I get people in my inbox every day that are real gun ho about Gun-Fighting; and that’s a great thing because it lets me know that some are seeing past the "conceal carry dilemma" - which is a dilemma that is short sighted at best, but I digress. So in essence yes it is again a great thing that some are asking for VODA Consultations pertaining to Gun-Fighting and are openly expressing their concerns regarding the lack of relevant training on the subject of Gun-Fighting.


However, as a Firearm Education and Training Consultant it would be irresponsible for me to bring forth the topic and training centered around Gun-Fighting and not take the time out to educate Clients and people in general regarding the pros of Gun-Fighting as well as not informing them on the pathologies that exist in the Gun-Fighting arena. This is what many, even in the Gun Game fail to see.


Like a skilled Typist that may type 80 plus words a minute with ease, if they were to make typing a career they would by default increase their likelihood of inherently exposing themselves to the pathologies specifically relevant to those of a Typist. One such pathology would be developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. For those that don’t know Carpel Tunnel Syndrome according to is described as:


"Numbness, tingling, weakness, and other problems in your hand because of pressure on the median nerve in your wrist. The median nerve and several tendons run from your forearm to your hand through a small space in your wrist called the carpal tunnel. The median nerve controls movement and feeling in your thumb and first three fingers (not your little finger).Pressure on the median nerve causes carpal tunnel syndrome. This pressure can come from swelling or anything that makes the carpal tunnel smaller. Many things can cause this swelling, including: Illnesses such as hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes. Making the same hand movements over and over, especially if the wrist is bent down (your hands lower than your wrists), or making the same wrist movements over and over."


This is a point significant because shooting firearms over time can produce Carpal Tunnel like symptoms in the hands and wrist of the Shooter or the Gun-Fighter. Using myself as an example; I have to admit I suffer from a disease called “Osteogenesis Imperfecta”. Osteogenesis Imperfecta or "I.O." when defined by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases is:


“a disease that causes weak bones that break easily. It is known as brittle bone disease. Sometimes the bones break for no known reason. OI can also cause many other problems such as weak muscles, brittle teeth, and hearing loss.”


Am I afraid that one day I will not be able to walk? YES! But, without going into detail about me and my struggles with Osteogenesis Imperfecta or O.I. for short, I have to say that the repeated pressing of the trigger in combination from the recoil generated from firearms often times wreaks havoc on my joints and bones of my phalanges (fingers), wrist and elbows. This is a pathology for me that I will never overcome and quite possibly many others. For other this may simply only be arthritis specific to the hands and wrist.


Another pathology that a Gun-Fighter may face is High Cortisol Level which is produced by the Endocrine System of the body. The Endocrine System is comprised of glands and organs:


  • Pineal Glands

  • Pituitary Glands

  • Pancreas

  • Ovaries / Testes

  • Thyroid Glands

  • Parathyroid Glands

  • Adrenal Glands


Within in the complex network of the Endocrine System there lies the area of the body that produces adrenaline called Adrenal Gland. The Adrenal Gland is located atop of the Kidneys called the Adrenal Cortex of the Adrenal Gland. The Adrenal Gland is what produces adrenaline as well as Steroids Aldosterone and various other Hormones within the body. 


If you don’t know what Cortisol it is:


“Cortisol is normally produced by the adrenal glands, located just above the kidneys. It belongs to a class of hormones called “Glucocorticoids”, which affect almost every organ and tissue in the body. Scientists think that Cortisol has possibly hundreds of effects in the body. Cortisol's most important job is to help the body respond to stress. Among its other vital tasks, cortisol: Helps maintain blood pressure and heart function. Helps slow the immune system's inflammation response. Helps balance the effects of insulin in breaking down sugar for energy. Helps regulate the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Helps maintain proper arousal and sense of well-being.”


This is highly relevant to the Gun-Fighter because we specifically train for real life encounters, and more often than not that training produces “stress”. These real life encounters produce the well-known “Flight or Fight Response”. Again, this is so important because the Flight or Fight Response which produces Cortisol in conjunction with other stress hormones that occur throughout our daily lives (artificially, natural and or self-induced) this is compound to the total amount of naturally occurring Cortisol within the body of the Gun-Fighter.


Another reason as to why having a High Cortisol Levels in the body of a Gun-Fighter is identified as a pathology is because of the symptoms that are associated with one having High Cortisol Levels. Some of the symptoms are as follows:


  • Weight Gain

  • Anxiety

  • Sleep Disorders

  • Hormonal Imbalances

  • Fertility Problems

  • Metabolism

  • Glucose

  • Bone & Collagen (negatively compounds my disease)

  • Amino Acid (negatively impacts regulation and function)

  • Increases Wound Healing Time

  • Depression

  • Over-Exercising or Overtraining

  • Nutrient deficiencies

  • Addiction (Alcohol or Drug Abuse)

  • Higher Than Normal Estrogen Levels

  • Malnourishment and Eating Disorders

  • Severe Kidney or Liver Disease

  • Hyperthyroidism

  • Obesity

  • Pregnancy or Birth Control Pills

  • Recent Surgery,

  • Illness,

  • Injury or Whole-Body Infections

  • Inflammation


Not to also mention the following:


Now some people may argue that Gun-Fighters don’t train to the extent that this significantly impacts them. To those I would say this: you simply cannot speak for everyone because for one everyone is different. And secondly, it’s impossible for you to know everyone that trains for Gun-Fighting. Lastly, you don’t know the everyday lifestyle of everyone in the Gun-Fighting arena and their health. There are simply too many variables at sake to identify them all to make a blanket or general statement pertaining to this pathology that Gun-Fighters face. None-the-less the stress hormone Cortisol is definitely something that should not be ignored.


The final Gun-Fighting pathology that comes to mind is lead exposure. Gun-Fighters shooters in general will spend a lot of time on the range. In doing so, we inherently expose ourselves to lead dust. For those that don’t know lead dust is expelled from the firearm when it is discharged. The exposure to lead dust is exponentially compounded when there are not only other shooters on the range but when the indoor range itself has a poor ventilation system. For your information, depending on the square footage of a range there should be a certain amount of circulated air per square foot o the range. Again, that is technical range construction information.


Going back to lead exposure, the Gun-Fighter and shooters in general are exposed to lead and this will negatively impact us. One way to get around that is to purchase a respiration mask. Some people may argue that if you are not shooting a lot of rounds you should be relatively fine. This may be true, however, that is if YOU are not shooting a lot of rounds. This kind of logic if faulty because it does not take into account of other shooters that may be occupying the range with you at the same time. 


So the purchase of a respiration mask would be a positive investment. Respiration masks could range from as little as $10.00 to well over $100.00. How much you spend is totally up to you! And don’t worry as the filter that are being sold are regulated under OSHA (Occupational Safety Hazard administration).  One respirator that I would recommend would be the 3M Medium Lead Paint Removal Respirator:

3M Medium Lead Paint Removal Respirator


The 3M Medium Lead Paint Removal Respirator cost roughly $25.00 to $30.00 at Home Depot or Lowes. For all the safety Nazi's out their lead exposure is what you should be concerned with. The reason I say this is because according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control): "Lead toxicity can affect every organ system." as you guessed here are some of the adverse side effects of lead exposure which consist of some of the following:


In children:

  • Ataxia (loss of body movement)

  • Coma

  • Convulsions

  • Cramping Abdominal Pain

  • Death

  • Hyperirritability

  • Stupor


In adults:

  • Cramping Abdominal Pain

  • Decreased Libido

  • Depression/Mood Changes, Headache

  • Diminished Cognitive Performance

  • Diminished Hand Dexterity

  • Diminished Reaction Time

  • Diminished Sperm Concentrations (Total Sperm Counts, and Total Sperm Motility)

  • Diminished Visual Motor Performance

  • Dizziness

  • Fatigue

  • Forgetfulness

  • Gout

  • Hypertensive Heart Disease and Cerebrovascular Disease as Latent Effects

  • Impaired Concentration

  • Impotence

  • Increased Nervousness

  • Irritability

  • Lethargy

  • Malaise

  • Osteoporosis 

  • Paresthesia (Pins and Needles Feeling In The Abdomen)

  • Reduced IQ Scores

  • Reticulocytosis (Increase of Immature Red Blood Cells In An Attempt to Replace Blood To Establish Homeostasis Within The Body)

  • Spontaneous Abortions 

  • Weakness


These are just some of the pathologies and or side-effects that the Gun-Fighter and Shooters in general can possibly face. Like anything in life Gun-Fighting and general shooting has it positives and negatives (pros and cons). But the question is: “Can you afford to live with the pros and cons”. I think Denzel Washington said it the best in the movie "Fences":


"You gotta take the crooked with the straights."










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