Why Shoot One Handed?
Some Reasons You May Not Have Thought About Before
by John Glatthar
During every shooting class, we run a series of drills and exercises, one of which is one-handed shooting with the right hand and the left hand, also known as the "strong" hand and the "weak" (or "support") hand, respectively. Reverse this premise for "lefties."
Many shooters have never fired a handgun with only their strong hand, let alone with their support / weak hand only. We don't do this just for kicks - we do this because there are several legitimate reasons to practice this way.
You should hear the groans and comments I hear when I explain this drill at the range:
"Oh, no! I don't think I can do this!"
"I have never done this before. You expect me to hit the target?"
"This is hard - I am hopelessly right (or left) handed."
And then I explain why. First, consider the possibility that your support hand might be wounded, bandaged, in a cast, or recovering from serious surgery. In this case, you can't use that hand at all. It would be a nearly useless appendage.
The second reason might be that you are clutching something tight to your body, something very valuable (see picture above). Or perhaps something even more valuable, like a bottle of expensive wine. Lighten up. Joking here. Nothing is more valuable than your child. Or your pet. You'd most likely turn your body and shoot with the strong hand only, toward the target (attacker).
Another reason is that you may find yourself having to defend yourself behind cover - that is something that will hide you and protect you from incoming fire. Something that is structurally strong enough to stop a bullet. That's what cover does. Concealment is different in that it will hide you, but you could not trust it to stop a bullet. Many environments have both. As you are reading this, look around. Identify both.
Shooting behind cover is something that we trained for in our armed guard classes. This exercise can be difficult for some people to master, for it takes some physical fitness. To shoot behind cover, you must lean out and get your gun's sights on the target (attacker) while keeping the rest of your body protected behind cover. You should use a technique known as the "M & M Rule" which is where you expose only a minimum amount of body for a minimum amount of time. If you do this correctly, all your attacker will see is your gun, your hand, part of your face, and one eyeball for a extremely brief period of time. This technique is not easy and requires practice. Some people use two hands, where I find that using one hand works better for my physique.
- Practicing the Technique of Shooting Behind Cover -
The next time you go out to the range, see if you can safely shoot behind a barricade. You will need a "buddy" to give you feedback. Set up a standing frame with cardboard large enough to hide your body. Bring out a toy gun, a dummy gun, or a replica gun for this purpose. Do not use a real gun for this, even if it is unloaded it. Remember that "all guns are loaded all time." Too much can go wrong. The chances for an unintended discharge might be low, but the stakes are unacceptably high.
Have a partner stand down range, while you hide behind a barricade or the corner of a building. You could do this in your house. When you are ready, take a quick half-second peek from behind cover to get an idea where your buddy is. Then, quickly roll out, and leading with the gun, get your partner in your sights, and yell "bang!" Sound silly? Read on before you judge.
If your partner sees a body part protruding from the barricade, he or she should yell it out (Elbow! Shoulder! Hip!) while getting the sights of his dummy gun on that body part. This is feedback for you. Pay attention. If he yells out your body part before you get him in your sights and yell bang, he wins and you lose. The assumption here is that if you expose a body part he will shoot that body part before you can shoot him. If you yell bang before he yells out the body part, you win!
Use that feedback to refine your technique and present yourself better the next time you pop out from behind the barricade. Use the M&M Rule to the best of your ability. Also, mix it up and do not become predictable. Roll out from that barricade from the left side, the right side, from high (standing) and from low (kneeling).
After you have advanced in your technique, switch to a live handgun. Roll out from cover and fire on your regular training target. We use the B27 silhouette target at 7 yards .
Care to try this at our range? Sign up for our Refresher Course and we'll run you through it along with other drills. You will thoroughly enjoy it.
In spite of COVID 2.0, we are happy to report that we are running more classes than ever
CCW Initial Class (8 hours)
CCW Renewal Class (4 hours)
Firearms 101: Introduction to the handgun (3.5 hours)
Refresher Course: Shooting Skills Tune-up at the Range (90 minutes)
Please view the online calendar of class dates here: Class Calendar
“Off-calendar” days are available upon request. Just ask and we will strive to accommodate your schedule.
We run small classes (maximum six), so you will get plenty of attention when needed.
Call us at 775.842.6409 to schedule a class today or just to ask a question. You'll be speaking directly to a friendly instructor.
At Semper Firearms Training we encourage you to buy a good firearm, get trained in how to use it, and continue your firearms training as part of a defensive lifestyle.
Please be sure to watch these two important videos and to send the links on to a friend:
- Good Guys With Guns: http://www.good-guys.us/premiere/
- Innocents Betrayed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zN0Xi8no6us
Images courtesy of Oleg Volk
Semper Firearms Training
9732 Pyramid Hwy #409
Sparks, NV 89441
9 am to 7 pm Seven Days a Week
We are a training school, not a retail store
Images courtesy of Oleg Volk