As students of self defense shooting we train not for probability, but for possibility. Is it probable we will be in a gunfight? Nope. But it is possible. Is it probable that if you are in said gunfight that you may need to defend your life with only our weak hand? Again, I don’t have statistical evidence as to probability, but it certainly is possible.
I am often tabbed as the bad guy in the force-on-force scenarios set up by our local SWAT team and I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have been shot in the hands and arms during that training. That is because the officers are looking for the weapon and when they see it, they are looking at it when they shoot. Usually the first shot or two hits a hand or arm. If the scenario allows it, I’m on the move, so shots three, four and five often miss. But I am still left fighting without the use of an arm. What to do? Train for it with weak hand shooting techniques, of course.
Cant the pistol between 10 and 35 degrees when firing with your weak hand and, if possible, bring your strong hand to your chest and make a fist. This will help maintain your grip strength.
There are shooting techniques to using your weak hand only. It is not difficult or complicated, but you need to practice. Remember: Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast. So start out slowly.
This drill will not focus on drawing the firearm with your weak hand. We will save that for another drill. That will include a training session about situational awareness, because if you are forced to draw with your weak hand, that means you likely got caught flat-footed and were wounded before you got your gun out. But, I digress. Let’s practice weak hand self defense shooting only.
First thing, get a proper firing grip on you pistol. This is something you will need to focus on because you are not used to having the backstrap up in the web of your weak hand. Get it up there and squeeze it like you mean it.
As you push the gun toward the target, cant it a little bit. Don’t go all “gangsta style,” but cant the gun about 5 to 15 degrees toward your strong side. This helps you establish a stronger shooting technique by putting your arm muscles in a more natural, and thus rigid, position. It also helps you to bring the sights in front of your right eye (if you are right eye dominant).
If you can, and for the sake of training you can, because it is training and you are not yet really wounded, make a fist with your right hand and put your right arm across your chest with that fist near you heart. Doing so facilitates a sympathetic muscle response that actually does make your left arm stronger. In a real situation, your wound may prevent you from doing this. That’s why we will practice both ways; a few shots with your arm across your chest and a few with your arm hanging limp at your side.
As with any use of self defense shooting, now focus on sight alignment and sight picture. When those are set, press the trigger straight to the rear and hold it there just a bit for your follow-through. Release to the reset and try it again.
You may find that you have to move your head slightly to get the right sight picture. Better to learn this during training than when you are really stressed. Do this enough times and the movement and sight alignment will become automatic.
Remember too, that weak-hand shooting techniques are not just for when you are wounded. If you can shoot well with your weak hand, you can better utilize imperfect cover, such as a corner or a wall that blocks your right side. In that case, switch to the weak hand, keep as much of your body as possible behind cover, and make the shot.
Remember, experts train until they get it right. Professionals train until they can’t get it wrong.