View Full Version : Tactics and tips for me, the southpaw.

January 5, 2008, 09:33 PM
Well, After some careful though and consideration, I've decided to drop this post here. I'm new to The Firing Line, and more then that, new to pistols in general. I've been shooting handguns for less then a year, and I didn't shoot much at all until I joined the military. I've only recently obtained my concealed carry license.

I'm left handed. Being lef thanded has always been a major thorn in my side when it comes to shooting pistols. From all appearances, rifles and shotguns are even worse.

Consider my 1911. I could easily reach the trigger (of course), the mag release, and the slide-lock, but I couldn't actuate the hammer lock down without fumbling the gun and darn near dropping it. So I dropped my 1911 in the shop for a brand new ambidextrous hammer safety. Problem solved right? Well there still is this one more then slightly massive issue.

Every now and then, when I fire the gun, my trigger finger will bounce up, and the second digit will bump the slide-lock, locking the slide back in the middle of firing. Being my first gun purchase, I definitely didn't imagine that it would be possible for my trigger finger to bump the slide-lock, and I definitely didn't notice until I started pulling the trigger the right way, (With the tip of your trigger finger,) The only way I can avoid accidentally locking my slide back, is to reduce my rate of fire, and modify the way I put my finger on the trigger in such as way as to reduce accuracy.

The next pistol I bought was my KelTec P-11. Double action only, This time I made sure that the slide-lock was unobtrusive and out of the way enough that I would bump it, and lock the slide back. But now I have a gun that I can't lock back without using my right hand. I can pull the slide back, and then drop it to strip a round. But unless an empty mag is inserted, or I swap to my right hand, I can't just lock it in the rear position. Not much of a pain unless you're trying to clear your pistol in a low light environment (IE, lock the slide back, verify the chamber is open by shining the breach with a flashlight) or if your trying to hand you're gun to someone with the slide in the rear after clearing it.

So yeah, surely I'm not the only one in the forums who is left-handed. I'm curious, how do you older, wiser, southpaws deal with this darned dilemma? Most the people I've talked to (Right-handers) have suggested revolvers. Nothing against them, and I do intend to purchase one in the future. But there is still the issue of cylinder rolling out on the wrong side. Do you favor the Smith and Wesson M&P? Seems like every gun store owner in the county is trying to sell me one the moment they hear I'm left handed. Do you put your guns in for some ambi/left hand loving at the gunsmith? Perhaps you just bite the bullet and learn to shoot right handed. (I practice right handed, but I'm not near as accurate and smooth as I am with my left hand)

Tactics, tips, and observations on shooting lefthanded are all appreciated.

Night Trooper
January 6, 2008, 12:30 AM
I'd welcome you but I'm wicked new here also, but welcome anyways!!

I'm not sure what's happening on your 1911 with the slide lock... never had that issue myself. How does your 2nd finger reach your slide lock? I'd just say to work on your grip (strong, supported control the recoil) and have someone (knowledgable) watch you fire to make suggestions.

AS for locking the slide back as LH'r... I have no good answer there. On some guns you can rack the slide with your right hand and as the slide is back simultaneously use your right fingers to raise the slide lock. This has issues if you are tired/muscling things as your muzzle can point at your forearm -BAD. To be quite honest as it is always a non combat situation when I'm locking the slide to the rear I perform an administrative unloading (remove the mag, rack the slide 3 times (in case you forget to remove the mag) jacking out any live round and then switch hands to lock and visually/physically clear the chamber.

Mag releases I've had decent luck with and I think it's actually a bit faster to drop the mag with your left index finger. That being said, on my duty gun (Sig) I have switched it over for a few reasons associated with LE carry. If you do switch over, keep a gun set up for RH release to practice that way also. Glocks and some S+W's don't switch.

Releasing your slide that's locked to the rear? I practice always using my right hand to rack and release. Practicing one hand out of fight drills? You can rack the slide on any somewhat stable edge (holster, boot, ? belt --- watch your muzzle!!) No fine motor skills to screw up under stress. Also one movement for reloading , clearing any jam... KISS concept

I had a HK USP40, great, accurate gun. Only problem is that for whatever reason I activated the mag release after 2-3 shots. Shot the 9mm and .45 - no problems. Shoot my buddy's ,40 and still happens,gotta be the recoil and my pansy grip. Sold that gun. Experiment and use the system that works for you.

Remember, as LH shooters we're not handicapped, we're special :D Have fun!!!!!!

January 8, 2008, 09:21 AM
First, Welcome Lefty! :D

Second, I really can't envision the finger problem your having, but as stated previously, get a more experienced shooter to help you with your grip, and watch you shoot to see if he can spot what is going on.

As for the firearm itself, I chose a model of .45 with ambidextrous everything. Mag release, slide lock, safety, the whole 9 yards. The only thing you need your right hand for is changing mags and racking the slide. ;)

Hope this helps.

January 8, 2008, 06:34 PM
I carry my "Primary" left handed and favor a revolver for off duty carry.

But there is still the issue of cylinder rolling out on the wrong side.

Use your Trigger Finger to operate the Cylinder Release. Have your right hand thumb push the Cylinder out. You should now be holding the gun in your right hand. Tip the Barrel vertical and SLAP the Ejector with the heel of your left hand.

Now rotate the Barrel until it is pointing down, and place the gun at your waist. Your left hand should already have a speedloader going in to the now empty Cylinder. Release the speedloader and remove your thumb from the Crane area of the weapon as your right hand closes the gun. Don't make the mistake of trying to get the speedloader out of the way, it will fall to the side as you close the gun. At the same time your right hand is closing the gun your left hand should have already assummed a firing grip on the gun.

I hope that helps. :)


January 8, 2008, 08:32 PM
I can't help you. I have shot left-handed all my life and never had a problem, other than the awkward way that DA revolvers load. Even with them, I would not want a 'southpaw' version. Too 'one of a kind', and teaches bad habits that won't keep you safe in the real (right-handed) world.

January 11, 2008, 06:09 PM
Like N-Trooper, I often find it easy to release the magazine with my index finger. I've not experienced anything like what you describe while firing a 1911, and it may be helpful to consult a USAF instructor about technique. You also might think about a S&W M&P full size or compact where you can move the mag release to the right side...or shop around for an HK P7M8 as a special gift to yourself!

Oh, re. learning to shoot right handed: it's a little difficult if you're Left-eye dominant. Try aiming Right handed along Left eye line of sight. And if you use your Right eye, (I think) focusing on and aiming at multiple targets in sequence will be slowed-down considerably.

January 20, 2008, 05:31 PM


</rant> As a fellow lefty, I hate bolt-action firearms with

passion.<\rant> Okay, with that out of the way... As far as

pistols; maybe this shows my age, but there was an outfit that

made a complete bonafide reverse-image 1911. They came from a

company called Randall, and I actually owned one in mint unfired

condition. BUT in a moment of weakness, I sold it. (yeah, I know)

Anyway, as a compromise, if you can find a TZ/CZ 9mm, the slide

release is just right for a lefty. If you take a look at one, it

extends aft and rearward, and is an easy reach for the index. It

also seems to stay out out of the way during fire. There was

another outfit that made an identical Sig228 clone which had an

ambidextrous decocker. I didn't care much for that one, though.

Anyhow, glad to see a fellow lefty join the sport. Welcome!



January 21, 2008, 01:48 PM
Check these out. The newest big boy on the block. Perfect for left or right handed shooters. All the bells and whistles.