View Full Version : can you shoot with either hand ?

February 4, 2006, 09:52 PM
well the unthinkable happend, I strained a tendon in my my right hand. It's the tendon that's connected to my trigger finger :eek: So now it's in a splint getting some rest, well then I asked my self how well can I shoot left handed ? Answer not very well.
I headed off to a near by cinder pit to assess the problem. I just took my conceal carrie guns with a vairity of ammo. As I suspected the hot stuff was to inaccurate shooting lefty, with the milder target/plinking loads, I did much better. But still I was woefully inadequate. Are you prepared to shoot well with your weaker hand ??

Chris Phelps
February 4, 2006, 10:09 PM
I shoot ambidextrious. I prefer to shoot handguns left-handed, but I usually shoot rifles right handed. I can flip-flop at will, though... and my accuracy only takes a minor drop, but I can't draw nearly as fast with my right hand.

February 4, 2006, 10:16 PM
I can shoot with both hands. Your eyes don't know which hand is holding the weapon. try it sometime.

February 4, 2006, 10:22 PM
Chis I envy that, I am so right hand that when unlocking a door with my left hand I turn the key the wrong way :confused:

Chris Phelps
February 4, 2006, 10:35 PM
Chis I envy that, I am so right hand that when unlocking a door with my left hand I turn the key the wrong way

haha, my 'skill' comes from years of being indecisive. You know... when you hit that age where you have to decide if you want to be left handed like your mom, or right handed like your dad. It definitly does a number on the people I play paintball against.

February 4, 2006, 11:20 PM
So you freaks that are ambidextrous, do you have a dominate eye. :confused:

February 4, 2006, 11:33 PM
I can shoot equaly as well either right or left handed with a handgun or rifle but with a shotgun its right handed or not at all. And yes I do have a dominate eye ( my right) It takes a little longer to aim a rifle left handed useing my week eye but the acuracy is the same , no diff with a handgun because I use my dominate right eye to aim with .

February 5, 2006, 12:05 AM
I shoot left handed, mainly because I am left eye dominate and the pistol just feels better in that hand.

I always boxed right hand lead, so that also comes into play I suppose.

I can shoot decently with my right hand if it is supported. If it is just my right hand, my accuracy at longer distances goes down, plus I don't like canting my head, so I usually just cant the gun slightly when I am shooting weakhand only. That helps.

February 5, 2006, 12:26 AM
357mag, I noticed with the hotter loads my hand recoiled in a diagonal direction. I was not supporting with my right hand. Does the cant help compensate for this.

February 5, 2006, 12:29 AM
I can get the job done with my left, but not as well, quickly, or accurately... Need more practice! ;)

r.w. schrack
February 5, 2006, 01:11 AM
I Just pick it up and shoot drives range masters wild, Last qualification started left handed switched some where and ended up right handed went to holster weapon and no holster. I don't do this to be a smart a&* but just do it. Sometimes when I just go to the range I have a shoot off between Lt and Rt, funny thing its always a tie. My own opinion is as long as you have the basics and can apply them you can shoot either or.

February 5, 2006, 01:23 AM
You people annoy me :mad:

February 5, 2006, 01:32 AM
I shoot equally poorly with either hand. Or almost ... I'm a little slower with my left, but about as accurate.

I also do not have a dominant eye. Or rather, some days it's my right eye and other days it is my left. Have to close one eye to shoot.

Playing kickball in 6th grade, I never could figure out how the other kids all knew which foot they were going to use to kick the ball with. I never knew which one I was going to use until I used it.


model 25
February 5, 2006, 02:08 AM
yep it's fun


February 5, 2006, 02:30 AM
I am left handed and right eye dominant. Because of the controls on a 1911, I learned to shoot with my right hand. Funny-when I was playin around in IDPA, the "weak hand" part of the course was easy. One thing I have noticed about shooting with my weak hand is that my trigger finger is noticeably more sensitive.

February 5, 2006, 02:46 AM
I can shoot with both hands, just not very good with weak hand. Am desently accurate, just not accurate during rapid fire. I take the 2 handed aproach most of the times.

February 5, 2006, 03:50 AM
Please excuse all the insults, I'm just jealous. I'm not happy with my situation, it caught me off guard. This has been a good lesson for me, it made realize the importance of being able to shoot with either hand.

February 5, 2006, 04:03 AM
jibjab ~

Last year, I took a handgun class entirely mirror image, left hand holster & the whole works. Someone asked me why and I had three good reasons:

1) because doing so tremendously improved my right-hand shooting skills as well. It made me very conscious of a lot of things that had become habit.

2) because as an instructor, I need to know how to instruct lefties as well as righties.


3) because you never know when you might fall and break your right wrist.

I went on to opine that because of 3), everyone serious about self-defense should learn to shoot with either hand, and my correspondent responded (with a sniff, I feel certain) that he'd never sprained a wrist in his life and didn't intend to start anytime soon. *shrug* I dunno anyone who plans to break bones ... do you? But it happens.

No time like the present. Annoying as it is, it's probably a good idea to get in as much practice as you can while you're, um, motivated. ;)


February 5, 2006, 06:48 AM
Darn I lost my entire post trying to do a spell check:( Lets see if I can remember what I had to say....

Jibjab I was a senior in HS when I had an injury to my trigger finger (over 2 months with screws cast etc) no way I could write, take notes etc, except with my left hand (imagine your hand replaced with a club, nobody wanted to get in a fight with me though:D

I learned to do many things "lefty" never learned shooting at that time, but.....
Before I went to Iraq, I taught myself to shoot both pistol and rifle lefty (don't carry lefty...yet...although the way my wife likes to walk on my strong side..... http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=194088 ) when I get back stateside, I will probably start trying lefty holsters (know a place that over ordered LOL)

back on topic... with a handgun already in hand....I am just as good with either hand (I am left eye dominant though).....with a rifle from a rest/supported position I hold a better shot group.....my follow on shots take longer as do magazine changes...

Pax...you learned to shoot lefty/weak hand just to teach? That is awesome. :cool: (actually you had 3 reasons listed LOL) I also improved my Right/strong side skills. There is something to be said about actually thinking marksmanship etc. I practiced so much with my right side...I picked up bad habits:eek: that I was able to overcome practicing lefty.

everyone else...you are so right, practice with your weak hand, weird positions etc... when you don't have to, because you when you need those skills it might be too late to learn them.....

Jibjab...reguarding the cant of the pistol...last time I shot stateside, had someone suggest that to me. "They" said the basis was to align the bones of the wrist and forearm better. I tried it...I would say about 1030-1100 cant with the right hand, 1300-1330 with the left hand, and I handled the recoil better, follow on shots were faster (just my opinion, I did not time it)

Anyways, I will continue to practice, with both hands, pistol/revolver/rifle mainly because of my chosen occupation (army) and arthritis and gout type flare ups run in my family (so far no one had both hands affected at the same time.

Good shooting, and I hope your tendon gets better soon

February 5, 2006, 11:49 AM
I'm lefty but shooting my dads gun with a right handed target grip forced me to learn to shoot right. I'm pretty much ambidextrous (sp?) now.

February 5, 2006, 01:04 PM
Retired LEO after 30 years. We had to qualify with both off hand and strong hand. I was able to do it, but the off hand never felt quite right. :)

February 5, 2006, 01:24 PM

The canting of the gun slightly to my dominant eye does help me be a bit more accurate. I can punch paper decently with the cant and unsupported hand.

I haven't been in a match that required weakhand only shooting at moving targets, etc. I assume my accuracy would go straight down the hole if that were to occur.

Javelin Man
February 5, 2006, 01:31 PM
I'd give my right hand to be ambidextrious:D Just kidding. I'm actually lefthanded in a righthanded world.

I've been shooting righthanded all my life, but learned to shoot left handed in my CHL class. Late last summer, my right hand suddenly couldn't hold a gun up to shoot. I found ligaments are damaged and/or missing. Surgery will be eventual to screw some wrist bones together.

I can still shoot a revolver right handed, but all others, including my .22 Ruger Mark II can only be shot left handed. Being a Southpaw, it was quick and easy to shoot accurately with my left hand, but still I needed practice. I put about 30 shots from my .22 Ruger in a 3" circle at 25 yards. I'm a fast learner.

My Kel-tec P11 took a lot more time to hold correctly and not injure my left hand as well.

Chris Phelps
February 5, 2006, 02:10 PM
So you freaks that are ambidextrous, do you have a dominate eye.

Nope. I don't, anyway. I can't speak for the rest of them.

I was shown how to figure out which eye is dominant by putting your hands together, fingers forming a triangle, then looking through it at something and bringing your hands in toward your face without losing the target. Theoretically, the hands would move toward your dominant eye. I could never do it without losing the target with my hands about 6" away. If I close one eye, pick the target, then open the eye, the trick works.

Capt. Charlie
February 5, 2006, 02:36 PM
I was shown how to figure out which eye is dominant by putting your hands together, fingers forming a triangle, then looking through it at something and bringing your hands in toward your face without losing the target. Theoretically, the hands would move toward your dominant eye. I could never do it without losing the target with my hands about 6" away. If I close one eye, pick the target, then open the eye, the trick works.
Actually, you don't have to bring your hands to your face. Form the triangle as you described at arm's length and look at an object with both eyes open. Then close one eye. If the open eye shows the object in the center of the triangle, that's your dominant eye. You won't even see the object if it's the other eye.

Chris Phelps
February 5, 2006, 02:46 PM
Actually, you don't have to bring your hands to your face. Form the triangle as you described at arm's length and look at an object with both eyes open. Then close one eye. If the open eye shows the object in the center of the triangle, that's your dominant eye. You won't even see the object if it's the other eye.

OK, just tried that. It all depends on where my hands come up if I select the target. I can move my hands back and fourth, and nothing seems to change. I have no idea.

Capt. Charlie
February 5, 2006, 02:57 PM
Don't move either your hands or your head, Chris. At first, make sure you're looking through the triange with both eyes open, at arms length. Now, without moving either, close your right eye. If your left eye shows the object, it's dominant. Now switch eyes, and the non-dominant eye will not see the object. It won't be in the field of view.

Chris Phelps
February 5, 2006, 03:08 PM
ok that works.... I am left eye dominant.

February 5, 2006, 03:12 PM

Try this. Take a blank piece of paper and write "dominant" in the middle of it. Set in your favorite reading position and read the word on the paper over and over while quickly pulling the paper to about 1 inch of your nose.

Then shut one of your eyes. Which eye is focused on the word?

model 25
February 5, 2006, 03:28 PM
At the club I make people miserable by adding a weak hand to some of the events. I do it to give a little challenge and that little bit of work to shoot weak handed makes it fun. I am not great but if your close in real life I can make your really nervouse:D

Think about it, if you are pinned down so cover only allows you to shoot weak handed without being exsposed what are you going to do? You will get killed if you lean out with the wrong side.

True story, the Britts came up with a bullpup design rifle (SA80)that the empties came out close to the face on the opposite side. Well as they patroled the streets they found when they went to cover on one side of the street they couldn't shoot without hot brass hitting them in the face or having to exspose their body to fire. They used to fight over which side of the street they would patrol:D


February 5, 2006, 11:25 PM
Many times while on horseback I've had to shoot with my off hand rather than bringing the weapon across my chest where my horse can't see it and I'm off ballance. It also puts the muzzle blast farther away from both of us.

If you find that your off hand is a bit weak here's an ideal. Get one of those hand exerciser--the type that you grip and squeeze. This will improve your grip. As for wrist strength, it seem that nothing can beat weights. Try placing them in your hand with you arm horizonal and flexing at the wrist. Turn your arm the other way (palm down) and flex it that way. The good thing about this is that you can do it while watching T.V. Don't do it til you "feel the burn" your just trying to tone first.

Anyhow, I hope this is of some help to you. And yes, you brain does'nt know what hand your shooting with.

God's Blessings,

February 6, 2006, 07:52 AM
Being a left-handed firearms instructor in a world of right-handed students I had to adapt to my students to better effectively teach. I'm not as good a shot right handed as I am left handed, but I can manipulate the guns nearly as well right-handed as I can left. However, I do have to put a little more conscieous effort into doing so.
I'm also fortunate that years of shooting firearms left-handed and archery right-handed has conditioned me to switch eye dominance when needed.

February 6, 2006, 10:52 AM
My range drill is usually to shoot mostly right handed weaver stance, then take a few shots one handed right and one handed left. I shoot OK right handed but I shoot bad left. I usually do better left handed with lighter handguns and worse with heavier guns. I don't get it, I can curl a 30lb dumbbell all day, or scoop up and hold my 40lb kid with my left arm, but I can't hold a handgun over 20oz steady with my left hand.

February 6, 2006, 11:30 AM
...because Capt Charlie's eye dominance test doesn't work for me. The object stays in my field of vision either way. When I close my left eye, it "shifts" to the right, but still in the triangle, and vice versa.

Oh, well, y'all knew I was weird anyway....


February 6, 2006, 11:45 AM
Spring ~

When you close your dominant eye, the image will shift. How far it shifts (and whether it jumps completely out of sight) is a function of how big and how far away the object is.

My eye dominance changes daily, sometimes several times during the day. All of the eye dominance tests I've ever used give me different results depending on a whole lot of different variables -- up to and including which hand is on top when I make the triangle. Never have done things the easy way.


February 6, 2006, 12:49 PM
I'm right hand, foot and eye dominant and so mostly shoot that way. I've intentionally learned to switch hit in tennis, baseball, permanently set a left hand mouse and other skills.

So left handed in the Iscoceles can shoot just a little slower and a little less accurate -- but not terrible.

The Center Axis Relock 'system' is supposed to make off hand shooting better.:D

February 6, 2006, 01:14 PM
Sorry for th late response...

Jibjab, you're saying that you only ever use one finger as a trigger finger? What about using your middle finger, and keeping the index finger flush against the pistol when you fire? Assuming you aren't shooting some short-ass barreled handgun, and thus shoot your finger off, you'll be fine. The United State military did that for years.
It's kind of fun, too.

Not much else I have to say, I guess...

February 6, 2006, 09:22 PM
Thanks KnJoe, I tried holding my Tarus 85 boot grip with my middle finger on the trigger, my index finger rubbed the cylinder and put the end of my splinted finger next to the end of the cylinder and forceing cone :eek: Then I held my 9x18 makarov the same way, my index finger was in front of the ejector port :eek: thanks for the response, I will turn this into a positive practice now as a lefty and later with both. One never knows what can happen in a altercation, it's wise to be prepared.

February 6, 2006, 10:05 PM
I can shoot amphibiously, and my accuracy is great in both fresh and saltwater. It doesn't matter, my harpoons always hit the mark.

Optical Serenity
February 7, 2006, 01:36 AM
Great post. I think its very important to learn not only how to shoot with non-dominent hand, but also how to reload, pick up gun, resecure it...get cell phone, etc...

Rob P.
February 7, 2006, 02:08 AM
I have always been ambidexterous. Bows, guns, baseballs, whatever and whenever, I can do it just as easily with either hand. Always. That's not to say it's perfect or matched in accuracy or abilty. It's just that I can switch sides back and forth with no problems. I do have preferences though. I prefer to eat, drink and write with my left hand as my wrist is more flexible on that side and I prefer to throw with my right arm as it's more muscular in that aspect.

As I was growing up I had a hard time understanding why some people couldn't do something one handed or with their left hand. My wife can't do ANYTHING lefty and this totally stumps me.

I also don't have a dominant eye that I can discover. Good to know I"m not alone in this.

February 7, 2006, 02:18 AM
And how does this help jibjab :confused: ROB :mad: .......................:)

February 7, 2006, 08:02 AM
I am not proficient with both hands, but in a pinch my left hand can do. I have practiced so that I can at least have 75% or better accuracy in my left hand as I do in with right hand.

Rob P.
February 7, 2006, 03:43 PM
jibjab, It helps because in order to continue to BE ambi, I have to practice my penmanship with my right hand as well as fludity/economy of movement with my left side for those tasks I normally perform righty.

Thus, the answer to your dilemma is the same as the answer on how to get to Broadway - Practice, practice, practice.

Mr. James
February 7, 2006, 05:08 PM
Right handed, right eye dominant. Except for hockey, where I shoot left-handed (I guess that is not at all uncommon).

I make a point of practicing left handed, usually at the end of my range sessions. I'm fair-to-middlin' passable off the weak hand.