What would you do if you lost some mobility in your hands?
This brief article is just one example of what I did to accommodate my disability to use my Glock.
Everyone thinks arthritis is for the aged, I'm here to let you in on a secret that Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an Autoimmune disease that effects the joints in anyone at any age! I was diagnosed when I was 13 years old, I am now in my mid 50's. I was informed by my doctors I have already lost more than 50% of my hand strength. I have had 3 surgeries on my hands & elbows and preparing for my 4th in May 2016. After so many years of dealing with this disease and the loss of strength in my hands have caused me to rethink my firearm carry, training and practice.
When faced with any disability everything changes in your life, including self-defense. The things you never thought about and took for granted are no longer in your grasp to perform. There are so many health aide products on the market for many different disabilities: canes, walkers, wheelchairs, transportation chairs, transfer devises, modified vehicles to drive with your hands, modified vans to lift wheelchairs into driver seats, modification to car computer systems for the deaf (they haven't done this for the blind yet, just wait its coming), special gripped kitchen utensils, cups & glasses, hearing aids and sound modifiers, even our smartphones are programmable for hands-free operation in or out of our vehicles. I was unable to find a firearm that is designed for a person with any hand limitations. This brings me to why I love my Glock's!
When I moved from New Jersey (the most unfriendly 2nd amendment state) to Florida (a very friendly 2nd Amendment Stand your ground state), I felt it was time I would defend myself in and out of my home.
My first year in Florida I went to my very first Suncoast Gun Show, and I was in awe, I had my mind set on a sub-compact like a Beretta Nano or Glock 26. I learned to shoot on a .38 special and an ex Philly Police Officer's service revolver. I also was able to use my brother's Glock's 17 & 19, along with his Smith & Wesson .357 magnum. I've rented several others and none felt right like the Glock's do in my hands. During this visit my husband (whom I love dearly and he means well) and the sales person from one of the Florida gun stores had a long conversation, (that I wasn't involved in to say the least.) They decided due to my limitations the best firearm for me would be a Beretta Tomcat .32 ACP. I have to say it was a cute little firearm, not what I wanted though it was already bought and paid for by my darling. (Apparently, it isn't proper to refer to a firearm as "cute", after all it is a weapon) Okay, I hated it! I tried it, I didn't like it at all; the trigger was too hard to pull with no hand/finger strength, it would constantly bruise my hand and it had a kick on the recoil that isn't present on my Glock 26 & 42. After a lot of distraught, misfires, costs to unjam the flip barrel I told my husband it wasn't going to work. Eventually he went to another gun show and brought home a Glock 26, the conceal carry gun I was actually happy with.
Well, sort of happy with it. The factory trigger pull on most firearms, Glock included is 5 lb. Yes, I can pull the trigger but it is difficult to fire multiple shots with the pain in my hands. This led me to consider the following modifications to the Glock 26 with a Ghost trigger and the slide stop extension.
BEFORE, you start modifying any firearm you MUST look into the state laws and repercussions of those modifications, especially the trigger.
Prior to any modifications I spoke with my attorney, she advised me that I should find a physician that is Pro 2nd Amendment (which I already had anyway) and to discuss what I planned to modify and requested he write a letter or statement, have it notarized and keep it on file in her office and a copy somewhere easily accessible by me and my family. This is in preparation if ever engaged in a self-defense incident involving the modified firearm. After all altercations of self-defense involving a shooting the firearm is confiscated and held as evidence for both criminal and/or civil defenses. These attorneys will argue the firearm was modified specifically to kill/harm the assailant. The letter had to state that due to my disability I would have had no other means to defend myself with my own firearm, and other means were out of my ability.
The modifications I made to the Glock 26 consists of: the trigger pull is now a 3.5 lb.
Ghost Ultimate 3.5 Connector Cost: 26.95 + tax (don't forget gunsmiths fee)
Most training facilities such as Front Sight Firearm Training Institute and most competition groups frown upon this modification. If you have followed the advice of your attorney and have a copy of the physician's letter most will make exceptions.
Glock Extension Slide Stop Lever Cost: 17.95 + tax (again don't forget the gunsmith)
The modification to the slide stop lever with an extension making it easier to lock the slide, which is a fine motor skill for those of us with finger limitations.
The Glock Store information states: "The Glock Extended Slide Stop Lever also reduces recovery time for both strong and weak hands."
Eventually even the 26 became too heavy for me to use as everyday carry, so once again hubby decides to help: He then traded the Beretta Tomcat 3032 for a Keltec P-3AT, (yes the guy who bought his wife the Keltec didn't like it so the two of them thought the switch would satisfy both of us. NOT A CHANCE.) The Keltec is basically a Ruger LCP with a different manufacture, the specifications are almost identical. Now, after using my husband's Ruger SC9 it was agreed that I have a tiny bit of a wrist snap that with EVERY SINGLE SHOT of the Ruger it jams, this has happened on every Ruger I have tried. I carry the Keltec only on occasion such as when walking the dogs in the neighborhood. I don't have much fear of 2 legged assailants in the neighborhood, we have 4 legged assailants; coyotes and bobcats roaming around, so the Keltec is fine for the conceal as it is low profile for pocket carry.
The size difference is visible as in this photo:
After this debate with my husband I was able to order a Glock 42 a few months after its release from The Glock Store. Glock 42 is my everyday carry pistol and I love the accuracy of it, even without any modifications. It is light weight so I haven't modified to the pistol, the low recoil profile makes it easier for me to fire with my disability. There was an article called The 42 A Year Later, it described the accuracy of the 42 and how much easier to handle and is becoming very popular among women.
HINT: NEVER BUY ANYONE A FIREARM WITHOUT THEM AGREEING ON IT. IT IS LIKE BUYING SOMEONE A WALLET/PURSE ITS TOO PERSONAL!
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