Smashed my Trigger Finger

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Lynyrd
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Smashed my Trigger Finger

Postby Lynyrd » Thu Apr 13, 2017 2:32 pm

I was helping a neighbor clear some a downed tree yesterday from the recent storms. We were both lifting a sizable log into the loader bucket of my tractor and there was already some other brush in the bucket. When he dropped his end, it seesawed and my end came up smashing my trigger finger against the bucket. I had on gloves but that didn't keep my finger from blowing open like a mashed tomato.

I stuck my hand in a zip lock bag full of ice and went to the closet emergency clinic. The doc sewed it up the best they could. The tendon was exposed, bu the doc didn't think it is damaged. Right now its swollen up and in a splint. I'll get the stitches out in 10 days, and then we'll find out if it stiffened up. Hopefully I won't lose too much feeling in that finger but right now the end of it is numb like it it's still anesthetized. I know there will be some loss of feeling, just don't know how much yet. The doc said there were some nerves torn by the impact.

I have never carried left handed, and don't even have a left handed holster. My question to anyone who had an injury to your shooting hand, did you carry weak handed until you healed? Also, if you had to switch hands permanently due to an injury, how long did it take to train your off hand before you were good with it?
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cmgee67
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Re: Smashed my Trigger Finger

Postby cmgee67 » Thu Apr 13, 2017 2:40 pm

I've always shot with both hands although my left hand is a bit harder to use because muscle memory isn't there. The more you do it the better it will be and before long you will be able to do it. I'm sorry about what happened. I had a trailer hitch bust my finger open like that before and that's not a fun experience that's for sure. Will be praying for swift healing!
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Jusme
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Re: Smashed my Trigger Finger

Postby Jusme » Thu Apr 13, 2017 2:42 pm

Lynyrd wrote:I was helping a neighbor clear some a downed tree yesterday from the recent storms. We were both lifting a sizable log into the loader bucket of my tractor and there was already some other brush in the bucket. When he dropped his end, it seesawed and my end came up smashing my trigger finger against the bucket. I had on gloves but that didn't keep my finger from blowing open like a mashed tomato.

I stuck my hand in a zip lock bag full of ice and went to the closet emergency clinic. The doc sewed it up the best they could. The tendon was exposed, bu the doc didn't think it is damaged. Right now its swollen up and in a splint. I'll get the stitches out in 10 days, and then we'll find out if it stiffened up. Hopefully I won't lose too much feeling in that finger but right now the end of it is numb like it it's still anesthetized. I know there will be some loss of feeling, just don't know how much yet. The doc said there were some nerves torn by the impact.

I have never carried left handed, and don't even have a left handed holster. My question to anyone who had an injury to your shooting hand, did you carry weak handed until you healed? Also, if you had to switch hands permanently due to an injury, how long did it take to train your off hand before you were good with it?



Dang!! That hurt just reading about it. :cryin

I haven't ever injured my trigger finger or dominant hand enough to have to resort to off hand carry. I do practice a lot shooting left handed, but it I am definitely, not as fast, or accurate that way. I would just go to the range and practice everything left handed, but manipulating the slide, safeties, and mag releases, are going to be tricky one handed anyway. But it will give you a chance to build up proficiency that way.

Hope you get better soon, with no permanent disability.
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Re: Smashed my Trigger Finger

Postby SRO1911 » Thu Apr 13, 2017 2:44 pm

I lived perfectly fine as a southpaw until as a teenager I broke every bone in my left hand and arm except 2.
Learned to do everything right handed- 6 months in various casts and braces then another year of PT. Once i got the hang of shooting right handed, i bever fully went back. I still carry right - change is possible.
Actually, the hardest thing to switch is the knife and fork combo. Never did master it - ate a lot of sammiches and tacos, mades a lot of messes.

My brother lost his trigger finger in an accident- no stump, completely gone. He continued to shoot right handed the rest of his life using his index finger on the trigger with a fairly high grip. Worked well enough for him to shoot local bullseye matches and dabble in CAS.

Adapt, improvise, overcome.
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Re: Smashed my Trigger Finger

Postby flechero » Thu Apr 13, 2017 2:52 pm

Hate to hear that. I transitioned to right handed when I had left shoulder surgery. I was in a big sling so I carried in my holster in the sling. It wasn't pretty but it worked! I'm thankful that I didn't need to react right handed. It's a good reminder to practice off hand at every range session. (which I haven't much in years- but know I should)

Here is what I'd do now... If I had to switch again, I would go take a private instruction with an instructor and see if he could crash course me back to a competent level or at least greatly accelerate my progress off handed.

Good luck.

What gun(s) options do you have? Maybe one of us lefties has a spare holster you can use while you heal up.

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Lynyrd
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Re: Smashed my Trigger Finger

Postby Lynyrd » Thu Apr 13, 2017 2:58 pm

Jusme wrote:
Dang!! That hurt just reading about it. :cryin

I haven't ever injured my trigger finger or dominant hand enough to have to resort to off hand carry. I do practice a lot shooting left handed, but it I am definitely, not as fast, or accurate that way. I would just go to the range and practice everything left handed, but manipulating the slide, safeties, and mag releases, are going to be tricky one handed anyway. But it will give you a chance to build up proficiency that way.

Hope you get better soon, with no permanent disability.


Thanks. Good advice. I do shoot left handed some, but I'm not as good with that hand. And as for drawing... :roll: The hard part is going to be the mag release and safety. If I have to move to the left hand permanently I'm going to need to modify or replace a gun or two.
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Lynyrd
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Re: Smashed my Trigger Finger

Postby Lynyrd » Thu Apr 13, 2017 3:02 pm

flechero wrote:Hate to hear that. I transitioned to right handed when I had left shoulder surgery. I was in a big sling so I carried in my holster in the sling. It wasn't pretty but it worked! I'm thankful that I didn't need to react right handed. It's a good reminder to practice off hand at every range session. (which I haven't much in years- but know I should)

Here is what I'd do now... If I had to switch again, I would go take a private instruction with an instructor and see if he could crash course me back to a competent level or at least greatly accelerate my progress off handed.

Good luck.

What gun(s) options do you have? Maybe one of us lefties has a spare holster you can use while you heal up.


That is also good advice. I hope with all my being that this is only a temporary problem. Time alone will tell.

As for the holster, that's a generous offer. But I am leaving on vacation Sunday, and I may just go buy a left handed holster for my 1911 before I leave.
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Re: Smashed my Trigger Finger

Postby SewTexas » Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:06 pm

OUCH!!!

Last year I had to have a tumor thing removed from the tip of my right pinkie....twice....didn't get it all the first time....hurt like the devil the second time, and a longer recovery. I simply didn't carry until I knew I would be able to control a weapon. I "think" I could possibly fire left handed, but I'm not sure, I'd have to practice that, that's an interesting question. Back in college I had to have surgery on my right hand and for some reason the profs expected me to keep on turning in work, these days who knows what they'd do? So I did, left handed, fairly neatly too. That's when my mom told me that she thinks I wanted to be left handed as a baby, but she put my spoon in my right hand a couple of times and that was that. Ever since I've tried to keep up the agility of my left hand but strength is hard.
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Lynyrd
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Re: Smashed my Trigger Finger

Postby Lynyrd » Thu Apr 13, 2017 6:22 pm

SewTexas wrote:OUCH!!!

Last year I had to have a tumor thing removed from the tip of my right pinkie....twice....didn't get it all the first time....hurt like the devil the second time, and a longer recovery. I simply didn't carry until I knew I would be able to control a weapon. I "think" I could possibly fire left handed, but I'm not sure, I'd have to practice that, that's an interesting question. Back in college I had to have surgery on my right hand and for some reason the profs expected me to keep on turning in work, these days who knows what they'd do? So I did, left handed, fairly neatly too. That's when my mom told me that she thinks I wanted to be left handed as a baby, but she put my spoon in my right hand a couple of times and that was that. Ever since I've tried to keep up the agility of my left hand but strength is hard.


Interesting! We have a son that kept switching his spoon from left to right hand when he was about 2. He is pretty much ambidextrous now at 30.
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Re: Smashed my Trigger Finger

Postby cbunt1 » Thu Apr 13, 2017 9:24 pm

A few years ago I trimmed my dominant index finger with a table saw. Fortunately I didn't end up losing enough finger to even be visibly noticeable, but I do have some residual numbness (I describe it as "muted" but it only makes sense to someone who has a similar injury).

At that time I was shooting competitively (IDPA) regularly (once or twice a week). While I was bandaged up, I ended up borrowing a left-handed rig for my regular gun from a southpaw friend, but I didn't get setup for full left-hand carry for 2-3 weeks.

In the meantime, in the interest of "staying in the game" (and since I didn't yet have a good southpaw setup) I carried strong-side. My procedure in matches became draw dominant hand, transition immediately to support-side, and transition back to dominant hand to reload and otherwise manipulate the firearm.

It was akward, but I found that after a few weeks of practice and matches, it really only slowed my competition times by about 1/2 second per transition. I got GOOD at transitioning safely from one hand to another, and can now do it smooth as butter.

Once I got the southpaw rig in place and shot it a few times, I actually found it to be a disadvantage, because I had trained to transition...but I put in the effort to shoot a few matches mirror image, and got relatively smooth with it. I didn't stay with it more than a month or two though.

All that said, the take-away for me was this: Practice transition...there's a better than average chance that you'll need the skill when you have a bad day. Learning to manipulate the firearm with both (or either) hand is easy enough--it just takes time. Same for carry strong and shoot support-side. Both are worthy gunfighting skills.

As an added bonus, being suddenly and unexpectedly left-handed caused me to slow down and really process my motions and movements...things that are "natural" in one hand are very un-natural in the other hand. The process of training your support-hand to do what your dominant hand does will make both hands better at it.

With the "muted" nerves in my trigger finger, I've had to learn to shoot all over again, and it's been good for my skills.

I hope your finger heals well, and the nerves come back over time. One word of advice: if you have the opportunity for physical therapy, do it. It may seem silly for "just a finger" but there's a lot of monitoring and detail work they can point you toward that will be helpful, especially around nerve recovery.

After my incident, I fully parrot Mas Ayoob's mantra about having at least one full opposite-side rig for at least one of your main carry guns, and practice mirror-image shooting for that unexpected time when you need it. If you don't ever need it, there are significant skills improvement opportunities you can't get any other way, and if you do need it, you'll be more prepared.
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Lynyrd
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Re: Smashed my Trigger Finger

Postby Lynyrd » Thu Apr 13, 2017 9:32 pm

cbunt1 wrote:
In the meantime, in the interest of "staying in the game" (and since I didn't yet have a good southpaw setup) I carried strong-side. My procedure in matches became draw dominant hand, transition immediately to support-side, and transition back to dominant hand to reload and otherwise manipulate the firearm.

It was akward, but I found that after a few weeks of practice and matches, it really only slowed my competition times by about 1/2 second per transition. I got GOOD at transitioning safely from one hand to another, and can now do it smooth as butter.


I will try your transition method tomorrow. Thanks! Typing is slow for me right now, but I really appreciate the response. :tiphat:
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Re: Smashed my Trigger Finger

Postby maverick2076 » Thu Apr 13, 2017 9:38 pm

Where do you live? I have some lefty 1911 holsters you could borrow.


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Re: Smashed my Trigger Finger

Postby SewTexas » Thu Apr 13, 2017 9:47 pm

your nerves will drive you crazy as they heal. Crazy! I mentioned my pinkie, But some will remember about 5 or 6 years ago when I came close to cutting off about 1/3 inch of my left thumb. It still doesn't feel 100% right, but the nerves are as healed as the will be. But as they healed, wow....drove me batty. Ibuprofen will be your best friend.
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Lynyrd
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Re: Smashed my Trigger Finger

Postby Lynyrd » Sat Apr 15, 2017 2:45 pm

Went back to the doctor yesterday. Doc said it was healing as best as could be expected. The end of my finger is still numb, but if I bump it... :eek6 :eek6 . It will be another week before the stitches come out and I can start to bend it. I know it's gonna be stiff and hurt for awhile. Man, oh man, the things that can happen when you least expect it.

I shot about 200 rounds yesterday afternoon with my 1911 using cbunt1's strong hand draw and transition to weak hand method. Last two mags were all in the 7 ring at 25 feet rapid fire. I'm okay with that especially shooting one handed weak hand. Just a little slow on the draw and transition, but for now it's better than being unarmed.

Thanks again to everyone for the tips and encouragement.
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Re: Smashed my Trigger Finger

Postby twomillenium » Sun Apr 16, 2017 5:29 pm

My finger is limping just reading the story, but it does remind me to spend more time shooting one handed and weak handed than what I do. Hope everything heals right but take the opportunity to develop the weak hand. All of us could probably should do this without being forced to do so.
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