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Do You Train For One-Handed Shooting?

Discussion in 'Tactics and Training' started by MTPD, Jun 20, 2010.

  1. MTPD


    Nov 9, 2005
    Way back in the day, we didn't use two-handed shooting stances. One-handed shooting was mandatory for qualification on the PD range and, for some odd reason, we never did any two-handed pistol shooting. Didn't even think of it.

    Shooting now days is basically a two-handed affair, but isn't one-handed shooting still a good thing to practice? After all, it's not always possible, or even desireable, to shoot two-handed in an up close and personal self-defense situation.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2010
  2. Bill Lumberg

    Bill Lumberg BTF Inventor

    Jun 14, 2002
    Pretty much all LE agencies these days require one hand, weak hand, lowlight, moving and shooting as part of required training/quals.

  3. HK Dan

    HK Dan

    Mar 27, 2008
    Yes, yes it is a good thing to practice--strong and weak handed, in squirrely positions, and at speed. Practice while moving fast, practice close and far, on big targets and small. Practice clearing malfunctions and reloading one handed.

    I believe the odds of your being able to assume a classic Weaver stance with proper grip and perfect sight alignment/sight picture in a critical defensive incident are roughly the same as my finding yellow cake uranium in my sock drawer. It's going to be quick, mobile, sloppy, and probably one handed.
  4. Gallium

    Gallium CLM

    Mar 26, 2003
    Not only train one hand, but train to do everything with the gun dominant, and non dominant hand.

    This includes drills where use of one hand is considered unavailable, or that other hand is busy pulling/pushing someone to cover, or restraining someone under your care.

    Also includes dealing with any stoppages or malfunctions one handed.

  5. threefeathers

    threefeathers Scouts Out

    Oct 23, 2008
    I train one handed every practice session. I do at least one magazine with dominant hand and one with non-dominant hand.
    The chances of us having to shoot woth one hand is very high. Perhaps in a Mall and you hace to push you children (grandchildren) back with one hand while firing with the other in the opening salvo of a shooting.
    Or you are wounded in the dominant arm and you have to stay in the fight so you switch to non-dominant hand.

    I also drill loading with one usable hand.
  6. Long time ago I broke my right hand in college. Found out that weekend I was an awful shot with my left (shot the ground in front of the target stands.) And, of course, I could not use my right hand to help steady the left!

    So there are times one needs to be able to shoot one handed, and for that matter either hand.

    So let's just say I learned a good lesson and can use either hand nowdays (or both.)

    Just this Saturday was 'snuby day' at the range. Brought my 2 inch Smith 63 and my 642. 2 yards to 25 yards. Lots of hip shooting. All the shooting was one handed except the 25 yard stuff (used IDPA targets.) And yes, at 25 yards, DA only,the 642 standing put all 5 in the '0' ring.

  7. PaulMason


    Feb 10, 2010
    There is a stance that I like to practice - I don't know the name.
    This is for right handed
    -left forearm across your belly
    -right forearm pressing across your hip
    -arms are not extended
    -two handed gun grip
    It is for close in shooting.

    Anyone know the name of it?
  8. CAR

  9. 2 Hawks

    2 Hawks ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

    Sep 11, 2005
    Some years ago I broke my right hand and showed up at the meet with a left handed holster and my R/hand in a cast. I quickly learned how to shoot and reload just using the support hand. The hardest thing for me was shaving with my left hand. But in time I learned to use both hands almost equally. So now I keep both sides polished.
  10. MTPD


    Nov 9, 2005
    I'm surprised at how many can shoot well with either hand! My gun-arm has been disabled for 2 1/2 years due to a wreck and failed medical operations, so I finally figured out that maybe I'll never be the same again and have been practicing with my left hand. To start with I was terrible. I'm still not that great, but I'm getting better. Most of my practice is with an empty gun and using the laser for accuracy and trigger-pull feedback. Needing so much practice it is too expensive to do it with live ammo.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2010
  11. Gallium

    Gallium CLM

    Mar 26, 2003

    The best time to learn how to shoot with the non-dominant hand is when you are learning to shoot. This is how I was taught; this is how I teach. I do not mix in presentation from retention or reloading into that "fundamentals of shooting" exercise for either hand, because I want to develop proficient shooters who are able to use either hand, BEFORE they ever see a holster. Of all the non-LEO shootings I've looked at, it is only a small % that begin with the non LEO having a holstered gun on their person, so I teach for what is statistically most probable and work my way down the list as their gun handling skills increase.

  12. W4CNG


    Sep 19, 2002
    In the Gun Room
    Back in 1995 I had two operations in one occur. Fusion of C4-C5 in the neck and carple tunnel repair in right hand. Being a righty that caused issues. Having the Fusion caused more. Doc said not to shoot heavy recoil guns for 6 months and get the tennis ball out for the right hand, plus 2 months of PT. I bought a Ruger 45/22 and 4 bricks of ammo. Got the 45/22 because I was shooting a Single Stack 45 most of the time in and around a G21. Shot mostly left handed with the 45/22 and after 6 months later did the same with the single stack. That was some of the best cross training I have ever had. It sure helped on the IPSC Qualifiers that require Both, Right and Left handed shooting.
  13. Kith


    Jan 18, 2010

    I try to train myself to be ambi-dextrous, and so try to do everything with my weak hand as much as with my strong hand.

    At this point in my life it's hard to tell anymore.
  14. Brian@ITC

    Brian@ITC Instructor

    Dec 2, 2004
    Richmond, IN
    Since aprroximately 80% of confrontations take place from 0-6 feet, this is where you should spend 80% of your time training. With that in mind, shooting two handed isn't realistic. More than likely you should be shooting from a retention format with the butt of the magazine or the handle (for you revolver people) against your ribs. Placing the gun out towards the attacker this close is not smart.

    Train hard, train often, and most of all, train realistically!

    Brian K. LaMaster
    Innovative Tactical Concepts
    Modern Warrior Talk
    ITC’s Tactical Youtube Channel
    Marksmanship is a hopeful skill, FIGHTING skills are a must!
    Gunfighting is not a martial art. Your martial art should include “gunfighting”!
  15. l8apex


    Apr 26, 2010
    One handed shooting practice should make up at least 40% of your practice, static and getting off the x. Most experienced two handed shooters dislike one handed drills as accurate brisk hits take more concentration and skill. No one likes to miss the mark once they are considered 'advanced'. My experience has been that although you may feel awkward and dismayed shooting one handed, it will ultimately improve your shooting overall.
  16. raising_arizona


    May 13, 2008
    A friend of mine was in a force on force class, and he was amazed at how often he got shot in the hand/forearm. That made me rethink shooting with both hands all the time. As a previous poster mentioned, nobody like to miss a target, but it's good to be efficient with your weak hand as well.
  17. fastbolt


    Jun 9, 2002
    CA Central Coast
    Sorry to hear about your medical issues MTPD.

    Just like many folks who engage in martial arts practice often tend to favor a 'strong side' arm or leg, it seems common for many shooters to favor their strong/dominant hand for shooting. A human nature thing.

    Having to focus more effort and attention on learning to effectively use the non-dominant arm & leg in the arts is no more enjoyable than trying to do so with shooting skills, I'd think.

    When I had shoulder & elbow injuries on my right side which required surgeries on each, consecutively, it forced me to use my left hand for many routine tasks and made me realize I needed to be better skilled using my left hand. This included shooting.

    Then, some years later I experienced a freakish bilateral nerve injury condition which considerably weakened my arms & hands. It was a painful process to get their full use back, and even harder to use them for arts & shooting activities. The left side required even more effort than the right side because of the nature of the injury.

    At one point after I'd mostly recovered I decided to re-emphasize my shooting skills using my left (non-dominant) hand. At one point I suddenly decided that all my training & practice would be done using my left hand & arm as my 'dominant' side, even when I was working as an instructor. I did that for several months. It wasn't easy at first, but it helped quite a bit.

    I also had the opportunity to realize that the left-handed shooters among us actually had some advantages when required to adapt themselves to using handguns designed by right-handed people for right-handed people. Reloading turned out to be easier in unexpected ways using my left hand, for example.

    I can't claim to be ambidextrous, and likely will never possess the same level of overall skills using my left hand & arm as I do when using my right side, but it made me more cognizant of the need to remain aware of the level of skills I can bring to bear with my left hand & arm and to work on maintaining them in case I have to resort to using them.

    One advantage of 're-learning' things with my left side is that I tend to pay more attention on getting the basics right each time, or at least not taking them for granted. ;)

    Luck to you.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2010
  18. Gallium

    Gallium CLM

    Mar 26, 2003

    One of the things I require my shooters to do (NRA Basic Pistol Instructor course) is to shoot the NRA Pistol Instructor qualification, and/or the Basic Pistol course of fire using the non-dominant hand.

    MOST folks struggle to put 20 rounds in 6" @ 15 yards (using the non dominant hand), this after being easily able to shoot this same Q mere minutes prior using the dominant hand.

    During the course I have them shoot non-dominant hand for the same reason as you cite - it forces people to concentrate on the fundamentals, and it puts their mindset into that same place where NEW shooters are going to be. I tell new shooters, the best time to think about teaching something is when they are learning it (really helps to open up the mind)...and I tell seasoned shooters/instructors to try and reflect back on when they themselves were learning how to shoot, reflect on the obstacles they faced, and what tools/tips/tricks helped to make things "click".

    ....of course, I don't mean to infer that we are in the same company/class as instructors. I acknowledge that your sphere of work is markedly different from mine.

  19. fastbolt


    Jun 9, 2002
    CA Central Coast
    Hey 'Drew,

    Yep, I don't see it as a bad thing or waste of time to make even experienced or advanced shooters go back and revisit the basics when it comes to using both hands. That time many years ago when I had those medical problems remains fresh in my mind.

    There was a time when we felt there was a potential issue that needed to be addressed with observed performance in some non-dominant shooting drills. In order to address this issue we spent several months inserting weak/non-dominant hand shooting into every single qual drill/scenario being done by everyone (1-handed, 2-handed, cover/barricade, etc). It seemed to have been beneficial when non-dominant shooting drills were revisited at a later time, too. The shooters as a group expressed satisfaction and increased (and justified) confidence, as well.

    Best regards,
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2010
  20. Defender77


    Sep 13, 2009
    Also practice using the non-dominant hand to remove the gun from the holster.....firing it, and putting it BACK in the holster.

    That simulates getting shot or otherwise seriously injured in the gun hand...and having to transition immediately to the non-dominant hand.

    Having to re-holster may be necessary because the perp may still be alive (though no longer a threat)....or he may have dropped his gun and it is still nearby.

    You may need both hands free to use your cell phone to call 911.

    Or if you are LEO you may need to cuff the perp whether he appears dead or not.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2010