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Thread: Self Defense training - Step two for me

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    Unrepentant chocoholic ShooterGranny's Avatar
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    Self Defense training - Step two for me

    Quick review: I have been learning to shoot left handed because of severe arthritis in my right thumb and total collapse of the wrist bones in my right hand. I have been shooting for close to 25 years and have been to a few very good self defense training schools. BUT transferring all of those skills to shooting left handed at my advanced age has been an enormous chore. First I had to change out my guns, getting .380's that are soft shooters, not being able to shoot 9mm anymore. I was quite happy with my Glock 42's. THEN I bought the P238 which was the very first gun I ever shot/owned with an external safety. Then I bought another P238. "Two is one, one is none," right?

    Now for the thread topic:

    Gramps went with me to the range today with his shot timer. I've been doing OK shooting left handed, two hands, both standing in place and also doing some moving - forward or sideways - while shooting. But that has been with the safety already off. Today was the next step: Seeing how SLOW I really am getting that safety off and getting the first round on the target.

    One thing that makes it even more challenging for me is that the only way I can flick the safety off is with my left hand trigger finger as first action, then slide my hand down and over the grip to get an actual grip to draw the gun. This has nothing to do with which side of the gun the safety is on - it's my limited range of motion in both of my thumbs.

    From the un-timed dry firing I've done at home I was convinced it was taking me well over 4 seconds, maybe even over 5 seconds? Imagine my surprise when the very first shot was 3.7 seconds! Ten years (or less) ago my best time was 1.4 seconds. I knew I had a LONG WAY TO GO.

    I shot a total of 66 rounds, most at only 5 yards, through both of my P238's. I used both of them because they have very different grip panels, and the Rainbow model safety seems to be a lot more slippery possibly due to the exceptionally shiny finish on it. I used two different holsters: One Vedder Light tuck IWB and one prototype leather OWB that currently has to sit too far back on my body for a decent draw for me. Prototype #2 will be arriving soon I hope.

    Mostly I did "draw and shoot one shot" but I realized that by pushing for speed combined with having to use my trigger finger to off the safety as I went for the grip itself, my grip was far from perfect. So I did several "draw and shoot two shots as fast as you can" to see if the SIG's would object to my sloppy grip. They did not. After the first several/many times I quit taking the extra time to line up the sights and did point shooting.

    I was using a paper target with a black 8" center on top of a cardboard IDPA target. All of my shots went into the IDPA target. The ones where I actually did line up the sights went in the black circle.

    I shot some few without my shooting glove, but that is taking a big chance of doing further damage to my left hand, so I put the glove back on. I also shot several one handed and was absolutely delighted that I CAN DO THAT with my left hand. It used to be no big deal at all with my right hand.

    My best time for draw to first shot was 2.17 seconds and I told Gramps his timer must be off because I can't shoot that fast now. He barked at me that there is nothing wrong with the timer!

    I think I made progress today. I know when it is time to quit so as to not stress my hands too much, though, or I would have shot well over 100 rounds. There is always another day. Or, if the weather holds out, there will be other days before winter sets in, right?

    I tell my newbie students that learning to shoot is one step at a time and not to push themselves but take all the time they need to get each step so it is automatic, then move on.

    I'm moving on! Slowly, but forward.
    Last edited by ShooterGranny; October 20th, 2017 at 08:59 PM.
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    I shoot with my weak hand 20% of the time. Strong hand 20%. Both hands the rest of the time.

    I use Glocks, Revolvers and the Sig Sauer, as I donít care for the safety.


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    Unrepentant chocoholic ShooterGranny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CDRGlock View Post
    I shoot with my weak hand 20% of the time. Strong hand 20%. Both hands the rest of the time.

    I use Glocks, Revolvers and the Sig Sauer, as I don’t care for the safety.
    But do you shoot with both hands using your weak hand as the one that pulls the trigger and your strong hand as the support hand? I found that this was a whole different thing from competition shooting around a barricade, strong hand on one side and then weak hand on the other side.

    If you develop those equal skills with both hands you are far beyond where I was when i was forced to change my weak hand to become my strong hand.
    If you think changes need to be made - get out and DO SOMETHING positive!

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    Senior Member SOS24's Avatar
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    Your perseverance through this all is inspiring. I know the time can be discouraging based on where you once were, but for all that you’ve had to go through it is really good and better than many ever achieve.
    "Itís the unconquerable soul of man, not the nature of the weapon he uses, that insures victory." Gen George S. Patton

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    I was horrible in my weak side hand .... ugh. I do mean horrible. But, I had to practice if I was going to be able to do it, and relearn everything for that hand.... . like reloading , which seemed so strange, uncoordinated, awkward, etc. It was like trying to re-learn how to spell and read, and all the words backwards.

    Over some time, I can now shoot half decent with that side........definitely enough to hit the target I want to hit reasonably well up to 25 yrds. and do it quickly. I will never as good with that hand as my key hand. It was definitely a "process".

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    Senior Member Blackhawkgirl's Avatar
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    It is great to see you did not give up when you lost the full use of your strong hand. Many would have stopped there.

    One of the great things about shooting, is that it is not a sport that you have to learn when you are really young, like skiing is. People can start later in life. I have found as I have gotten older and ability to recover from a fall or injury has scaled back some of the activities I used to do. So, I have added a new activity to my list (shooting for sport) rather than just succumbing to the TV set.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShooterGranny View Post
    But do you shoot with both hands using your weak hand as the one that pulls the trigger and your strong hand as the support hand? I found that this was a whole different thing from competition shooting around a barricade, strong hand on one side and then weak hand on the other side.

    If you develop those equal skills with both hands you are far beyond where I was when i was forced to change my weak hand to become my strong hand.
    Never thought of doing that. Weak hand training for me has only been considered for preparing to shoot if my dominant hand became injured.

    However, training for the purposes of a two handed hold with the weak hand has me intrigued. Iíll have to work on that.


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    Asst. Administrator DogWalksWithMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShooterGranny View Post
    ... I bought the P238 which was the very first gun I ever shot/owned with an external safety. Then I bought another P238. "Two is one, one is none," right?

    Now for the thread topic:

    Gramps went with me to the range today with his shot timer. I've been doing OK shooting left handed, two hands, both standing in place and also doing some moving - forward or sideways - while shooting. But that has been with the safety already off. Today was the next step: Seeing how SLOW I really am getting that safety off and getting the first round on the target.

    One thing that makes it even more challenging for me is that the only way I can flick the safety off is with my left hand trigger finger as first action, then slide my hand down and over the grip to get an actual grip to draw the gun. This has nothing to do with which side of the gun the safety is on - it's my limited range of motion in both of my thumbs.
    I got a P938 on sale around the 4th of July. It is also my first firearm with a safety.

    Separating out your wrist challenges, I just want to let you know that for me (at three months) , I still have not integrated thumbing down the safety with the draw.

    I did a little better with thes firearm on my most recent competition but thumbing down the safety is still a separate action in my draw sequence.

    I suggest -- and will try myself -- many reps with the cleared firearm for the draw sequence to first dry fire. I'm not even going to worry about time, I'm going to work on developing a new sequence for muscle memory. I think the same type of training for your adapted draw sequence will improve your time with practice; working it slow and right will likely improve results sooner than pushing for speed.

    And for your wrists, I see no reason to absorb extra recoils while working out the physical mechanics.
    Last edited by DogWalksWithMe; October 21st, 2017 at 11:36 AM. Reason: Punctuation saves lives.
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    Senior Member notavictim's Avatar
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    Granny, you are so inspirational to me. After my last issue with the cysts on my spinal column, I could barely walk. I had become friends with a neurologist and sought her counsel often. I will never forget what she said to me. Her words literally changed, or at least validated, my life. She said that I could do one of two things. I could sit in my chair convinced that I was hopelessly disabled, making excuses why I couldn't do this or that, or I could get up off my ass and start taking charge of my life. In that case I should embrace every. little. step. forward. Embrace them and use them to gain strength. She said to make a goal that was achievable every day. That way I would go to bed feeling like I accomplished something.

    It sounds like you and I are alike in that way, although you probably didn't need a doctor to tell you that. Your time of 2.17 was your sign that you are making progress. I am looking forward to reading more about your shooting adventures!
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    Unrepentant chocoholic ShooterGranny's Avatar
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    Thank you, nav and DWWM for the kind words, and for the suggestion of doing more dry firing.
    @notavictim - Many cheers for your neurologist friend who laid it on the line straight and clear. And to you for listening and doing! It was my personal "NEED" to keep shooting that enabled me to do the painful therapy after my rotator cuff surgery, and to be faithful with the back therapy when I had horrendous spasms, and to do the hand and wrist exercises to keep what ability I still have.

    It has been my faithful and loving husband who has been by my side, encouraging and helping where needed, enabling me to concentrate on recovery in each case, and not complaining (much) when I decided I needed "two each" of both of the brands of .380's and one each (so far) of the two different .22's I have now.
    @DogWalksWithMe - For me, as for everyone, yes, the dry firing definitely builds muscle memory but periodically I need the timed feedback of the "bang" to really know if I am getting better at it. And I do love to actually shoot! (Who doesn't?) If I had the time, money and physical ability I'd be on the range 3 or 4 times a week.

    After yesterday's timed exercise I know much more about exactly what and how to work on continuing to build the muscle memory. Several times Gramps started the timer and I could not "get in gear" to get my finger on that safety properly, and a few times, I pushed on the safety and it didn't move - which meant I had forgotten to re-engage it before holstering.

    The learning curve is still up hill.
    If you think changes need to be made - get out and DO SOMETHING positive!

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    keep up the work, you are very inspiring for those of us who need to get out there and work it a little bit harder.
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    I actually sold a Beretta 92 that I carried for years simply because I was never satisfied with my abilities off hand. I do a lot better (off hand) with a smaller/lighter handgun but I never stop trying to improve. I am sure that 90% of the problem is me.. I wont blame the gun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Telstar6 View Post
    I actually sold a Beretta 92 that I carried for years simply because I was never satisfied with my abilities off hand. I do a lot better (off hand) with a smaller/lighter handgun but I never stop trying to improve. I am sure that 90% of the problem is me.. I wont blame the gun.
    Strength exercises help even for those who are considered "strong". The muscles needed to handle handguns are different than the muscles most people use or train on.

    You might consider getting a short piece of wooded clothing rod or even a short piece of tool handle and attaching a flat piece of leather about an inch wide to it and then attaching it to a two pound weight (to start - graduate to 5 pounds). The length of the leather should be long enough that if you hold the wood straight out from your shoulders that it leaves the weight about an inch above the ground. Roll the leather up slowly with the weight attached first overhand and then underhand. Do this every other day. When you can do this 200 times without stopping increase the weight.
    Never take advice on self defense calibers or tactics from people who have never been in a real gunfight.

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    Senior Member nlyric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChanceMcCall View Post
    Strength exercises help even for those who are considered "strong". The muscles needed to handle handguns are different than the muscles most people use or train on.

    You might consider getting a short piece of wooded clothing rod or even a short piece of tool handle and attaching a flat piece of leather about an inch wide to it and then attaching it to a two pound weight (to start - graduate to 5 pounds). The length of the leather should be long enough that if you hold the wood straight out from your shoulders that it leaves the weight about an inch above the ground. Roll the leather up slowly with the weight attached first overhand and then underhand. Do this every other day. When you can do this 200 times without stopping increase the weight.
    200 times?? That hurts just thinking about it. I've done what you are talking about though. Even though I train with weights regularly I hadn't done that in a long time. I really think it helped my shooting back then.
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