While you may prefer to shoot with the hand you're comfortable with, practicing weak hand shooting will come in handy, too. Check out the tips and tricks to get started below.
How to Practice Weak Hand Shooting
Ask anyone who owns a handgun what the best way to ensure fast, accurate firing is, and you’ll likely be told it’s a firm two-handed grip (and lots of practice, of course).
While this is always going to be valuable advice, it would be a mistake not to practice one hand shooting… and especially weak hand shooting.
Why Weak Hand Shooting is an Essential Skill
Weak hand shooting should be considered an essential skill for the same reason one-handed firing is.
It’s one of the defensive shooting skills that could save your life.
Simply put, consider what would happen if your dominant hand (or the arm behind it) was injured to the point where it’s effectively useless.
In a defensive situation, this is an incredibly likely issue.
For starters, you might not be able to draw your firearm right away.
This means you need to use improvised weapons to fend off an attacker enough to be able to draw.
And that includes the possibility of having to use your fists, which makes it even more likely you might sprain or even break your wrist, or any other part of your hand.
Moreover, it’s incredibly common for one’s dominant hand to get injured in a gunfight.
If your attacker is opening fire on you and you have your firearm drawn, they’re going to see it as a threat and make it a target.
Plus, it’s going to be extended out in front of you, typically at about chest-level, making it likely for your dominant hand to be hit even if it wasn’t the initial target.
So what happens if your dominant hand is injured?
Well, hopefully, you’ve been practicing one hand shooting already… but if you’ve been neglecting weak hand shooting, your preparations have been incomplete.
Weak hand shooting keeps you in the fight, increasing your chances of survival.
And if you’ve been practicing, being a skilled weak hand shooter also decreases your risk of missing your target and injuring an innocent bystander.
Ultimately, that means being skilled at one hand shooting with both your dominant and weak hands isn’t just good for self-defense
It’s a matter of being a responsible gun owner.
Shooting Techniques to Use
When starting out with training to weak hand shoot, you should be aware of and test the two most common techniques used.
This will allow you to find the one that works best for you, especially as part of your training routine.
The Canted Technique
This technique is considered by many to feel more natural and comfortable.
The canted technique is especially popular with shooters who prefer to keep both eyes open (another important skill), as it makes it easier to default to your dominant eye.
However, it’s not as advantageous for cross-dominant shooters who prefer to continue using their dominant eye and dominant hand.
Ironically, it can be most beneficial for them when learning weak hand shooting!
With the canted technique, you need to extend your arm in front of you, driving your firearm forward until your elbow locks.
Then simply can't your weapon by rotating your wrist inwards, anywhere from 10 to 45 degrees.
The Straight Arm Technique
By contrast, the straight arm technique is preferred by those looking for a smooth transition from two-handed to one-handed shooting.
That’s because it's an almost identical pose!
As with the canted technique, you start by extending your arm in front of you.
Once your elbow locks into position with your firearm driven all the way forward, adjust your wrist as needed until the barrel is perfectly parallel to the ground.
Ultimately, you could start with a weak hand dominant 360-degree grip and then simply drop your dominant hand.
But in the long run, it’s going to be more beneficial if you practice the full range of gun manipulation with only your weak hand instead.
Your Dominant Hand Should Be…
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…positioned in such a way that it poses the least risk to yourself while firing with your weak hand.
There are once again two options here. You should aim to become as comfortable as possible with both, as the situation will dictate which is more appropriate.
For example, if your dominant arm is injured, you might find it more comfortable (and safer in general) to leave it hanging naturally until you can apply first aid or it’s safe for someone else to approach and do so.
But if the injury is to your hand, then it’s always better to anchor it to your chest.
Whether open-palmed or in a fist is, once again, dependent on your injury.
Anchoring your hand at the center of your chest not only helps you to maintain better balance while weak hand shooting, but it also keeps your hand safe from accidentally swinging into objects (causing further injury) or being grabbed.
Firearm Manipulation and Weak Hand Shooting
Your stance with weak hand shooting is barely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to firearm manipulation.
If your dominant hand is incapacitated before you’re able to draw your firearm, then that’s the first thing you’re going to need to do with your weak hand.
And unless you’ve been practicing, that’s easier said than done.
It also depends on how you carry your firearm. If you’re used to pocket carry, it’s going to be practically impossible to weak hand draw.
Strongside carry can be challenging but ultimately involves reaching across your body to grab your handgun with an inverted grip.
Simply draw free from your holster, clamp the firearm between your arm and body, then establish a proper grip.
By far the easiest way to draw your firearm with your weak hand is if your appendix carries.
But it should be stressed that if you've already used to one kind of carry, you shouldn’t try to change it just for weak hand shooting purposes.
This can become more of a hamper than a boon.
If you do strongly prefer pocket carry, the pros of carrying a backup gun start to outweigh the cons.
But always take everything into consideration before making a decision.
Starting with the Basics
You’ll be surprised at just how much like shooting with your dominant hand weak hand shooting is… once you’ve been practicing it for quite some time, that is.
At first, you can (and should) expect weak hand shooting to feel exceptionally awkward.
But, as with any shooting skill set, the earlier in your gun ownership career you begin, the quicker it’ll become instinctive.
As always, it’s a good idea to start with dry firing before moving on to live-fire training.
If you’re practicing diligently, then you’ll quickly be able to move on to more and more advanced shooting techniques.
Remember: practice doesn’t make perfect… perfect practice makes perfect.
Have you started practicing weak hand shooting? Tell us more in the comments section!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on June 23, 2020, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.