Hand and arm injuries are common during fights. You injure your hand hitting someone. The arm doesn’t work after blocking a strike from a baseball bat. A knife cut disables tendons and muscles.
You broke something after being thrown to the ground. Part of our training and practice with firearms is learning how to operate them with only one hand and arm so if injured we still stay in the fight.
An area that normally isn’t addressed is the situation where you still have partial use of the injured limb or hand. A study of gunfights will reveal where a shooter lost a finger or part of a hand but still used it to reload. The hand is completely disabled but their arm continued to support a rifle. Single hand manipulations are a necessary skill, but we also need to make use of partially functioning arms and hands. Just ’cause it hurts don’t mean it’s out of the fight.
The best way I’ve found to simulate partial hand injuries is with heavy bulky gloves. Thick oversize gloves create a loss of dexterity, providing a sense of loss and simulating a wound. To replicate different type wounds tape different fingers or thumb together. Tape the thumb to the hand, which takes it out of operation and forces you to use the four remaining fingers. Taping the three smallest fingers together creates a completely different type handicap.
By being creative you can simulate all types of injuries. Use Popsicle sticks to tape up your trigger finger, forcing you to press the shot off with your second finger. Stuffing small rubber balls inside a glove creates a different sensation and difficulty to overcome. (Rocks are better, but rougher on the hands.)
A ninety or forty five-degree section of PVC pipe taped to your elbow joint allows only partial use of that arm. The same thing can be done with knee joints, using straight or angled sections of pipe. A really large oversize bulky boot creates a sense of what an injured foot may feel like.
Our actual body parts don’t feel pain. To indicate injury they transmit signals to the brain, where we “feel” pain. You can train to ignore pain, fighting and pressing on despite being wounded. Athletes do it all the time. Imagine what you can do when lives depend on ignoring an injury. A limb, hand, or foot that isn’t functioning will however affect our performance. The key is to modify your skills as necessary, which requires training and practice in advance. Preparation prevents me from having to be creative in the middle of the fight, a distinct advantage.
To practice these skills use dummy ammo and work dry. Safety is in effect at all times. The muzzle is pointing in a safe direction and fingers are only on the trigger when appropriate. After lots of dry practice working start moving and using cover. Finally go to the range – with a partner – and make sure when you press the trigger you hit the target. In a fight, don’t stop until you win.
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