Many times I have heard people (gun store employees, instructors, shooters) say that women don’t have the hand strength to rack a slide, they should try a revolver. Really? A slide averages about 18 pounds of pull to rack it, that is with your whole hand. A Double Action revolver trigger is often around 12 pounds of pull, with the tip of one finger. I’ll take the slide, please! My hand gets tired pulling the trigger on a revolver.
But what can you do? First, ensure you have the right position, gun in close to the chest, support hand cupped over the top of the slide, and use a push / pull motion, pushing forward with the strong hand while pulling with the support hand. I’ve had students take a while to catch on but never had one who couldn’t do it. Racking it comfortably is another factor, for that, yes, you want to build up your hand strength.
I love the GripMaster, a hand strengthening exerciser. It has four pads for your fingers so you can isolate one or work them all. It is available in tensions from three pounds to 11 pounds, with a couple in-between. I keep one in my car and have been known to squeeze it at stoplights. I have one at home that I use during commercials. Some people use a heavy rubber ring, a stress ball or a tennis ball. The point is to work your muscles and build the strength in your hand. When whatever you are using becomes too easy it is time to move to the next tension.
The exercises not only help with your trigger finger, they strengthen your whole hand, which helps you stabilize your grip on the gun (that is why you need to work BOTH hands). This may also be beneficial if you have arthritis or carpal tunnel (but check with your Doctor first). A side benefit is a firm handshake. Just call me “Crusher”.
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