Training should mimic reality and realistically you may need to shoot a pistol from your weak side. There is always the chance of reduced capacity for personal protection, meaning you are injured or you cannot access your pistol from your strong side.
A core skill to practice
Here are some things to consider if you are going to put training time into developing your weak side technique. As mentioned in previous blogs you want to be a versatile shooter, one that is balanced and capable of responding to a variety of situations. Shooting off your weak side is one of the Core Skills for a pistol shooting we encourage you to develop. You will want to practice these skills dry first, then gradually work up to live fire and it is a great idea to have an inert training pistol to work with in the beginning to ensure safety.
The basics, stance
Start by assuming a weak side stance, it is a mirrored stance to your strong side. Meaning to have a good athletic stance one that is mobile and capable of managing the recoil you will want an off-set stance with your weak leg leading. How much lead depends on you and your comfort. Keep your weight on your toes or the balls of your feet, your knees flexed and your hips square to the target. If it helps, remember to point your belt buckle to the target.
Getting it to our weak hand
From there, you will want to acquire a good firing grip. Let’s start with transferring the pistol from strong side to weak side. To do so, point in a safe direction then “open” your strong hand grip to allow your weak hand to gain a purchase on the pistol. Place your weak side trigger finger on the trigger index and complete the transfer by passing the pistol wholly to your weak side. Here is the first place you can run into problems and that is eye dominance. If your strong side using your right eye as the dominant eye then on the left side it can confuse the brain. For training purposes and as part of your progression I recommend you start by closing your right eye completely. You will have a lot of “newness” to the technique and this will ease the transition. Eventually you will want both eyes open and if your dominant eye is really powerful then point your chin at your left elbow and this will shift your right eye behind the sights.
The details of your trigger finger
Trigger finger location as well as placement will be the same for your left side. Start with more trigger finger than you think is necessary in the beginning. The progression we recommend is to start by transferring the pistol to your weak side, then obtaining a two hand grip. Your two hand grip will give you a better base to managing recoil and eventually lead to weak hand only techniques. Remember to keep things in perspective, you are drawing and engaging weak hand for a reason. You want to get to weak hand only, but it is best to develop your skills by starting with two hands.
That awkward moment after bang
Recoil management will be awkward at first, mainly because it is somewhat “new” on your weak side. The keys for success are the same whether on your right or your left, crush grip and trigger management. Concentrate on your pinkies and really apply pressure, more than you think. In a class, it is rare that a shooter over-grips the gun. It is far more common to under grip so really crush it. You left hand trigger finger is new to press the trigger so take your time and literally walk yourself through the process. Touch the trigger, take out the slack then squeeze the trigger past the point of detonation. You will want to exaggerate everything. Meaning, literally tell yourself “front sight, press” and press the trigger straight to rear allowing the pistol to discharge freely. Work your follow through and get ready for your next shot or task.
This is the easy part, but we need a place to start. Eventually you will need to draw the pistol, possibly work reloads and even malfunctions. That will come in time, next with a base in shooting weak side we are going to tackle the drawstroke.