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Does anyone here ever practice weak hand?

2038 Views 17 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Snake45
Having spent most of this shooting season bench-testing five kinds of cheap .22 ammo in 17 scoped rifles and 7 (so far) pistols, I've been in the mood of late to stand up like a man and shoot some offhand. It's frustrating but fun. With several of my .22 rifles I can keep most shots inside 1 1/4" @ 25 yards, with maybe half of them inside an inch. (Open sights are easier to shoot offhand than scopes for some reason--prolly psychological).

Last couple sessions I've been in the mood to shoot pistols one-handed, but I banged my right elbow on something a couple weeks ago and it seems like I keep re-banging it walking thru doors every couple days so it's not feeling much better. Holding my right arm extended is painful so I've done some left-hand only shooting just for the sheer merry hell of it.

The target is a four-inch black square at 50 feet. Last weekend with a Stoeger .22 Luger I kept 32 of 40 shots in the square, with 3 more just off it, all shots on a sheet of typing paper. With my .22 Ciener conversion on a Browning P35 I didn't have as many in the square, because that gun shoots so high that tilting it to aim with my right eye put a lot of them off high and right. Still, all 40 were on the paper and there was a group of sorts in and around the upper right portion of the 4" square.

Same drill today. Stoeger Luger, 31 out of 40 in the square, with five more just barely out of it, and all on paper. Got the hang of where to aim the Ciener P35 and also got 31 out of 40 in the square with 6 just outside; three shots notably high and right but still on the paper. Ciener .22 Colt Commander conversion, 33 out of 40 in the square with 5 just out along the right edge of the square, one shot high and one low at the edges of the paper (8"). Was having so much fun I sucked it up and shot that gun 20 with my right hand, bending the elbow a little ("Stresspoint" style) to relieve the pain and put 17 out of 20 in a nice group at the top of the 4" square, with two right off it and one about 1" out.

After shooting dozens upon dozens of 1/2" or so groups (scoped .22 rifles) these targets at first look like disappointing "patterns" but on reflection I don't think they're that bad. Surely if I can keep 3/4 of my shots inside of 4", I wouldn't be considered completely defenseless with my left hand, would I? Honest opinions and evaluations solicitied. (Please be kind!)
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Most good schools work on weak hand tactics and some levels work on that a bunch. As a PPC shooter I routinely shot with weak hand at both 25 and 50 yds. from a barricade (supported) postion.

Actually we probably don't do it enough so anything one can do to improve his skill is great. My compliments.
Yup. You can have a disabled shooting hand from anything... weak hand training is just incase you get shot in the weak hand.
You could slip and fall on some ice and break your shooting arm or something... burn your hand... slam it in a car door.
Life can get in the way if a perfect shooting stance.
Reload, too. How about weak _eye_?

Last week we were exclaiming over that female officer who not only shot with her weak hand, she reloaded weak hand, and put two BGs away with her weak hand. I know she had to practice that, and I'm sure if she had not practiced she'd be dead.

I don't shoot IPSC, but I (sometimes) do shoot IDPA, and weak hand shooting is mandatory in many IDPA scenarios.

I suggest we all practice weak hand shooting -- and, weak eye too. While a bullet in an eye will undoubtedly cause more problems than eye damage, there are a lot of things that can put one eye out of commission, but leave you able to shoot. Dust, broken eyeglass lens, blood dripping in it, etc. etc.
How about for just shooting around weak side corner while staying behind cover?
Rifle and Pistol... shotgun as well.
George said:
Yup. You can have a disabled shooting hand from anything... weak hand training is just incase you get shot in the weak hand.
You could slip and fall on some ice and break your shooting arm or something... burn your hand... slam it in a car door.
Life can get in the way if a perfect shooting stance.
'Bout seven years back I attempted a moronic vehicular move while accepting one of Meatloaf's better refrains ("And objects in the rear view mirror may appear closer than they are…") as science, and had an MVA which resulted in a painfully fractured clavical.

I was forced to wear a figure-eight "cast" for several days and a sling for several weeks, which seriously impaired my regular mode of carry… or for that matter, any carry mode with which I'd ever experimented. But as I am also a strong proponent of Mark Moritz' brilliant aphorism (the origins of which were just recently rediscovered) I had to come up with something.

Then I remembered an old Dick Tracy strip from the late '40s, early '50s in which he had his D-frame snubbie encased in an ace bandage in his hand when his arm was in a cast. Wham! RTWP went into the safe, and out came the Airweight Centennial, and it was actually resting in my hand for the next three weeks.

That sling was very convenient as well as comfortable… along with a Bianchi Speed Strip and my 6P, I carried my car keys, change, my wallet, money clip and a Spyderco.

The only thing I had to be especially careful with was Rule #2… Rule #3 was easy because it's second nature. (Rule #1 is, of course, a given, and fortunately, Rule #4 never came into play.)
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DeanSpeir said:
I attempted a moronic vehicular move while accepting one of Meatloaf's better refrains ("And objects in the rear view mirror may appear closer than they are…")
There's just nothing like a Jim Steinman lyric, is there? Doesn't matter if it's being sung by Meaty, by Air Supply ("Making Love Out of Nothing at All") or by Bonnie Tyler ("Total Eclipse of the Heart"), you can tell a Steinman song a mile out. My favorite JS lyric is "Life Is a Lemon and I Want My Money Back." My second favorite Meat Loaf song is "I'd Lie for You and That's the Truth," which sounds almost exactly like a Steinman song but was actually written by Dianne Warren--perhaps her finest and least-known work.

I'd be remiss to Fernando here if I didn't mention that Meaty has covered Warren Zevon's "Lawyers, Guns and Money," and a rather catchy version of it, too. (I am the only person on who admits to liking the ML cover, but I do, dammit. I think Meaty is the only person alive who could adequately cover "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner.")

Marvin Aday rocks!
You had to remind me . . .

Mad Ogre said:
How about for just shooting around weak side corner while staying behind cover?
Rifle and Pistol... shotgun as well.
Once (and only once) fired a 12 ga. at an advancing squirrel, from sitting, sort of, while leaning around a tree stump, weak hand, weak side, weak brain.

Hadn't practiced. If I had, I would have probably figured out that a 12 ga fired with the butt an inch or two off the bicep was gonna be a bad thing.

I think the squirrel died laughing.
In LFI-II, Mas had us shoot the shotguns weak-handed some. I believe it was to make maximum use of cover on that side if need be. He pointed out that there were other advantages to shooting a shotgun that way, such as you now have the strong hand managing the pump, thereby (I think) reducing the risk of short-stroking. He noted that a significent percentage (did he say "almost half"? I forget) of police officers he'd had fire the thing weak-handed liked the position so well and did so well that way that they went on to shoot the shotgun weak-handed ALL the time from then on.

I wonder if the ones who stayed with shotgun weak-hand were eye cross-dominant. I'd be willing to bet so.

I know a man who is heavily into smallbore rifle and has coached the local kids' team for decades. He made his own son, who was right-handed, shoot left handed because the kid was left-eyed. I always thought this was a huge mistake. In something as deliberate as smallbore rifle, you have plenty of time to either close your dominant eye, or rig up something like a frosted lens that would "de-dominant" it while shooting. The same would be true for, say, shooting a scoped rifle, and in many kinds of deliberate pistol shooting. I'd think the cross-dominant problem would be much more serious in things like shotgun shooting (particularly in the field), and "point" pistol shooting.

I helped out at a NRA basic pistol course a couple weeks ago and ran into the state trooper who'd been class champ at Mas's May LFI-I course where I also assisted. Turns out he HAD been shooting his issue .40 Beretta (a 96, I think?), and it WAS a DAO, and he trounced all 1911 and Glock shooters. Anyway, turns out he's cross-dominant and he solves the problem by turning his head to the right in a sort of "Quell stance" to shoot. It obviously works for him; wonder if he's got that head turn grooved in so he does it instinctively. Me, I just cant the gun over to the right when shooting left-handed and use my normal right eye. I've demonstrated that the cant has an insignificant effect of POI (unless the gun, like my P35, has a very high POI in the first place).

BTW, one's dominant eye is not necessarily one's strongest or "best" eye. My distance vision is much better in my left eye than in my right, but I'm strongly right-eye dominant.

All little problems to be overcome. I noticed when shooting left-handed the last couple times that trigger control seemed to be easier with my left hand than my right. Maybe that's because I've only shot .22s with my left hand and it's never learned to flinch. (Fernando, did you get that?) :D
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In short, yes, but probably not as much as I should.

I've shot pistol, rifle, and shotgun weak handed, and I've even practiced weak-hand dominant, strong-hand supported shooting with the pistol. (It helps give you a steadier sight picture and leaves more of your body behind cover when trying to shoot around cover to your strong side.)
No not really but my targets look like I'm shooting weak hand :oops:
I had a blown out Rotor Cuff thanks to an overn enthusiastic Arrest Control instuctor at my police academy. My shoulder is still not fully healed 12 years later and heavy rifles cause aches and pains. Clavical too. Ouch.

I carried my cross draw rig and just used my left hand till I was able to do the whole slap leather thing again.
I broke my strong hand and had to continue working light duty. While I was out sick I just stuck my D/S in the sling. Then I borrowed a holster and carried that way at work. My hand hurt for years afterward while shooting. you should try writing a couple of hundred license plates in two hours in the cold after I went back full duty. :( Ow!

We did practice weak hand but really only enough to be familiar with it.
Short answer: Yes, I do practice it, but not much. I'm referring to defensive pistol practice here.

Like has been said a million times before, we don't like to practice things we are bad at.

Recently, when I go out in the woods for pistol practice, I first shoot a 30-round set of drills that I've seen Ken Hackathorn put together in print. There is a little bit of weak-hand and strong-hand-only in it.

Long (real long) answer:
The reason usually given for weak hand practice is, of course, in case of injury to that hand/arm in a fight. I used to think it was Walter Mitty stuff, but now believe it's a very good reason.
For one thing, by the time things escalate to "gunplay", there may have been quite a struggle or fight. Injuries would not only be possible, but likely.
For another thing, it's been claimed that people "focus on the threat". In our hypothetical case, that means the gun. I've seen enough targets from training centers with hits clustered around the "gun" to believe this.

In my case, I realized another reason why I should practice one-handed or weak-handed shooting more. I am a stay-at-home Dad. I've been unable to work due to a back injury/permanent condition for a couple of years now. Therefore, most of the time, I have one or both daughters with me.
Should a "situation" occur, I will have at least one hand busy holding/moving/shielding the girl(s).

I have put a lot more thought into defensive shooting since starting this stay-at-home Dad job. I have had a carry permit for 21 years, since being old enough to obtain one, and have formed some strong opinions. Some changed with my situation. One- or weak- handed shooting skills included.

A guy who started a family somewhat late in life, who is crumpled-over, often walks with a cane, and accompanied by two very cute little girls in this screwed-up world........ can feel like a target sometimes.

Also- I broke my right foot this summer- my first broken bone of any kind . As mentioned earlier, you do something like that, and you realize you need a Plan B. And it's often too late to practice Plan B after you need it.

Yes, I have noticed that I get better hits with my weak hand than strong hand sometimes. But, I take more time with the weak hand in those cases. So, I really think that comes from bearing down and trying harder, than anything else.

One more thing on the subject. This never occurred to me until I read it in a Louis Awerbuck book-
If you realize the need to practice weak-hand (or strong-hand-only), then practice ALL of it, not just the shooting part. By that I mean weak-hand-only draw, reloading, malfunction clearance, etc. For me, at least, that was the hard part.
I had shot some IPSC and IDPA with weak-hand involved, but it's all shooting. You draw, reload, and clear malfunctions using both hands. The reason is naturally safety related, since some things are harder to perform one-handed without waving the gun around a little more than most people like.
Try it at home with an (absolutely, positively) unloaded gun, or with dummy rounds. It's tough.

One of the most entertaining concerts I've ever seen.
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I don't practice it enough, but I understand the value, and it goes beyond just dealing with an injured strong arm/hand. When shooting around barricades, entering through a doorway, and in other situations where terrain limits your field of view or prohibits a strong-side mount, transitioning to the weak hand is very useful. For example, a right handed person can shoot with the strong hand from the left side of a barricade, but to do so exposes more of the body than shooting with the left hand.

The few times I've gone through a "fun house" with a carbine, I found I felt much better transitioning to the left shoulder to peek into a doorway from the right side, than staying strong side and leaning over more into the doorway. While I sometimes have trouble shooting rifles lefty with some iron sights, with a good, paralax-free optic (like the Aimpoint Comp M), the hits come just as easily. This is also where I learned that as good as the Giles and other tac slings are, the CQB slings with the quick release buckles are even better because they allow rapid transitions. With the Giles, I had to either put in lots of slack, or just loop it around my neck, to transition to the weak shoulder.
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I encourage a visit to Bill Rogers Shooting School in Ellijay, GA. One of his drills, the Weak-Hand Blast, features 23 weak-hand shots at his 8-inch plates, which pop up for a whole quarter of a second. All reloads weak-hand only, and behind cover. Big fun! Sort of like shooting blindfolded...

Agreed. From my review of the Rogers Shooting School in Nov '01:
Tim Burke said:
There was a strong emphasis on one handed shooting. By the middle of the week, I didn't mind shooting one handed, as long as I could reload with both hands. By the end of the week, I didn't mind reloading with one hand. This by itself probably makes the course worthwhile.
Same with LFI-II. Ever since taking it, I now routinely unload revolvers one-handed (whichever hand I'm shooting it in), but do usually reload with both. But I CAN do it all one-handed if I have to.
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