Shooting with Your Off Hand

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

One of the most dangerous things that any of us can have is blind spots. Even so, there’s something that’s more dangerous and that is an unawareness of our own blind spots. Yet there are things in almost any sphere of human endeavor where we can find ourselves surprised by one of those blind spots, often to our own demise.

When it comes to self-defense, it’s the scenario that we never thought of which is the most dangerous. One such scenario is becoming injured during a firefight. We never seem to think of that. Even worse, we never think of what we will do to keep fighting after that happens. Are we just going to give up and let them kill us or are we going to at least try to keep up the fight?

Let’s say that one of us is in a firefight with two criminals. One of them manages to hit us in our shooting arm, perhaps somewhere up near the shoulder. That renders our shooting arm unusable and quite possibly causes us to drop our pistol. Now what?

At that point, we’re left with only two options… figure out how to continue the fight or let them kill us. Maybe it looks good in the movies for the hero to be laying on the floor, bloody, looking up at his adversary while the bad guy puts a bullet in his forehead; but I sure don’t want to play that part. As long as I have any energy in my body, I hope to keep fighting. I’d be at a disadvantage and they might get me anyway, but I just might manage to get them first.

Part of this is how we deal with pain. People do things, fighting through pain, all the time. Ask any ballerina or true athlete and they can tell you about pain. But you never see the pain they’re going through. They push through that pain so that they can do what they need to. That same idea works with a bullet in you, as long as the shot wasn’t fatal. Remember, it’s only in Hollywood that a pistol shot blows the victim back 20 feet, killing them instantly.

I’ve found that most shooters can shoot reasonably well one-handed, if they’re shooting with their shooting hand (please note that I’m saying that with a large grain of salt). But most people have never even tried shooting with their off or supporting hand. Granted, we wouldn’t shoot as well with that hand, just like we couldn’t write our name as well with that hand; but shouldn’t we at least try? Shouldn’t we practice enough so that if we are forced to shoot with our off hand, we can still do so?

Most people who are ambidextrous aren’t that way naturally. Rather, they have trained themselves to do certain tasks equally well with both hands. If they can do that for signing their name or unlocking a door, then we can do it with shooting a gun.

Here’s another scenario where you might need to shoot with your off hand. You’re behind a building, peering around the corner, trying to use the building for cover. If the corner happens to be the right end of the wall and you’re right-handed, you can just stick your right arm and shoulder out, rather than having to expose your whole body. But if you’re on the left end of that wall, you would normally have to expose all your body to shoot, unless you could shoot left-handed.

Let’s add a bit more to our basic scenario. Instead of being in the middle of the firefight when you get hit in your shooting arm, let’s say that it happens before you draw your gun. Can you draw your gun from your holster with your off hand? I can do it, but it’s a bit difficult because my belly is too big. That draw is anything but efficient though, as I literally have the gun upside-down in my hand and need to turn it over to be able to shoot.

What about replacing magazines? Have you ever tried that one-handed? There is an actual method for doing that. It involves ejecting the magazine and then holding the pistol between your knees, freeing up whichever hand is available to draw a magazine and insert it in the pistol. It’s not elegant and it’s a whole lot slower than doing it the normal way, but it allows you to keep in the fight.

So, I’d suggest taking at least part of your training time and working on some of these off-hand drills, practice drawing, shooting and reloading with that off hand, till you get to the point where you can do it reasonably well. That can improve your chances of survival. In the meantime, keep your powder dry and your survival kit close at hand.

Dr. Rich

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