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Friday, November 27, 2009

Weak-side Shooting

The vast majority of people who go to the practice range do one thing:  They stand in front of their target with their favorite two-hand stance and blast away.

Clearly, this has a place in any practice routine, but the likelihood of that stance being the optimum presentation of your firearm during an emergency is pretty slim.  A good routine will practice numerous stances - one-hand, two-hand, strong-side, weak-side.

I think one of the reasons people don't practice weak-side shooting is because - ironically - they're no good at it.  It's like the golfer who never practices from the sand trap.  Most folks look like idiots, flailing away in the trap, with big plumes of sand - and a fair amount of swearing - being the only thing produced.

The smart golfer - and firearms owner - practices that which they have little or no skill, so they can possess those skills when the time comes to use them.

Take a walk through your home.  Identify the points that are most likely to be used by a criminal to gain entry.  The front door, the rear sliding glass door, your windows, etc.  Now, identify the structures in your home - primarily the walls, knee walls, corners and staircases that would give you the most concealment to defend yourself.

How many of those defensive points would be most effectively utilized if you shot from your weak hand?  Probably half of them.

There is a concept in defensive pistol training called, "Slicing the pie".  The idea is to use cover and concealment to shield the greatest portion of your body while locating your uninvited guests.  As you approach a location that likely hides the bad guy, your point of aim (the arrows) resembles the slices of a pie as you investigate around the corner (click to expand).

A key to your survival is to expose as little of your body to the bad guy as possible.  Obviously, in this example, a left-hand stance and presentation of the firearm would offer the smallest target to return fire - your left arm, shoulder and the left side of your face.

If you were only proficient with a right-hand stance and presentation, you would need to expose all of your left side, most (if not all) of the center of your chest, portions of your right side, and likely most of your head.

Why present a bigger target when you don't have to?  What would you do if your strong-side hand were injured and your weak-side was the only option?

Accept The Challenge

Weak-side practice should be incorporated into every single range session.  For instance, if you're practicing rapid fire drills, do them from both sides.  Don't become proficient - and dependent  - just on your strong-side.

Practice your weak-side drills until you are equally accurate regardless of the hand you use.  Get help from a trainer if you need it.  It may save your life.

Copyright 2009 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.


Anonymous said...

Good post. Another reason to work offhand is because of the ejection port on semi's. A right handed shooter won't notice the flying brass like a left handed shooter does.

Chief Instructor said...

Great point. Along those lines, I instruct my students to wear high-necked shirts when shooting.

Nothing quite like a hot, spent shell down the shirt... ;-)