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Reader Curtis in IL writes:

While we’re well past Left Handers Day, if you’re a southpaw like me, you know the burdens we bear. Besides being smarter and better looking than everyone else, we’re constantly struggling to use tools designed for the other 90% of the population, from measuring cups to musical instruments. Everything is built backwards.

My mother, also a southpaw, was wise enough to teach me that it’s easier to learn to use right-handed tools than rely on specialty products designed for lefties. For example, she knew that left-handed scissors wouldn’t always be available when I needed them, so she taught me to use right-handed scissors, among other things. I’m forever grateful to her for that.

Of course I have a lefty softball mitt and golf clubs. But back when I bought my first Windows computer, I made the decision to set the mouse up on the right side of the keyboard like everyone else. I knew I could change the settings to work with the left hand, but then what happens when I need to use someone else’s computer, or when someone else wants to use mine? That decision to become a right-handed mouse operator has served me well over the years.

When I got my first BB gun as a youngster, I learned to shoot it right-handed. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s just the way my Dad taught me. I’m glad he did, because when I decided to buy my first pistol some forty years later, it was obvious that I would have many more choices if I wasn’t limited to “ambidextrous” models.

Now, even though I write, swing a hammer and wield a chef’s knife left-handed, pulling the trigger on a firearm with my right index finger feels just as natural. If you think that would be difficult for a lefty, consider that there are about a hundred switch-hitters in Major League Baseball, many of whom hit better left-handed.

Also remember that with a long gun, your left hand grips the forestock and is primarily responsible for stabilizing and aiming the gun, which require fine motor skills.

The practical implications of this strategy go far beyond just having more choices in pistols and holsters (not to mention semi-auto rifles, shotguns with a cross-bolt safety, etc.). In a home defense situation, my wife and I have more-or-less equal proficiency with whatever tools are available.

We both train with the same guns, even though we both have our preferences. Think about this: when the thugs come a-callin’, wouldn’t you rather have your dominant hand free to dial 911, point a flashlight or hold a child? Finally, during fun times at the range, I can shoot anyone’s gun, and they can shoot mine.

If you’ve been shooting left-handed for many years, you’ve already learned to deal with the inconveniences that go along with it. And if you aren’t inclined to switch gears at this point, I understand. But if you’re a lefty who’s new to the world of firearms, I highly recommend that you learn to shoot right-handed from day one. In the end, you’ll be as grateful to me as I am to my mother.

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  1. “we’re constantly struggling to use tools designed for the other 90% of the population, from measuring cups to musical instruments. Everything is built backwards.”

    here we go again, another special interest group whining.


    • Blah blah blah 40, in my household lefties outnumber. My niece my nephew myself outnumber my wife and her sister. We’re gaining on you! 😁

    • I ain’t whining, one of the easiest ways to end up ambidextrous is to start as a lefty and train both. I did, and despite all my parents protests, the Baptist school I attended from K through 3rd did their utmost to ensure I turned out a rightie. Including blistering my ass with a 1 1/4″ thick oak paddle with air holes when I naturally accidentally switched in front of them.

      Under the utterly ridiculous nonsense premise that left handed people were marked by the beast. Withdrawn after the last incident, ending up in a Catholic School which was much better, except not. Which I may get into at some other time.

      Anyway, ambi had pretty much set in by then.

      Skate goofy foot, shoot either hand, right eye dominant, work butterfly knives or other weapons equally well (I’m fancy, all teh trix with an underhand open that’s faster than most reaching the button on an automatic. Cross dominant on a lot of other things.

  2. I’m a lefty and I bat right handed catch left handed. The biggest problem I have with shooting is wanting to transfer my firearms to my right hand to drop and reload the mag with my left hand. As far as shooting my MK 77 Ruger 30:06 having the bolt on the rightside is perfect.

    • Funny, but i saw “ Ruger 30:06 ” as a biblical notation.
      Because… the Book of Ruger is just one of many.

    • I can bat left handed because that’s how I started out for some reason. It took a long time to transition to batting right handed. (My mom told the coach to make me.) Throwing with the left hand just feels weird though.

  3. Off topic but I just saw Rep Cammack in a clip on Fox News Sunday saying in regards to Ukraine funding, I just don’t think as a legislator that I could in good conscience support billions and billions of funding going overseas when we have such dire needs here. Then they go to Joni Earnst R from Iowa. “We can do both we truly can”. I’m so sick of these bastards thinking the American people are their piggy bank with a bottomless pit of cash for them to steal. Stupid bitch!

      • +100. Weak hand training is a good idea no matter if you are right or left handed.

        Won’t hurt to also practice “immobilization drills,” i.e., draw from your strong side holster with your weak hand (including safely transitioning from the non-grip hold on the weapon needed to draw it to a shooting grip), one-handed “tap-rack-bang” drills with your weak hand, one handed reloads with your weak hand, etc.

        • Damn! LKB! You took it to the tenth! I will remember that at my next trip to the range. Truly thank you.

        • Muckraker:

          If you practice immobilization drills, I strongly recommend doing them initially as dry fire and/or snap caps only until you get the techniques ironed out on how to do it without sweeping yourself. When live firing practice, have a buddy load your mags with 3 or so random snap caps per mag, so that you get random stoppages requiring you to clear.

    • OK, that clip came from this longer interview, and it lays out what’s really happening in Ukraine, on the ground.

      It’s very much worthwhile to watch :

    • Muck wrote : “I just don’t think as a legislator that I could in good conscience support billions and billions of funding going overseas when we have such dire needs here.”

      Supporting Ukraine militarily grievously weakens Russia, and that’s very much in the interest of the United States, and the rest of the free world.

      Listen closely what this fellow has to say, he knows what he is talking about, it’s less that 3 min. long :

      • OK, that clip was from this 45 min interview on what’s really happening in Ukraine. It’s not quite what the news here is making it out to be, it’s well-worth the watch :

      • Geoff I listened to it and I agree it harms Russia. It could have been 30 minutes long and if thought it was relevant I would have listened anyway. Ukraine is no friend to their subjects. They had no access to arms as we do and Russia is no threat to us, we can fuck them into the seventh century any time we want. Believe me my heart aches for the people of Ukraine but we first and foremost need to take care of our own. And Geoff I was relaying a statement from a Florida Rep in her own words not mine although I agree with her. Also as an aside we could give the Ukrainians the ability to annihilate the Russians overnight if our asshole reps were so inclined. And this is coming form someone that works in the defense industry. We have fellow citizens in dire need. Let’s take care of them first please for once.

        • Giving Ukraine the ability to annihilate Russia would lead to WWIII and the release of nuclear weapons. The strategy at present is to provide enough to allow Ukraine to expel the Russians but not to invade deep enough to poke the Bear.

        • “Ukraine is no friend to their subjects”.

          True, a few anti-rus friends I have in the UA say the same. They want equality and freedom universally. Although trying to guide them in the right direction, as they keep stating a tyranny of the majority, a.k.a. democracy is what they want, when a constitutional republic is the right path.

          They don’t understand what freedom is, and it is the hardest subject to teach.

      • “Supporting Ukraine militarily grievously weakens Russia, and that’s very much in the interest of the United States, and the rest of the free world.”

        I’m just glad to see other people admitting that tens of thousands of Ukrainians had to die, and over 3 million had to be displaced, because our government wanted a proxy war with Russia. Just wait until we rebuild the country for them. There’s lots of money to be made (for a select few connected people).

        • Russia started the war, a war Putin had been wanting for many years. Russia said over and over that its troops near the border were there for training and were no threat to Ukraine. It was a lie. That NATO was threatening Russian territory was a convenient lie; Europe is fat and happy and has no interest in its own militaries, much less an interest in invading bordering countries. Once upon a time, American conservatives understood this very well. Without the US, Europe is essentially defenseless, particularly Germany and the UK. France and the UK operate one aircraft carrier between them. Germany does not have enough tanks for its own troops, and most of its six submarines are in dry dock because the government has failed year after year to provide adequate funding for spare parts.

          Russia said that its troops were not assisting the rebels in the Donbas. It was a lie, as most recently demonstrated by the conviction of a Russian air defense unit shooting down a domestic flight and then lying about it, along with all the other lies about their troops, tanks, apcs etc etc that Donbas did not have in 2014 that were being “borrowed” by Russian troops “on holiday.” Russia is run by a kleptocratic autocratic oligarchy, a Russian mafia, so to speak. Putin wants desperately to reassert the Russian hegemony over its neighbors, and that hegemony extends to the Baltic states, parts of Poland, Moldova, and perhaps Croatia, Serbia, Hungary and Bulgaria. Except for brief periods, Russia has always considered us to be an existential threat, and has spent years seeking to undermine our democracy, steal our secrets, and prepare for a war that it, in its historic paranoia, believes is inevitable.
          The war in Ukraine need not invade Russia or seek to overthrow Putin (whose allies seem to keep dropping dead unexpectedly by suicide or accident); it need only pull the Bears teeth, and that it is dong very well. The war also demonstrates that where there are no or minimal rules of engagement, our training and manner of fighting wars, allowing independence of action by individual units and not a top down command structure that Russia employs, is far superior in a conventional war.

        • None of what you said disputes the fact that we’re using Ukraine to wage a proxy war with Russia. Like Geoff said, we’re doing it to weaken Russia. It’s actually more than that. They want Putin removed. They’ve even said as much. If you followed the Obama Admin, you know they were obsessed with regime change conflicts. They weren’t very good at it. Things were never better after they got involved. The Puppet Admin uses the same foreign policy people.

          “That NATO was threatening Russian territory was a convenient lie”

          NATO was threatening to continue to expand which meant creeping up to Russia’s border instead of having a buffer zone. Everyone knew Russia viewed this as a threat for decades. When it began looking like an invasion was likely, no one tried to throw water on the situation. Instead, the NATO leader said they should expand.

          “Putin wants desperately to reassert the Russian hegemony”

          Of course he does. What does the US want? The US is constantly projecting power across the globe. The US also wants to protect control over their vassal state, Ukraine.

          “Russia has always considered us to be an existential threat, and has spent years seeking to undermine our democracy”

          “Our democracy” sounds like the propaganda constantly being pushed here. That’s usually a sign to ignore someone. Of course they view us as a threat. They aren’t stupid. We also view them as a threat. No one interferes in more global governments than the US. That includes elections. Lots of countries do that. As a matter of fact, Ukraine interfered in the 2016 US election in a more consequential way than Russia did. The fact that Russia’s interference here in 2016 did anything consequential was a lie. The establishment pushed that propaganda because it was killing two birds with one stone.

          All of what you said completely ignores the fact that we weren’t trying to avoid this conflict. Of course Russia is to blame for invading another country. The only counter to a potential or existing conflict is NOT more conflict. The West literally went out of their way to derail peace talks prior to the conflict. It’s funny how people never mention that. Then, once the conflict was underway, why weren’t peace talks the number one priority? This conflict would not be happening without our approval. We’re funding it. We’re enabling it. Ukraine would be forced to find a peaceful resolution if they knew they weren’t getting another penny from us. As a matter of fact, I guarantee they would have worked a peace deal out beforehand if the West had stayed out of it. But we have to protect our investments in our vassal state. People have to die to protect our power. Democracy has nothing to do with it.

        • “NATO was threatening to continue to expand which meant creeping up to Russia’s border instead of having a buffer zone.”

          And, look what’s actually happened :

          By invading Ukraine, Finland and Sweden have requested, and are now in the process of joining NATO, solidifying all of Scandinavia against Russia. That makes the Baltic sea effectively a NATO lake.

          What brilliant chess Putin just played!

          “This conflict would not be happening without our approval. We’re funding it. We’re enabling it.”

          It’s all of NATO contributing, here. That’s the *point*, mess with one, you mess with them all. Putin wasn’t expecting the response he got. He’s terminally ill, cancer is killing him. The course NATO is taking is the most effective way to pull the Bear’s teeth, as Mark N noted. The vaunted Russian military with the 10-foot tall Russian soldier has been shown to be a sad shadow of itself. New recruits are setting up for winter camp using plastic sheeting for shelters. when spring arrives and the Russian assault begins, their side will not exactly be be eager, while the Ukrainians will be fighting for their homes…

        • Geoff,
          Everything you said is true. What people should be asking themselves is, did they do everything in their power to keep tens of thousands of people from being killed, millions of people from being displaced, and communities from being destroyed. It’s all a matter of priorities. If the priority is playing power games and sticking it to Putin, then maybe this makes you happy. If you think there were other alternatives, then you view this as tragic. Laying the death and destruction solely at Putin’s feet is being extremely dishonest.

    • “We can do both we truly can”

      Her definition of “doing both” doesn’t include the words responsible and ethical. If it did, then they would have been tracking every penny being spent from the very beginning. Did people notice that our government wanted to be notified every time anyone has $600 worth of transactions in a year? That’s means tracking everyone, all of the time. Did anyone notice that they are doubling the size and scope of the IRS? Yet those same politicians have zero interest in tracking the tens of BILLIONS we’re spending on Ukraine? Now why is that?

  4. I shoot a shotgunm left handed, a rifle either, and a handgunm right handed.
    The revolerings are pretty much ambidextrously designed, fully semiautomatic not so much.
    Left handed boxers were always the toughest to beat for me , unorthodox basstids. 🙂

    • As a possum I would run as fast as my legs would carry me if I was confronted with a boxer right or left handed…you’re a true badass!

    • When I fenced, I always found left handers easier to beat. Then again, we were limited to a strip only 1 meter wide, and the edges of the strip could be used to gain an advantage.

  5. And righties should also train themselves to shoot leftie. You might have an injury to your right side or you might have to shoot around the left side of cover.

    • ^ This many times over.
      I have newbies (I’m an instr/RSO) shoot non dominant hand in the first lesson.
      I love the “I can’t do that!” response, then i make them do it anyway, then the look on their face when they shoot better left handed.

      BTW, I’m ambidextrous so using either hand is a trainable skill. So is using either eye AND being able to switch back and forth at will.

      My day job is as a rehab therapist and i gotta say my best education has come from my patients.
      Where there is a will, there is a way.

      • Just Sayin (OG),
        I did tell a friend at work to train with their left eye because they told me they have macular degeneration. I pray his doctor helps with his situation.
        ” Where there is a will, there is a way.”

      • I can handle a revolver with my left, but semi-autos feel like crossing your arms the wrong way, and I’ve never practiced enough to get passed that. My right handed daughter, however, shoots as well with either hand with a .45.

    • Absolutely. I’ve been through training courses that went thru opposite (support side, non-dominant) shooting and malfunction/clearance drills. Then one-handed shooting for both firing and support sides, to emulate a crippling wound leaving you with only one hand. And to top it off…support side single-hand Type 3 clearances. I never would have ever thought I could do that…until I did.

      Plinking steel at the range is to help you know your gun. Training under a professional instructor to think outside the box helps you to know yourself.

  6. Only a couple of times have I tried to shoot pistols left-handed, and it *really* weirded me out to do so.

    My internal voice was *screaming* at me the whole time THIS IS WRONG!… 🙁

  7. Everyone should practice weak hand shooting. I don’t as much as I used to/should. I have friend that is a RH. He taught himself to shoot ambitiously. Just shoot. Nothing else. Handgun, rifle, shotgun, SMG, auto-rifle; doesn’t matter. All the same. Didn’t matter if it was on the job, or hunting. He always had starboard when we set up on a gobbler.

  8. Also meant to say. If your dedicated LH, and you don’t mind minor caliber, buy a P7M8. Not inexpensive; but what’s your life worth?

  9. “If you think that would be difficult for a lefty, consider that there are about a hundred switch-hitters in Major League Baseball, many of whom hit better left-handed.”

    Right, so because a small number of the best athletes on the planet can do it, that means it’s easy for the average person to do it too? What a silly argument.

    As a left handed shooter myself, I have to say this is terrible advice. You shouldn’t be shooting with you non-dominant hand, no matter what that is. Always shoot with what is best. While everyone should practice weak-hand shooting everyone once in a while, your dominant hand should be your shooting one by default. There’s no reason to waste time and effort trying to get your weak hand shooting up to par, when that time and effort would be better spend improving skills with your default hand.

    The overwhelming majority of guns, particularly handguns, can be used just as easily left-handed as they are right handed, even if they aren’t specifically designed to be handled that way.

    Hearing anyone recommend such awful advice is bad enough, but coming from an actual left-handed person is darn near treasonous.

    • I think the idea is that some familiarization and practice shooting with your non-dominate hand just in case something happens and you can’t use your dominate hand, not to make it on par with your dominate hand (but maybe some go that far, who knows). Its a better chance than no chance at all if you can’t use your dominate hand. But yeah, your dominate hand should be the one you are shooting with and expend the most practice time on and use.

      • But that’s not what he said. He wasn’t talking about practicing weak-hand shooting for emergencies (which is excellent advice), he was talking about shooting right handed as a primary method even if you’re left-handed, which is a bad idea unless you are among the tiny number people who just happen to do certain things better with their weak hand, like Michael Vick or Tua Tagovailoa.

      • Easier said than done! I have a bit of neurological damage to my left side where my grip is down. Used to do alternate hammer curls over 100×10. Takes a helluva grip. Back training again & back to 75×7. Coordination not there yet but ok for going on 69. Eyesight pretty good after last years cataract surgery. I is what it is…

  10. Eye dominance matters more than hand dominance. Having someone line up behind their non dominant eye is stupid.

    • DrewN, you’re right. I think CNS is also about half right. I have two hands. I use both of them. Every day.

    • All the people I know who shoot left-handed are left-eye-dominant righties. They all shoot long guns lefty, but most shoot handguns right handed in front of their left eye.

    • No, it isn’t. I’m left handed, right eye dominant; when I look through a scope I keep both eyes open. My dominant right eye is focused on the target, my weak left eye then picks it up easily through the scope, and the crosshairs are already on target.

    • Same. Grew up shooting right handed. Switched to Left in my 30’s. 45 now, do much better left. But, still reasonable with my right.

  11. I am truly ambidextrous. I can easily switch from right to left with tools, knives, writing, shooting. Always have been able to work with either hand, and can easily switch sight picture from left to right eye dominate. Drives my left handed wife nuts when I switch hands to demonstrate how to do something. She has had difficulty in learning to shoot off hand. or in using a bolt rifle right handed.

  12. The author is an idiot.

    Any good instructor will start a student learning to shoot a handgun or a shotgun behind his DOMINANT EYE. It doesn’t matter what “handed” you are. You shoot behind your dominant eye.

    Both wing shooting with a shotgun and defensive/practical shooting with a handgun are instinctive types of shooting. You shoot with both eyes open.

    If you try to shoot with both eyes open behind your NONdominant eye, it won’t work.

  13. The same argument is made for US hockey players being primarily right handed while Canadians are primarily left handed. With left handed hockey the right hand (dominant for most) is on the butt end of the stick where the fine motor skills are supposed to reside. Seems like the Canadians got just one thing correct on average.

    Since I had no idea and just went right handed when I started playing I basically forced my kids into lefty when they were toddlers. Not for their future hockey, only in case I ever got to play with them I would be right handed and they could play opposite me as left. They don’t play 🙁 anymore

  14. I bought a left handed holster to use with my training handguns because I have had two southpaw students.

  15. Whichever is handy………My left eye is my strong side, so I learned to shoot left-handed.
    Otherwise, I’m right-handed. I do practice with pistol/revolver right-handed. A rifle or shotgun is not as easy because it takes a bit more to get the sights and my left eye flying in formation.
    I can eat with either hand even though my ex-wife kept insisting I needed to learn to use a knife and fork.

  16. I’m a lefty but, due to an auto accident and subsequent paralysis I now have to shoot right handed but still drawl left handed. I know it sounds dangerous and complicated. but, its not that bad or slow.

  17. As a retired law enforcement firearms trainer, most police agencies routinely teach ‘off-hand’ shooting skills for LEO’s in the event of a disabling injury or physical altercation where your ‘off-hand’ is the only one available to utilize your weapon. That training should also apply to anyone who has access to a firearm that might be used in a self-defense role. That includes drawing your weapon, firing, and re-loading from your ‘weak hand’. Being proficient with your weapon using either hand is not only for your own safety, but is also an obligation to others that you are protecting.

  18. I strongly disagree with Curtis.
    I am a shooting instructor. I have had many students over the last 30 years. I have found that teaching student to shoot using their dominant eye (left-eye shooting left-handed) achieves the best long-term results. About 3 of 10 right-handed students are left-eye dominant. They learn faster and preform better shooting left-handed. About 1 in 20 left-handed students are right-eye dominant. They preform better shooting right-handed.
    Data I have found on the web indicates that about 30% of right-handed people are left-eye dominant and about 11% of the general population is left-handed. Given my experience, that would mean about 95% of the left-handers are left-eye dominant. So, about 40% of the general population is left-eye dominant. Why aren’t their many more choices of left-handed firearms at stores. In my experience, out of the 400 or so long guns at each of my 8 local Big Box sporting goods stores the are only 3 leftie at each, usually shotguns. There are at least a dozen manufacturers of left-handed long-guns. As fare as I have determined, there is only one left-handed revolver and only one left-handed pistol manufactured. Why?

  19. I am right handed, and have practiced shooting with my left hand. Whether you are eft or right handed, you would practice shooting with the “weak” hand, just in case.

  20. A long arm should be shot depending on one’s eye dominance, not handedness.

    Handgun, you can generally line up with a cross dominant eye if needed, although my right handed Daughter shoots pistol left handed.

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