Arthritis making it hard to run the XD slide

ken55ken55 Senior MemberPosts: 781 Senior Member
Depressing - last night I was arming up to take my family to an event in downtown Colorado Springs. Put on the holster and reached for my old reliable XD, which is my go-to piece for CCW. As I ran the slide to chamber a round, I found I had trouble gripping the slide with my left hand tightly enough to rack it quickly. That made me wonder whether I would be able to clear a malfunction in a tense situation and that made me wonder whether I should even be carrying the thing anymore. I tested myself with some of my other semiautos and had the same problem, although the 1911s were the easiest for me to rack. So, is it time for a wheel gun to be the main CCW or is there another solution?
«1

Replies

  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 18,841 Senior Member
    Only thing I can think of is to possibly get either one of the spring, or rubber grip strength "thingies" and try to increase your grip strength
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • ken55ken55 Senior Member Posts: 781 Senior Member
    knitepoet wrote: »
    Only thing I can think of is to possibly get either one of the spring, or rubber grip strength "thingies" and try to increase your grip strength

    Thanks, but I've been doing that for the last two years in trying to deal with the joint deterioration. Even had the PT folks at the USAF Academy clinic working on it. Doc says at some point there is just no way to reverse the damage. Unfortunately, the worst of it is in my left index finger and thumb, probably because of an old injury to that hand. I've been trying to use the other three fingers gripping against the palm of my hand to rack the slide and that works fairly well but it's not as quick or as secure as I would like it to be. I think I'm going to go back to the J-frame, at least unless and until the hand gets better or stronger. Getting older sure ain't for sissies.
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,099 Senior Member
    Try skateboard tape on the top of ths slide where you grab it. It may give a bit more grip and allow you to run the slide better.
    Overkill is underrated.
  • ken55ken55 Senior Member Posts: 781 Senior Member
    Try skateboard tape on the top of ths slide where you grab it. It may give a bit more grip and allow you to run the slide better.

    Great idea - I'll try that. Thanks.
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,099 Senior Member
    Not my idea. Read about some pro shooters doing it.
    Overkill is underrated.
  • ken55ken55 Senior Member Posts: 781 Senior Member
    cpj wrote: »
    Its not a good soloution but can you grip the gun with your left hand and run the slide with your right hand? At least you could get it loaded and ready that way.

    It's a good thought - I can get the XD ready to carry but I'm concerned about trying to clear a malfunction. Switching hands might do the trick. I practice left-handed shooting once in a while, too, and the index finger seems okay for trigger work. The pistol has never malfunctioned with any factory ammo anyway so maybe I should just not worry about it.

    As an aside, I asked my PT doc for some ideas. He got this blank look and asked "Why do you need a gun anyway?" Military doc, too. I decided I wouldn't try to explain.
  • Diver43Diver43 Senior Member Posts: 8,657 Senior Member
    My wife has the same issue, she now carries a J-Frame revolver. SW431PD in .32Mag.
    Logistics cannot win a war, but its absence or inadequacy can cause defeat. FM100-5
  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 2,163 Senior Member
    ken55 wrote: »
    Depressing - last night I was arming up to take my family to an event in downtown Colorado Springs. Put on the holster and reached for my old reliable XD, which is my go-to piece for CCW. As I ran the slide to chamber a round, I found I had trouble gripping the slide with my left hand tightly enough to rack it quickly. That made me wonder whether I would be able to clear a malfunction in a tense situation and that made me wonder whether I should even be carrying the thing anymore. I tested myself with some of my other semiautos and had the same problem, although the 1911s were the easiest for me to rack. So, is it time for a wheel gun to be the main CCW or is there another solution?

    Try the ideas suggested.

    But if you're starting to have doubts then it's time for a wheelgun with a New York reload on the side. Personal defense requires a measure of confidence.

    jmho
    Beware of false knowledge -- it is often more dangerous than ignorance.
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 15,049 Senior Member
    Are you running the slide by "pinching and pulling"? or otherwise--describe how you perform the evolution...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 23,966 Senior Member
    ken55 wrote: »
    Depressing - . So, is it time for a wheel gun to be the main CCW or is there another solution?
    Yes and get one in .327
    A Veteran is someone that served in the Military, it does not matter where they served.
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,650 Senior Member
    I'm betting that you can develop a technique that will work for you, by holding the gun flat against your chest and using the whole left hand to grip the slide, and pushing with the right. You have probably already been doing that, but there may be some variations of that and some of the other advice that might work.
  • EliEli Senior Member Posts: 3,074 Senior Member
    Ken, check out this vid and other "one hand operation" vids on youtube.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMx_1_tbLdI


    In this video he is using the grip tape on the slide to rack the slide on his blue jeans, but you can also use the rear sight to rack the slide on you holster, belt, pocket, or any other stable surface in immediate reach.
  • cappy54cappy54 Member Posts: 269 Member
    Just push and pull it should help, meaning pushing on the frame while pulling on the slide. hope it works
  • ken55ken55 Senior Member Posts: 781 Senior Member
    Jayhawker wrote: »
    Are you running the slide by "pinching and pulling"? or otherwise--describe how you perform the evolution...

    "Pinch and pull" hasn't been possible for a couple of years. I always use the "accordion squeeze" method - grip slide with whole left hand and push against the right hand.
  • ken55ken55 Senior Member Posts: 781 Senior Member
    Eli wrote: »
    Ken, check out this vid and other "one hand operation" vids on youtube.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMx_1_tbLdI


    In this video he is using the grip tape on the slide to rack the slide on his blue jeans, but you can also use the rear sight to rack the slide on you holster, belt, pocket, or any other stable surface in immediate reach.

    That video is interesting and right on point. I'm going to get some grip tape tomorrow and practice with it. Thanks for the help, Eli.
  • ken55ken55 Senior Member Posts: 781 Senior Member
    bisley wrote: »
    I'm betting that you can develop a technique that will work for you, by holding the gun flat against your chest and using the whole left hand to grip the slide, and pushing with the right. You have probably already been doing that, but there may be some variations of that and some of the other advice that might work.

    That is what I've done for the past couple of years, ever since this problem with the left paw got bad. I'll try a combination of the other tips and keep working on it. Worst case is that the old J-frame comes out of retirement or I use this as an excuse to buy a Ruger LCR.
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Ken, I'm having the same type of problems myself. My arthritis is limiting my arm and hand strength.

    For me, it's not the grip but the actual racking of the slide that's now becoming difficult. I can still do it for my XD and XDM .45s but eventually I won't be able to. Sigh. There are some kind suggestions here but exercise with squeeze springs or balls will not do the job -- the problem is organically inside the joints and not muscular. I can't use my Bowflex much these days due to the limited capacity of my arms, and no amount of exercise will improve the situation.

    So in my case there is no solution that grip tape or switching hands will fix.

    Thankfully my 1911s, with weaker springs, are a lot easier and I can handle them just fine. I like wheelguns too, and have several, but when I'm no longer able to rack a 1911, that will be a sad day.

    Good luck with your medical condition.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • ken55ken55 Senior Member Posts: 781 Senior Member
    samzhere wrote: »
    Ken, I'm having the same type of problems myself. My arthritis is limiting my arm and hand strength.

    For me, it's not the grip but the actual racking of the slide that's now becoming difficult. I can still do it for my XD and XDM .45s but eventually I won't be able to. Sigh. There are some kind suggestions here but exercise with squeeze springs or balls will not do the job -- the problem is organically inside the joints and not muscular. I can't use my Bowflex much these days due to the limited capacity of my arms, and no amount of exercise will improve the situation.

    So in my case there is no solution that grip tape or switching hands will fix.

    Thankfully my 1911s, with weaker springs, are a lot easier and I can handle them just fine. I like wheelguns too, and have several, but when I'm no longer able to rack a 1911, that will be a sad day.

    Good luck with your medical condition.

    Thanks, Sam. I appreciate your note although I'm sorry to hear that you are experiencing the same thing. Until the arthritis thing happened to me, I didn't realize how challenging simple things can get. It's odd that I can still manage the slides on my 1911s just fine. I was practicing racking and dry-firing my OACP and had no trouble at all with it. Ditto for the other 1911s. The Beretta is easier than the XD, too. It must be a combination of the slide surfaces and the spring strength, I guess. I'm going to try the grip tape and I'll let you know how/if works out. Thanks again.
  • Virginia BoyVirginia Boy Member Posts: 213 Member
    I have one of the early XD9s, with the stainless slide, and it is so slick that I
    can't rack it from the rear, so I grab it at the front, between my left thumb & the joint
    of my index finger, nearest my hand, careful not to get in front of the bore.
    This way, I can hold with left and push with my right , or vice versa.
    Rights and freedoms, won with patriot's blood,
    shall not be taken away, by ink from a tyrant's pen.
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    The term "arthritis" covers many types of skeletal/frame problems. Some versions of the disease only increase stiffness of joints -- that's the most common type. Modest exercise can help this but keeping the joints more flexible and assisting in muscle tone.

    Other types, however, affect the long muscles of the body as well as joints. That's the kind I have, a fairly uncommon genetic disorder (thanks to my Jewish ancestry). In my case, my long muscles actually atrophy a bit, over the years. And no, exercise doesn't alleviate the problem. The muscles simply cannot grow stronger and exercises just makes you tired without any improvement. Pain but no gain.

    Luckily, my problem seems to have leveled out in the past few years and although my legs/hips don't straighten and I hobble like a duck, very little pain and no loss of strength for a long time. Maybe it's run its course, as some diseases do.

    Anyway, back to the subject... for my specific condition, no amount of exercise increases my muscle strength. So the well meant suggestions for squeezing grips, etc, are just not applicable. However that's probably not the case for most arthritic conditions.

    For me also, it's not the grip surface -- my hand doesn't slip, I simply cannot compress the slide and other springs enough, at times. Right now, for my XD and XDM .45s, it's about 1/5 the time that I just cannot rack it. As this might slowly get worse, I'll probably find a buyer for them and turn the cash into a compact 1911. As for my 1911s, right now I have no problems but I can't do it unless I get a good solid grip and use the "hands facing" method, where you push with both arms toward each other. When I'm tired I'll first cock the hammer and then the slide is easy. Unfortunately that's not an option with striker-fired pistols.

    So Ken, I'd give it a try, mild exercise with a squeeze ball or spring grips, and get a pair of cheap dumbells and do some gentle lifting, see if that helps. Keep up the shooting, regardless.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Just had a new thought (duh)...

    Do compact pistols have slightly lighter slide springs than the same type pistol in full size? If so, Ken might consider switching to a compact XD/XDM model or some other smaller frame auto.

    This of course is only applicable if smaller versions of the same pistols have slightly lighter slide springs.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • ken55ken55 Senior Member Posts: 781 Senior Member
    samzhere wrote: »
    So Ken, I'd give it a try, mild exercise with a squeeze ball or spring grips, and get a pair of cheap dumbells and do some gentle lifting, see if that helps. Keep up the shooting, regardless.

    Thanks, Sam. I appreciate your kind thoughts. Unfortunately, I've been working with the PT team for about two years and the joint problem in my left hand has deteriorated to the point where strengthening the muscles no longer helps. I've done the squeeze balls and the other exercises consistently for all that time. Now, I've got a strong grip when closing the three outer fingers but I can't get much of a grip between my index finger and thumb or between the other fingers and the thumb. The doc tells me it's not unusual for the condition to be so localized but that it will inevitably affect the rest of the joints as well. My attitude is that if I cannot overcome it, I'll just adapt to it.
  • ken55ken55 Senior Member Posts: 781 Senior Member
    samzhere wrote: »
    Just had a new thought (duh)...

    Do compact pistols have slightly lighter slide springs than the same type pistol in full size? If so, Ken might consider switching to a compact XD/XDM model or some other smaller frame auto.

    This of course is only applicable if smaller versions of the same pistols have slightly lighter slide springs.

    Another good thought, Sam. The gun budget says I have to try to make it work with what I've already got but I'm going to stop by my favorite LGS and see how some of the other S/As work for me. As I may have already said, if I have to I can just go back to the old S&W J-frame - which I shoot well and is dead reliable - or use one of the 1911s, probably my OACP. It's a heavy little sucker but I have it already and it's an effective piece for PD.
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,099 Senior Member
    Usually compact pistols have a heavier recoil spring than those found in full-size models, as the compact has a lighter slide which both has a higher slide velocity and less mass for slide lockup. A heavier spring is needed both to keep the slide locked up longer, and to slow down the the slide mass such that its cycling is not faster than the magazine can feed.
    Overkill is underrated.
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 9,724 Senior Member
    Eli wrote: »
    but you can also use the rear sight to rack the slide on you holster, belt, pocket, or any other stable surface in immediate reach.

    This^

    Upgrade the rear sight to be one you can rack on a holster lip and go from there.
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    Remind me again, what's your XD chambered in? If it's a .40 or .45 trade it in for a 9mm. Weaker spring and just as effective... Ok I'm braced for the ****.gif

    As usual, you are spot on, with today's modern ammo, and as Bigslug has pointed out many times, today's 9mm has potential.
    "There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you, the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say, you do not improve with age. Founding member of the G&A forum since 1996
  • ken55ken55 Senior Member Posts: 781 Senior Member
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    Remind me again, what's your XD chambered in? If it's a .40 or .45 trade it in for a 9mm. Weaker spring and just as effective... Ok I'm braced for the ****.gif

    It's a 9mm but I gotta admire your courage for making such a suggestion. Did you really just start another 9mm vs everything else thread? :popcorn:
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Usually compact pistols have a heavier recoil spring than those found in full-size models, as the compact has a lighter slide which both has a higher slide velocity and less mass for slide lockup. A heavier spring is needed both to keep the slide locked up longer, and to slow down the the slide mass such that its cycling is not faster than the magazine can feed.

    Thanks for the info, bream. I really didn't know so I was just speculating. My only compact pistols nowdays are my Glock 30 and 36, and I can rack those slides okay. But I do struggle with the XD and XDM. All of these are .45acp.

    Regarding using the holster edge or some other thing to brace against (as was suggested), sure, if you're taking your time and so on. But Ken was originally asking about a shooting situation, where he'd need to clear the action in a hurry.

    Totally agree -- if the gun cannot be handled for self defense with any reliable physical manner, it's actually worse than not having it. This is why I'm only using handguns for SD, not really being able to handle a long gun that quickly. But I can sure as hell pick up my XD and pull that trigger a dozen times.

    I sympathize with Ken, having the same problems myself. Eventually, exercise and squeeze balls and so on just have their limits, and with some "geezer" problems (like I have, heh heh) the muscles simply can't do what you want.

    Hey, check out other pistols and see how they work, and if you have to go wheelgun, it's still good to have, right?

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • ken55ken55 Senior Member Posts: 781 Senior Member
    Well, I got the grip tape and put it on in several places on the slide where I needed better grip - didn't think it was possible to make an XD even uglier but that sure did it! I worked the slide several times and tried some one-handed drills using the edge of the holster against the rear sight and even pressing the slide against my jeans. Everything worked a lot easier so this may be the solution. I'll try it at the range as soon as possible and see how it works with a full mag. So far, so good.

    BTW, I got the tape at a skateboard shop but didn't tell them why I wanted it. The young guy brought out a piece about 3' x 1' in size and I said "Hey, that's about 500 times what I need - got any small scraps you can sell me?" He said, "Sure, man - you must want it for your Glock, right?" Oh well, he didn't charge me for the piece of tape so I just went along with it.
  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 23,966 Senior Member
    Still blew your mind that he basically had it right.
    A Veteran is someone that served in the Military, it does not matter where they served.
Sign In or Register to comment.
Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Guns & Ammo stories delivered right to your inbox every week.