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Arthritis/Calcium Build-up Prevents Proper Grip

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(Updated to reflect better information - I went down some wrong paths in my initial post)

About 25 years ago I started developing an arthritic condition. It was slow and gradual,
with the most prominent problems being a very large calcium build-up in my right thumb
joint and a significant reduction in the ability of both wrists to flex or rotate in any axis
(probably about 90% loss of movement). Just one of those things I've lived with. No
pain - just loss of mobility.

Picture 1 ( gives you an idea what I am dealing
with. As you can see, my index finger and thumb on my right hand form a 'V', whereas my
left hand (and that of most people) forms a 'U' when trying to put the two digits parallel to
each other.

About a year ago I finally got around to acquiring and training with firearms, with my choice
of a handgun the Glock 17. I'm not lucky enough to have any gun shops within a 100-mile
radius that also have ranges that allow customers to try guns out, so I made my decision
based on reading (looking for reliability) plus what seemed to feel good in my hand at the
time in the store.

Firing it a few times proved that I had some work to do. Accuracy was way off, plus I was
having a lot of rounds stovepipe. I decided to pick up a used Smith & Wesson 22A to train
with, as missing targets with .22LR was a lot cheaper than missing with 9mm! So I didn't
use the Glock much of last year.

The past few months I've been looking at it closer, and discovered that the problems with
my hands were not allowing me to properly grip the gun. As can be seen in Picture 2
(, when I try to use the Glock indentations on the grip
to guide the thumb and index finger, my hand is not positioned flush under the Glock's limited
beaver tail - there is around a 1/2-inch gap there. That is the obvious cause of the stovepiping
as the gun flips a bit.

In addition, although not visible in these photos, the gun then follows the path of the thumb
and calcium deposits (since they provide the greatest resistance), so it twists to the left.
Because of the limited flexibility of my wrists, I can't twist my wrist to the right to compensate,
nor can I properly change the alignment of my body and shoulders to compensate either. And
if I try to move my thumb a little bit behind the backstrap, that rotates my entire hand, so now
my index finger is too far forward and too far into the trigger area. Plus I still have the gap under
the beavertail.

Someone suggested I try a single-stack gun to see if that works. Personally I'd like to stick
to the Glock platform as my wife has one as well, and we already have a number of magazines
and accessories. I'd hate to give some of them up and switch to a "mouse gun". But it might
be interesting to see what happens with that 1/4-inch or so narrower overall grip.

So I'm getting the impression that possibly all that might need to be done is for me to get
a Timber Wolf from Lone Wolf Distributors when it is released (since I'd like to keep the stock
Glock frame should I ever sell the gun one day). As many of you are probably aware, it
incorporates a lot of the changes being made by grip reducers. Having the 1911-style grip
may be a bit of an improvement, but the big thumb joint would still be a problem. Then
I can have someone make the thumb indentation on the left side of the grip continued through
to the backside of the grip. That would allow that calcium deposit to find a place to rest plus
make the grip more of the V-shape that my hands make. I'd probably need the beavertail
lowered as well, almost as much as to where the top of the grip safety is on a 1911.

Of course, how much material is behind the grip that could be shaved down without weakening
the frame is a big question.

Has anyone ever run across anyone with a similar problem and, if so, what kind of custom
grip work was done to allow them to hold a firearm properly?
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fconx,my wife had a similar problem due to an old injury to her wrist. We went the range and she shot both glocks that we had along with a M&P and my 1911. She could not stay on target
well enough with the glocks and the M&P for her satisfaction , but when she shot the 1911 she was right on with no discomfort. Needless to say now she is claiming the 1911 for herself.
Maybe it was just an excuse to lay claim to my 1911, but what the heck it's still in the household!

Hi Guy,

I know you want to stick with the Glock, but a single stack might be in order for you.

What is the primary purpose of the firearm. If it is home defense, a shotgun might be in order. A 9mm carbine that takes Glock mags such as a Kel-Tec sub 2000 might be a fun range gun for both you and your wife.

If you want to stick with a semi-auto 9mm a single-stack might be the best option (I used to work in orthopedics a very long time ago). I would suggest taking the long trip to a shop with a range and rent something.
I think you need to go to a very large gun shop. with a big selection. explain to the sales person your problem. Start trying differnt guns. Have you held the G-36 glock single stack 45 acp ? might work for you with out any frame modifactions. then if you can fire the ones you like on there rental range , this can be a big help on making your mind up. you can sell or trade your g-17
Man that hurts just looking at the picture ....
Man that hurts just looking at the picture ....
Yeah, God bless you sir. There are lots of companies out there doing custom grip work unfortunately I have never used any of them myself and cant speak for their work. I would suggest trying a google search using key words. Get a phone number for a few of them and call them. I don't know of anything else that might help. I'm sorry
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