The human hand is controlled by 35 different muscles, 29 various major joints and bones, one hundred and twenty three named ligaments, forty eight named nerves and thirty named arteries. Seventeen of these 35 muscles reside within the palm of the hand itself while eighteen more engineer their influence from a distant perch in the forearm. Nine of these thirty five are dedicated to the thumb alone.
(Curiously not one single muscle inhabits your fingers. Not one. They are manipulated by some of the muscles in the palm as well as by long tendons attached to the muscles in the forearm running your fingers from afar like the strings of a marionette.)
Why should we care? Because each and every time you rest your rifle or pistol in your non-shooting hand you are betting its stability on a bed of arguably the most unstable mix of bone, muscle and tendons of the entire human body. Thirty five muscles, twenty nine bones, one hundred twenty three ligaments and forty eight nerves--any one of which may or may not be affected by the slightest movement of any one of the others and all of which are constantly twitching, shifting and contracting to maintain some sort of status quo demanded by what ever task you have put them to at any given moment. None of which have a single clue of how to do nothing as you have trained them your entire life to do something almost every waking moment of your day.
You think your pulse is problematic? Think again. Your pulse is as steady and sure as time. A metronome of predictability. But just flex one finger, squeeze the slightest bit on the rifles forearm, apply just the smallest amount of pressure with the heel of your thumb and you have unleashed a multitude of movements as an army of interrelated nerves, muscles, tendons and bones spring into action to accommodate your commands, tossing your rifles fore stock about like a ship in a storm at sea.
Having trouble believing? Lay one hand in your lap, palm up, and place your other hands four fingers lightly on top of it, palm down. Move any one of your fingers or your thumb in the bottom hand.. Any thing more than the tiniest bit of movement awakens a ripple of response across the entire palm, even pulling other fingers into play. In for a penny, in for a pound as the adage goes.
Its even worse. "Idle hands are the devils workshop" is true in more ways than one. Natures design is to make pulling muscles stronger than pushing muscles. As you concentrate on your shot your hands muscles, left on their own, are slowly closing tighter and tighter on you rifles forearm so, while you blithely carry on with the shot thinking your hand is merely resting idly, instead it is constricting itself into a desperate death grip. (Lest you think this is "poetic license" consider; the biomechanics of the hand require that the force generated by the muscles which bend the fingertips must be at least four times the pressure which is produced at the fingertips. Strong enough, then, for some people to climb vertical surfaces supporting their entire weight at times by a few fingertips.)
Need more? Have someone watch you for five minutes while you "do nothing". Your hands will be busy with a life of their own, unknown to you, constantly consoling themselves with movement and touch.
Yet this is the preferred medium of your sprung rifle.
A steady aim is suddenly a crap shoot.
The trigger hand, of course, has just as many muscles, bones and tendons as the non-trigger hand and is just as prone to mischievous, spontaneous over activity as well.
Though it is not true ambidexterity we are all ambidextrous to some extent; that is to say we can perform some tasks quite well with the non-dominant hand separately from the dominant hand. Even at the same time. Typing, for example, or playing the piano or juggling...or shooting. The hands work separately, but in conjunction. But that doesn't mean necessarily that the two communicate, it doesn't even mean that they do it well or in complete agreement. But they can learn. Or, more precisely, in our case, "unlearn". In the meantime, though, quite often, the left hand doesn't know what the right hand's doing.
Consider. You have managed to lull your non shooting hand into a state of complete rest; it's not shifting, it's not twitching, it's not clutching, it is merely supporting the rifle's stock as you desire and you are ready to release the shot. You have managed through hours of diligent practice to undo the muscle memory that you have taught your hand over years, perhaps decades, of training. But only half of the team is in play, or I should say, at rest. You slowly and carefully pull your finger trigger back and instigate the shot, only to watch the pellet hit a full half inch from your point of aim. We like to call these "flyers" but in truth it is just as likely a product of your hand's mechanics.
It is quite natural to lay your trigger hand aside the stock as you shoot, but, as we discovered earlier, it is just as natural for more than one joint or set of muscles to be engaged when any other joint is moved, and, given the muscle's propensity to constrict rather than relax it is highly likely that the shot was derailed by one of the other members of the crew just doing its job.
Try this. Line up your shot, do your breathing, relax and begin your pull on the trigger, BUT just before the trigger breaks ease your finger back off. Watch the crosshairs closely while doing this and you may be surprised to see them shift. Try it several times without firing and watch the movement in the scope created as other muscles offer their assistance unbeknownst to you. Your fingers will automatically try to grip. The heel of your thumb will unwittingly want to push against the stock. You may be shocked to watch the crosshairs rock to and fro, and the shot goes awry. It doesn't take much at the gun to affect the POI at the target.
Now purposefully, consciously relax your non trigger hand while still watching the reticule and you may again observe the crosshairs settle in one direction or another. Where once your non trigger hand was relaxed, left on its own while you were addressing your trigger hand it reverted back to its old tricks and went back to clutching, shifting and twitching.
Listen, you lay a timber in a human hand, palm up, and it will do every thing it can to balance and control that weight. It is a ballet played out on a four by four dance floor with five major dancers and 35 understudies.
You put a something to grip in the other human hand and it's like an octopus on a rock
Between the two that's seventy muscles, fifty eight bones and joints, two hundred and forty six ligaments, ninety six nerves and sixty arteries all more than willing to work independently of each other and without your permission or even of youre being aware.
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