Small Paws?

After a run to the fun-range, I tend to pull out my copy of the NRA handgun shooter’s guide and see what new error I’m committing. The other evening I was looking closely at grips (how one holds the handgun) and cleaning of firearms illustrations and realized something.

Either the people in the photos are all holding .22s or smaller, or I have small paws. Because there is no way I can put my fingers there and still have my palm down there.

I checked with my usual, my .22 revolver, and my snub-nosed revolver. Nope, it seems that I have small paws. Not that I ever doubted this, because my hands are in proportion with the rest of me, and I’m of below average stature. In fact, the other morning, even bouncing up and down was not enough to help me reach the bottle of pop waaaaaay back on the row, top shelf, at the pop-stop. It was not going to leave with me, despite all my undignified efforts.

What it does mean is that instead of “wrap your hands around the grip and put your thumbs there,” I just adjust and keep in mind that the good news is I’m less likely to get bitten by certain infamous firearms. I can still get zinged if I’m not careful, and I have to make double-dog-certain that the back-strap on the grip really is “buried” in my right palm, but the webbing between my thumb and palm is nowhere near the danger zone on a semi-auto.

I also giggled at the “run the bore brush through the barrel from the breech end.” Ah, unless someone finds an offset bore brush, or I use a cutting torch to remove part of the frame, that’s not going to happen with my revolvers.

Improvise, adapt, overcome, and don’t buy more of that Czech stuff that for some reason doesn’t want to allow the cylinder to rotate properly unless I practically use a ramrod on it when I load the cylinder. (I suspect the tolerance is just a smidgen more tolerant on the ammo than on the firearm.)


20 thoughts on “Small Paws?

  1. As a male of medium height and in-scale hand size, I’ve found that grip is easier on a revolver than a semiauto anyway because the grip is so far behind the cylinder. Both hands on the grip, and make sure no fingers are near the front end of the cylinder. No need to worry about exact placement of each finger.

    As for how to use a bore brush on a revolver — my answer is “don’t use a bore brush at all.” 🙂 I bought a BoreSnake for my .22 revolver. It can easily be run through the barrel from the bore end, and it seems (in my limited experience) to do just as good a job of cleaning as a bore brush does.

    • I use Hoppes-soaked cleaning patches on the rod, and it seems to do the job. Follow up with a clean, dry patch, and all is well.

  2. Heh. A youthful misadventure (read: stupidity + surgical reconstruction) means my left arm is about four inches shorter then my right.
    So I shoot from a *modified* Weaver to have a natural point of aim where it should be, instead of about 20 degrees to port.
    There is a certain variety of Marksmanship instructor that is incapable of accepting that rules have exceptions. Yes, I realize my stance is unorthodox. Yes, I realize that everything starts with the foundation. No, it won’t work for me. Here, let me show you. No, that did not feel better. Very aggrevating.

    • The best stance is the one that works for you. The best technique is the one that works for you.
      The majority of people cannot think beyond the check list. This includes instructor and syllabus.

    • The stances come and go. Teacup, isoseles, Weaver, and probably others I’ve missed.

      I learned to shoot from a book; US Army FM 23-35. The Army didn’t hold with any of that two-handed stuff; if they had intended you to shoot a pistol with both hands, they would have put two handles on it.

      I do *slightly* better with a Weaver or isosceles stance, but I like to see the “instructors” grit their teeth and get red in the face.

    • Argle bargle and a gasoline gargle. Due to some minor congenital issue, my right hoof is “pigeon toed” by nature, and standing perfectly hoof-forward is *painful* after a while. Guess what group photographers who [URINATE] time away always want? If you guessed, “to be rightly gored” you’re mighty close.

  3. (Looks at L – XL paws, nods in agreement). Explains why I have the opposite trouble with some revolvers and with small autos. Not enough to grip.

    I need to work with a good instructor on rifle. Shoulder injury and rehab make it awkward to lift and steady. Good reminder, Luke and McChuck.

    • I have big hands and long fingers, and I still can’t push the mag release on a 1911 with my right thumb. Fortunately it’s not a problem to use my left index finger when shooting with the proper hand.

      I gave a friend a Pattern 17 Enfield rifle a few days ago. He was showing a picture of it to his wife, and his daughter announced that she totally wanted a rifle like that. She’d been brought up with guns, been hunting before, knows how to dress out rabbits and squirrels, but had showed no particular interest in guns-as-guns before.

      So, being a proper father, the rifle is now hers.

      The problem is, she’s eight years old and weighs less than 60 pounds. The Pattern 17, loaded, weighs 10 pounds. She’ll have to shoot it from a bench rest. And the .30-06 was the most powerful cartridge the Army figured a fit adult male would reasonably be expected to handle. I sent him a link for .223 sabots and loading data. He can load down to whatever she can handle as far as recoil.

      The package hasn’t gotten to him yet, so maybe she’ll go “eeew!” and lose interest. Otherwise, he’s going to have to find another Pattern 17…

  4. The revolver I carry – when I first determined I could shoot it, the grips were way too fat. It was awkward to hold. My darling husband kept trying smaller and smaller grips, until he got to the bottom of the box of “things guns came with that I can’t use / are stupid but I can’t throw away.”
    And there, sitting at the very bottom, were a pair of “ludicrously small grips.” He put those on, and handed it to me, and I said, “Oh! it fits nicely!”

  5. Yep, grips on revolvers can be changed. The stance that is best is the one that works FOR YOU, not for somebody else or the instructor… sigh…

  6. 1. You can ask for help with the bottle of pop. Retail likes sales, and they can’t sell things if the customer can’t get them. Also a good way to meet guys who are shopping.

    2. If there are no retail or layperson helpers around, there is usually something else being sold in a gas station/convenience store/dollar store which involves a long stick and/or a hook. My personal favorite for high shelves is a broomstick and a gentle nudge, although I’m not sure that would work with a two-liter. Anyway, all’s fair in love and shopping, and retail likes sales. Just don’t let the two-liter fall and break, because cleanup on aisle 12 is no fun.

    3. If you can’t find a stick/hook, obviously the Almighty doesn’t mean you to have it; and either it’s poisoned, it’s meant for someone else, or you should offer it up. Sigh.

    • 4. I forgot rope/string things. Jumprope or electrical cords, for instance. If you can get it behind something on a tall shelf and hold onto both ends, you can draw the thing forward.

      5. If the shelf is not a full shelf, you can push it forward through the crack between wall and shelf. Or if the shelf is made of interspersed bars, you can walk and squiggle it forward with your fingers.

      6. Of course, the trick is to do these things without inadvertently destroying the packaging on your helper item, or bringing the desired item down on one’s head.

      7. I miss department store hanger hooksticks. Grocery stores have much more dangerous-looking hooksticks for moving cardboard boxes, but they are concealed behind the scenes, away from grocery customers and dangerous/larcenous/non-returning-in-timely-manner coworkers.

      • It happened at least two or three times at work, and that was from a _low_ shelf, about knee-high. I think the bottles have a little less leeway than there used to be, or the plastic is a little different.

        I’ve also shattered plastic soup containers (there’s a two-pack at work, and those things used to hold fine if you dropped them). If they land flat on the floor, they shatter, whether it’s the lid or the bottom. Bad, bad packaging.

        • I think it’s related to the BPA free craze, I notice the baby bottles/kid cups pre and post fad are massively different. (As in, I’ve got ones from our eldest that are in better condition than the new ones.)

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