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The trouble with hands...

 
By Carrie Lightfoot - Guest Contributor

Each of our hands consists of 27 bones, 29 major joints, 34 muscles, 123 ligaments, 30 arteries, and the zillions of nerve and blood vessel branches.  These all work together in such amazing ways, you have to marvel at how they all collaborate to do the most intricate of tasks.

Our ability to handle and shoot our firearms is dependent on all of these parts working together perfectly. How well we can manipulate the controls of the firearm and handle the recoil depends entirely on the strength and coordination of our hands.

Beretta Mod. 3032 Tomcat
I think we take our hands for granted.  They are just there and they do what we tell them to do - effortlessly. But many shooters, whether due to aging, disease or injury, struggle with hands that are not functioning properly, leaving them in pain, frustrated and in some cases, unable to operate their firearms.  On The Well Armed Woman Facebook page, this issue comes up repeatedly. Women struggling with arthritis, carpal tunnel and others, share their frustration with the inability and the discomfort of working the action of their firearm.  Lauri shares “carpal tunnel has taken a lot of strength out of my hands.” Tena writes “when I went to rack the slide... I couldn't do it! I have arthritis in my hands and I just could not muster the force to slide it.”  Jay says “I have had to back down the caliber because my hands just couldn’t take the beating of my .40 and .45 anymore.”

There is no doubt that some adjustments need to be made when dealing with these types of  issues, so shooters can continue to shoot effectively, protect themselves and safely continue to fully enjoy shooting.

Beretta Bobcat
Along with medical attention, there are some things that can perhaps minimize some of these difficulties, including: gel shooting gloves, wrist braces, and the changing of caliber. One of the solutions that have proven quite successful for these ladies is a semi-automatic with a tilt-up barrel.  Both the Beretta Bobcat (.25 auto, .22 LR) and the Beretta Tomcat (.32 ACP) have this Tip-up barrel feature which thankfully allows rounds to be loaded directly into the chamber without slide retraction. (Racking).  The .32 Tomcat, when using 60-grain .32 ACP (7.65 mm) hollow-point ammunition, provides firepower equaling the punch of a .380 (9mm Short). Other great benefits are that it also assists in the safe clearing of the pistol, by allowing a live round to be easily removed from the chamber and the bore quickly checked. Jamming and stove-piping problems are virtually eliminated as well, by the open slide design. Nice benefits in addition to being well priced.

Perhaps you have some experience with this issue and have found ways to alleviate some of the difficulties. Please comment and share what has been helpful to you or your thoughts, as this is an issue with many shooters, both male and female of all ages.

Carrie Lightfoot is owner of The Well Armed Woman and guest contributor for the Beretta Blog. Join the dynamic group of women shooters on Facebook or Twitter and visit www.thewellarmedwoman.com

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Feminine instinct...

 

Erica Rodriguez from
Washington State,
and her Px4
 As you may have noticed, we have been talking more and more about female gun ownership, lately.

Beyond the trends, the statistics and the news, it is important to recognize that, overall, our industry does not make it easy for a woman to enter the sacred halls of firearms ownership.

Heck: I would go as far as saying that, in some cases, it is even hard for a woman to cross the threshold of a gun store. It can be intimidating for any newbie to approach what is seemingly a male-only environment as it is. Add to it the fact that we're talking about firearms, with all the reverential fear that society associates with it, and you have a recipe for detachment.
And, yet, women have been joining this incredibly fun world of firearms in drones, lately.
Some say it is a result of the increasingly-high divorce rate, which creates a growing number of single women living with kids, while others say that it simply the fun of going to the range and the consequent word-of-mouth activity that does the trick; whatever the reason, recent studies prove that more and more women own guns.

I feel, sadly, that the market has not kept up with this trend, and for two reason: on one side, it is still hard to find classes where women can feel free to ask questions and learn, with the exception of some great NRA programs and what I recently learn are events and seminars dedicated to women at Sportsman's Warehouse. I meet some women who have grown up using guns. Safety procedures, loading and unloading a gun, posture and recoil control are second nature to them. To Jenn, who lives in a large city in the Northeast, that was not the case. "Simply put," she told me recently, "I don't want to make a fool of myself. So I just postpone learning."

When it comes to product availability, too, our industry makes women face an unfair entry barrier, especially when it comes to shotguns, with length of pull offerings that sometime make shotgun shooting a less-than-enjoyable experience.

The greatest obstacle, however, is visible only when you scratch below the surface. It isn't as prominent and widespread as the other two, but it is a barrier nonetheless. When I ask people "what can this industry do to attract more women?" the answer can lean toward cliches like "pink guns" and "hot men selling guns." This tells me that - in the eyes of some - female gun ownership is still not a legitimate activity.
But do not fear: not all is lost. There are examples like the NRA programs I mentioned above, to help. But help also comes in an easy-to-consume online format. One of my favorite is a website called "Girl's guide to guns." I spoke to Natalie, one of the creators of the website, recently. Natalie wants women to know that there is a serious side, a life-saving one, to gun ownership, but there's a more complex and savory side to it, that is made of social interaction, of meaningful relationships, of team-play, and of the satisfaction of "smoking" a clay or hitting that elusive bullseye at the pistol range. Memories are made, and that is worth all the gunpowder in the world.


Women and guns also
means endless memories
in the field.
 Do you want an example of empowered, cool, gun-toting woman? Look no further than Destinee and her videos. Watch her handle a gun safely and with impressive familiarity and you can see why I think that firearms activities are "the great equalizer." Then, if you're a guy, get in line: you're not the only one who wants to date her!

The truth, if you talk to some neurologists, is that women's brains are better equipped to be good shots: a woman's brain is more able to focus on what's directly in front of them, and can better withstand the repetitive and sometime monotonous patterns of clay shooting without wandering off.

Now: on to you. Are you a woman who shoots? What has been your experience, when you started shooting? Are you a woman who isn't shooting yet? What's holding you back? Are you someone with an opinion on the subject, regardless of your gender? Help us get better at providing the right solution to current and prospective women shooter, and let's make 2012 the year of the gentler, armed sex.

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

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