by Nick Klementzos
I’m a lefty. That’s right, I said it.
Later, as I matured I became an ambidextrous shooter.
You see I was born a poor Greek child on the south side of Chicago who was left hand dominant. So coming from a couple of loving, old-world Greek parents, they “encouraged” me to be right-handed.
For years, I stubbornly persevered against their “encouragement.” But they persevered even more strongly. Then, in the fourth grade, my parents pulled me out of public school and sent me to a Greek Orthodox Grade School. (Koraes)
Father Byron ran the school. A special man, he enlightened my parents that being left-handed was not to be discouraged as some old world cultures tend to do. And that started me on my journey to truly becoming ambidextrous.
What does that mean in my life of the shooting sports?
It means I have an edge in that I don’t have a dominant side. I can and will use whichever hand gives me an unfair advantage and allows me to shoot better.
Why should you care about having some skill sets shooting with your non-dominant hand? Well, for starters, what happens if you have an injury in your primary hand? Or you’re holding something really important (like your grandchild), or maybe even fighting off an attacker? What happens if your strong-side hand is working to retain your strong-side holstered firearm from an attempted gun snatch?
Suddenly, weapons handling with your support-side hand comes in really handy, no pun intended.
I know this is a loaded question, but when is the best time to acclimate yourself to shooting with your non-dominant (“support side”) hand: when you’re thrust into a life-and-death struggle, or in a calm and comfortable environment that’s safe?
Yes, like riding a bike, the first time you do it you will feel awkward, un-natural and maybe even uncomfortable.
Take your time and start slowly and carefully. Ideally, have an instructor help you but you can do it by yourself if you start slowly with dry firing.
Eventually, load and fire one cartridge at a time. You will soon gain confidence and skills manipulating and shooting your gun with your support-side/non-dominant hand.
Pro-tip: Be sure not to cross your thumbs behind that semi-auto pistol. If you forget, the pain and maybe a little blood will help you remember the next time. Unless your family tree doesn’t branch…
The more you practice, the more natural it will become. You can’t help but improve.
Guns for left-handers?
Are you worried your pistol isn’t made for left-handed operation? Well that’s really not true. In most cases, you are only limited by your own lack of ingenuity or knowledge.
Worried about the magazine release? Why? Look at your trigger finger or even your middle finger. When gripping the gun, they just happen to be right there by the magazine release button, almost by design! What would it take to press the magazine release? Not much, just some practice.
Dominant eye issues? Are you cross-eye dominant from your strong side hand? For the most part you can still use your dominant eye to aim by just aligning that eye behind the sights.
It can be as simple as moving you chin into your left bicep so your dominate eye is behind the sights. Alternatively you can cant or tilt the gun to the left (or right, depending on your need). Or you can even shoot with only one eye open.
Canting a handgun to use the dominant eye to aim for cross-eye dominant shooters. In this case, she’s left-eye dominant shooting right-handed.
Depending on which hand you prefer to shoot with, because of injuries, barricades or whatever your reason, you can use the techniques to sight the gun quickly and effectively with either hand – but you have to practice them. Speaking of barricades, if you shoot around the left side, you should shoot left-handed. Why? So you expose a minimal amount of your soft body parts to a bad guy, including your grape!
Once you have practiced using with your non-dominant hand and gain confidence and abilities, try taking a class or entering a match while shooting with only that support-side hand.
It takes time, practice and patience but there is nothing one can’t do if you put your mind to it. Small steps lead to long strides. Good luck and hope to see you on the other side.
I’ll close with this: Please remember to always be kind to others.
After all, God only made so many Perfect People. He made the rest right-handed.