatly with the arthritis pains in my knees, but not hands.

When not shooting, I coach (and probably learn more from that than from shooting).

Last week I got my tail end kicked in smallbore prone by an 83 year old gentleman, so I guess there may be hope yet.

Grandpa Shooter
January 22, 2008, 05:09 PM
I find myself doing more picking up brass, loading mags, tutoring my GF and her son, than I do actually shooting these days. I am getting back into reloading, having fun with that. Just not the all day shooting thing anymore. My skills are coming back, just not as fast as they would if I could shoot more. Some days I just can't rack the slide, so I shoot my .22 Cowboy pistol, or the lever action .22. I try always to end with success and fun. That way I go home satisfied.

January 22, 2008, 05:19 PM
I am more into shotgun than anything and putting a HiViz sight on my Browning Citori immediately increased my skeet scores. I let an older gentleman with some eye problems try my HiViz one day and he WOULD NOT let me leave without selling it to him. So I went out and bought another one! :D

January 22, 2008, 05:31 PM
Yeah, at some point you're so old you can't do it anymore, but your memory is bad, you actually thought you did it anyway and it feels just as good.

M2 Carbine
January 22, 2008, 05:37 PM
If my right hand is shaking I shoot left handed.

I wear tri focals. The center lens is focused at about 3 foot.
The front sight is in focus, the rear sight slightly out of focus and the target is a blur. Works for me.:)

I also use a couple dozen Red Dot sights, ten lasers and some scopes.

January 22, 2008, 05:54 PM
Grandpa Shooter,
Appreciate the kind words.

I am 52 years old.

It is said "it is all in the genes".
I had the "bad knees" genes until I was 38 years old. Not to mention being a typical , active, rowdy Southern Boy.

Eyes, I got the "Chuck Yeager" gene, meaning I had better vision than one is supposed to have.

I grew up with Veterans from wars living near, a Veterans hospital not too far, and Polio victims were a common sight too.

My Mentors and Elders are comprised of men and women, young and old of these types of folks.
One hand drills?
They only hand one hand/arm, they had left the other in a hell hole due to being shot, bayonet, flamethrower...whatever.

I can truly empathize with persons of all ages physically limited. Be this temporary or permanent.

My left knee was the worse of the two, I hobbled out and continued on.
Young, and the Ref would ask to make sure I really could shoot.
Mentors, some were docs, nurses, physical therapists or veterinarian, "yeah - he can".

I'd get taped up and shoot as much as 500 rds in one day with the various events.
Get up and do this again, and some comps run 4 days.
Ice was my best buddy was ace bandages and all.

Eyes, oh heck I could see a clay , or game before anyone else...get hobbled into stance and shoot!

I had double surgery on knees and while I am not as active as I once was, my knees are better know than back then.

Eyes now, about age 42, eyes changed, normal life process, and I miss my Yeager eyes.
I am not bad off, bifocals and later a little help for distance - still for me I had it better than most so to me where I am it seems vastly greater in difference.

My role - if you will, was being around folks and assisting, where I learned, and pass forward.
I mean a Mentor that was whole, Army Ranger, came back not whole.
This guy taught me stuff that would upset some Pro Gun folks, and for sure Antis.

He had mindset, grit, and well, there I was assisting a fellow that Mentored me and it was tough for me.
"No, this is how it works, you are doing fine and if you don't I'll kick your butt".

Adults were bad enough, but a kid? That'll break your heart.

Kids injured, along with ladies abused and battered...

"Tell ya what kids, we have this BBQ set up just our size, I am banged up, you guys are banged up, so we will do the eats, for those that are shooting."

Low BBQ grill, got the electric and hand crank ice cream maker going and , having a good time.
Little ladies cane to short, mine is too tall for her.
"Wanna swap canes? It might work better" she says.
"Well I'll be, this do work better!" I reply with a wink.

I have been down, and I mean to the point where I could not use a firearm.
Helpless feeling I know about too...

I don't wish bad on folks, still a lot of folks in my opinion really should spend time with kids, and those with physical limits, and have simple guns a kid, or persons with problems could use.
They may find themselves down, and not have one darn gun they can use, nor any skill sets in using one.

In the blink of an eye, one can be under Doctor's orders of No recoil with a detached retina, shoulder, neck or back surgery.
Add hip and knee surgery, Gangelion Cyst or Carpel Tunnel sugery...

That kid, that person physically limited, whether they are over 50 or not, sure could have passed on a lot to them.

Winchester 73
January 22, 2008, 05:58 PM
Yeah, at some point you're so old you can't do it anymore, but your memory is bad, you actually thought you did it anyway and it feels just as good

So true!I'm still chuckling as I take my two Advil.

January 22, 2008, 06:09 PM

Learning to separate and use the right weapons in, and for, cold weather, and the right ones for warm weather..

Always look forward to another good day at the range with my favorite T-shirt on that says on the front:

~ Old Guys Rule ~

And on the back..

~ The Older I Get, The Better It Was ~

Adapt, and know one's limits..

Getting high on just having a good day..

Getting hits on close, and far, targets, in COM..

Sharing one's knowledge with those, with an ear, that will listen..

Always (remembering) and giving credit to one's mentors..

Be a positive example and, from it, change, if but only, one life, is worth the journey..


Grandpa Shooter
January 22, 2008, 06:59 PM
Yeah, at some point you're so old you can't do it anymore, but your memory is bad, you actually thought you did it anyway and it feels just as good.

Hey, have you been talking to my GF? No fair!

January 22, 2008, 07:22 PM
At 52 I do understand. Excercise to slow down the process. And build up to streneous excercise at least 4 times per week. Fight the pain. It's only mortality's calling card. Accept the fact that you will not shoot anything the way you used to. Your wife already has. :rolleyes:

January 22, 2008, 07:26 PM
Invest in a good quality air gun. If you can shoot that, you can shoot anything.

January 22, 2008, 07:46 PM
at 59 and after several operations to fuse my neck and hip screws i lost 40 lbs to a bowel resection, watch what i eat- try to stick to 1500 calories a day, and execise more. concessions i had to make were no more 45 or44 mag i stick to light 357 and 9mm - put scopes on my rifles ( nothing larger than a 30-30 )and use shoot and glow targets and take a younger man with you to do the heavy lifting. when i get tired i take a nap so i try to do everything in the am. as for my eye they are holding to the same rx last two visits. i still
can hear -what did you say- and boy do the ladies like a good operation story as my 90 year old dad says, he still shoots 22, deal with it get over it and move on

January 22, 2008, 08:25 PM
Some good stuff listed here. Surprised to see no one recommending a laser. Like sm, I had "Chuck Yeager" eyes in my younger days (20-16 in left eye, 20-18 right) and I sure do miss em some days. Seems the print gets smaller and smaller...but I digress...
I put a Crimson Trace laser grip on my M&P 45 and will never have a pistol for home defense without one, I like it that much. I don't have any problem with rifle sights (yet) as that is further from my nose, so no advice there.
I also try to stay in halfway decent shape by eating the right things and getting as much exercise as I can manage (usually long walks around the pasture).

Remember, it is mind over matter, if you don't mind, then it don't matter!

Good luck and stay in the fight!

January 22, 2008, 09:16 PM
I still use the aperature and post sights on my bushmaster, and i've gotten pretty good at hitting the center of the fuzzy spot at 100 yards

January 22, 2008, 09:31 PM
I'm surprised there has been no mention of recoil pads. I found that the older I got, the more recoil-averse I became. (Probably didn't help that I developed arthritis in my left shoulder, either.) I have some pads that I picked up at Cabela's that have a wrap-around velcro fastener. They are great additions to Garands and other .30-06 rifles. They are easy on, easy off, and quickly swap between rifles. (I also have some slip-ons, but "slip-on" is merely and advertising term - don't use them.)

M2 Carbine
January 22, 2008, 09:33 PM
Surprised to see no one recommending a laser.

I mentioned them in my post.
I have a (good) laser on several practice guns and all my defense guns, where available.

With practicing with the laser several evenings a week most of my laser shooting is as good or better than I do with iron sights.

For instance.

Daylight using iron sights.

Low light using Crimson Trace laser.

I'm 70 but still do fair with tri-focal eye glasses.:)

January 22, 2008, 09:37 PM
"Yeah, at some point you're so old you can't do it anymore"

Bigger targets, shorter ranges and more realistic expectations.

My father quit shooting last January. He gave me all of his guns and moved with my mother to assisted living/nursing.

He was 85 last January, so I figure at 57 I've got a few years left before I'm forced to benefit from the wisdom of his experience.

Here it is anyway: Python with wadcutters. Good wadcutters; very accurate. Single action. A big Model 17 with a 2x scope. A Model 647 with an UltraDot. That's another long-barreled K-frame BTW, but it shoots .17 HMR. And shoot from a chair at the bench if you're having a bad day.

Oh yeah, and get a 28 ga. :) He already had .410.

Looks like I'm equipped for my golden years.


January 22, 2008, 11:44 PM
Exercise and a good diet help as much as anything unless the are other (medical) considerations.

January 22, 2008, 11:59 PM
All you need is a larger magazine. More shots improve your odds of hitting the paper.

January 23, 2008, 12:27 AM
Bribery, blackmail, lying, and cheating will outdo youth and skill any day of the week. -anon

This saying is available on hats, shirts, coffee mugs...etc.

Sage words , highly recommend by me.

"I did not miss, I hit the little pc of clay you did not see come off as it come out of the house"
I am younger, I did not see a chip...

"I do have that 28 ga your wife really really likes with me today"

You said you would not let my wife know you brought that gun out if I allowed that tiny chip you hit, and put down 24/25, and wife is going to want one of them 28 ga guns....I am in so much trouble ...but you said!

"I'm over 50 and lied, deal with it!
"Oh, btw the your wife and I are going to pick up a 28 ga with your money tomorrow or the next, are buying us lunch too.

I got more bad news, your wife handed me the keys to your truck when I handed her that 28 ga gun to shoot <dangle keys > so since you ain't going anywhere, make that 25/25 and go fetch me a Dr. Pepper and some of them cookies inside why don't you?"

Note, I accepted the 23/25, but the rest of the deal went down and his wife and I had a nice Mexican dinner and got her that 28 gauge...
the fact we had ordered it sometime earlier and it come in...didn't really need to come out at the range... *wink*

Dang husbands, never know what to get wives for anniversary and I am always bailing them out.

She wanted a 28 gauge and got one...hehehe...
He was stupid in thinking she had to wait until the anniversary.
Umm no.
Non gift day gifts are great.

Anniversary she received more shells and MEC his surprise as well.

I come in handy sometimes....hehehe

January 23, 2008, 12:36 AM
I noticed the change when I hit 40-only 2 years ago. What has helped me is shooting more .22 pistols and making the switch from .45 to 9mm and never looking back. I still love my .45's, but I shoot my 9's more often now. I also pre-medicate with Aleve before a range session. One device that I think has helped me with grip and conditioning is the Gripmaster. I started with the lowest spring set and worked up. It's easy to use when your watching TV or driving. I think bigger sights are in my future also.

January 23, 2008, 03:52 AM
My body's got way more mileage than it should for my age, 60. Some very hard miles in the last 60 years. Right now I still shoot 45's ok but a few years down the road I can see a switch to 9mm coming up. I put Novak Wide Notch Night Sights on my carry gun and it helped a lot. Wrists are getting worse by the year, knee's and back were shot a long time ago. I always knew I would get old but no one ever told me I'd get decrepit also!!!!!!;)

The Weasel Squeezer
January 23, 2008, 07:00 AM
I thought I would beat the failing eyesight with lasik surgery. It worked ok. Except that my dominant eye used to be the left, and I am a left handed shooter. Adapt. Innovate. Overcome.
So, I am training myself to shoot long guns right handed.
Easier than you might think.

January 23, 2008, 07:22 AM
At my age, I strap on my Depends, give a call to the metro-mobility service, and when they drop me off, I slip the range master an extra $20 to clear the lanes either side of me. When the tremors stop, I have my day care nurse disconnect me from the dialysis, turn off the hearing aids, and hand me my Pistole 660(a). As soon as I see her in the fetal position behind me, I grip with all of my fingers until I feel the recoil. She retrieves the weapon from somewhere behind me and I repeat until the magazine is empty. Then I go back to the home and talk to the t.v. until the next range trip.

Claude Clay
January 23, 2008, 07:48 AM
when i was a lot younger my mom pampered me. now i depends on my wife to.
bi-focals mean i cant see near & i cant see far. thus red-dots were invented.
that or scopes on anything i needs to be accutate with. and practice a lot with carry pieces such that my physical memory system dont forget and i get out of the house & to the range a lot~2/3 times a week.
those light weight power packages, defender esp, get a lot less use....its for sale:low seriel #12XX & 3 mags & custom colt factory enhanced. other than the idiot mark it is close to 98% and functions flawlessly.
PACT makes strap-on recoil shields for use with mosins & 308's. i have 2: one i had a tailor cut the straps off of and sew inside a well used CCW vest. quite stylish.:D

January 23, 2008, 08:13 AM
This is an excellent thread.
At the ranges I attend, the largest age group, on any given day, is near or over retirement age. There's plenty of us older folks still active.

For me, the eyes were the first to go. At the time my major interest was practical style pistol and shotgun and 3D archery. Switching from a compound bow, with hard to see sights, to a traditional recurve bow convinced me that sights were not important. They were merely serving as a reference to check form. Get the form right and the sights weren't actually all that necessary.

Works for the shotgun sports, yes?
It also works for pistols at surprisingly far distances. Get the form right and the sights really aren't all that necessary.
There's lots of instruction videos on the correct form for firearms, both pistol and rifle, info on what it is and how to get it (the form, that is).

Using the so called instinctive method took some practice to obtain, but greatly added to the fun, as learning new things can be. It has made a huge difference in allowing me to continue to enjoy the shooting sports.
And for self defense, it has to greatly help, especially in the dark.

For those using red dots or lasers, betcha' they've already helped you get the right form. It's kind of hard to get the little dot on target otherwise. Just for fun, try a few targets with the dot removed or the laser off. Might be quite an eye opener.

Art Eatman
January 23, 2008, 08:21 AM
I wear aviator-shape tri-focals. What I found very helpful in pistol shooting, particularly for IPSC style, is an insert in the upper/inner corner of the lens of my master eye. It's the same correction as the middle portion of the tri-focal.

The sights are razor sharp, and there is only a slight blur of the target.

January 23, 2008, 08:27 AM
Cheaper and effective recoil pad to help keep those old thumpers out of the closet.

After nearly given up on rifles and shotguns, and experimenting with all kinds of ways to reduce recoil, here's what seems to work without spending a ton on fancy gear.

1. A really good and well fitted recoil pad made from one of the newer absorbing materials.

2. A thick shoulder pad either as part of a jacket or one of the strap ons, also made of good stuff.

3. Adding weight to the gun. In the right spot, the balance can be greatly improved, too. Holes in stocks, the front of mag wells or mag tubes are good places.

4. If there's still too much recoil to be comfortable, especially when sighting in off a bench rest, add some more absorbing material to the shoulder pad. A cheap source is computer keyboard wrist support pads. the ones made from a gel like substance, like bicycle seats. Cut it up, wrap it in cotton and add it to the shoulder pad. Or just use it to make your own pad from scratch.

None of this will cost much and it definitely works.

lee n. field
January 23, 2008, 08:28 AM
For the over 50 crowd, what are good ways to equalize the deteriorating effect aging has on your shooting ability? Maladies include diminishing eyesight,

So far no trouble with the handguns. I've got a red dot sight that I'll be mounting on my GenericThreat rifle, real soon now, as soon as I get a mount for it.

January 23, 2008, 09:03 AM
It's all about adapting. I'm 61 and two years aago my vision was really getting bad I've worn bifocals for years and I managed but it was getting to the point very thing was blurry. Problem was cataract's. Well had the lens sucked out and plastic ones put in ubleivable. My sight today is 20/15 in each eye. Yes recoil is getting to hurt a little more (I shoot a lot of big bore handguns) so I shoot less at each outing. I do find myself shooting more 9 Para today than in the past. I laugh to myself at the range sometimes the young bucks strutting around and can't hit the bull in the but from 25 yards. One day I hand a young buck tell me I was really a good shot. He was a spray and pray type and I told him hitting where you aim comes with practice lots of it.

Here's something to think about you being old. My three favorite handguns are the 1911, Smith 1917 45 ACP and the Hi-Power old designs but I would bet my life using any of them. I'm not against new designs a lot of bells and whistles can help a person improve but it doesn't make a shooter. As I grow even older I'm quite sure the big bores will go but I guess I'll down size till I'm at where I started 22 LR. As a teenager I had a lot of fun with the 22 LR so I'll have fun in my elder years.

Getting old stinks but the option is? Dying young.

Have a good day.


January 23, 2008, 09:08 AM
At 59 I still shoot most everything. The difference is just not as much.

Ligher loads help with handguns but with the 44mags I have to use a wrist brace and find I still am limited to under 50 rounds.

The only rifles I can shoot comfortably for any length of time, and often do, are the .223/5.56's. Gota' love them M4's.

Oh yeah, I bought a 30-06 a couple months ago (deal too good to pass-up) that reminded me that my shoulder is no longer young. Ouch!

January 23, 2008, 09:23 AM
At 59 I find shooting in a booth boring. So, with crappy near vision (+250 tri-focal) I'm trying competition shooting. You'll find out real fast how you've slowed down and can't see the sights quick enough when you shoot with the twenty something group. Life has many pluses for the 50+ age group. Handgun shooting is not one of them.

January 23, 2008, 09:24 AM
I primarily shoot .22 rimfire. Lots of Colibri's in the basement and .22LR bulk stuff outdoors.
I stick with 9mm, .380acp, and .32acp for centerfire semi-auto pistols.
But mostly, I just don't care any longer about who shot what score. I only shoot for my own enjoyment. The zen of plinking is more appealing than anything else to me now.

January 23, 2008, 09:57 AM
I know I'm just a kid at 44, but I'll put in a plug for a pair of dedicated shooting glasses, with the prescription set up for precisely the distance to the front sight. Most of the serious Olympic shooters use a setup like that...and all serious shooters would do well to do so.

FWIW, the U.S. International Muzzle-Loading Team has serious competitors who are over I figure that anyone under 60 is still getting warmed up.

January 23, 2008, 10:53 AM
At age 59, health issues rose up to bite me--two different cancers in ten months; the chemotherapy following the second one was as bad an experience as the lobectomy (the second cancer). Depression followed. I sat inside a lot, and lost even more (muscle) tone.

It's not a good way to live.

Then, I started shooting again last spring, three years later. got going with j-frames, lightweights and steel, and I needed to learn to shoot them well. That lead to conditioning, etc., etc.

The reloading has aggravated the sore shoulder, but the arthritis is largely minimal--so far.

But it's the eyes: as others have posted above, lasers and red dots are an incredible help for aging eyes.

Personally I also have used progressive lenses (bifocals) and had them tweaked for shooting ever since I started needing them twenty years ago. Now, with "pre-cataract" issues showing up, those don't fix things anymore.

Shoot anyway, as long as you are safe.

Jim H.

January 23, 2008, 11:16 AM
I take bilberry extract to help with my eyesight. I also do some visual exercises which have helped immensely over the years. And just spending time looking through the sights, getting my eyes used to focusing on them, practicing sight picture. I think it's more important to me than it used to be.

Practicing with different ways of holding a gun can help too. What worked 10 years ago might not be the best thing now. For big game rounds, I've started using a shooting stick. It took some getting used to, but eventually did improve my shots.

Right now I'm a better shooter than I have ever been, even though my eyesight is not the best ever.

Randy in Arizona
January 23, 2008, 11:29 AM
Celebrex really helps with the arthritis pain.
Constant misery to no pain 90% of the time.

Sound suppressors really help with the recoil.
300 Winchester Magnum that now kicks like a 243.

Worried about old brittle bones? Know that if you fall you are gonna break something.
Take bone meal tablets daily, helps keep bones flexible.

Eyesight problems?
Have a long talk with your eye doctor, or if they won't listen get a new one.
Mine prescribed a special right eye lens for my shooting glasses with the center of the lens offset to the upper left of the frame for rifle shooting.
It took two tries to get the glasses made correctly, but they work fine.

If you live near Tucson, PM me and I will tell you who I go to for glasses.;)

January 23, 2008, 12:07 PM
All you kids in your 40's to 60's ain't seen nothin yet. I was blessed with excellent eyesight but had to get reading glasses in my early 50's. Progressed over the years to trifocal. Hated those thing, looked like a chicken bobbing my head up and down trying to get things in focus. If I had to go down stairs I just took them off so I could see where the steps were. Couldn't shoot a pistol, if the sights were in focus I couldn't see the target or vise-versa. Finally tried progressive bifocals. Now I can shoot iron sights, rifle or pistol, again.

Now that the vision thing is kinda fixed, add in artheritis in both shoulders and my right hand. If that isn't enough I've developed intension tremors in my hands. Doctor's pills didn't work, still shook some and felt like I might fall over all the time. I quit caffein, decaf coffee and cokes now, which seems to help. Also take a folic acid pill every day. I still have a slight, steady shake when holding a pistol or rifle offhand.

But I'm not going to quit shooting. As long as I can get to the range or caliche pit I'll keep on. Missed quail season this year due to a pulled muscle in my hip but I'll be out there next fall.

Essex County
January 23, 2008, 01:17 PM
Boy! lots of company out there. I came down with a mysterious neurological disease at age 42. Later diagnosed as Primary Lateral Sclerosis. Now 61. I have difficulty standing,clonus, numbness in hands etc. I'm able to hunt from my Jeep and can drive to my benchrest three seasons a year. What suprises me is that on a good day I can still put togeather some quite respectable groups. Life couldbe a lot worse. Keep on shooting....Essex

January 23, 2008, 02:12 PM
Another old f-art checking in. Just turned 66 a couple weeks ago and really haven't been a shooter very long. Physically, I'm still in pretty good shape (a few too many pounds). I've had some issues with shoulder pain in the past but worked around that with an exercise program.
The only real issue I have with shooting at this point is the inability to shoot my j-frame 642 with any accuracy. Something I'm sure more practice will correct. The 9mm and my m&p40c and I are doing very well, thank you.
The eyes are probably my biggest issue at this point. I wear the progressive lens prescription but since I've retired, I'm not so sure I really need them anymore. (Needed them for working with dial gauges at arms length). My eyes need help for reading only. Going to see the eye doc next month- maybe he will help with a new prescription.

January 23, 2008, 06:29 PM
Some 25 years ago I had the rear sight blades of my favorite revolvers and my IPSC 1911 opened to .125 and the front sight red insert added. I did it then for quick target acquisition to allow faster shots; now it helps me to align the sights better for more accurate bullet placement.

I use one of those spring hand squeeze things to exercise my grip and do this while driving the 25 miles to my office.

I go to the range every week and shoot about 130 rounds and compete in USPSA matches once a month (weather permitting).

I was 70 in October so I am not really very old but I do have a problem with strong hand only shooting due to a tennis injury- tennis racquets are dangerous and should be licensed!

Staying fit through proper diet and exercise go a long way towards my feeling pretty good each day. And looking forward to the next - hope you do too.

Charlotte, NC

January 23, 2008, 06:45 PM
Cutting out most of the caffeine helped me. I have one cup of coffee in the morning on the way to work and that is it. No cokes or any other kind of caffeine. I drink mostly water, sometimes with a little Scotch in it :D , but never while shooting of course.

Winchester 73
January 23, 2008, 06:52 PM
At my age, I strap on my Depends, give a call to the metro-mobility service, and when they drop me off, I slip the range master an extra $20 to clear the lanes either side of me. When the tremors stop, I have my day care nurse disconnect me from the dialysis, turn off the hearing aids, and hand me my Pistole 660(a). As soon as I see her in the fetal position behind me, I grip with all of my fingers until I feel the recoil. She retrieves the weapon from somewhere behind me and I repeat until the magazine is empty. Then I go back to the home and talk to the t.v. until the next range trip.

Hilarious!You made my day glennfish.Next up ,Comedy Central.

January 23, 2008, 06:52 PM
So far so lucky. At 62 I still shoot my match 45 at 50 yards and can score an 85 with iron sites.. Not as good as when I was in the 40's but still acceptable to me anyhow.

I like to go to a nearby indoor range and run a target out to 25 yards. Then take my time with 10 shots with the 45. This is contrary to most of the others there that shoot their canons at 10 -15 yards and spread them out pretty good.

When my target gets pulled back I usually get some stares and occasionally one or more of the canoneers will question me about bullseye shooting.

I get an internal kick out of this but I am always willing to help someone who wants to shoot tight and not so fast.

Wild Bill used to like his gunfights out to 50 yards and had the b***s to take careful aim while being fired at and stop his adversary with a one shot kill or so it is written.

I figure I have a few good years left before having to go to Aimpoints.

January 23, 2008, 07:45 PM
My vision at 52 still tests at 20/13. But of course that means nothing up close when you need readers. I've found safety glasses for work that have a +1.50 bifocal and I'm going to try applying them to shooting. I haven't needed to as of yet, but I'm taking them with me next time and see. I've also noticed that I don't shoot as much as I used to when I'm there. Going through a box of cartridges between 2 guns is now the norm, especially when it's the carries. (Hydra-Shoks are expen$ive) Taking my time and noticing the others around me, how they shoot, what they are shooting, is more enjoyable to me now, than seeing how many rounds I can go through in a hour. And now that retirement is a real possibility, I will enjoy it a lot more than I have been.

January 23, 2008, 07:45 PM
I'm creeping up on 70 and still love to shoot. A friend of mine who has been a competition pistol shooter all his life and who saw 70 a couple of years back told me that a red dot made all the difference in the world when his accuracy started to drop. . I got an inexpensive one and couldn't believe how my accuracy improved. Although I've got a bunch of handguns, from .22 to .45 and all in between, I do most of my shooting now with the 22's. Ruger Mark III, SW 22-A1, and Ruger Single Six. Lots of fun and .22's are still relatively inexpensive.

January 23, 2008, 08:33 PM
I'll never see 70 again and I'm not quitt'en.

The front sight is just a dream. The target is fuzzy. I have corrective lenses that allow me to enjoy every-day life, but not to enjoy front-sight focus. What to do.

Well, I am getting better at point shooting (21 feet and closer) and enjoying the entire exercise. By "point shooting" I am getting 3" circles and am very pleased. Draw---point---bang-bang (all 9mm) !

I am interested in renewing self defense skills and have given up on target shooting. So far, all is OK.


Jim Watson
January 23, 2008, 08:36 PM
I am only 63 and still shamble around the IDPA field fairly well.

Prone with a rifle leaves me achy, even over an F-class bipod with no sling or straitjacket but it is still worth doing.

January 23, 2008, 10:23 PM
I have found that shooting at bigger targets helps:D!! Having a BIG BULLSEYE really helps my score:neener:.

Phil DeGraves
January 24, 2008, 01:03 PM
Lots of great responses! Thanks. The conclusions I have reached (and apparently seconded by the responses) are:
Larger sights (or at least larger apertures)
Dryfire and rimfire practice
Longer barrels (increased sight radius)
Lighter caliber
Hi visibility targets

Lots of you suggested optics of one kind or another, lasers, red dots, etc. and while I am sure they would help, would not apply to the duty application.

"It also works for pistols at surprisingly far distances. Get the form right and the sights really aren't all that necessary."
I would dispute that statement, at least as a general application. For most shooters, sights are absolutely essential to get good hits. Certainly, proper form will help, and some might be able to succeed without using sights, but I think that is the exception and not the rule. Just because it works for you, doesn't mean it will work for everyone else. Of course, it doesn't mean it won't either if properly instructed. I just haven't seen it confirmed to my satisfaction.

Thank you all for your input.

Grandpa Shooter
January 24, 2008, 01:28 PM
A little input here might be useful. There could easily be times when it is absolute necessity to shoot without your glasses. That does not mean shooting bullseye or competition. It COULD mean shooting to save your life. Rush out to meet the threat without your "eyes", retreat to somewhere other than your bedroom, have your glasses knocked off in a struggle. Could happen that way. If you don't learn to shoot center of mass with limited vision, it could be very costly.

Learning to point shoot is not all that hard. Learning to shoot reliably will take practice, maybe lots of it depending on the individual skill level you start from. Remember this, it won't be the young bucks the muggers and drugees go after. It will be one of us old Pharts, or our family. Better learn now while you still can.

The average male is 18" across the chest and shoulders, and 18" from waist to chin. Can you hit inside an 18 x 18 target without your glasses. Go out and try it, and come back with pictures.

M2 Carbine
January 24, 2008, 02:18 PM
Good points GS.

I do practice a little without my glasses but not enough. The sights and target are nothing but a blur without my tri-focals.

This was a while back. I was also "cheating" by using a Crimson Trace laser.:)

M2 Carbine
January 24, 2008, 05:43 PM
The average male is 18" across the chest and shoulders, and 18" from waist to chin. Can you hit inside an 18 x 18 target without your glasses. Go out and try it, and come back with pictures.

I was looking for something to do this afternoon.:)

OK, here it is.
Without my glasses the gun sights are TOTALLY blurred. The target isn't too bad.

My targets are printed on 8.5x11 inch paper.
Thought I'd get some time with the 10 round Megger magazines in the new Kimber Ultra Covert.

Grandpa Shooter
January 24, 2008, 06:41 PM
Well done! If this blizzard lets up I will go out tomorrow and do it myself. I normally carry a 357 snubbie so I will do it with that, and then maybe my Kahr stainless .40.

Anybody else want to play?

Detachment Charlie
January 24, 2008, 09:02 PM
Even before my cataract surgery, I found that scopes were my friends. But, lung disease makes shooting at 100 yds., just too far (that's a 200 yd. walk -- a slow walk that really aggravates the guys waiting for me to get back to the line so the range can go hot again.). Smaller targets at 50 yds. make the peep sight on my Garand fun to shoot. I admit to a Xanax before shooting, because it helps control my heart rate, which tries to compensate for bad lungs.:barf:
"What a drag it is getting old..."

M2 Carbine
January 24, 2008, 09:44 PM
that's a 200 yd. walk

DC my rifle range is 200+ yards from the house.
Especially on those hot Texas days, even though I need the exercise, that walking takes the fun out of it. So I cheat and use the little buggy.:D

January 24, 2008, 10:46 PM
Still young at 58. They just don't make the sights as crisp as they once did so I got a pair of glasses with the adjustable apetures to help make them clear again. Love helping the new shooters, but they need to remember that youth, speed, and strength will never beat age, wisdom,experience,cunning and deceit.

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