Saturday, August 15, 2009

Gun School: Post #2. Mea Culpa.

So, once upon a time, I was involved in an intarw3bz back'n'forth at TheFiringLine with Pat Rogers.

He had made some statement in an article about how he didn't really care for a lot of the features on my Springfield Professional pistol. As a very happy Pro toter, I asked what his beefs were with the gun. One of the things he came back with was the sharp, 20lpi checkering.

I said that I liked the coarse checkering, because it helped my girlie hands get a grip on the pistol, even when they were sweaty or oily or slathered with Bullfrog SPF 30. He countered that checkering that coarse tore hell out of one's hands at gun school. I parried with the fact that A) It had never bothered me, even in several-hour-long range sessions, and B) I bought it to carry, not for gun school; I had other, more-or-less identically set-up guns for school.

Then I sold almost all my 1911's (not counting the still-unfinished Sistema project gun), except for the Pro and the '66 Colt, both of which sport... Can you guess? That's right; razor-sharp 20lpi checkering on the frontstrap.

This being a summertime class, with temperatures near 90 and humidity best described as "sticky", my hands were all nice and sweaty and soft. Another guess for you: Who was sporting a bandaid on the second joint of her strong-hand pinkie by the middle of day two to ward off an incipient raw spot?

Note to self: Plan on bandaids or a shooting glove unless or until I get a replacement for my old dedicated trainer. One with a smooth frontstrap.


Anonymous said...

just out of curiosity is it the whole front strap, or the just the lowest part of it that causes the trouble? I mean is the only problem in the pinky area, or does it eat the whole hand?

Tam said...

Most noticeable on the pinky, a little on the ring finger.

Hardly anything on the traffic digit; but in a high thumbs grip, only about two thirds of it is over the checkering...

Tam said...

(...and of course the pinkie has the thinnest skin.)

Anonymous said...

Thanks fo the info Tam,
I have a 1911 frame I plan to build up one day, really. If I ever get every thing else caught up that is.

I feel your pain when it come to the pinky, Thinking about it now I've noticed a similar thing with ratchets, some of my older ones where knurled on the handle, It may have looked good, and provided a good grip, but if I spent allday in the garage the would chew up my hands.

sam said...

Climber's tape works well for me.

joe said...

Take grips off
Wrap front strap with duct tape
Press tightly onto checkering
Trim at edge of magwell so tape will be under front edge of grips
Replace grips.

Should work for a couple of days.

Peter said...

I highly recommend Uncle Mikes fingerless shooting gloves:

I've worn them through three LFI courses, two at Thunder Ranch, and the Advanced course at Chapman Academy. Total round count on mine must be well over 20,000 by now. They really help save your hands over such five-day courses, and they take care of abrasions from checkering, etc.

Highly recommended.

RHT447 said...

These Hogue grips have always worked for me.

jetfxr69 said...

I know you're tired, so I feel a little guilty pointing it out...

But, what is "Gus School"?


WV: "nonsin"--what the post title was before my brain rearranged the letters with recent VFTP history.

pdb said...

This is why these classes are worth every penny. By living with the gun all weekend, you learn things about your gun, gear, and self, that aren't apparent during range visits or short competitions.

Also, a polymer pistol isn't necessarily going to prevent stuff like this. Just a one day class with my USP45F was enough to develop a painful owie on my traffic finger thanks to the notch between the trigger guard and frame.

Tam said...


I've got the Blackhawk summer-weight gloves that a lot of the guys were using to good effect during the class at Blackwater last summer, but I'm saving them for a last resort. It's going to be even hotter today.


Hogues stick to my clothes. :(


d'oh! Fixed! Thanks!


True, true. Of course, gun school is a highly artificial environment, too. That was my point in the referenced thread: Do I give up a feature that serves me well in the everyday world because it's detrimental to my widdle hands in the repetitious theater of gun skul?

og said...

this is why i bobbed the beavertail off my old frankencolt. It used to leave the web of my hand looking like meat. I hated shooting it. Now its ugly and worthless but i can shoot it all day. The smooth grips make a difference too.

Tango Juliet said...

The 30 lpi checkering on my CQB has yet to eat my hands up, but then, the fine stuff is more easily dinged up.

It would take quite a bit o' gun handling to build up the calluses necessary to withstand the 20LPI treatment. A shortcut would be to tape a wood rasp to steering wheels, door knobs, refrigerator door handles and beer bottles for several weeks before the school.

Jim said...

I prefer good old fashioned mild stippling.

If I could find a smithy to impress knurling on the frontstrap, along the lines of various tools such as centerpunches and the like, I'd think that even better.

Traction as opposed to abrasiveness, is the goal. Ditto Lorimor's "wood rasp" observation. 20 lpi is bordering on just exactly that.

If only someone would make some black wrinkle-paint with a Rockwell 68 hardness when dried?

Sunk New Dawn
Galveston, TX

cjrmultigun said...

No gloves. You can't shoot well with gloves on.

Have you considered a strip of 3M stair tread tape on the frontstrap?

Anonymous said...

Your original premise was and continues to be sound. Train like you fight. FWIW, even using a Glock 2nd Gen, your hands get beat up pretty bad at about 700 rounds and up. The gloves seem like the way to go, but I wonder about the difference in handling. Of course, August heat and January cold will make a difference too.

aczarnowski said...

That TFL thread is a great example of what I wish the internet was like all the time. If you have any other "classic" threads tucked away, I'd be interested. Kind of a leather bound TFL series.

Kudos for post scripting that thread five years later!

perlhaqr said...

Couldn't you just dress the top of the checkering lightly with a file? Or is the gun blued? (Not that that's a complete deal killer, just makes finishing harder.)

Anonymous said...

Ever notice how honest labor builds up a bit of callus on one's hands?

:), :), :)


SordidPanda said...

Ideally the gun you want to carry is the gun you want to train with.

But we don't live in an ideal world, and the bandaid is a good way to train hard with a weapon that you aren't going to shoot 700 rounds through in an encounter.

Matt G said...

I'm a fan of moleskin to the part of the hand with the problem. Instant "callous."

I'm also in agreement with you that there's a difference between range sessions, carrying, and pound-pound-pounding the hell out of a round count. That's not a real-world activity (until the Zombies Rise).

Tam said...

This was the first time I'd ever gotten a raw spot on my dominant thumb from reapplying a 1911 safety. The funny thing is that I have a small callous in that exact spot... from reading. It's right where your thumb rubs a paperback or softcover if you're reading it one handed while sipping a beer and smoking a cigarette on the front porch, and I do a LOT of that.

FatWhiteMan said...

Yup. I learned after my first day at TDI to always have bandaids and mole-skin in the range bag. I also have tennis wrist bands to help keep the sweat away from my palms.

Rick R. said...

Selective relief of the checkering can work wonders. Something I learned my first summer of carrying a Colt IWB under an untucked shirt and no T-shirt (along with, "Always buy stainless" {grin}).

I left the right grip panel sharp, then relieved the checkering on the left grip panel in a diagonal down to the medallion. Instant relief from hide abrasion while carrying, no effect on grip (as the checkering bits I relieved weren't really contributing anything significant).

A similar solution for the bottom of your frontstrap would probably work well. Likewise, large, but not pointy checkering works pretty well. But my favorite is stippling.

Tam said...

Rick R.,

I'm not going to do that, because the only time it's ever bothered me it two days into a shooting class.

If I'm ever in a two-day gunfight that involves a couple hundred presentations, I'll think about filing down the checkering. 'Til then, I'll go with band-aids during class.