M1 Thumb – A Cautionary Tale

How to avoid getting M1 thumb:

I hear a lot of people talk about putting clips in their Glocks too.  I haven’t figured out how to do that yet, but I wonder if there is such thing as “Glock thumb”?


Thoughts?  Any of you guys ever had M1 thumb?

Hat tip: MaiduSun



matthew james March 27, 2013 at 12:30 am

I can verify Glock thumb exists. During the Glockinator Bump Fire Assault Dowel vid my cousin and I blew our thumbs out from hundreds of rounds into 33 round Glock Brand Glockazines.


matthew james March 27, 2013 at 12:30 am

*edit* ack

from *loading hundreds of rounds…


PhoenixNFA March 27, 2013 at 12:44 am

i know that feel bro.

i got sig 226 thumb one time.

sig 226 equinox + trying to cock it all fast like using the “front cocking serrations israeli style” = thumb blood blister between hood and ejection port.

that was a daily reminder for a month or two.


elephantrider March 27, 2013 at 11:33 pm

FYI “clip” is the proper term for the metal device that holds the rounds together and is inserted into the action of the M1. He was not mis-using the term clip. It is actually an eight round Enbloc clip that is used.


Bubba March 27, 2013 at 03:13 am

This is nothing compared to Ljungman thumb.


Hard_Harry March 27, 2013 at 11:35 am

A Ljungman will fuck you up in a heartbeat! OUCH!


Jeep March 27, 2013 at 04:22 am

I got a M1 Garand thumb once, lost half my thumb nail… Aouch !
I don’t exactly remember why I put my finger into the bolt after I finished my clip, I think I had kinda jammed the last bullet and wanted to do something quickly, but I can tell you it’ll never happen again !!


Jeep March 27, 2013 at 04:24 am

Damn I love this rifle !!


Foland March 27, 2013 at 06:57 am

I had beretta fingeer once. I completly took off the first pad on my middle finger while racking the slide from the top. admitedly I rode the slide forward like you not supposed to do.


ASM826 March 27, 2013 at 07:21 am

I have not, but I was with a friend that was trying to determine why a Garand was ejecting clips that were not empty. The bolt released and it cut off the last 1/4 inch of his forefinger.


jerry March 27, 2013 at 07:43 am

My wife took off the top of her thumb while shooting a Ruger Mark2, .22lr. The oval hole in the bolt caught the top layer of skin on its return and left it hanging off the pistol. She screamed, but carefully sat the gun down (instead of dropping it on the concrete) before dancing and sticking her thumb in her mouth. I was so proud.


Rich March 27, 2013 at 07:46 am

Yeah, I’ve had M1 thumb. When you’re first learning to use one of those, it’s hard to get the clip in far enough to get the bolt to close and, at the same time, get your thumb out before the bolt does close.

It wasn’t as bad as some, but I did end up with a bump on the bone that took several years to completely disappear.

I have had a lot of happy M1 shooting in the years since, though I stupidly sold mine some time ago.


Rich March 27, 2013 at 07:47 am

I’ve seen a little gadget that slips over the top of the pistol mag, that you can use to push down on the top round so that you don’t wear out your hand.


dave w March 27, 2013 at 08:28 am

i thought glock thumb was when someone picks it up of the floor and gives it to the paramedics in a little bag of ice after the inevitable explosion at the range.


Obvious March 27, 2013 at 08:29 am

I’ve never had M1 thumb and I own a Garand. But I’ve seen plenty of people get a slide bite when using semi-auto pistols. I’m not sure why the M1 thumb is a “cautionary tale” and gets so much attention. Everyone makes such a big deal about M1 thumb but this happens much less frequently than pistol slide bite. Yet how many videos or stories do you read about slide bite?

Also, the vid author didn’t demonstrate how to load a clip correctly. You need to place your right hand just in front of the op rod handle when loading a clip. If the op rod handle was not pulled back all the way when loading a clip, your right hand will prevent the action from closing and giving you M1 thumb.


M March 27, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Correct, the right hand should be used to hold the slide back using the side of the hand nearest the pinky. Load the clip with your left hand, using both thumbs to push it into position, which can be felt as pressure increases on the side of your right hand when the bolt is released. Move the thumbs outta the way and let that slide go home.

It was an ingenious mechanism, but I fully understand why they switched to the M-14. Being lucky enough to own both, I say that they each have strengths. Never had a FTF from my Garand. Never been bit by my M1A. When the zombie apocalypse comes I’d love to use either one.


HSR47 April 6, 2013 at 10:08 am


Proper loading technique is as follows:

*Hold rifle with left hand slightly forward of the bottom of the magazine, preferably with the buttplate resting against something solid (like your right hip or upper thigh)
*Take fresh clip in your right hand
*Start inserting the clip into the action, and then extend the four fingers of your right hand along the side of the rifle so that they obstruct the op rod
*Finish inserting the clip with the thumb of your right hand
*If necessary, give the back of the op rod handle a whack to help it strip the first round off the clip.


Jeep March 27, 2013 at 09:39 am

Yes, that’s the main M1 drawback. You cannot (easily) make tactical reloads (keep aiming, and just use one hand to grab the clip, put it in and release the bolt)… You just have to stop shooting, put it in front of you and use both hands…


Russell March 27, 2013 at 10:17 am

I’ve had this happen before with my M-14 when I was practicing reloading with stripper clips. Its beyond painful.


SSGWidner March 27, 2013 at 12:40 pm

We have all heard the saying, “There are those who have had M1 Thumb and those that will!” Thankfully I am still in the will section, though I think it is mainly learning to operate the weapon right, doing it the same every time, and not getting rushed that prevents M1 Thumb.

I have used mine in high-power competition for the last 4.5 years and you have to drop the stock out of the shoulder or you will never be able to get the leverage and manipulation to load that clip in the “military manner” shown in the video. That said you can still get the weapon back up very fast, on par with many detachable magazine weapons with practice and experience, most competitors I have timed can reload and are ready for the next “well aimed” shot in less than 3 to 5 seconds.


Rob Carter March 27, 2013 at 12:54 pm

I got M1 thumb when showing off my rapid, no-looking, one-handed action manipulation skills for my friends. Karma. It hurt, and I got a hell of a bruise under my thumbnail, but that was it. I was not a new M1 owner.

You shouldn’t get M1 thumb when actual ammo/loading is involved. If the clip is partially in, it’s blocking the bolt from closing and once it’s properly seated in place, the effort of stripping the top round off retards the bolt enough to take M1 thumb’s teeth away.

All the M1 thumbs I’ve ever seen have been have been related to careless handling of unloaded rifles.


Todd S March 27, 2013 at 02:19 pm

I’ve had M1 thumb AND 1911 hand (when the slide runs over the web between your thumb and finger) from my grandfather’s WWII carry pistol. All beavertails all the time, now.


Jeff March 28, 2013 at 08:21 am

My friend actually injured the blade of his hand reloading my Glock 19. Slapped a magazine home with too much authority and ended up pinching and bruising a flap of skin. Ever since then, he keeps complaining that he doesnt like the Glock 19 because its too small xD


SittingDown March 28, 2013 at 11:03 pm


*Filipino English for Gloves. LOL


Firehand March 29, 2013 at 11:33 am

Not personally; have known people who have, and the language they use describing it is colorful.

Once while loading a clip the bolt slipped; if I hadn’t had the edge of the hand in front of the charging handle, it would’ve been bad.



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