View Full Version : Shooting offhand
December 7, 2007, 04:24 PM
I hope I have posted this in the right place. I have recently have Arthroscopic surgery on my right shoulder. The downside to this is I am right handed. It will be a few weeks until I am recovered enough to shoot with my dominant hand again so I am carrying on my left side. I have fired a few rounds with my left hand in the past. I now know that I should have done more practice with offhand shooting. I have not been to the range yet, but have practiced drawing to familiarize myself with the position of my gun. I have also practiced my reloads. The only problem I have run into is that I try to line the sights up with my dominant eye. Even if I though I keep both eyes open to shoot, it still happens. Has anyone encountered this before? How did you adjust?
December 8, 2007, 01:44 AM
"Shooting off hand" implies standing with a rifle. If you mean shooting a handgun, change your stance to bring the sight inline. Read the 'right handed/left eye dominate' posts. Mind you, after surgery, just moving your arm is going to hurt to affect your shooting. Take some time to recover.
December 8, 2007, 01:51 AM
The common term for shooting with your non-preferred hand is "shooting weak hand".
You should continue to use your dominant eye for sighting which means you'll have to move your handgun slightly off center to your dominant eye side to line up the sights.
December 8, 2007, 07:30 AM
What they said.
I shoot handguns right handed and long guns lefthanded. I've learned that adjusting my stance is the best way to line up the sights (I'm left eye dominant).
Anyway, I always try to shot as many rounds as possible with just my left and right hands alone so that I'm comfortable doing either. The one thing I've learned is that while I'm comfortable, I'm not 100% and probably wouldn't be without more practice than I have time or money for. Your injured, so keep in mind no matter how good you are with either hand the odds are stacking up against you in any kind of fight. Keep those eyes open, the mind working, and I hope you heal up quickly and are back to being yourself as soon as possible.
December 8, 2007, 08:48 AM
Weak hand or support hand shooting is good training. The most common problem people encounter is the eye dominance problem.
Oddly enough I have some different ways to approach this problem. My little brother is cross eye dominant. His dominant eye is his left and he shoots with his right. When he uses a shotgun or rifle he will turn his head to the right to help line his dominant eye up with the sights.
He does the same with pistols as well. It works for him, however it doesn't for me. I noticed that I could cant my pistol to the right, while shooting left handed, about 45 degrees to line up the sights with my stronger right eye.
Yes, it looks almost like ghetto gunnery. It works for me though. Recoil characteristics are a little different and the brass is ejected low to my right. It may not work for left eye dominant people as their brass may be ejected strait up and toward their face.
When in the service, we had to shoot rifles with protective masks on, this required us to shoot the rifle canted over. Since that worked easily for me I tried it with a pistol in my left hand. It is a solution for me.
As an aside, shooting one handed at 15 yds with a .40 S&W, I get groups of around 3-4 inches right handed and 5-6 inches with my left. That may not be excellent accuracy but it is practical for self defence purposes. Granted groups can be tightened a bit by using both hands, it isn't always practical to use both hands in a SD situation though, therefore one handed shooting is my personal preference.
Canting the pistol may work for you or it may not. Try it and see. If it doesn't help then there may be another solution for you. Experiment, good luck and safe shooting. Heal well and soon fellow shooter. May you have many years of enjoyment at the range.
December 8, 2007, 12:42 PM
Thanks all. This helps me out. I will give this a try next time to the range.
December 8, 2007, 12:46 PM
I am "cross dominant", eyes/hands.
What I find works for me best is to shoot with both eyes open and, like others have said, change the foot position a wee bit. I shoot Iso a lot, so it's not much of an issue.
This should be a lesson. What you do to one hand, do to the other. If you shoot 50 rounds with your strong hand, shoot 50 rounds with your weak hand too. I carry two guns, one accessable to each hand. So, for training I do the same thing with both hands.
December 10, 2007, 05:48 PM
For this reason, all of my carry guns have ambi controls and can be operated easily with the support hand.
In a given practice session I usually shoot 50% twohanded and 25% strong hand only and 25% weak hand only.
Until recently I had never practiced two handed, with the support hand running the gun - I figured if I'm shooting lefty, it's 'cause my strong wing has been clipped. However, in a recent IDPA match, I had a mag malfunction and my last mag was my "barney" mag stowed in my right front pocket. I transitioned the pistol to the left hand reloaded with my right and rather than waste time transitioning back I shot the rest of the string lefty. For some reason though, my right hand came up to complete the grip and I was surprised at how well I shot "bass-ackwards" like that as opposed to support hand only. All "0" hits, and - except for the time wasted farting around with the malfunction - the time was respectable.
I will definitely add this to my practice repertoire from now on.
December 12, 2007, 12:06 AM
+1 I make it a habit to fire with weak hand supported and unsupported on every range trip. After reading this the frequency of such needs increasing.
December 12, 2007, 09:53 AM
When I went through a concealed carry course, they played a Massad Ayoob video on shooting methods, and he demonstrated a technique for offhand shooting which looked interesting, so I gave it a try.
Basically, reverse foot position from the normal Weaver. Ayoob tucks his dominant hand up to his chest, as though favoring a wounded arm; he claims this helps his balance. I didn't find that this part made much difference. For martial artists, body is positioned as for a reverse punch, and this works just fine for balance, strength, etc.
What was very different was that he held the gun rotated with a wrist angle similar to what would be used on the handlebar of a cruiser bike, so that the sights angled across to the dominant eye. Recoil motion is up at a 45 degree or so angle to the strong side, cross body, but it isn't too bad. Sights do line up more rapidly this way than they do if they are held in the normal upright position, and the pistol doesn't have to be pulled across the body to the dominant eye.
First shot accuracy using this technique was noticeably better. However, follow-up shot tended to track diagonally up and to the right for me.
Clearing the (not ambi) thumb safety of a GSR using only the left hand is something that takes at least a little practice to do smoothly.
One other thing that I'd recommend practicing (with an empty chamber and no mag) is racking the slide using something other than the strong hand. Marines taught me to use anything from a between the thighs squeeze to the rear sight on a belt, shelf edge, etc. If you are shooting offhand, you may be down to one hand. Practicing this with a live magazine could be pretty dangerous, so I can't really recommend that, but empty it's a good drill.
Same can and arguably should be done with an unloaded pump shotgun, for the same reasons.
December 12, 2007, 11:05 AM
Thanks for the help guys. I am sure going to practice these more often. I am getting to the point where I can use my right arm again, but you never know when you might have to use the weak hand.
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