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  1. #1
    Gruesome's Avatar
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    Is my thumb supposed to be numb?

    I took my FNX-40 to the range today and put 100 rounds of 180 grain FMJ through it. Of note here: this is the first time I have fired a gun in 10+ years, and much longer for a semi-auto, and I have never fired 40 cal before. I have fired more powerful rounds than that out of revolvers, but my semi-auto experience is very limited.

    At maybe 80 rounds I started to notice my right thumb was taking a beating, at the inside of the second (further out toward the tip) knuckle. I figured it was because it was resting on the safety and that was causing me a problem so I tried to alter my grip for the last 2 mags. Now, I was basically getting my feet wet and just re-engaging with the sport so I wasn't obsessing over proper grip or trying to prove anything, but here I am 7 hours later an the thumb is still a little numb.

    Is this in any way common? A bruise or soreness I could shrug off without a thought, but numbness bothers me. Is this a matter of bad grip, a common shooting ailment, something that will go away after I build a little shooting-specific tolerance? Other ideas? I'm not sure I can describe my grip adequately, other than to note the point of numbness was resting on or just under the safety.

    Oh, and other than the after effects, it was AWESOME to get back in the saddle! I'll write up a bit more of a range report over in the FN section.

    -Gruesome

  2. #2
    XD40inAVL's Avatar
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    I shoot a XD40sc and 4". Have put up to 250 rounds down range at a time, with no problem. I don't grip with my thumb, but fingers. My thumbs are parallel and aligned with the slide below the slide lock but not gripping. No numbness or soreness in my hand at all.

    I do have a problem with my trigger finger, which was broken many years ago at the first knuckle, resulting in about a 20 degree deviation from normal, toward my middle finger. This resulted in the side of tip of my trigger finger getting a little beat up on the trigger guard under the trigger. A knowledgeable gunsmith and former competition shooter suggested removing some of the material under the trigger, especially at the break point. Not the much material was removed and looks fine, but most importantly it solved the problem.

  3. #3
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    Shooting (what else?) a 1911, I always rest my thumb upon the safety lever. It helps me to control my grip and the gun's recoil, and it reassures me that the safety is indeed off.
    None of my 1911s have so-called "beavertail" grip safeties. All of them are "A1" style, and all of them are permanently pinned into the off position.

    When I was new to pistol shooting, beginning to learn the 1911 and the grip technique just described, I would invariably come home with a numb, bruised, and even bloody thumb. The primary area of injury was the inside of the thumb's base knuckle, and the thumbward edge of the web between it and the first finger.
    After lots of live-fire practice, a strong callous developed on the entire area, and the injury no longer happened.

    Now that I am way out-of-practice with the 1911, on the occasion that I might use one just to keep my hand in, or when instructing someone else, the old injury quickly reappears.
    My callous is long gone.

    Continue to do your live-fire practice, but stop before injury sets in. That way, you will eventually develop a callous, thereby precluding further difficulty, but with less pain in the process.

  4. #4
    rex
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    Try getting the proper grip if it isn't now and work with it for that gun.Everyone's hands are different and don't sit the same on the gun and controls with the "ideal,proper" grip.It may just be that the way the safety is located and shaped along with your grip allows the recoil to beat on a nerve and finally says I'm shutting down for now.Altering your hold bet still being a solid one may alleviate it.I don't have the problem with guns,but I have spots go numb with other things after extended periods of use.A readjustment helps alot in those cases.

  5. #5
    Gruesome's Avatar
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    I have a bit of an update on the numb thumb. Three days later and the thumb is still a bit numb. The numbness is at the inside of the knuckle nearer the end of the thumb but that isn't where the problem started. The nerve at the lower knuckle of the thumb, where the back of the gun rests against the web of the hand, was taking the beating so everything further down that it serves is unhappy.

    This is more troublesome than what I had assumed. I could adjust my grip to move my thumb, but adjusting how the back of the gun hits my hand...how do I manage that? Now I am worried the problem is with the gun and how it fits me. Maybe I shoulda bought the Px4...

    I'll give it some time. I'm not ready to give up and trade to a Beretta just yet. Next time at the range I'll only put 50 rounds through the FNX-40, then another 50 through the revolver. If it is still bothering me after only 50 rounds I'll look into a shooting glove to add some padding. If THAT doesn't work...well, either I trade it for something similar like the Px4 and try the whole thing again or go get a 22 plinker for fun and rely on the S&W 66 for home protection.

  6. #6
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    How are you treating your injury? Look up "trigger finger" on Google, or some other search engine. You will find a lot of information available. I would make some suggestions, but I am not a doctor.

  7. #7
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    Gruesome;
    1. Give it time to heal completely. Don't shoot any pistols until the numbness is long gone.
    2. Then, shoot fewer rounds in each pistol session. Let your thumb "get used to" the situation, and develop a callous.
    3. Little by little, increase the number of rounds fired during successive shooting sessions. When pain or numbness is first felt, stop shooting immediately.

    Eventually, your thumb will accommodate your shooting style. Give that adjustment time to happen.

    P.S.: You may find that searching for "trigger finger" will lead you to a medical-reference page discussing a malfunction involving a finger-joint's momentary resistance to being bent, and the resultant "click" (and perhaps pain) in the joint. Been there, had that. Frequently, it eventually goes away.

  8. #8
    denner's Avatar
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    Put a Band-Aid on it and carry on soldier. Just kidding, the 40cal has some snap to it. How do you grip the pistol and are your hands on the small side? Do you use a high thumb grip, low thumb grip? Proper alignment in the web center between the thumb and trigger finger in line with the elbow. On larger grip pistols this may not be possible w/ smaller hands however.,

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    P.S.: You may find that searching for "trigger finger" will lead you to a medical-reference page discussing a malfunction involving a finger-joint's momentary resistance to being bent, and the resultant "click" (and perhaps pain) in the joint. Been there, had that. Frequently, it eventually goes away.
    Been there, done that, as well. First time required surgery - side of thumb is now numb permanently. This time it is in finger - will try to go the non-surgery route. Ain't RA fun?

  10. #10
    Gruesome's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by denner View Post
    Put a Band-Aid on it and carry on soldier. Just kidding, the 40cal has some snap to it. How do you grip the pistol and are your hands on the small side? Do you use a high thumb grip, low thumb grip? Proper alignment in the web center between the thumb and trigger finger in line with the elbow. On larger grip pistols this may not be possible w/ smaller hands however.,
    If I were just a cut or bruise or some sexy war wound I'd be proud as hell, but nerve damage isn't sexy. Chicks dig SCARS, brother.

    This is my first experience with .40, but I've shot plenty of .357 mag so I'm not completely out of my element. I do have short fingers but also a wide pudgy palm. Sausage fingers - that's me. I had a lot of trouble finding a hi-cap semi-auto that fit me and the FNX is one of TWO that weren't like gripping a bar of soap (Px4 being the other.) I can't even describe my grip, I know so little and paid so little attention to that. Before I go out again I'll youtube some examples of how to do it and find one that (hopefully) sits better in the web, but I do fear my options will be limited due to the size and shape of my mitts.

    Maybe I am destined to be a revolver guy? Wouldn't be the worst thing to happen to me I suppose.

  11. #11
    denner's Avatar
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    Todd Jarrett on pistol shooting. - YouTube

    That is what I suspected, I myself cannot align large gripped pistols w/ the grip in the web directly between the thumb and trigger finger and aligned with the elbow. However, I compensate and do well. I imagine you had to cant the pistol to reach the trigger and the brunt of the recoil was impacting on a nerve in your thumb, or just pressing the trigger while the pistol was canted may have done it. Your thumb was taking the brunt instead of the web of the hand. Your grip is extremely important. The way I do it is I make sure my thumb is on top and wrapped over my support hand thumb pointing both thumbs forward as best I can. Perhaps the smallest grip backstrap may help as well.

  12. #12
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by high pockets View Post
    ...Ain't RA fun?
    Both Jean and I always anxiously await "Arthur"'s next visit: "Break out the codeine and the Bourbon—here it comes again!"

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