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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:35 am 
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One of the questions I find myself facing these days, as I age and as the results of decades of punishment I've given my body start to show up in the form of arthritis and loss of range of motion is, "Have I become an unsafe shooter?" If I have, well, then it's time to hand over my guns to someone else that can enjoy them safely.

All my life I've had an odd neurological quirk that causes a slight tremor in my hands that immediately goes away when I concentrate on making them still. It's never affected my shooting ability (I was a Navy Gunner's Mate with expert medals in both pistol and rifle) and never stopped me from doing very delicate work with my hands (apprenticed with a watchmaker for awhile, worked as an electronics tech in the 80s, doing component level repairs, and recently took up silversmithing), but it's something that's always been there for me and which scares the bejesus out of folks sometimes when I'm about to work on something delicate, until they see them settle right down as I start to work with them.

Recently I picked up a new pistol, an EAA SAR B6P, and took it out to a friend's place to break in and get some practice with it. Now, it's been a few years since I did any shooting before this, mostly because of health issues. I blew out a knee (ruptured two tendons) that forced my retirement earlier than I planned, got hit really bad with shingles (that left a lot of nerve damage), and now have bone on bone arthritis in both knees and hips, the beginnings of rheumatoid arthritis in my right hand, and, most recently, severe arthritis in my left shoulder that keeps me from raising the upper arm more than a few degrees (I can still do a lot with the lower arm, just have to be careful not to put too much strain on the shoulder joint unless I want to see stars and spend time on pain killers). So my basic plan was to try shooting with a modified Weaver stance, with the left arm tucked close to the body and the right slightly bent. I wouldn't try this with anything heavier than a 9mm, but I figured I'd be okay with one. Well, turns out I was a lot rustier and shakier than I thought I'd be. At 20' I had trouble getting a 12" group with a full mag, but that gradually improved as I became more familiar with the pistol and tweaked my stance some, but then it quickly deteriorated to the point I couldn't keep steady enough to aim and my shoulder and arm were really aching. With the pain from the shoulder and the knees, I just couldn't concentrate well enough to keep steady. More practice (a lot more - I just bought 500 rounds of practice ammo) is planned, as is some further medical work on the shoulder (just had another MRI on it Monday, and will probably be getting surgery on it soon), so I know I'll improve a lot, but it made me think seriously about when I should give up my guns for safety's sake.

Now, I knew going in that I was going to be really rough after doing no shooting at all for so long, and with the stance and physical limitations, that's why I was shooting at such short range. I'm not expecting to ever again shoot 50 yd. pistol and even hit paper, and I have no illusions at all of engaging a threat at more than about 25' even if it costs me my life because at that range I'm simply not accurate enough to not be a threat to nearby innocents. No, my pistols are for close in, no way to retreat, last-ditch defense, and I will put every round in the target at that range I believe.

So I find myself now questioning at what point in the future should I seriously consider handing over my guns? Or at least handing over my pistols and switching to my shotty for just home defense and not having a carry weapon. I feel like I should set myself some kind of minimum personal standard to reach and maintain to continue to carry (my state does not require veterans to qualify to CCW, and open carry is legal regardless). What kind of minimum should I set for myself, keeping in mind my physical limitations and maximum planned engagement distance?

Just as I want to be a safe and responsible driver, and I am, I also want to be a safe and responsible gun owner, so this is really bugging me right now. I know I can improve, but can I improve enough, and what is "enough"?

:?

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:09 am 
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cold dead hands my friend. cold dead hands. Only then

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:50 am 
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flybynight wrote:
cold dead hands my friend. cold dead hands. Only then

No, not if I'm a danger to innocents around me. That is not acceptable to me.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:26 pm 
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If you cant handle them safely, then its timr. PM me for FFL info :clap:

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:54 pm 
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Don't keep at it if you think you're going to be a risk to others.

My father has Alzheimer's, and the day he turned around with a fully loaded px4, with his finger on the trigger and the barrel pointed right at my gut to tell me it wasn't working (which it was, just a long pull on that first shot) was the moment I knew he wasn't going to be shooting ever again.

On the other hand if you're just a lousy shot, stop carrying until you improve (if you do)...


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:48 pm 
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KJ4VOV wrote:
flybynight wrote:
cold dead hands my friend. cold dead hands. Only then

No, not if I'm a danger to innocents around me. That is not acceptable to me.

As long as your mental faculties are good, never. That's the important bit.
It will tell you when you can shoot safely despite physical issues, and when you can not.
It may be that some day you can't shoot worth a hill of beans past 10 ft, or even arms reach.....and yet that may be a range at which you need to use a gun in extremis.
Other than that, give them to someone you think should have them when you can't pick them up anymore.
Can't shoot that .44Mag anymore, even today? Give it to someone you think should have it. Or sell it. Or prepare it for long term storage and earmark it for your 8 year old grandson/nephew/good kid who lives next door.

As long as that gray muscle between your ears is reliable enough to tell you when you can and cannot perform the task to the minimum standard then keep them. Even an old dog may have one good bite left in him.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:17 pm 
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I agree with some of the above...

If you have the cognitive ability to safely operate a firearm, then it doesn't matter how bad your groupings are.
If you have the motor skills to safely operate a firearm, then it doesn't matter how bad your groups are or how slow you need to shoot.

As long as you can safely practice the safety laws of firearms, then it doesn't matter. Because even a 7 foot group at 50 yards is still downrange. As long as you aren't dropping the gun or firing in the air, then you'll be good no matter how rough shooting can get.

If shooting is a hobby or passion, then it doesn't matter how competitive you are anymore. If you are enjoying yourself, even in spite of discomfort or occasional pain, then that is all that matters.

As many may know on here, I'm currently getting my doctorate in occupational therapy. One of the key things that are rammed into our heads on day one of school is "adapt, modify, and compensate". If you are struggling at your current level, you may need to come up with ideas to either adapt yourself, modify your equipment, or compensate generally for the given activity. Whether that is to sit at a bench and shoot a .22 pistol one handed, or learn to shoot in an unorthodox manner, you have to decide what you wanna do and what's important to you.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:24 pm 
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Worse comes to worst, trade those autos and big bores in for a nice, light .22 revolver or rifle. Heck, even a .38 revolver from a bench has zero recoil, easy to manipulate hammer and trigger, and no slides or levers to manipulate.

I've seen people with arthritic hands that were so contorted that they needed surgery, still be able to load and handle a revolver.

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The girlfriend is a good shot with a 10/22.
Her secondary offense will be nagging.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:10 pm 
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I have no right to tell you what to do, but if I were you I would try long guns first to get the feel back and slowly get back to your preferred gun.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:51 pm 
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I would suggest continuing to shoot in controlled circumstances whatever you enjoy shooting and carrying/using for defensive purposes what you feel comfortable using. I have seen older people getting a lot of satisfaction shooting and I have seen a lot of dangerous idiots. You don't sound like an idiot. Maybe just shoot the challenging firearms when you have time to plan doing it most safely?

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:08 pm 
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KJ4VOV wrote:
flybynight wrote:
cold dead hands my friend. cold dead hands. Only then

No, not if I'm a danger to innocents around me. That is not acceptable to me.


then you hand them on when you feel its time, or when the paperwork gets too complicated, or when the USA changes its gun laws to be more on par with other countries (like that'll ever happen), or when your doctor tells you to, or when the police tell you to.

you are a responsible gun owner, its your call

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:15 pm 
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w3rdtoyamama wrote:
If you cant handle them safely, then its timr. PM me for FFL info :clap:


As his 'son' I get the guns first! :mrgreen:

Seriously, though KJ. As has been said by many people in this thread- as long as you still have the mental ability (which clearly you do) I see no need for you to give up your guns.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:50 pm 
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Hiroshima_Morphine wrote:
w3rdtoyamama wrote:
If you cant handle them safely, then its timr. PM me for FFL info :clap:


As his 'son' I get the guns first! :mrgreen:

Seriously, though KJ. As has been said by many people in this thread- as long as you still have the mental ability (which clearly you do) I see no need for you to give up your guns.

You'll have a heck of a fight on your hands Hiro, should you ever try to claim 'em against my wife's wishes. :rofl:

She's the one that paid for them, and heck, her name is on all the paperwork for the last one. Until my SSI kicks in, her paycheck is what pays the bills around here, including the ammo bill and the range time when I go to the range.

Thanks to everyone for their opinions on this. I tend to agree with the majority, that as long as I have my wits about me I'll know when it's unsafe and act appropriately. I just needed to hear it from others, to be sure I wasn't fooling myself with some wishful thinking. And should I lose my good sense, my wife is both big enough and strong enough to take 'em away from me and keep 'em away. (Don't mess with Northern Idaho women. They get mean.)

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:40 pm 
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It may be time to switch your emphasis to benched longarms from pistols where a bad case of the shakes isn't going to send a bullet off the side of the range. I know a lot of bowhunters who switched to crossbows with Steddyeddy rests (short monopod with a ball foot) after old age and years of heavy bows caught up with them.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:13 pm 
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It sounds you are more worried about hurting others my phone has been freaking out so I couldn't tell if you were talking about CCW. If you're aware that you may not be a good shotdue to health issues I would say perhaps keep the gun at home. A bad shot when trying to protect yourself may do more harm than good, and could cost you lots of money/time.

But, the fact that you KNOW you are not as good as you once were. Means your noggin is on straight and there for should definitely keep the pew pews. Perhaps a smaller caliber if you CCW for more control. Or pick up long arm shooting at the range.

Either way, it dems you are a long way from having to give up your guns.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:18 pm 
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I would point out we all have good days, bad days and terrible days.
Don't make the decision based upon a single data point of one instance.

You should get some snap caps and spend some time dry firing the firearm. This would be quite safe and if you do it for a while it will give you some new data points. It is possible to retrain your muscles to adjust newer issues.

I also agree that a long arm may be preferable if not now then later.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:20 pm 
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Halfapint wrote:
Perhaps a smaller caliber if you CCW for more control.


There's limits though to how small you can go and still have effective and reliable stopping power. For me, I feel that lower limit is the 9x19 Luger (preferably using Federal HST rounds), so I really wouldn't want to go lower than that. Yes, I know a .380 (which is just a 9x17mm) can be a good manstopper at times, but I personally don't feel it's a reliable manstopper. And yes, my PMR-30 would probably do the job, it's gonna take a lot of shots, each one of which can go awry. No, I feel better a 9mm double tap than a .22 WMR fusillade. Less chance of a stray flyer hitting an innocent.

I'll stick with my 9mm for now, practice as often as I can afford, and see what happens from there.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:25 pm 
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KJ4VOV wrote:
Halfapint wrote:
Perhaps a smaller caliber if you CCW for more control.


There's limits though to how small you can go and still have effective and reliable stopping power. For me, I feel that lower limit is the 9x19 Luger (preferably using Federal HST rounds), so I really wouldn't want to go lower than that. Yes, I know a .380 (which is just a 9x17mm) can be a good manstopper at times, but I personally don't feel it's a reliable manstopper. And yes, my PMR-30 would probably do the job, it's gonna take a lot of shots, each one of which can go awry. No, I feel better a 9mm double tap than a .22 WMR fusillade. Less chance of a stray flyer hitting an innocent.

I'll stick with my 9mm for now, practice as often as I can afford, and see what happens from there.

That reminds me of one of my favorite quotes " BETTER TO BE MISSED BY A .45 THAN HIT BY A .22 "

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:32 pm 
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flybynight wrote:
That reminds me of one of my favorite quotes " BETTER TO BE MISSED BY A .45 THAN HIT BY A .22 "

When I lived in NYC I had a friend of mine who had 9 .22s still in his arm under the skin years after a drive-by sprayed him. Unless they hit just right they'll hurt like a mother but probably won't kill you.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:51 pm 
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You're the only one that can know when it's time. Try to be objective.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:40 am 
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@KJ- I wouldn't try to claim your guns against yours or my 'step-moms' will. :lol:

I was just replying to W3 that if you need FFL info from any other ZSers so you can transfer the guns, it should be my FFL since I'm your 'son'.

But like I said- it's not time for that. And I would actually rather them go to your real son and grand sons if you have any.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:56 am 
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KJ4VOV wrote:
flybynight wrote:
That reminds me of one of my favorite quotes " BETTER TO BE MISSED BY A .45 THAN HIT BY A .22 "

When I lived in NYC I had a friend of mine who had 9 .22s still in his arm under the skin years after a drive-by sprayed him. Unless they hit just right they'll hurt like a mother but probably won't kill you.

How did he get hit 9 times in the arm? Was it a fully auto gun? Why would he leave the bullets in his arm?
BTW, many deer and hogs have been killed with a .22---I'm sure humans,too


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:34 am 
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gundogs wrote:
KJ4VOV wrote:
flybynight wrote:
That reminds me of one of my favorite quotes " BETTER TO BE MISSED BY A .45 THAN HIT BY A .22 "

When I lived in NYC I had a friend of mine who had 9 .22s still in his arm under the skin years after a drive-by sprayed him. Unless they hit just right they'll hurt like a mother but probably won't kill you.

How did he get hit 9 times in the arm? Was it a fully auto gun? Why would he leave the bullets in his arm?
BTW, many deer and hogs have been killed with a .22---I'm sure humans,too

As I said, it was a drive-by, so no idea what gun was used, but he had 9 .22 shaped pieces of something under the skin on his right arm. According to him, the docs said they weren't worth digging out. That's all I know.

(And no, it doesn't make any sense to me that they'd leave them in, but then again, this was not in the US)

A .22 may kill a deer or hog now and then but is far from being a good round for deer or hog hunting. I know a few hunters who've taken a deer and found old wounds and bullets lodged in them, including .22 LR type bullets and on up into .30 caliber. Bullets are funny things sometimes. Every now and then one will do something you'd think would be impossible, and other times not do something you can't imagine it failing at. I've seen 3" AP shells ricochet off 55 gallon drums and go straight up in the air, a 9mm JHP lodged in a thin wallet and a .25 ACP FMJ go in through an eye socket and kill a guy.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:52 am 
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I can only imagine all of the things that go into a round impacting it's target. :ohdear:

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