Do you practice ambi R/L self defense shooting?

samzheresamzhere BannedPosts: 10,923 Senior Member
I'm posting this in the SD section because it is about self defense shooting with a handgun only, not long gun or long distance careful target work w. a handgun either.

My basic point is that it's a good idea to practice SD shooting with either hand so that you're reasonably okay shooting off-hand (meaning lefty if you're a natural righty).

I'm a natural lefty, so for handguns, I've focused mostly on weapons that are either lacking an external safety or are ambi. That meant, long back, revolvers mostly. And although I love 1911s the earlier models simply didn't have left-handed safeties.

Now of course it's different. My Glocks are essentially ambi, and my 1911s all have ambi safeties too. And my wheelguns are okay with either hand.

Some years back, I took a hard fall and busted up my left shoulder socket badly, requiring surgery and implanting stainless junk to rebuild the shoulder. Therefore, for months afterward, I was unable to shoot lefthanded, as the recoil was very painful.

Therefore I started to practice right-handed shooting and eventually became pretty good. And after I healed up, I went back to my lefty shooting but kept the righty stuff too.

Nowadays I practice ambi self defense shooting all the time, and I think it's a good decision. At the range I shoot my handguns left and right, using 2-handed and 1-handed grips. I alternate hands and using 1 or 2 hands, back and forth a lot. By now, I'm nearly as good righthanded as my original left.

Understand, this isn't practicing longer distance carefully aimed and slower target practice. I'm talking primarily about the faster response, quick double-tap shooting primarily intended for self defense -- close range and fast.

I think this is an excellent way to practice self defense shooting. It's fun, challenging, adds variety to a range session, and may eventually serve you well if you grab for a weapon and happen to reach for it with your off-hand.

Some might feel that practicing alternate hands could cause you to stumble in a real situation, and juggle the gun. This is a valid concern but it's fixed by more practice, as I see it.

Any thoughts on this? Are there any drawbacks to practicing both ways? Thanks for the feedback in advance.

Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
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Replies

  • Diver43Diver43 Senior Member Posts: 8,657 Senior Member
    I do on most range trips, but only a couple magazines worth. I hate how big the group is when I shoot lefty.
    Logistics cannot win a war, but its absence or inadequacy can cause defeat. FM100-5
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 10,224 Senior Member
    Nope. I think it's non-productive. We no longer teach it in police training in my state, and that's based on studies of when it's been needed...very seldom, or at least so seldom as to not waste valuable training time on it. Back in Revolver Days, part of our qualification course was Weak Hand. Only four rounds or so, IIRC.
    Not too many problems you can't fix
    With a 1911 and a 30-06
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Diver, same for my shooting righty, originally. But due to my leftside injury I kept practicing righthand and got pretty good, took it as a challenge and it was fun as well, getting used to the different stance. I always aim left-eyed but with aiming front-sight mostly, the angle being altered was just something to learn to do better. If you're okay w. the bad lefty results, fine w. me. I however find it fun to mess around at the range and so learning righthand was a hoot. And something that got less laughable as I learned.

    Gene, how do you think it's nonproductive specifically. LEO specs regardless, if say, I'm sitting at home I am not always on the strong side of my handy .45 so having equivalent skill offhand is a plus for me. Naturally it did take plenty of range time but I wasn't "on the clock" anyway, ha ha, and had plenty of .45 box ammo to shoot up. The more slugs I can send downrange in an afternoon, the better.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • pjames777pjames777 Senior Member Posts: 1,078 Senior Member
    Yep, because the unexpected happens. Will I ever need it, hope not, but best to be prepared and it costs nothing as compared to the loss if you need to and can't.....

    Also, one arm reloads are a necessary evil. I suggest everyone that carries attend at least one IPDA match.
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Posts: 6,525 Senior Member
    When I snapped my right humerus (though right humerus, it wasnt funny) my right arm was trussed into a hard sling for weeks. I was off work because I couldnt do anything where I might bump it, so I took the single six out to a stump, then took a box with a black dot drawn on it and set that down about 20 yards out. Loading and unloading a single action one handed takes a lot of time, but I had time to burn. After a few weeks, I got pretty fair using the south paw in a single handed stance.

    I dont think it is a bad thing to do, because if nothing else it is a challenge and its shooting.
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • BAMAAKBAMAAK Senior Member Posts: 4,274 Senior Member
    Yes for two reasons.

    1. A match I shot required it and I was shooting rifle. I'd never put a rifle up to my left should in my life. It was very difficult to get the sight picture at first and it cost me time.

    2. The only cop I know that has been in a shootout was struck it her strong hand right off the bat. She continued the fight left handed while reloading and taking 6 more hits to the body and several to equipment. Killed two bad guys. She said they trained her for just such an event and her training kicked in.
    "He only earns his freedom and his life Who takes them every day by storm."

    -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and politician
  • BAMAAKBAMAAK Senior Member Posts: 4,274 Senior Member
    cpj wrote: »
    I don't. For my situation as a right handed guy, my gun is on my right side. If for some reason I'm attacked and my right arm is injured, (before I draw my gun) it's gonna be a difficult task to reach around my gut or back and grab the weapon with my left hand. Basically, it ain't gonna happen. Especially if I am being actively attacked. At that point I would be more focused on grabbing my GTFOOM knife from my left side, and slicing whatever I can slice. At that point screaming like a girl would probably be a prudent measure.


    Ah, the smell of you peeing yourself would make them run
    "He only earns his freedom and his life Who takes them every day by storm."

    -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and politician
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,407 Senior Member
    OK- - - -slow pitch warning here- - - - -I got pretty good at switching hands with wrenches, hammers, and occasionally a screwdriver while working on cars, trucks and industrial equipment in some awkward positions for 50-something years. Ditto for lefthanded welding. Shooting weak-handed should come naturally to me, but I haven't done enough practicing to have much faith in my abilities, particularly under stress. Developing the muscle memory to get good is just a matter of practice, no matter what the activity might be.
    Jerry
    Hide and wail in terror, Eloi- - - -We Morlocks are on the hunt!
    ASK-HOLE Someone who asks for advice and always does something opposite
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 10,224 Senior Member
    If it's fun, do it. IDPA matches have almost nothing to do with reality, however. They're GAMES. Pleasant games, yes, but relating to reality in about the same way as basketball relates to reality on the street.

    I'd like to know the name of the woman cop who killed two bad guys after taking six hits and with her weak hand. I'll pass it along to our SO trainer so her story can be repeated and lessons learned from it. Every year, we have survivors of on-duty survivors of shootings, and her story will be compelling.
    Not too many problems you can't fix
    With a 1911 and a 30-06
  • BAMAAKBAMAAK Senior Member Posts: 4,274 Senior Member
    Jennifer Fulford Orange County (FL) SO. This is really only part of the story but it's enough. BTW, she was using a .45 glock.

    http://www.policeone.com/police-heroes/articles/120351-Fla-officer-takes-10-rounds-to-save-children-her-own-life/

    She said her recent training was the key to her making it out alive.

    "[Training in] off-handed shooting really, really helped me. I just reacted," she said.

    In her weak hand development training she held a tennis ball in her strong hand and learned to use her off hand to do everything, including reloading using her shoe or the ground. She said her training did not involve the shoot/reholster approach that can lead to muscle memory.

    "(In training), they made us keep our guns out, communicate with each other and keep moving," she said.
    "He only earns his freedom and his life Who takes them every day by storm."

    -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and politician
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 15,049 Senior Member
    Yes...nothing lost by having solid skills with either hand....actually, I find I shoot slightly better with my weak hand...probably because I'm concentrating more when I shoot with my weak hand.....
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 10,224 Senior Member
    Thanks, BAMA. I'll pass the information along to our training officer. At the last meeting, as guest speaker, they had the guy who was shot at the Sikh temple shooting up in MN. He was hit multiple times and was able to return fire. The shooter, who'd killed six Sikhs and wounded more, killed himself when he was hit by rifle fire.
    Not too many problems you can't fix
    With a 1911 and a 30-06
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    pjames777 wrote: »
    Yep, because the unexpected happens. Will I ever need it, hope not, but best to be prepared and it costs nothing as compared to the loss if you need to and can't.....

    That's essentially how I see it. Plus it's just fun at the range.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Teach wrote: »
    OK- - - -slow pitch warning here- - - - -I got pretty good at switching hands with wrenches, hammers, and occasionally a screwdriver while working on cars, trucks and industrial equipment in some awkward positions for 50-something years. Ditto for lefthanded welding. Shooting weak-handed should come naturally to me, but I haven't done enough practicing to have much faith in my abilities, particularly under stress. Developing the muscle memory to get good is just a matter of practice, no matter what the activity might be.
    Jerry

    Funny you should mention this, Teach. Ages ago when I was an electronics tech I'd often disassemble chassis and whatever, and digging around in equipment bays meant you had to use both hands fairly equally just to reach a screw or bolt head. So yeah, I learned to use both hands pretty equally. Later when I worked in a refinery and the tools were lots bigger, it was also pretty helpful to have decent dexterity with the off hand.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    cpj wrote: »
    I don't. For my situation as a right handed guy, my gun is on my right side. etc

    Which makes sense if you're using a holster of course. My point is, maybe the gun isn't in a holster. Maybe it's lying next to your bed or, in my case, next to my recliner in a little unzipped pouch -- all I have to do is reach out my finners and grab the XD -- with my right hand. Or the little snubby is in my center console which is, duh, reachable with my right hand.

    My point being, it can't hurt. Gene says it's nonproductive but I don't see how.

    If you've got the time and can do some range work, I can't see the negatives. Learning how to shoot right handed didn't hamper my natural lefty skills (after I healed) and as I said, I continued to keep in practice with the right, mostly for fun. But the end result is that I'm pretty adept with either hand -- I don't mean "adept" as an expert marksman by any means, but "adept" meaning that I'm nearly equal L/R.

    What's the loss? A few dozen extra practice rounds and a couple hours at the range occasionally.

    Understand, I don't think that off-hand shooting should be required or mandated unless there are significant situations decided upon my LEO regs. I'm only talking about the majority of us, total civilians, and learning private self defense, and I figured "Can't hurt" and kept practicing both sides of the track. Now it's kinda fun, alternating not just hands but 1 vs 2 handed grip and also switching guns, maybe a .357 and a 1911.

    Adds variety to the range session and mebbe just mebbe I might someday need it. Especially if I'm driving and reach into the center console. It feels "natural" righthanded now, same as left.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 26,099 Senior Member
    I can shoot from either side, but I'm right HAND dominant and left EYE dominant. I don't shoot as accurately lefty as I do right, but close. The eye dominance kicks in and helps when I shoot left handed. I also carry cross draw because of shoulder problems; right shoulder is much worse than left, so drawing left handed is no big deal if that comes up.

    Like Teach and Sam said, turning wrenches, screwdrivers, and, for me, a crapload of valves left handed because of position issues, it helps when doing other unrelated tasks like shooting, reloading, and working on circuit boards.
    If the U.S. Congress was put in charge of the Sahara Desert, there would be a shortage of sand in under six months.



  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 10,224 Senior Member
    It's non-productive from a law enforcement training perspective. Training hours are not unlimited, they're expensive both in $$$$ and in man hours. For those not under a mandate, such as on your own, great. For LE trainers, it's another question. Worth evaluating, which many agencies have.

    Because one or two instances occur does not mean it's a thing to be part of the training program. It's hard enough to train non-gun people on how to hit with their strong hand.
    Not too many problems you can't fix
    With a 1911 and a 30-06
  • timctimc Senior Member Posts: 6,681 Senior Member
    I practice handgun shooting with left and right almost evenly every time I am at the range. I am left handed but right eye dominate was a child during the time it was believed everyone should be right handed. I can't tell you how many times I got my hand smacked as a child and told to use my right hand. While mean to do to a child it helped me learn to do a lot of things just as easily with my left or right hand. To this day I feel just as comfortable shooting a handgun with my left or right, at times I carry different sides just cause of my mood.
    timc - formerly known as timc on the last G&A forum and timc on the G&A forum before that and the G&A forum before that.....
    AKA: Former Founding Member
  • horselipshorselips Senior Member Posts: 3,626 Senior Member
    No.
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 26,099 Senior Member
    And, FWIW, being able to shoot from the weak side with long arms and pistols has a more pressing need for those of us that hunt. It's good to be able to shoot weak side; you don't have to be a contortionist to get a shot at that buck, turkey, or squirrel that sneaked up behind you on the strong side to get a shot. Just change shoulders and not have to make a lot of movement to get in shooting position. Shooting proficiency from weak side has more applications than self defense.
    If the U.S. Congress was put in charge of the Sahara Desert, there would be a shortage of sand in under six months.



  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,600 Senior Member
    Yes. I do. I'm ambidextrous.

    Because I want to. Because I can. Because it helps.

    It's an improvement upon a skill I believe in. That being proficiency with firearms. As an instructor, it helps when teaching wrong minded people (lefties) to be able to show them what they are expected to do.........left handed.

    As a side note, I shot my largest Muley left handed as he came in to view from the "wrong" direction. I rotated the gun and shot him from the left shoulder.

    There have been other times where positioning my firearm on my left side has proven beneficial...........if not mandatory. Use of cover and all.

    Don't see the harm in additional capability and I've seen the benefit.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,600 Senior Member
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    Welcome, you might want to go to the clubhouse and introduce yourself :tooth:

    Daddy?
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • bobbyrlf3bobbyrlf3 Senior Member Posts: 2,467 Senior Member
    When it comes to guns, I'm ambidextrous. I practice with both hands every time I shoot. I compete with myself to see which hand I shoot better with. Which hand that turns out to be is dependent on the moon phase and ambient room temperature :tooth:
    Knowledge is essential to living freely and fully; understanding gives knowledge purpose and strength; wisdom is combining the two and applying them appropriately in words and actions.
  • LMLarsenLMLarsen Senior Member Posts: 8,337 Senior Member
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    I doesn't really have to cost much to keep proficient with your weak hand, or strong hand for that matter. Jeff Cooper was said to keep an Officers size 1911 on his desk as a paperweight and through out the day he'd pick it up, dry fire it, work the action etc. His reasoning was that these skills did not require live ammo and a range. Seems to have worked for him. Works for me too. Many times I'll be dry firing or praticing reloads and other skills while on a conference call :tooth:

    Yep. I dry fire all the time when I'm at my desk at home, with both hands, and often practice at the range with my off hand. I'm a big believer in dry fire as a training aid, as long as all safety protocols are observed. Keeps me familiar with the manuals of arms as well.
    “A gun is a tool, no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.”

    NRA Endowment Member
  • EliEli Senior Member Posts: 3,074 Senior Member
    Yes I do.

    I also practice drawing with my weak hand (I'm extremely fat, so this proves to be a bit difficult), as well as reloads and malfunction clearance.
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Gene L wrote: »
    It's non-productive from a law enforcement training perspective. Training hours are not unlimited, they're expensive both in $$$$ and in man hours. For those not under a mandate, such as on your own, great. For LE trainers, it's another question. Worth evaluating, which many agencies have.

    Because one or two instances occur does not mean it's a thing to be part of the training program. It's hard enough to train non-gun people on how to hit with their strong hand.

    Agreed and certainly a good reason to not invest LEO time and money in this.

    My question is mostly meant however for average gun nuts like most of us here.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    tennmike wrote: »
    And, FWIW, being able to shoot from the weak side with long arms and pistols has a more pressing need for those of us that hunt. It's good to be able to shoot weak side; you don't have to be a contortionist to get a shot at that buck, turkey, or squirrel that sneaked up behind you on the strong side to get a shot. Just change shoulders and not have to make a lot of movement to get in shooting position. Shooting proficiency from weak side has more applications than self defense.

    Good info. Not being a hunter I didn't realize the potential benefit of maybe occasionally practicing off-hand long gun stuff. Keen.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Thanks to all for the good feedback.

    Unlike some I'm not really ambidextrous but with working using hand tools a lot in earlier years, and lots of fast touch typing, I'm pretty adept with my right (off) hand.

    I really don't think that practicing offhand shooting is essential but if you've got the time and inclination, it can't hurt. And it's kinda fun to challenge yourself too.

    (I don't know if being ambidextrous is allowed under the Koran. You guys who are, be careful on facebook and elsewhere. Ya never know.)

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • TrueTone911TrueTone911 Senior Member Posts: 6,045 Senior Member
    I don't. I belive I should..but I don't
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 7,037 Senior Member
    The reality of gunfights is that somebody usually gets hurt, and since it's a common tendency for people to get "phaser lock" on the weapon being pointed at them, it's not uncommon to get shot in the hands/arms. The ability to passably run a gun with either hand is a good thing - up to and including clearing the range of various malfunctions.

    That said, I don't think two-handed ambi practice is really all that beneficial. Even if I've got two good hands to get on the gun, the list of reasons to switch to weak side is pretty short. Injury is the main reason I see for needing to pass the gun over.

    The primary focus I would put on weak hand, one hand shooting would be simply effectively hitting the target. At the point you need to go there, the #1 goal is going to be ending the encounter. If you're at a point where you can reliably hit an 8.5x11" sheet a couple times in 4-5 seconds from seven yards with your "stupid hand", you're in fair shape. Better than that comes down to how much ammo and time you have to burn, and I don't say that flippantly. Most pistol shooters are barely above total suck levels with their primary hand - given limited training resources, what's the best way to use them?
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
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