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Teaching kids to shoot - right handed wanting to shoot lefty?

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by Eric2340, Sep 30, 2012.

  1. Need some help / advice here to see what is the RIGHT way to do this -

    My sons (twins) are getting to the age where I am starting to go a little deeper into firearms w/ them now. They now the basics, do NOT touch if you find a gun, tell an adult, how to know it's empty, yadda, yadda, yadda.................

    They have NOT shot yet, and we are just getting to the first BB rifle / first .22 rifle. I've got an old .22 w/ a scope on it someone gave me, and I plan on buying them a BB gun in the near future to start with.

    Anyone, BOTH boys are right handed (like me) one has it down pat on how to shoulder then gun and can see through the scope (I do NOT plan on starting w/ the scope, I merely want to see if they could shoulder the gun properly # 1, and then 2, see through the scope too - I'm going to teach them open sight shooting first, and THEN w/ the scope once they have the principals), the other can't do it. :(

    Here's the dilemma and my question -

    He CLAIMS if he shoulders the gun as a LEFTY (again, he IS right handed) that he then CAN see through the scope (???). Plus he seems to have more trouble just trying to shoulder the gun right handed w/ no scope on it, and can do it right every time left handed?

    Is this OK, or should I try and break him now and make him do it right handed? :(

    I've honestly never taught a child to shoot before (helped several adult friends and GFs over the years w/ long guns and never had an issue or this issue) and don't know if this is OK, or if I am setting him up w/ a bad habit from the start? :(

    Now I also know everyone should be able to shoot either left or right handed w/ a long gun tactically if they need to transition, but this is the basics and kids we are talking about. The harder stuff can come later, walk before you can run kind of thing.

    Please help advise, thanks -
  2. Have you checked his eye dominance? Sounds like he may be a righty with a dominant left eye.

    My youngest son was that way. I put tape on the left lens of his shooting glasses, and made him shoot right handed using his right eye. Seemed to have solved the problem. 27 years later and hes still doing OK.

  3. alwaysshootin


    Nov 14, 2005
    First thing I would do is check to see which eye, is their dominant.

    Have them extend their arm, with both eyes open, and put thumb up in the air. Have them aim at something on the wall, a light switch for example. Then close one eye at a time, and whichever eye is perfectly aiming at the target, is the dominant eye. Then go from there.
  4. janice6

    janice6 Silver Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    If, for whatever reason, he shoots better and more comfortably Left handed, why not.

    Many baseball players can bat either handed and it doesn't hurt them. He may have some issues he cannot recognize well enough to communicate them to you, in the meantime, why not let him shoot the way that works and feels the best for him.

    He may change later.

    In my generation the Catholic school system used to punish students for using their Left hand. It was considered by the Nuns to be the Devils approach.

    It accomplished nothing good, and only created a greater conflict for the student. My FIL tells many stories about his "punishment". He is a skilled artist with his Left hand and does everything else with his Right hand.
  5. packeagle


    Mar 2, 2011
    In my experience teaching Boy Scouts to shoot, he is probably left eye dominant.

    The best way I've found to test this on youth is to have them extend both arms in front of them. Overlapping their hands to form a small diamond between their thumbs and pointer fingers. Stand 6-8 ft. back and have them look at your nose with both of their eyes open. what ever eye YOU see through their hands is their dominant eye.

    Sent from my DROID X2 using Tapatalk 2
  6. Cole125

    Cole125 Silver Member

    Apr 5, 2008
    Far West, USA
    He must be left eye dominant, if thats the case let him shoot left handed.

    I am left handed, and left eye dominant. I can use iron sights shooting a rifle right handed, but its hard for me to use a scope shooting right handed and using my right eye.
  7. JerryVO


    Oct 22, 2008
    Tampa, FL
    Let him do what is comfortable as long as he can do it safely. I am right handed but left eye dominant. I also find it odd that any sport I have taught myself to play hockey and lacrosse I play left handed. Sports I was taught from the start baseball and golf I play right handed. So there is nothing wrong doing some things on the weak side.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I777 using Tapatalk 2

  8. This seemed the easiest to have him do, as we are not able to get to the range today.

    Looks like this is dead on and as the others said, he's right handed and left eye dominate, as I tested it against his brother and then had someone check me (my other son and I both are right handed and shoot w/ the right eye).

    We've still got a LOT to cover, but when this one thing showed up right in the beginning it kind of freaked me out as I was not sure what was right / to do. A HUGE thank you to all who relied w/ advice, I appreciate it. :)

    Now next question, Mr. righty who wants to shoot long gun lefty -

    He seems to favor holding a toy pistol (for demo purposes only at this point) when being shown how to hold it properly right handed. When he tries to do it left handed instead, he seems not able to put it all together?

    Is it also possible that he would shoot a long gun lefty and a handgun righty, being right handed and left eye dominate?

    He's too small to try a handgun yet, and again I want to ease into all of this, but I am also looking down the road too.

    Thanks again to all -

    Now I have to go start looking for some left handed long guns for one of them. :upeyes: At least now there will be no fighting over who's gun is who's..................... :)
  9. Genin

    Genin Designated Left

    Oct 25, 2010
    Bloomsburg PA
    True story. When I was about 7 years old I was starting to try and shoot more with my grandfather and brothers. They kept telling me I had to shoot the way that they did and I have a very hard time being as accurate as them and I often held my head oddly over the rifle stock. I got criticism for this and it discouraged me from shooting. I actually stopped shooting for a couple of years until my gym teacher, whom was teaching us archery, explained my hand and eye dominance to me. From that day on shooting was much easier and much more enjoyable since I knew I was not only left-handed but left-eye dominant. Moral being, if you try and teach your child in a way that benefits you and costs them then you may lose their interests.

    Ok, that being said....I'm left-handed & left-eye dominant. Please teach your child the way that is most natural for him. I have two children of my own and they both happen to be right-handed and right-eye dominant. I teach them everything right-handed, sports, etc. They haven't started shooting yet (not quite mature enough) but when they do I will train them on what is natural for them. I want to nurture their interests and hone their skills in a way that is enjoyable for them. I don't want my kids to get frustrated or feel like they are forced to learn in a way that is unnecessarily difficult for them. Plus you'll get wicked good with your weak side skills. I've taught many a right handed, right eyed dominant adults to shoot and can hit very confidently right handed now.
  10. Genin

    Genin Designated Left

    Oct 25, 2010
    Bloomsburg PA
    Sorry was typing my response when you posted. Good for you.

    I loved Savage left-handed 22lr rifles when I was growing up. I'd recommend them highly.

    As for shooting pistol right-handed. Not a problem. Even when I shoot righty, I still use my left eye. You just lightly cant the gun or move it so it is in the sight line of the dominant eye. Professional shooters like Dave Sevigny (spelling?) are cross-dominant and destroy the competition.

  11. Yep, you nailed it, that was what stopped me in my tracks as soon as I realized he could shoulder it instantly left sided after fighting the right side over and over.

  12. Wyoming


    Feb 3, 2007
    Southwest Wyoming
    It has been covered that you shoot dominate eye and not dominate hand. Good advice.

    Sorry, being left hand and left dominate eye I can tell you based on my own experiences that it will cost him/you more and will have less to choose from.

    I bought one of the first left hand Remington 700 in 1973. Since then I have only added 12 more left hand guns. I have owned over the decades several hundred guns. I have every left hand gun I ever bought. They are that hard to come by. I have six Over Under shotguns and three Ruger Number 1 that are true ambidextrous guns. I like Mossberg pumps because they have tang safeties that can be used either way. Handguns can usually go either way as long as they don't have right hand thumb rest.

    You can get ambidextrous safeties for AR style rifles. I own several Ruger 10-22s that I changes out the right hand safety to left hand. I used to use Williams LH safeties but they stopped making them after they got sued when a right hand person got hurt using a left hand safety.:upeyes: Brownells has left hand safety made by Volquartsen. I bought a few extras to have in case they stopped making them.

    This is why many left hand shooters use leveraction and pump rifles and suffer.

    The worst condition for a left hand shooter is a right hand bolt action rifle with a scope.

    FWIW, many push trigger guard safeties can be converted to left hand by a gunsmith. Once done they can not be converted back to right hand.

    Studies show that left hand people don't live as long as right hand people. You think that alone would qualify us for the Americans With Disabillies Act.:rofl:
  13. barth

    barth six barrels

    Oct 7, 2011
    The Free Zone
    Cross eye dominant.
    That's what I am.
    It's super fun...
  14. Drilled


    Dec 2, 2006
    I was a lefty from birth but when I started school many years ago (in WVA) teachers would hit your hand if you wrote left-handed. I learned the right hand world that was yesteryear.

    I can play golf left or right handed I can bat left or right. When I played racquet sports I played left handed.

    Whatever is natural for your boy.

    My handwriting is awful...I suspect it was because I was supposed to be left handed.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2012
  15. FireForged

    FireForged Millenium #3936 Millennium Member

    Dec 25, 1999
    Rebel South
    My Dad taught me to shoot a rifle as a kid (right handed). I never handled a pistol until many years later.. He also taught me to bat (right handed). I am a lefty and have been left handed since before grade school. I am also cross-eye dominant (left handed / right eye dominant). All I can say is that I wish my Dad had allowed me to just do it the way I wanted to begin with. By the time my Parents realized that I was truly left handed.. the damage was done.

    I shoot a pistol as a lefty
    I write as a left
    I shoot a rifle as a righty
    swing a baseball bat as a righty
    I throw with my left hand
    use a fork with my right
    open a jar with my left
    open a door knob with my right

    oh the misery
  16. In my sons case, starting young seemed to make the transition a lot easier (he started dry firing at 3, shooting live ammo at 4) . He was always predominately right handed in most things he did, so it made no sense to try and make him shoot lefty, and handicap him for the rest of his life, when we could work on the eye problem right off. The tape on his glasses did solve the problem, by forcing him to use his right eye when he shot. Hes still left eye dominant if he pays attention to it, but he says he has learned to focus his right eye when needed, and at worst, close his left if he becomes distracted. He has no trouble shooting sporting clays, or blasting running critters, so even with quick reaction/moving targets, its not been an issue.

    Now, if youre waiting until they are older to deal with it, things may go harder, just like learning to shoot in general. The sooner you start them shooting, the better off you are. The sooner they understand the problem, and work at dealing with it, the easier it will be too.
  17. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

    Jun 12, 2002
    North Carolina
    As others have said, teach him to shoot on his dominant eye side.

    Also, don't be so sure he's righty. My mother is lefty and trained me to do things left handed. My brother is right handed and taught me to do other things left handed. I thought being left handed was un-cool, and always considered myself right handed. the older I get, the more I think I have been left handed all along.

    Also, right and left handed is not black and white one way or the other for many people. There is a lot of gray areas with it.

    The one thing that is a real PITA to work with is a person shooting a long arm on the opposite side of their dominant eye. Closing one eye is a band-aid approach to get someone through a range session, not a way of life. Shooters should be taught to shoot with both eyes open, especially if they are young and can learn to do it right in the first place. I will tell peole that we train to qualify for a club that closing one eye is okay to do to get through the qualification, but that they should spend their time on the range after that teaching themselves to shoot with both eyes open.
  18. KalashniKEV


    Sep 24, 2003

    Ummmm... it's called Cross-dominance... unless you are also cross eyed?

    His target acquisition and discrimination will be superior and his transitions will be LIGHTNING...

    You could be raising the next Larry Vickers...

    (or me)

    I gots to put the nay-no on that.

    He needs to be comfortable with manipulating standard controls like second nature. DO NOT BUY strange left handed guns!
  19. poodleplumber


    Apr 23, 2009
    I am another who was taught that being right-handed was "correct" and "normal." My left hand is very strong and coordinated. I use tools with either hand with equal skill. I play piano with thunderous power in the bass. My handwriting is atrocious, like one of the previous posters.

    I have a left-handed daughter, too. She was allowed to be left-handed, and she shoots left handed with reasonable skill. My advise is to let the youngster be himself. You may have to think a little bit to teach some of the points as a mirror image of what you do, but it can be done.
  20. alwaysshootin


    Nov 14, 2005
    :wow: You are a mess!!!!!!:supergrin: