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Old June 29, 2006, 10:42 AM   #1
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Is there a correct way to shoot weak hand?

I have observed several different ways of shooting weak hand only and was wondering if there is a correct / recommended way of doing this?

Which eye should you use?

Is there a reason for 'canting' the gun at a 45 deg angle? does this help control recoil or just the style effect.

Any recommendation would be greatly appreciated.
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Old June 29, 2006, 11:36 AM   #2
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I'm a beginner in pistol, so this is a question that interests me as well. And, as best I can tell, the only definite answer is that the barrel should point at the target while shooting weak-handed. (Duh...)

Seriously, though. I am told that the gun should be canted slightly when being shot one-handed from either hand. This is done only to facilitate straightening of the wrist joints, thus promoting stable recoil absorbtion and sight control. Cant it just enough so that you feel you've got a better grip on the thing, and don't can't it any further. Use whatever eye you feel comfortable with.

The important thing is, (you guessed it!) train, train, train! My Springfield 1911 A-1 mil spec is bloody heavy, and I am still working up the arm strength to hold it steady with weak hand for any length of time. You have to train.

I will be checking back on this to see what the old guys have to say about it. Good question!
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Old June 29, 2006, 11:42 AM   #3
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Generally speaking you should switch eyes (dominante to weak) when you switch hands. I would always forget to do this, and believe me my shooting suffered noticably (try it some time).

Generally thier are two times when you might find your self shooting from the weak hand. One would be if you were wounded on your dominant arm or hand during an altercation. In that case you will probably (but not definitly) be firing one handed maybe standing, maybe prone or supine or whatever. So you might want to practice something else besides just firing weak handed from the 7 yd line. Another time you might find your self firing from your weak side is when you are firing around the left (your left) hand side of cover. Firing left handed will expose less of your body. presents a much smaller target to your advesary. You will probably be using both hands. Some guys,myself included, have difficulty placing thier strong hand while doing this. So practice, and see what works best for you.

Canting the weapon during one handed fire does serve a legitimate purpose. Apparently it provides more stability and keeps your arm more rigid than shooting than holding the weapon vertically. Also it looks cool and will greatly increase your staus with you peeps, homies, or posse.
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Old June 29, 2006, 12:21 PM   #4
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You do not need to switch eyes. Assuming you're rt handed/rt eye dominant, canting the gun slightly to the rt will bring the sights into alignment with your dominant eye. I shoot a lot w/my left hand, and canting the gun 20-30 degrees is enough for me to get the correct alignment.
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Old June 29, 2006, 01:13 PM   #5
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Generally speaking you should switch eyes (dominante to weak) when you switch hands.
I've taken courses at LFI, Sigarms Academy, and Cumberland Tactics (Randy Cain, who also teaches at Gunsite). I'm an NRA Certified Firearms instructor.

I've never heard anyone suggest that you switch eyes when shooting weak hand. At LFI, Ayoob did teach us to cant the pistol about 30 degrees inboard when shooting weak hand. That helps line up the gun with your dominant eye (assuming your dominant eye is the same as your dominant hand, which is true for about 80% of people), and keeps your wrist straight. Thus it helps you handle the recoil better.

I have been experimenting with using my weak eye when shooting around a barricade on my weak side. I'm not sure if I'll continue to do this or not.
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Old June 29, 2006, 02:28 PM   #6
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My personal experience

is that POINT SHOOTING with the off hand is not that difficult to do with some practice.

Basic 2 handed ISO-type stance with the handgun fully extended on body centerline between the chin and nose. BOTH EYES on target and looking just above the handgun at point of impact.

The switch to strong side one arm only takes only a short time to get to be almost as accurate and fast -- keep the extended arm MID BODY LINE about mouth level. Recoil management becomes more of an issue with one hand.

The switch to weak side is still slower but very managable with practice. Sight aligned shooting from the weak side was difficult for me ... except when using the recently purchased laser which is an effective way to cheat.
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Old June 29, 2006, 05:29 PM   #7
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I know I am new here, but I have shot since I was a kid, as a police officer, and still do to this day and I have never heard anyone suggest that you switch eyes. I have never taught anyone to switch eyes either...that would kind of blow the whole "dominant eye" theory out of the water I would think. However, that does not mean it is right or wrong...I have just never heard it.

As far as canting the weapon goes, there is legitimate purpose for it. When you are peeking out from behind cover you ideally want to provide as small a profile as possible. If you simply tilt your firing platform (as a whole) to the appropriate side your platform will tilt. As long as your sight picture and platform remain intact your accuracy should not be affected.
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Old July 2, 2006, 05:12 PM   #8
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I find about a 10 degree cant works best for me (i.e. greater than zero but less than 30). I usually shoot one handed with a pistol. At ranges beyond ten yards I MAY transition to two handed IF there is no cover available near me that I need to get to first.

I use BOTH eyes always with a pistol and have EoTechs on my HD shotgun and Tactical rifle so I can use both eyes there also.

Anything under about 75 yards with the long guns is two eye open shooting area.

+1 on the reduced profile as discussed above. My instructor demonstrated this to me and I practice it weekly from behind cover.

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Old July 3, 2006, 04:16 AM   #9
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I always shot pistols with my weak eye closed until I went shooting with my Navy Seal buddy. Since then I shoot with both eyes open whether shooting with my strong hand unsupported or supported and weak hand unsupported. I found out that with both eyes open, the dominant eye will always be the dominant eye whether shooting left or right hand. When I qualified for the range test for my CHL, we were required to shoot alternately with the weak or strong hand un-supported at 3 and 5 yards and strong hand supported at 7 yards. When I went for pistol quals in the Navy .45 or 9mm, we had drills shooting with strong hand only or weak hand only and both. I never did qualify expert with the .45 but with the 9mm it's my log in name.
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Old July 6, 2006, 08:19 AM   #10
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Its not weak hand its the other hand what i'm tring to say is be as good with one as the other.
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Old July 7, 2006, 06:09 AM   #11
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Sure there is a correct way to shoot with a weak hand. It starts with practice, practice and more practice until it becomes second nature. IMHO that is the correct way. I am left eye dominant but shoot right handed and left handed. But because I am left eye dominant when I shoot left handed I find out that I am more accurate left handed. By the way I shoot with both eyes open
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Old July 7, 2006, 02:24 PM   #12
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This isn't something I practiced very much but I found it very helpful to use two guns at once. It is only of value, however, if both handguns are pretty much the same, otherwise the differences cancel out any advantages.

The problems I had when using my other hand was not the sighting but rather the grip and using the trigger. What kind of handgun it was made no difference. I had the same problems no matter what. But when using two guns at once I found that my left hand behaved better, so to speak, when the right hand was also holding the same thing the same way at the same time. I think the only time I was able to successfully carry out this exercise was when I had two 5" M&P revolvers. They were older revolvers and you sort of had to shoot them a little more instinctively anyway.

Doing something like this wasn't trick shooting, though that sort of thing used to be done and there really isn't much point to attempt any kind of formal bullseye shooting with your weak hand either. People might look at you a little funny, too, if you try it on the range but I found it helped at least some.
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Old July 14, 2006, 10:58 AM   #13
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I am naturally left handed, but my right eye is dominant and I normally shoot right handed. Bat on the right side and throw with the left. I can write with a pencil in each hand, but must write exactly the same word with each hand. I have found that I can shoot very well with with my left hand, but my shooting is slower. With practice it would probably get faster.

My problem has been that I find, that no matter which side I use that I must close an eye. Anyone else have this experience under these conditions?
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Old July 14, 2006, 06:09 PM   #14
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I extend my supoprt hand with a +/- 20 degree cant and fire.

My eyes are open as unsually.

My firing hand is else where, it doesn't really matter where since in the real world it has unfoirtunately been disabled.
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Old July 18, 2006, 08:54 AM   #15
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You do not need to switch eyes. Assuming you're rt handed/rt eye dominant, canting the gun slightly to the rt will bring the sights into alignment with your dominant eye. I shoot a lot w/my left hand, and canting the gun 20-30 degrees is enough for me to get the correct alignment.
treeprof #4 has go it right!!

I personally find that, although it feels awkward and not as natural, when I shoot with my left hand (up to 10 yards) my groups are tighter - I believe this to be the direct result of my intense concentration on the fundamentals.
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Old July 18, 2006, 09:28 AM   #16
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barnetmill ~

You sound like me. I'm a lefty (mostly), but shoot right-handed by preference -- although I've learned to shoot lefty too, as accurately and nearly as fast as I shoot righty. As one old guy was heard to remark, I'm "one o' those amphibious shooters."

The difficulty I've had with that is that I simply do not have a dominant eye. I can do the eye dominance tests all day long, and get randomly mixed results all day long. Although I worked hard at it for quite awhile, training one eye to be dominant doesn't seem to be in the cards for me. So I close one eye when I shoot and that's just the way it is.

I shoot right-handed with my right eye, and left-handed with my left eye. Have trained myself to rapidly switch eyes when I switch hands and don't really think about it much anymore.

But, apart from shooting around a barricade (in which case switching eyes makes really good sense because you expose less of yourself when you use the same eye-hand combo), I don't believe I'd try to get a "normal" person to do things that way. It's just an accomodation I've made for my own weird wiring.

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Old July 20, 2006, 07:26 AM   #17
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Great thread, lots to think about and try...

I'm a mess:

Very right handed, very left eye dominant.

Can close right eye independent of left, cannot close left eye independent of right.

So far I've figured out:

I have to shoot rifles left handed, close right eye. Accuracy is good and constantly improving.

Handgun... shooting right handed, both eyes open... accuracy is very inconsistent. I'm now wondering if I should try shooting left handed... or at least try the canting to the left eye... or maybe try closing the right eye... more excuses to practice!

Might be a bit off topic... although... one might wonder if a dominant eye compensates for a weak hand!
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Old July 21, 2006, 09:44 AM   #18
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Several years ago, I broke 2 fingers on my right hand. Since I am a "rightie", that took me out of the "field" and put on desk duties, as a LEO. Due to the injury, I wasn't "required" to carry a firearm while on-duty, but I felt that it was still a necessity.

I could probably write a book on the subject of off-hand shooting, for I experimented with countless ways of drawing, cross-drawing, shooting position, "canting" the firearm, etc. In a nut shell, however, here are my views from having gone through a LOT of work:

Shooting with the weak- or off-hand should be the "mirror image" of how you normally shoot, with only a few differences. The draw with your off- hand will feel strange for awhile, but once you get in enough practise, it will almost seem "normal". Aiming? Well, in my opinion, having BOTH eyes open during off-hand shooting worked the best. Again, it took some practise to get used to doing effectively, but it eventually paid off.

"Canting" the firearm? NEVER! All that is necessary to do is to use the "basics", of locking the elbow and wrist out straight, and using your arm as a "pointer" that you are extending toward the intended target. By "canting" the handgun, I often had "flyers", usually to the far left and high. By trying to counter those "flyers" by canting the handgun in the opposite direction, I seemed to have VERY LITTLE control over the impact point! It seemed that body positioning and holding the handgun straight/level was the most satisfactory.

I went to the trouble of buying an IWB holster that was made for "lefty" draw, with the butt of the handgun facing to the rear, but I also tried the "righty" IWB holster with a (literally) twist.
Drawing from the "righty" holster with my left hand, I would twist my hand to grip and draw the handgun, then re-trace that twisting motion all the way through to the "presentation" point. It didn't take long to determine that this drawing technique looked quite awkward, but it sure worked!

When my injuries healed, I was so used to the off-hand carry that I didn't go back to what was "normal". Instead, I added another practise session for the off-hand "twist" draw with a transition to the right hand for shooting. At any point during the draw, but BEFORE the actual transition of the weapon to the right hand, I'm able to shoot. Add to that, the left-to-right hand transition takes only slightly longer than a right-handed draw and presentation....and I've beaten most of the pure "righties" to the presentation point!

What it boils down to is.....Practise, Practise, Practise! Before I broke my fingers, I was NOT very ambidextrous, and I still can't throw a baseball as a lefty without looking like a "girly man"! But, shooting is NOT baseball!
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Old July 21, 2006, 02:10 PM   #19
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I would really need to know if you were referring to tactical or target shooting, technique varies greatly between the two.
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