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Non-Gun Hand Drills

HayesGreener

Master Class
Over the decades instructor courses always drew moans and groans from students when the courses of fire required non-gun hand shooting. These exercises always seemed to bring a perverse sense of pleasure from instructors (myself included) when those "Aha" moments of diminished gun handling and marksmanship occurred. I have always said that my left hand works for operating turn signals and holding a steak knife but not much else. But I trained that way because I should.

This week those training exercises bore fruit after having minor hand surgery on my gun hand. I will not be able to shoot or handle the pistol with my right hand for a week or so. So there I was loading and holstering my .45 with the left hand. Just like all those drills I taught in my classes over the years. As awkward as it is, I gained a full appreciation of all those non-gun hand training sessions over the years. Now if I could just master operating zippers and tying my shoe laces one handed....
 

Bear007

Elite
Over the decades instructor courses always drew moans and groans from students when the courses of fire required non-gun hand shooting. These exercises always seemed to bring a perverse sense of pleasure from instructors (myself included) when those "Aha" moments of diminished gun handling and marksmanship occurred. I have always said that my left hand works for operating turn signals and holding a steak knife but not much else. But I trained that way because I should.

This week those training exercises bore fruit after having minor hand surgery on my gun hand. I will not be able to shoot or handle the pistol with my right hand for a week or so. So there I was loading and holstering my .45 with the left hand. Just like all those drills I taught in my classes over the years. As awkward as it is, I gained a full appreciation of all those non-gun hand training sessions over the years. Now if I could just master operating zippers and tying my shoe laces one handed....
I have never done non-gun hand training. I don't know what I would hit, probably miss the target completely. I guess I'll give it a shot next trip to the range.
 

TidalWave

Custom
Over the decades instructor courses always drew moans and groans from students when the courses of fire required non-gun hand shooting. These exercises always seemed to bring a perverse sense of pleasure from instructors (myself included) when those "Aha" moments of diminished gun handling and marksmanship occurred. I have always said that my left hand works for operating turn signals and holding a steak knife but not much else. But I trained that way because I should.

This week those training exercises bore fruit after having minor hand surgery on my gun hand. I will not be able to shoot or handle the pistol with my right hand for a week or so. So there I was loading and holstering my .45 with the left hand. Just like all those drills I taught in my classes over the years. As awkward as it is, I gained a full appreciation of all those non-gun hand training sessions over the years. Now if I could just master operating zippers and tying my shoe laces one handed....
Zippers & shoelaces might be giving you problems but you seem to have the typing under control Hayes ! :)

You raise a good point and I wish my training years ago, spotty though it already was , had included both hands right from the start. As it is, I don’t even like ambi safeties much. They’re like a vestigial organ to me. I’m totally limited to right hand , at this time…
 

Snake45

Operator
I spent a whole summer back in the '90s working on left-handed shooting (I'm right-handed and right-eyed). I didn't get great at it but I did get to where the gun (and I used several different kinds) no longer feels like a completely foreign object in my left hand. Pretty sure I can still keep everything in a 6" circle @ 25 yards.

I've also spent a lot of time in front of the TV just handling and operating various handguns with my left hand (unloaded and carefully checked, of course). IMHO this is also a worthwhile exercise and doesn't cost a dime.
 

HayesGreener

Master Class
Zippers & shoelaces might be giving you problems but you seem to have the typing under control Hayes ! :)

You raise a good point and I wish my training years ago, spotty though it already was , had included both hands right from the start. As it is, I don’t even like ambi safeties much. They’re like a vestigial organ to me. I’m totally limited to right hand , at this time…
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I typed thousands of reports with one finger typing.
 
Best wishes for a complete and speedy recovery. I have an older brother and sister who are both left handed. I was but going through elementary school I got smacked hard on the hand with a ruler for writing left handed. All the desks were right handed and some teachers thought everyone should be too. So I can still write well but slowly left handed so I have never had a problem shooting left. It does take a few rounds to get acclimated though. And as I get older I know why growing up I would notice elders wearing slip on shoes..It all makes sense now.
 

TSiWRX

Custom
^ For as much as my wife needs to type during her average work-day, she's still a hunt-and-peck (albeit with more than one finger per hand) typist, too. :ROFLMAO: Raw word-count probably can't match mine, but still, it's respectable!

[ And I forgot to mention that she even has a degree, with-honors, from one of the best writing programs in the nation. :LOL: I keep telling her that she's come far despite her handicaps, and that she should get a "Movie of the Week" deal from the networks. ]


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@HayesGreener, I wish you a very speedy and full recovery! :)

This was coincidentally a very recent topic on one of my State's concealed-carry discussion Forums:


^ The thread should be open to viewing, without registration.

My personal take -as I wrote there- is that for those more invested in concealed-carry and/or armed self-defense, skills with the non-dominant hand do need to be trained and practiced.

In-fight injury is one thing, but jut the chances of us being injured through daily activities should spur those who already say that training is necessary to look more seriously at this aspect of their own skillset.

Gear is another issue as well.

For those who want to look more deeply into non-dominant-hand techniques and live in the NE-Ohio area:

Andrew Blubaugh of Apex Shooting and Tactics usually runs a yearly pistol class that focuses on injured shooter techniques. In past years, it was listed as "Immediate Action Pistol" and was co-hosted by the Buckeye Firearms Association (BFA), taking place at the Rittman Police Training Range (it seems that I have only mentioned this class in-passing, here: viewtopic.php?f=12&t=87857&p=4357973&hilit=Blubaugh#p4357973 , sadly not a full AAR).

Chris Costa's Costa Ludus places heavy focus on such skills as a part of his second-level ("xET2") classes. I rolled through the full 6-day series of his handgun classes in the summer of 2012, and here's an awesome write-up (by another student) of the second-tier class on military.com - https://www.military.com/kitup/2012/12/ ... ostas.html, and https://www.military.com/kitup/2012/12/ ... tas-2.html . Costa's classes in NE-Ohio have been and continue to be hosted at the Southing Hunt Club, in Garrettsville , but he travels extensively nationwide, too.

Centrifuge Training, with Chase Jenkins as chief instructor, holds classes in NE-Ohio out of the awesome Alliance Police Training Facility in Alliance, Ohio. His curriculum includes two injured-shooter focused classes - "Injured Shooter, Handgun" and "Well, That Sucks..." I have not yet had a chance to take any of his classes, but my training friends all speak highly of him, and I hope for the opportunity in the not-too-far future. Similar to Costa, Jenkins travels nationwide.

For those looking for online resources, floating around for free on the Internet are excerpts of the Magpul Dynamics "The Art of the Dynamic Handgun" DVDs, which presents in very digestible formats both WHO (Weapon-Hand-Ohly) and SHO (Support-Hand-Only) weapons-manipulations techniques. There's even an "Essential Pistal Drills" (no, not a typo) video hosted by someone on YouTube, which consists of both full-speed as well as slow-motion demos of many of their techniques. Now discontinued for years, this series of DVDs still float around on eBay, and can be had for around $50 (which was the MSRP when-new),.

Due to the nature of weapons-manipulations and the fact that the shooter attempting these techniques are ostensibly new or newer to them (and may be using their non-dominant hand, too), I would recommend that they be practiced in-earnest in dry-fire format, before progressing to live-fire.

While the usual weapons-handling safety skills need to be carefully adhered to, also pay special attention to how your eye dominance may or may not play into issues, particularly when presenting the weapon on your non-doimnant-eye side (this concern should specifically be highlighted for barricade work).
 

Pitdogg2

Custom
I'm ambidextrous. Born a lefty, my first grade teacher sent me home with a note pinned to my shirt. It told my parents to teach me to write right handed before I could come back to school.
So today I do everything for the most part left handed except write, although I can write left handed it's not as "natural". When we go shoot I always shoot (right and left handed) rifle and pistol. My two kids hate I can do it just as accurate both handed.😁
 

Annihilator

SAINT
Founding Member
Over the decades instructor courses always drew moans and groans from students when the courses of fire required non-gun hand shooting. These exercises always seemed to bring a perverse sense of pleasure from instructors (myself included) when those "Aha" moments of diminished gun handling and marksmanship occurred. I have always said that my left hand works for operating turn signals and holding a steak knife but not much else. But I trained that way because I should.

This week those training exercises bore fruit after having minor hand surgery on my gun hand. I will not be able to shoot or handle the pistol with my right hand for a week or so. So there I was loading and holstering my .45 with the left hand. Just like all those drills I taught in my classes over the years. As awkward as it is, I gained a full appreciation of all those non-gun hand training sessions over the years. Now if I could just master operating zippers and tying my shoe laces one handed....
Have a speedy recovery, I personally know about hand surgery quite well, as I had it back in 2007, it just takes time.
 

papa

Professional
Founding Member
When I got my first handgun , a Ruger Security - Six , I started out shooting strong hand and then after getting fair with the strong hand I started shooting with my left hand. Lot of difference but I got good enough to be able to protect myself should the need arise.

I also learned to weld with both hands. You can't imagine how handy that is at times. Several times I have found myself holding on to something with my right hand and welding with my left.

It is good to be able to shoot with either hand . Practice folks.
 

HayesGreener

Master Class
I'm ambidextrous. Born a lefty, my first grade teacher sent me home with a note pinned to my shirt. It told my parents to teach me to write right handed before I could come back to school.
So today I do everything for the most part left handed except write, although I can write left handed it's not as "natural". When we go shoot I always shoot (right and left handed) rifle and pistol. My two kids hate I can do it just as accurate both handed.😁
I have a buddy who is truly ambidextrous. He tells everybody at the range he is bi-sexual. can shoot with either hand.
 

tapehoser

Operator
While I suspect I might shoot SLOWER, I wouldn't expect my shooting wrong-handed to be any less proficient than my normal hand. Although, there may be issues with shooting due to the right-eye/left-eye dominance in conjunction with your handedness. Know what I mean?

The way I was taught to shoot makes it so I can pretty much shoot any handgun with the same accuracy, even if I've never shot the gun before. And I don't say that to brag or anything. The old dude who taught me to shoot was extremely picky, since I was a new shooter. His ways have just stuck with me. Multiple people have offered to let me shoot their new pistols/rifles at the range before and the results are generally the same. If I use the skills he taught me and remember the minutiae of those rules, I will always be accurate (enough) to hit the target.

So let me ask you all this question: If you are right-handed and right-eye dominant, and have to switch over to the left, do you also use your right eye or do you switch to the left? What is more proficient?

I guess I need to hit the range next week and see what happens! Maybe I'll learn that I'm a giant doofus and need to practice more with my off-hand. :unsure:
 

HayesGreener

Master Class
So let me ask you all this question: If you are right-handed and right-eye dominant, and have to switch over to the left, do you also use your right eye or do you switch to the left? What is more proficient?

I guess I need to hit the range next week and see what happens! Maybe I'll learn that I'm a giant doofus and need to practice more with my off-hand. :unsure:
Your eye, the rear sight, the front sight, and the target have to be in a straight line. If you are right handed and right eye dominant and switch to your left hand, you may find yourself looking diagonally across the sights with your master eye. We test for eye dominance in all our classes. There are several workarounds. One is to simply close the master eye, thus forcing the non dominant eye to do the work. Another is to cant the gun at an angle to bring the sights into line with the master eye, or simply adjust your hold to bring the gun over in line. We are only talking about a couple inches. One of the advantages of red dot sights is it doesn't matter which eye is dominant, just put the dot on the target and shoot.
 

TSiWRX

Custom
While I suspect I might shoot SLOWER, I wouldn't expect my shooting wrong-handed to be any less proficient than my normal hand. Although, there may be issues with shooting due to the right-eye/left-eye dominance in conjunction with your handedness. Know what I mean?

The way I was taught to shoot makes it so I can pretty much shoot any handgun with the same accuracy, even if I've never shot the gun before. And I don't say that to brag or anything. The old dude who taught me to shoot was extremely picky, since I was a new shooter. His ways have just stuck with me. Multiple people have offered to let me shoot their new pistols/rifles at the range before and the results are generally the same. If I use the skills he taught me and remember the minutiae of those rules, I will always be accurate (enough) to hit the target.

<snipped>

I guess I need to hit the range next week and see what happens! Maybe I'll learn that I'm a giant doofus and need to practice more with my off-hand. :unsure:

^ This, precisely. Until you actually try, you won't actually know. :)

And please don't take this the wrong way - until you've actually shot a timed and scored metric, freestyle (both hands), then with your dominant hand only, and then again with your non-dominant hand only, that "supposition" is really just that - it's just a guess.

It's the difference between bench-racing your buddies at the bar :) versus lining your car up at the drag strip and making an actual pass: one is just a guess, the other is hard numbers.

The metric of distance, time, and score is the only way that you can cross-check yourself "in-reality."

The 10-10-10 (aka "The Test") by Ken Hackthorn/Larry Vickers is a very quick way to make this kind of assessment with no specialized target or range setup (10 yards is usually an easily obtainable range-distance, and shooters can even print-off free NRA B8 Repair Center targets via various online sources, just Google for it) , and the only stipulation is really that the range-rules allow for a faster pace than just "one shot per second."

Vickers 10-10-10, presented by Wilson Combat

^ This video takes you through "The Test."

Cannon has the shooter drawing from-concealment, but it can be modified to be run from virtually any ready-position. :)

Also, if range-rules do not allow for faster-paced shooting, you can simply aim to complete the drill at a part-time of 10 seconds (thus not abridging the one-shot-per-second rule), shooting instead to maximize your score.

If you prefer reading about The Test, instead, here's a great presentation by Greg Ellifritz: https://www.activeresponsetraining.net/10-10-10-shooting-drill

So let me ask you all this question: If you are right-handed and right-eye dominant, and have to switch over to the left, do you also use your right eye or do you switch to the left? What is more proficient?

Your eye, the rear sight, the front sight, and the target have to be in a straight line. If you are right handed and right eye dominant and switch to your left hand, you may find yourself looking diagonally across the sights with your master eye. We test for eye dominance in all our classes. There are several workarounds. One is to simply close the master eye, thus forcing the non dominant eye to do the work. Another is to cant the gun at an angle to bring the sights into line with the master eye, or simply adjust your hold to bring the gun over in line. We are only talking about a couple inches. One of the advantages of red dot sights is it doesn't matter which eye is dominant, just put the dot on the target and shoot.

Different folks "see" differently - the principle, as @HayesGreener noted (emphasis-added by me), is always the same, but how each unique shooter achieves that can be very different, because of physiologic differences alone.

In terms of eye-dominance, none of us are dominant to the same degree as another person. As a result, what may work well for one cross-dominant shooter may or may not work to an equal extent for another who is also cross-dominant.

Taking solely myself as an example, while I am cross-dominant (left eye, right hand), when using long-gun, as long as I have a rear sight or optic (magnified or otherwise), that device will "pull" my dominance enough that I experience no issues shooting both-eyes-open. Without that frame of reference - say, with a front-bead-only shotgun? I will completely miss high-left (using birdshot!), with both-eyes-open!!

For me, for handgun, when shooting around right-handed barricades, all I have to do is to simply "wink out" my dominant, left eye for a split second, and my right eye then takes over and I can return to both-eyes-open without risking impact to the barricade. When there are no obstacles, I simply present the gun to my dominant eye, which, at full-extension, is a shift of only around 1 inch.

Also for me, when my eyes get really tired -say, after a long day's worth of shooting- I occasionally will experience incomplete dominance: and how this manifests for me is that my vision will actually "double," with two sight pictures and two targets. Similar to barricade work, a quick hard-blink is all it takes for me to reset.

[ Bonus: If you hit that link above that I posted for Ellifritz, you'll see that the picture he has opening that article is of Vickers. Vickers is also cross-dominant: he shoots pistol with his dominant hand, and prefers to tilt/cock his head over just a bit. He shoots rifle left-handed. Also, if you are interested, Brian Enos has written about cross-dominance (he is himself cross-dominant), and his discussion Forums is a great place to pick up more tips/hints, too. ]

Cross-dominance is really only an issue if the shooter insists on making an issue of it. :) For every "disadvantage," the cross-dominant shooter can also experience undeniable advantages.

Vickers is fond of saying that "training obviates awkwardness," particularly where it comes to re-trainng for left-handed long-gun shooting for left-eye-dominant shooters. Here, we can see that the speed of rifle-to-handgun transitions for these shooters is objectively faster than for same-side-dominant shooters. Similarly, for handgun, for those of us who are cross-dominant, barricades to our non-dominant side are easily cleared, where, particularly for novice/beginner same-side-dominant shooters, some additional work often needs to be put-in, in order to reach the same level of competency.
 
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