CapArms Question of the Day: How Often Do You Practice Shooting One-Handed?

“For years people have taught and trained with a two-hand grip on firearms,” TTAG reader Tim writes. “How are we mortals suppose to hold a flashlight, cell phone and weapon and be effective with all three? Maybe your other readers can help.” Well . . .

They should be able to help themselves. By practicing shooting one-handed. In fact, there’s a reason it’s called a “handgun” not a “handsgun.” As anyone who’s tried to find a really comfortable grip on a small revolver might — should? — attest.

Once again I’ll point out that the handgun’s ability to be shot one-handed makes it my first choice for home defense, where I’m likely to need that “spare” hand for calling the cavalry, wrangling my daughter, flipping on lights, etc.

That said, Tavor. And a shotgun when assuming a defensive position.

So how often do you practice shooting your handgun one-handed? How often do you shoot it with your “weak” hand? And if you’re a glasses wearer, how often do you do so without your specs (which could well be knocked off in a fight)?


  1. avatar Kroglikepie says:

    Every range session. Strong hand and weak hand. Without glasses, not so much, but my eyesight only requires them for driving. Also, when practicing one-handed, you can still “support” your armed hand as you would if you hand a flashlight in your off hand.

    Practicing stances is also important. While moving and shooting, you are not going to utilizing the isosceles stance, nor should you ever punch your arms out if you are clearing rooms (watch those corners!).

    1. avatar Alan Esworthy says:

      Ditto. Every time I go to the range, it’s about half two-handed and half one-handed, and the one-handed is half strong and half weak hand.

      1. avatar DrewR says:

        That makes three of us. Shooting with both hands on the gun is a luxury, shooting one handed is a necessity.

        1. avatar Eli2016 says:

          Agreed. One handed competency is essential in a defensive scenario.

  2. avatar Ogre says:

    When I go to the range, I always shoot a couple strings one-handed, both strong and weak hand. I always have to aim with my dominant eye, though – haven’t figured out how to close it and use my weakside eye. I may not win any prizes shooting with my weak hand, but I should come close enough that it will scare the hell out of the bad guys!

  3. avatar J says:

    Most of the time. Im as good with one hand as 2.

    1. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

      I imagine that you are not typical. I am no where near as good one handed. It is true that I only spend at most 25% of my practice on it though.

      1. avatar kevin says:

        I’m just as accurate single righty, a little less so single lefty, but not nearly as quick on follow up shots. If you’re competent shooting with two hands, you should really practice solely with each single hand.

  4. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

    How well do those 340PDs or the like go one handed? My .45ACP Snake Slayer recoils about as much as I can handle one handed.

    1. avatar Don Nelson says:

      The AirLite .357s are fine one-handed. For five rounds.

    2. avatar Joel says:

      They hurt just as much one handed as two handed! 😉

  5. avatar TommyJay says:

    I saw a vid segment on the Student of The Gun internet channel that suggested a 5 step exercise. Ten rounds for each step to consume a 50 round box. I forgot parts of their exercise but came up with my own version.

    1) Two handed shooting; 2) Right hand only; 3) Left hand only; 4) Two handed double action shooting.

    Interestingly, my worst performance is the double action. I assumed the left hand would be awful, but both the right and left hand only were only slightly worse than standard two hand single action. The left hand (support hand for me) feels really strange, much more awkward than grip hand only. But if you take a breath and focus on the basics, if works out fine.

  6. avatar Swarf says:

    I use my prehensile tail.

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      In lieu of, or in addition to?

  7. avatar Higgs says:

    Every time I shoot. Both Hands.

    I think I am a fair shot 2 handed. I stay within the 9 ring on any target I have shot at, some fliers our to the 8.

    When I shoot one handed… I seem to be more accurate. My pattern is smaller and completely in the 9 , often in the bullseye area.

    I have always thought the being able to shoot one handed could open up the possibility of maintaining cover/concealment since (depending on the situation) you may not have to expose as much of you body when engaging a target.

  8. avatar Don Nelson says:

    One-handed, three or four times a week. Weak-handed, far less. Without spectacles, never even thought of it. Next time…

    1. avatar binder says:

      If you are shooting three or four times a week, why are you even using your sights, you should be able to point shoot anything within 8 yards.

  9. avatar PROUD chicano says:

    Is that a 625 performance center?

    1. avatar DrewR says:

      Looks like RFs 686 to me. The 625s cylinder is shorter, with an elongated forcing cone. My cousin has a 625 PC, and it is one slick wheelgun.

  10. avatar The Gray Poseur says:

    I don’t over-analyze this stuff. Shooting a firearm just isn’t that complicated.

  11. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    Most all the time. Bullseye shooting requires you shoot one-handed.

  12. avatar former water walker says:

    I shoot a few rounds one handed. My left hand has a bit of nerve damage and I’m awful with it. Oddly I’m pretty good rapid fire with one hand. And I honestly don’t worry about it…as mentioned many times “have a gun”.

  13. avatar Shire-man says:

    Live every range visit. Dry fire bilateral (tacti-cool term so you know I’m super cereal) shooting/reloading/malfunctions everyday.

  14. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    I agree that it is probably wise to practice shooting a self-defense handgun with one hand, both your “strong” hand and your “weak” hand.

  15. avatar Missouri_Mule says:

    Not enough.

  16. avatar Tal says:

    Based on the videos at Active Self Protection not nearly enough. I’m always surprised at the percentage of gunfights where the participants (trained or otherwise) utilize one hand.

  17. avatar Pete says:

    I shoot almost exclusively one-handed. Putting both hands together at near full extension is awkward.

    I recommended that one of my noobs use two hands, since that’s how I was taught to start and it might be better if the gun shifts in the shooter’s hand halfway through a mag. I even did so myself when demonstrating to be consistent and helpful. But she just quit using the weak hand after about five shots and I was like “OK good idea.”

  18. avatar Me says:

    If they are close enough to knock off your glasses they are close enough for a contact shot (don’t push your slide out of battery)

  19. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    I actually probably prefer to shoot one handed in many cases. I typically do a bit of all hands though.

  20. avatar MarkPA says:

    I’m baffled that we start training with 2-handed shooting. In an emergency a self-defender needs to respond as quickly as possible to a threat likely to be only a few feet away. That’s not the scenario favorable to an ordinary citizen to follow the protocol of left-hand to the chest, then out to grip gun with the left thumb in the correct position (different for semi-auto vs. revolver.) At close range, the improvement in accuracy is apt not to be critical.

    We ought to give primary training emphasis to strong-hand shooting, secondary to off-hand shooting and finally 2-handed shooting.

  21. avatar ahil925 says:

    Does Akimbo count?

  22. avatar Tile floor says:

    A crapload for work, on a timer.

    Just out of curiosity, I understand the using the off hand for tasks but with a sling (or even without) I can maintain I pretty steady grip on an AR platform rifle. Anyone else feel the same?

  23. avatar Greg says:

    Every week when I am at the range I practice weak hand and one handed shooting.
    My friends and I have shot like this for decades and it seems just a normal way of shooting to us.

  24. avatar Ralph says:

    As someone who trained and competed as a bullseye shooter when I was a kid, I still shoot one-handed about as well as I shoot two handed although I can’t realign my sights quite as quickly one-handed. I practice one-handed from both sides.

  25. avatar Wm O'Hara says:

    Every week; but I haven’t drilled without glasses. Need to work on that.

  26. avatar kenneth says:

    Most of the time when the range is 21 feet or less. No need for two hands at those ranges. Or even sights. Or even to bring the gun up to eye level.
    At combat ranges practice point shooting w/o even seeing the gun, much less the sights. That’s how it will most likely be used in a fight anyway, might as well get used to the idea…

  27. avatar 1919a6 says:

    Ok so 1 hand and weak hand shooting is a very good thing for multiple reasons. I use a 340 pd , yes magnums are uncomfortable. How often do you practice 1 hand weak hand reload? I try to do it a couple of times per session with an HKS speed loader it is doable but not fast.

  28. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    All the time.

  29. avatar James69 says:

    Now use two revolvers one for each hand. Try it. It’s a blast. Practice enough and you can point shoot and never look down the sights. I recently got a Mossberg Shockwave and have been practicing point shooting. I’m not a crack shot with it …. yet. Practice,Practice,Practice.

  30. avatar Rosco says:

    As someone that trained for years before my dgu. I can say where my training helped and where it hurt. Problem 1 i trained to side step and quick draw instead of actively diving for cover before i drew. That could have gotten me killed. Second i had in my head that i was ready to kill, but hadnt imagined my attacker to be a child, that almost got me killed. Third my skills w a pocket pistol one handed were not perfected that almost got me killed. Where my training did help is muscle memory getting my gun into the fight even tho my mind kept repeating this isnt real this isnt real even after seeing a bullet and gas rip through me. It wasnt after we both reloaded that it started to sink in. Also training helped me when i got shot in the hand and my skin jammed my slide that i effortlessly hit the bobcat into battery after every shot.

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