I get carpal tunnel easily. What gun should I shoot?


September 26, 2003, 09:39 PM
A couple of times ago I went to the range and shot a P-22, a Beretta 9mm and a .357 magnum revolver (all borrowed--I don't have my own gun yet).
A couple of days later I was getting carpal tunnel symptoms again.
.22s don't seem to be a problem, so I think it was either the 9mm or the .357.

Could the 9mm be the culprit? I certainly shot more with it.
I want to get a 9mm because that's probably what I'll have for self-defense.
But for now I'm looking to get a practice gun.

Problem: if I really am going to Iraq soon (civilian) then I'll want to be ready ASAP.
For now I can only afford to buy one. :banghead:

Should I practice tons with a .22, then get the 9mm when I can afford it?
Or should I get the 9mm and practice as much as I can handle?

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Standing Wolf
September 26, 2003, 09:47 PM
I've been contending with computer wrist and arthritis for years. I've found it helps to take aspirin before leaving for the range, and shoot at least as many .22 caliber rounds as center fire. Ironically, shooting seems to alleviate wrist pain a bit, probably because it's a change of pace from working the keyboard and mouse. A fellow shooter suggested apple cider vinegar tablets, and they're a help.

September 26, 2003, 10:11 PM
I had carpal tunnel (as a mechanic) for years.
I changed jobs a few years ago, to a factory job, and developed tendonitis a few months later.
I like to shoot .45 acp, because of the slow push back, instead of a wrist jarring muzzle rise.
I don't think it's so much the caliber, just don't get a gun that's too heavy, or too light.
With the right loads, the right gun, and the right stance, I can shoot magnum class loads, and not have problems.
Bisley grips with revolvers. Slick, polished ivory grips that let the gun rotate up in your hand.
In autos, just get one that you can grip comfortably (No two-finger grip guns.) , and absorbs most of the recoil through the slide.
I also have a problem with polymer guns, even if they weigh the same.
Maybe they flex too much, maybe they resonate, or are too top heavy, or flip up too fast, or don't have enough shock absorbing material in the grip but I just don't like 'em. Most of them are lighter than their metal cousins.
I use the weaver stance to minimize wrist flexing.
Lock your wrist, and let your elbow do the work.
At the first sign of carpal symptoms, I put on my wrist braces when I go to bed.
A carefully regulated sleeping position helps with CTS and with tendonitis both.
Avoid putting a lot of weight on your arms, or anything that cuts off blood flow.
Don't bend elbows/wrists excessively when asleep, if necessary use pillows to control wrist/arm bend.
Get enough sleep.
RSI is not funny, as I'm sure you are aware.
Forgot to add, I have a CZ75b that has hogue grips, and also got a Kadet conversion kit. This lets that natural pointing, 9mm steel-framed auto, convert to shooting .22 with just a slide (Actually, slide, barrel, and recoil spring) and magazine change.
I'll bet you could shoot that gun all day, and not have too many problems.
If you get the CZ75b in 9mm, and it's too much for you, you can simply get the kadet kit, practice with .22, and when you're done shooting it for the day, clean it, put on the 9mm slide assembly, and swap magazines.

September 26, 2003, 10:19 PM
The problem with tendinitis is - it's damn hard to actually cure/eradicate ... and so measures to limit the inducing factors are necessary.

Like Mike I do get some RSD re my mouse wrist, but with shooting, I think recourse to wrist bracing bands is potentially useful ... plus detailed analysis of your grip technique. This may or may not help.

Sometimes the angle of gripping has much effect ... so perhaps a gun with a grip that is not too ''angled'' might help ..... a revo may be easier on you than an auto.

I sympathize tho ...... to the uninitiated this sounds trivial ..... you have to have had CTS to know what it feels like.

September 26, 2003, 10:39 PM
I've found that the best feeling guns when I'm having wrist problems is either a 45acp revolver, Smith N frame 4" barrel or the Smith N frame shooting 38 special.

The combination of those two relatively mild round, the forward weight bias of the revolver and good grips make shooting a joy again. The grips make a big difference. The best that I ever found work great but are not much good for concealed carry. If you'll be carrying openly, I'd strongly suggest that you try a few target grips. Here is a pair of Siles on one of my wheelguns. They are available from CDNN for under $20.00 and they make a world of difference.

This is another grip that has helped me. It's from Nil Grips (http://www.nill-griffe.com/englisch/frame_allg_eng.html) and is on a Smith N frame.

It may takes some work and experimentation but I think with the right set of grips you'll do just fine.

September 26, 2003, 10:44 PM
Some helps are rubber grips, and a good pair of padded shooting gloves.

If you're having problems, I'd get the gloves ASAP.

Uncle Mike's make both full finger, and open finger gel-padded shooting glove, and I remember several other makers offered various types too.

Ala Dan
September 26, 2003, 11:17 PM
My left wrist has been totally rebuilt (from bone dust), and
has three permanent stainless steel screws holding it in
place; ole' arthur never sets in, and I can do more with it
than I can with the right one!:uhoh: I shoot all caliber
handguns extremely well from either side; but I was just
amazed that shooting my S&W 629-5 "Classic" .44 magnum
with full power loads doesn't bother it one bit.:D

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

4v50 Gary
September 27, 2003, 12:40 AM
How about 38 wadcutter? Mild, pleasant and not bone jarring at all. Magnaport it too to reduce felt recoil. Nothing sissy but merely a concession to time.:(

September 27, 2003, 12:31 PM
I'd suggest getting a Springfield 1911 in 9mm, and a Browning Buckmark to practice with. That would run you about $800.00, maybe a bit more, but one would offer easy, light-kicking practice, and the other would offer a good defensive gun that didn't produce so much recoil that you couldn't practice with it some. And the controls and grip are the same on both guns, so practice with one would translate over to the other.

September 27, 2003, 01:54 PM
Actually, I never had acute carpal, but I had CTS, cubital tunnel syndrome.
A lot of people confuse it with carpal, and I just call it carpal tunnel, and people know what I mean.
True carpal affects the medial nerve.
Cubital tunnel syndrome is sometimes known as ulnar nerve entrapment.
It affects you the exact same way, but it affects the two smallest fingers, all the way to the elbow, not the biggest fingers.
Yup, the 'funny bone' pain. But it doesn't go away. And it isn't funny at all after a month or two.
It can lead to atrophy of the surrounding muscles.
Almost no grip strength. Numbness, shooting pains. (Literally!)
It often is accompanied by tendonitis (More often than carpal), and the resulting tension and numbness can actually cause carpal tunnel symptoms.
If I hadn't gone to the doctor, I would have prolly needed an operation on both arms.
Instead, he directed me to wear wrist braces, and elbow braces at night, take B6 and other B vitamins, get plenty of rest, avoid repetative movements, and watch my blood flow in my arms very carefully.
In two months, most of the symptoms were alleviated.
If one hand is cold, and the other is hot, immediately begin excercises in the affected arm, and take a hot shower, if possible.
Please see a good doctor if you can't reduce the symptoms by yourself.
It leads to muscle loss, and blood flow problems if untreated.
These chronic problems over time make RSI extremely inconvienient and painful, and can be a lifelong companion.
They can also ruin your job, and all of your hobbies.

September 27, 2003, 02:51 PM
This may be a controversial suggestion, but if one uses a laser as primary target sighting, then the straight, tense arm position for using the gun's sights may be eliminated. I know most experts say that the laser should only be used as a training tool, but some people have personal deficiencies that purely laser sighting can resolve.

I have old eyes - not very often adequate for gun sighting accuracy. The laser sight has made a world of difference to my shooting. I didn't realize that I had also changed my shooting position until I read this thread.

September 27, 2003, 11:50 PM
I'm sorry to see that so many other High Roaders have also been afflicted. :(
But I think between us we've put a pretty good guide out for anyone who's wondering what it means, or how to deal with it.
I wear the wrist braces every night when I sleep.
I should remember to use the B vitamins. I hadn't thought about those in years.
Another wonderful thing is cold compresses. You can get them at a drug store--the best kind have elastic straps on them so you can get some compression. I may start taking them to the range with me. (That might be a good idea anyway, to use on the barrel when it heats up :D )

I'll ask around locally and see what I can get. Thanks for all the ideas about grips, sights, and other modifications. It would be great if I could actually practice with a 9mm. (Right now I can't afford $800 bucks though--I'll just have to get one now and one soon.)

September 28, 2003, 04:46 AM
I have carpal tunnel as well. I use a product called the Ergoban. It is a plastic ball filled with mercury that is strapped to the wrist and acts as a shock absorber. Designed for tennis elbow, it works very well for shooting as well. I used to have to severely limit my shooting or I would have pain for days. Now I can shoot hundreds of 9mm or mild .45 rounds. (I still avoid the magnums.) The Eroban website does not seem to be working, but I found a company called Tenex. They make a product that looks identical. See: www.tennis-elbow.com


September 28, 2003, 05:52 AM
After having two surgeries for this condition I can share the stuff that has worked and not worked for me. I assume that this type of things will affect everyone differntly but here are my thoughts.

Double action triggers: I can't deal with a double action trigger at all. For some reason mid pull my trigger finger obviously doesn't get my signals and decides that the pull of the trigger is somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 pounds. It will proceed to yank the trigger and the results aren't pretty.

.40 caliber pistols: .40's give me fits. The snap in my wrist that I get off shooting .40's is a best uncomfortable and at some times horrible. It also doesn't seem to matter what style of pistol that I am shooting it out of either.

1911's: I used to love 1911's but now I have trouble shooting them. The mainspring housing hits me on one of my incisions and from the way it moves against my hand during recoil causes my hand to twitch. The best way that I can describe it is that the hand wants to open on its own. I still shoot them just not with the same pleasure I used to. The recoil of the .45 doesn't seem to give me any problems though.

You refered to having trouble with a Beretta, I have also had a little bit of trouble with them as well. I haven't figured out if it is the grip angle or just the weight of that pistol but it does seem to put a lot of stress on my wrists.

About the only gun that I have found that I can shoot 100's of rounds through and still enjoy doing it is a Glock 17. I haven't had any recoil related problems with the 9mm. I think that the reduced weight of the Glock along with how the polymer reduces felt recoil might have a lot to do with it. I have no idea why I don't have the same problems with the Glock trigger as I do a straight up double action. I was just happy I could find something that I didn't mind shooting.

Like I said everyone will probably have different things that work for them but that would be the firearms related stuff that has worked for me. For everyone else out there that his this problem, am I the only one that hates to sleep or drive in those night splints? I would have thought that after several years of using them I would have become used to them. Nope, I still can't stand them. :cuss:

September 28, 2003, 06:12 AM
Tac17 -- I recently found some new splints that are more similar to the wrist protection that people use for roller blading. Send me email and I'll try to find out what kind they are. They seem to smell and itch a lot less than the old ones.

Glockster -- thanks for the tip on the Ergoban/Tenex. How long have you had yours? When did you notice the difference?
Did Tenex buy out Ergoban, or are they just different? Tenex says they use a "proprietary high-density fluid" but I have no idea *** that would be. It's hard to imagine anything being as high-density as mercury.
How much does your Ergoban weight, anyway?

September 28, 2003, 08:47 AM
CZ75B are cheap, they can be had for less than $400.00
They are comfortable for me to shoot, and are natural pointers.
My Kadet kit was $259, and it came with 2-.22 cal magazines.
I'd recommend the CZ75b wholeheartedly, and any of it's cousins, the P01, the PCR, the CZ85 combat, the CZ75 compact, and the CZ75bd. Or it's big brother the CZ97b.
Careful when considering the Kadet kit, I don't think it fits on all the models I mentioned. I know the 75b (In 9mm, not .40)works with the Kadet.
Another nice thing about CZ75s.
They are undersprung, and if you handload, you can make light loads, and the CZ75 will shoot them just fine, SIGS, H&K's, etc won't even cycle the slide.
I was teaching one of my friends' brothers to shoot, and wanted to start him out on something lite.
The CZ75 came out, and on went the Kadet slide.
He shot .22 out of it a few times, he ran to get a pop, and I changed the slide to 9mm, loaded some powder puff loads in a mag, and popped it in just as he came running back.
I handed it to him, and he shot it .(Quite well, too.)
He didn't even notice the difference until he saw the size of the holes in the target. :)

September 28, 2003, 09:34 AM
I have been thinking of getting a CZ lately, and was wondering how comfortable they might be to shoot. Thanks for your info on them.

Kentucky Rifle
September 30, 2003, 08:52 AM
Arthritis has been creeping up on me for years. I've found that *almost anything with wide grips helps a lot. My "fat" Glock 27 doesn't bother me a bit. My AirWEIGHT 638 with the wide Hogue Pau Ferro wood grips doesn't bother me a bit when I shoot +P's. However, I did shoot one of those S&W Airlite Ti snubs in .357mag, and it hurt, even with the wide rubber grips. (I forgot the brand. I was running around in a circle going...OW,OW,OW, and I didn't give a damn who saw me.)


September 30, 2003, 05:11 PM
I have been thinking of getting a CZ lately, and was wondering how comfortable they might be to shoot. Thanks for your info on them.

I have Carpal Tunnel as well, and I don't have a problem shooting my new CZ75 in SA mode at all. DA mode is not my friend.

October 1, 2003, 09:41 AM
My right arm was all but torn off at the elbow and reattached (compound fracture, elbow joint in 4 pieces, residual paralysis down the top of the forearm). My wrist was broken in two places, knitted incorectly, and had to be re-broken to be re-set. I've experienced carpal tunnel most of my later adult years, which does not produce so much pain as that my middle two fingers go numb after holding a fixed position for an extended period.

I take a good anti-inflammatory medication before I go shooting and when I shoot, I take frequent breaks and flex my arm/hand/fingers often to shake out the numbness.

October 2, 2003, 02:51 AM
I was off work for almost 9 months w/CTS, got the left wrist operated on, it helped somewhat, but not enough to make me want to go through it again with my right wrist.

I happened to be glancing through some publication or other about LEO involved shootings, and several of the LEOs commented that all they remembered seeing was the red front sight (on revolvers, when those were the LEO sidearms of chioce) when they shot.

Well, I can't see for hooey any more, so I went to the store and got some red day glo paint and painted up all of my front sights.

Ipso facto, no CTS pain when I shoot. Why? Because I am not tensing my wrist trying to hold the barrel steady and find that fuzzy little black post. My hands and wrists are relaxed and I am shooting much faster, and much more accurately, so much so that people are starting to call me a very good shot with a handgun.

Re the laser, I have one on my carry piece, a 640, and under appropriate lighting condition it allows me to shoot from the retention position, much faster than bringing the weapon up and just as accurate.

I am sure that others have found both of these points before me, and either like them or don't like them. I don't suggest either bright red front sights or lasergrips as a good idea for anybody else, but they work very well for me. The proof is in the shooting. I am faster, more acurate, and much less stressed physically, which results in less stress emotionally. It may very well not work for anyone else.

God bless and y'all be careful out there.:cool:

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