Earlier this year, I added yet another part of my aging body to the list of hurts and complaints. My wrists began to feel stiff and painful, and I had to admit that Carpal Tunnel Syndrome apparently is a real thing. I am already challenged by a set of appendages that are notoriously short with rather svelte paws. I have significantly damaged both hands in my career, my left hand goes numb regularly from scar tissue and the fingers can barely turn a key. My dominant hand was broken twice and I am sure a career playing piano is not going to be in my future. You may be asking yourself why is this relevant to firearms?
Our fingers, especially their ability to smoothly pull the trigger without disturbing the sights, are hugely important in becoming accurate shooters. Unless you’re a rock climber or practicing martial arts, chances are you do not actively work out your fingers. When I complained of stiffness and pain to my yoga teacher, she gave me some great suggestions that I found improved my trigger control. A few simple exercises can help increase dexterity and isolate each of the fingers from each other. A small advantage maybe, but any advantage you get in a gunfight is one to use. I am not discussing grip itself, hand position or trigger finger placement. All of which could be articles in themselves. The goal is to isolate the trigger finger itself from the whole.
Isolating our trigger finger from the rest is difficult. Our hands are poorly designed as tools for fine motor skill, especially under stress. Those who regularly practice complicated tasks like typing (at least for me) or playing instruments already have accomplished the same idea. A few processes are involved; one is the process of Myelination, the other is the tendon sheath keeping the tendons themselves lubricated and flexible. I am not a doctor, or even a manicurist, so my explanation focuses on how the tendons affect us. To read about Myelin and how it affects motor learning, click on the link. The tendons on the back of our hands all come together at the wrist in an area called the Carpal Tunnel, and in simple terms since they are bunched together, the signals telling you to move one finger cross over to the other digits.
We like to think that our fingers are precision tools, but only in certain ways. While they work in concert with the thumb individually to hold small objects, they are somewhat less precise with each other. When we move one finger, the signals cross and the other fingers move as well. Age, injury and lack of physical exercise can compound this. Often this is caused by inflammation of the tendon sheaths surrounding each tendon. The inflammation causes lack of lubrication on the tendon and restricts flexibility. Additionally, power is generated in the forearms so if we tense there it translates to the fingers. Try this for yourself, hold your hand vertical with all the fingers extended, but slightly relaxed, Try just curling your pointer or trigger finger and see how much the other fingers move. You can also feel your forearm flex. Read More >>
Posted by Aegis Academy Staff.