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Thread: Carpal Tunnel

  1. #1
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    Carpal Tunnel

    Howdy, folks.
    Work and play finally caught up with me. I've got carpal tunnel pretty bad in my left wrist (southpaw here) and not as bad in my right.
    That said, it's tough to shoot wearing the brace they gave me, but I don't have to wear it all the time.

    To those of you who I have blasted in the past on this forum for suggesting .22LR, .410 bore, and their ilk, I apologize. I'm probably going to end up switching over at least until I get better for a .410 shotgun for HD and a .22 LR pistol for carry.

    Any suggestions for a .410 and .22...or something else that is low recoil and more effective?
    Yes, I'm a grown man that loves My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Got a problem?

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    Is recoil really the biggest issue? Getting a good grip while wearing the brace must be a problem. I think you need to handle a few guns while wearing it. Because the wrist brace partly fills your hand, a gun with a smaller grip might be easier to hang onto. How about a .38 with old-style skinny grips? Also practice shooting right-handed.


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    I'd bypass the .410 altogether and opt for a 20 guage. Shells are less expensive, and my 20 doesn't bite like my wife's .410 does. Oh, she inherited it, I didn't buy it for her. I'm not that mean* - yet.

    As to handgun, I'd go with a 3 inch minimum. I do have a Iver Johnson PT-22 loaded with Stingers which might be a bit much for you. Both my High Standard HD Military and my S&W Model 34 are good guns.

    *My middle son didn't want to shoulder my 20 and I let him. The recoil was very painful. I forced him to do a second shot with the weapon tight against his shoulder. He no longer feared a shotgun.
    Last edited by csmkersh; August 29th, 2010 at 03:24 PM.

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    The only .410 I've ever had is the SAIGA. Recoil is manageable and with a bit of searching you can find 10 round magazines.

    As for the .22... my late uncle had a .22rf handgun model after the old Luger. As I recall it had far less 'felt' recoil than his nine shot revolver. The down side would be someone else would have to fill the magazine for you as it has a retaining spring that is difficult to get down with healthy wrists.

  5. #5
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    I feel for ya, aaryq. For those who don't know what living with carpal tunnel it I can attest it is no fun at all. A combination of constant burning in the hands along with numbness is very depressing.

    My wife handed me a plate of food the other day and it just went straight down to the floor because I didn't have the hand strength to hold it. I stood there looking at it, wondering what I would have done if it was my gun and a bad guy was standing in front of me.

  6. #6
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    A. Find a good hand surgeon. They can work miracles (well, mortal miracles).

    B. .22 (WRM) handgun: Smith 351PD.

  7. #7
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    Are you not going to get the carpal tunnel surgically treated? Once done, you're back to where you were after a period of time

  8. #8
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    Wear the brace most of the time. Mine is apparentlyt as bad as yours. I was shooting a match and had a hard time putting the 22LRs into the chamber. Wore the brace for 4 or 5 nights and everything is great.

    As noted an orthopedic surgeon can 'fix' it for you.

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    What about the PMR-30 from KelTec. I'm not real familiar with 22 magnum recoil but I think that would be a viable option. 30rds of 22mag is pretty potent.

    As far as 410, I'd get something familiar. If you're used to a Mossberg or Remington pump in a 12, get one in a 20 or 410.

    I don't think the recoil into your shoulder will be as much of a factor as the weight in your hand, so a .410 might be a good idea.
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    Pistol

    . . . and a .22 LR pistol for carry.
    Could we have some guidelines for what sizes you will consider?

    For a guy who's accustomed to carrying a full-sized Beretta, CZ 75B, BHP, Glock or XD, it should be simple enough to find a service calibre pistol with a.22 LR adapter kit.

    For something like a Kahr P9, however, I don't think such a kit exists.

    A Ruger MkII or MkIII is a sweet low-recoil pistol, but I dunno about carrying one.

    Beretta and Taurus do (if memory serves) make compact .22 LR autos.

    So, size and form factor hints will be helpful.


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    Don't know when or if I'll get surgery...navy medical system...meh...
    Size doesn't matter as long as I can conceal it. I would like something about equal to in size and weight (maybe lighter) to my PA-63 that I sometimes carry in the summer. My biggest factor is getting something that has left-handed holsters available that don't take 6-8 weeks to come in "special order."
    Yes, I'm a grown man that loves My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Got a problem?

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    What about Tri-Care? Won't they pick up the tab or are you still active?

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    Check on physical therapy it works wonders for some folks. I have a buddy who is a mechanic that was thinking about surgery but tried physical therapy and he as been able to continue to work for the past 5 years with out the surgery, and he turns wrenches all day long.

  14. #14
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    Surgery doesn't work for everyone... especially when it is a combination of arthritis and carpal tunnel.

  15. #15
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    Active duty. I just do as the doc says.
    Not sure if I'll get arthritis, I know it's in my genes but so far, so good (24 years old now)
    Yes, I'm a grown man that loves My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Got a problem?

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    S&W Model 317 Kit Gun - 22LR. Pre lock, 8 shot, Uncle Mike's grip, 3 inch barrel, J frame, light weight - the ONLY light weight gun that I would own/shoot since it is not steel. I like STEEL better since it is heavier and longer barrels (THREE inches and LONGER!) since you have LESS recoil even when you don't have physical issues to deal with. (I would and did own a SWEET Glock Model 19C in 9mm though. My husband owns one now - a newer model.) The Model 317 was/is a SWEET Revolver.

    S&W Model 22A - pre lock - 22LR. Nice!

    S&W Model 41 - pre lock - 22LR. Nice!

    I previously owned and shot the above guns. The two bottom ones were ones that my late husband shot a lot too. Bought NIB before 2002. Circa 1998-2001. I don't know much about the NEWER ones.

    Ruger Mark series - 22LR. My late husband and a couple of close friends owned this gun including a nice lady on THIS forum. Nice gun - I shot one a couple of times but I did NOT own one myself.

    There are a lot of sweet single actions but the smallest one that I can think of is the Ruger Bearcat but it is for smaller hands. The other SWEET Rugers in 22LR are the Super Single Six (22LR/22WMR) and the Ruger BISLEY in 22LR only if you are going to 22 calibers the most now. I owned them and still own a newer SSSix but I did not officially own a BEARCAT - my husband owned it. I shot it though and his was an old model one. Mine were all bought from 1998 and on so they were NEW model ones - NIB ones.

    I shoot 22LR guns the most now. I can relate to your pain and physical issues - throw in arthritis on top of it all. UGH.

    Best wishes to you and take care.

    Sometimes the pain and physical issues will even trickle down to your TRIGGER FINGER. Uh huh.

    If you want to discuss 22LR rifles, let me know. I can help you there some too.

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    Do you get in so many gunfights that recoil is a problem?
    I'd get a .22 to practice with and carry the centerfire.
    I have a few facts and a lot of opinions.

  18. #18
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    When I had that problem I learned to shoot handguns with the other hand and long guns from the other shoulder. Not as tough a task as you might think.

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    Sorry to hear about your issues!

    I have a Walther p22 that the kids love to shoot.

    Barell is about 3", and 10 in the mag.

    I have big hands, so the grip is a little small for me.

    I would carry it if I had issues with larger calibers.

    Couple of thousand rounds, and zero issues.

    I am sure that you could find a decent holster for it.
    Jamie

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  20. #20
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    I'm with "the foot" on this one. We're all supposed to practice weak-hand shooting anyway.

    Good friend of mine lost his right arm when we were kids. Being right-handed, it was a problem for him at first, especially hand writing, but he ended up over compensating. He could climb cliffs and trees, operate a chainsaw, and ride a snowmobile or motor cycle better than most two-armed people. He was good paddling a canoe or a river raft, and splitting wood too.

    No reason you can't shoot right handed at least for a while. It feels odd at first, but you'll pick it up, and that'll take some of the pressure off your left hand. When your left gets better, you'll have all that much more capability.

  21. #21
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    I don't have carpal tunnel, but I do have a shoulder that's nearly nonfunctional at some angles (five full dislocations and I lost track of the partials), combined with some neck issues that make me unable to hold up much weight at arm's length and to take recoil, and not that much hand strength. (Thankfully, I have a husband to open jar lids for me.)

    The injuries combine to make shooting most handguns painful enough I have an attitude problem toward the entire category, with few exceptions - mainly the Walther P22 and the Keltec PMR-30.

    Ruger .22 revolvers have no recoil and are light, but the grip is just awkward for me to hold - I encourage you to try it for yourself to see, it may be great for you. The Walther P22 is serviceable, light, and almost no recoil - it's a little heavier with a silencer, but so much more comfortable to shoot without all the loud noise and the pain that comes from flinching in expectation of pain. (Anticipation hurts me more that the real thing, on that gun.)

    The Keltec PMR-30 is absolutely fun - it's lightweight, no recoil, the grip is comfy for me, the half-cock position for the hammer means I can divide the effort to rack the slide in half, so I can do it without any pain at all. (The P22 hurts to rack, but I can do it.) The thirty-round magazine means I don't have to reload often when playing at the range, and twenty-two mag means I can knock over steel with the folks playing with 9mm.

    That said, I don't have a broad range of experience to recommend more handguns - given how much most of them hurt, I'm awfully loathe to try new things. I recommend taking some ibuprofin before you start loading the magazines, so it's in your bloodstream by the time you start trying out different guns, and keeps the pain and swelling down. Good luck!

  22. #22
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    Oh, Jim Watson, I get in at least 3 gun fights a day...just kidding. I just have this fear of having to draw and fire and dropping the gun because of the recoil or something like that.

    Would anyone suggest anything bigger than a .22 that recoils really nicely?
    Yes, I'm a grown man that loves My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Got a problem?

  23. #23
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    I can sympathize. We're the same age, but I don't have carpal tunnel. My strong hand got bit by a machine at work and is permanently boogered and doesn't/won't work the same way.

    I second physical therapy if you can. I went from mono-paw to 100 lbs squeezing strength in three months after nearly losing my whole hand.

    Of course it had to be reconstructed first. A combination of surgery and physical therapy I reckon would do it.

    I couldn't shoot my fullsized handguns for a while, about 4 months. My small-gripped K-22 Masterpiece was the only gun I could shoot. Slim gripped guns that the fingers can wrap all the way around will likely be more secure in your hand, too. Learning to shoot with minimal middle finger and no help from what's left of the little finger took some minor adjustments. Speed is way down but I'm improving on my pre-injury numbers in accuracy.

    It was about 5 months before I could handle guns that I couldn't wrap my fingers around, such as my XD45 or my M19 with target grips.

    Due to intense recoil with defensive loads, though, I still haven't remastered the nasty little .38+p airweight snub. It was a handful with whole hands.

    Anyway, you're in the wrong niche. Most smaller, less powerful calibers are in tiny little guns that make those wee bullets bite like the bigguns. You know all this, of course.

    One choice is to load your guns differently.

    Target wad cutters in a medium or small frame .38 special is a viable option. It won't expand (not a guarantee for any loading in standard pressure .38) but it will "cookie cutter" a wound.

    Downgrading power levels in autoloaders may be a little more of an issue.

    Another choice is to get a .32 Mag or .327 Mag and loading it with the older, milder .32 caliber loads.

    That may be expensive, but is .32 Long factory-box ammo really much more pricey than "primo-self-defense-head-exploding" hollow points for the larger calibers? Shouldn't be too bad.

    I won't recommend .22 Mag because I've never tried it in a pistol. There are, however, some mighty hot .22 LR loadings around. Aguila makes some pretty gnarly stuff.

    You have choices.

    Your best bet in the long-term, though, is to do more than what your Doc tells you -- talk to him. Remember that a mute patient leaves a blind doctor. The term Diagnose shares the same root word as Dialogue for a reason. Otherwise, it would be monognosis -- a word that doesn't exist for very good reason.

    Make short term and long term goals and tell them to your doctor and later your physical therapist.

    My goals were: Stop being one handed asap, have maximum use again in a year. It's been 8 months and I'm as good as I'm going to get without more surgeries (which won't happen until early next year).

    The key here is to give your doctor as much information about your pain, discomfort, and limitations as possible. Ask for a night brace if you aren't to wear the current one at night.

    Good luck selecting a stop-gap defensive weapon for the meantime.
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  24. #24
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    Aaryq,
    I've taught jujutsu and Aikido for nearly 50 years, and the wrist stretching exercises involved in that will do a lot to help carpal tunnel syndrome. I"ve had just about every ailment of muscle, tendon, and joint that you can have from something being twisted or pulled in the wrong direction, but I'm 66 years old and my orthopedic doctor always calls his nurses in and gets me to do my stretches for them so they can work with CT patients.

    Is it painful... you bet... at least at first, but as your wrists strengthen, you will notice less and less effect from the carpal tunnel problem. I'd suggest finding a good Aikido school or jujutsu (traditional, not Brazilian) school, and learn the stretches they use.

    I started martial arts when I was 18, and while I've seen just about every injury you could imagine, my wrists are as supple as ever. You'll have to "guts it out" for a while, but they should improve with consistent exercise.

    WT
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  25. #25
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    Whew, that was good advice!
    Jamie

    Greatness lies not in being strong, but in the right use of strength - Henry Ward Beecher

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