Best guns, holsters and techniques for left-handers?


Oleg Volk
October 6, 2004, 04:31 PM
In November, I have to train a left-handed friend. In trying to operate my own revolvers left-handed, I was amazed at how hard it was to reload them. She can shoot handguns right-handed, but her left eye and left arm are dominant, so leftie approach seems best.

Please advise on choosing the training equipment (she will get to choose the actual personal weapons, I can't do that for another person) and also on the weapon manipulation methods. Detailed descriptions would be most appreciated.

The first order of business is .22 trainers, but advice on full-caliber guns is also needed for later.

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October 6, 2004, 04:54 PM
The Ruger Speed/Security Six cylinder latch is somewhat left-friendly.

October 6, 2004, 04:55 PM
The gun world is not kind to lefties. (Nor is it kind to leftISTs, but that's another story)

Fortunately, there are a number of handguns that while not being lefty friendly, aren't hostile:

Sigs (ppk clone excepted)
SW 99 (sorta)
1911 pattern (with, and only with, and ambisafety!)

In short, just about any gun that doesn't have a safety soley on the left side of the frame will do.

As for technique:

Revo reloads are best accomplished right handed. :uhoh: A bit of practice, and you suffer very little speed loss from the double transfer.

With autoloaders, the safety MUST be ambi. Other controls, such as decockers and mag releases are manipulated with the index finger of the left hand. Some handguns, such as sigs, have reversible mag releases. (My .45 confuses the snot out of right handers trying to reload. :neener: )

As for the reload technique, it's the same as for right hand, except for the slide release. (Note: _some_ lefties can manipulate the slide release with their index finger, but the mechanical disadvantate is usually enough to make that unreliable under stress) I use the overhand technique that Farnam teaches:

Having slammed the mag home with the heel of my right hand, I pivot my palm such that I can curl my fingers over the top rear of the slide, grasp, draw back, and release. With practice, it becomes one continuous motion.

Rifles _can_ be a problem, notably crossbolt safeties, and bolt action. The AR platform is pretty non hostile to lefties, as is the garand/mini/m14 operating system. Lemme know if you want my manual of arms for either of those.

rock jock
October 6, 2004, 04:59 PM
Semi-auto manipulation:

1. Use LH forefinger to push the mag release button. I do this even on guns w/ ambi mag releases
2. Use LH forefinger to release slide, or, more preferably, sling-shot the slide with the right hand
3. On 1911's, make sure the RH thumb does not push the slide-stop button out during recoil and cause lockup

Revolvers (starting from standard two-hand hold):

1. Use LH forefinger to push in cylinder release
2. RH thumb reaches up and pushes cylinder out and holds it in place
3. Rotate gun upward as RH fingers reach under gun
4. RH forefinger pushes extractor rod
5. As gun is rotated back down, LH forefinger moves forward, holding cylinder in outward position
6. RH grabs speedloader
7. RH reaches over gun, inserts speedloader into cylinder and drops new load
(drop speedloader or retain)
8. RH reaches under gun, closes cylinder and locks into place

Firearms training in general for everything else is virtually the same. There are some changes one needs to make with AKs and ARs. If you need specifics on those, PM me.

October 6, 2004, 05:21 PM
When you find out, please share. I am left side dominant as well, but was taught to do things right handed. However, I shoot and carry on my left.

I am Beretta centric, and either carry a Beretta 92fs (brig) as my ccw in a galco FLETCH High-Ride holster when I can (weather and clothing permitting) or a Beretta 9000s. I have yet to find a good IWB holster for either. As it is for the 9000s I have a simple cheap nylon holster and a second thin inner belt that I wear with my street clothes over it. I know this is not a very good option, so I'd love to hear alternatives for DEEP cover. Not many people know I have a CCW and for my work enviornment the fewer that know the better.

As far as training with a revolver it should be the same regardless of hands, unless you have grips that are shaped for a specific handed. Getting used to which side the cylinder fall out to would be the big thing.

I'd say one of the semi .22 would be the best for ambidex training. Then the carry gun will have to be determined by personal taste and preferences, and getting used to where the safety, decock, magazine ejector are located. Most of the semi nowadays are ambidex for us other-handed people.

Memphis, TN

October 6, 2004, 05:38 PM
With concealment holsters, you're going to take what you can find and it will all almost certainly be leather. Sparks and Haugen Leather are what I generally buy.

Lefty friendly autoloaders:

Almost any DAO
The XD. Quite possibly the best of the "affordable" plastic pistols for left handed ergonomics.
CZ-85B=Great ergos. Double sided slide release. Mag catch still on "wrong" side, but easy to manipulate. Limited caliber choices.
HK P7=totally ambi, but limited caliber choices
HK P2000=totally ambi, but limited caliber choices.
Beretta 92, or Cougar=Ambi safetied, Reversible mag release. Easy to hit LARGE slide stop with the trigger finger.
Walther/SW 99=ambi mag catch, large well placed slide release, no need to speed decock. Other Smith autos are like Berettas.
SIG Classics=Reversible mag catch. No manual safeties. I have a personal thing about southpaws having to slingshot SIGS, but I want a 220ST anyways.
Colt 1911A1=Easy to manipulate controls with trigger finger, but requires a right side paddle.
Glock=No external safeties, but non reversible mag catch to an oversquare button that is sometimes stiff to operate compared to metal mag pistols.
Steyr=Except for mag catch, easy to manipulate. left handed.

In wheelies. Rugers have a better cylinder catch design for southpaws than either S&Ws or Colt's.

Navy joe
October 6, 2004, 06:21 PM
Autos, Glocks, Berettas, 1911s were built for a lefty. The little I have shot a SIG I did not like the controls, decock was a little ticklish to operate. HK USP was fine. I use the trigger finger for mag release on all autos. I also use the trigger finger on the slide release, but that does not mean that I push down on it. I rest my main knuckle on the slide release and when I seat the mag the inertia of my finger drops the slide. Call that an advanced stunt that works really well for me and lets me slidelock reload 1/2sec faster than anyone I've seen(Thank you Jon for teaching me that one). Teach your student an overhand rack.

For .22 autos I don't know. I shoot a Marvel, but that is a pricey training aid. While I had a Buckmark it was fine, but it was a range only gun and I don't think I ever used the safety. Slide is damn difficult to rack also.

Shotguns, find a Mossberg 500, completely ambi. I prefer an 870, but right now the safety isn't swapped and some folks would faint to know how I take it off.

Rifles, auto: The only ones I've hated are bullpups, which you too hate, and G3 knock-offs because of that stupid charging handle. ARs are completely ambi, train the left thumb to come around the back of the grip to run the selector. Bolt release is done with the trigger finger. Charging handle I run left handed. Mag release is hit with right thumb as I come to the magwell with fresh mag in hand. Redi-mags just piss a lefty off.
A Garand or M-14 pattern is as sweet as it gets for a lefty to run. I stuff Garand clips with my left hand and reload M-14 mags right handed. Never had any problems with ejected brass on any rifle I've shot.

Rifles, bolt. See if your student has enough strength to keep the rifle shouldered with the left hand while coming back with the right to run the bolt. Some guns you have to lift your face slightly back to clear the bolt, but it gets very fast. A huge advantage in a lefty shooting a righty gun prone. You will only leave your left thumb crossed over the backstrap once. It hurts to run over it with a bolt. Two exceptions are Mosins and K-31s, I keep the gun shouldered with the right hand and come over the top with the left to run the bolt. A huge advantage with the Mosin's sticky bolt, I can run that faster than most any righty. Come to think of it I've gone to right hand running the K-31 bolt. I just kind of let it settle of the forend under recoil and I'm done running the bolt as the gun comes back on target.

Left handed wheel-gunning. I go a little differently than above.
1. Left thumb crosses backstrap and actuates cyl. release as...
2. Right hand leaves grip, thumb punches cylinder clear and fingers go under trigger guard whilst...
3. Left hand is rotating gun muzzle up and leaving to get reload. This means that...
4. Right hand is holding gun by thumb stuck all the way through the frame and holding cyl. full open while index finger actuates ejector. The right hand then rotates the gun muzzle down and...
5. Here comes the reload...
6. Reload in, left hand re-grips and begins to move back on target while right thumb retreats out of frame...
7. Right fingers cup cylinder from below trigger guard and close, return to grip and fire.

I don't know how right handers re-stuff a wheel, I've only been practicing a few months and that reload is getting stupid fast.

October 6, 2004, 07:22 PM
With an ambi safety installed, I really think that the 1911 is easier to use left-handed than right. The slide release and mag release are easily manipulated with the trigger finger (though I only use the slide stop to manually lock the slide back).

My black-powder revolvers are totally ambidextrous (having no controls but the trigger...), but that's probably not that your friend has in mind. :)

As for rifles, the AK, M1, M1A and Daewoo all have bolt handles placed properly for lefties. With the AK, I use my support hand to manipulate the safety, which works pretty well. The Daewoo handles like an AR with a normal bolt handle. On the Daewoo and AR, I can't reach the mag release with my trigger finger (since it's on the wrong side of the gun), so when changing mags I bring my support hand first back to the mag release, push it, and then reach for a new mag.

I also have an Enfield that I'm not half bad with. My dad taught me not to cross my thumb over the wrist of a rifle stock, as in his experience it caused him to hit his nose on his thumb. If you hold an Enfield lefthanded with your firing hand thumb straight, it's in a pretty good position to flip the safety off. I use my support hand to work the bolt - with some practice, you can get really fast doing that. I don't ever grip the bolt knob, I just cup it in my palm. Pull open, rotate the hand around, and push closed. The same technique works for Mausers and Mosins.

October 6, 2004, 08:28 PM
I find the comments about ambi-safeties on 1911's interesting. I'm a lefty, and work the standard, left side safety with the base of my trigger finger. Easy snick it off as you bring it out of the holster, and put it back on again for the re-holster. No ambi-safety leaves the right side of you 1911 nice and flat up against your body. All the controls are on the left side of the frame, so there's nothing to snag clothing on the side against your body. If you carry on the left side, of course... :)

Yeah, the decocker on Sigs is a pain, but it's useable. It really does make you break your grip to get your trigger finger up to work it.

I agree on the observations about the Ruger DA revolvers. The cylinder release button is easy to operate a couple different ways. And, my left hand has the better fine motor skills, so it seems more natural to load either individual rounds or a speedloader with my left hand.

The Ruger P series handguns are mostly ambidextrous, and work well.

The mag release on Glocks is a bit of a problem, but not a show stopper by any means. Again, I use the trigger finger to depress it (makes sure my finger is off the trigger during reloads...), but I have to be careful not to drop the mag while shooting by accidently squeezing it with the base of my trigger finger. This is more of a problem with my Kel-Tec P-11.

Just another lefty...

Andrew Rothman
October 6, 2004, 10:27 PM
I'm a lefty. My Ruger P95 has ambi mag releases and decockers.

But finding a LH holster for that gun is a bee-atch.

Lefties should get more popular platforms (like Glocks, 1911s) that have a good selection of LH holsters available.

October 6, 2004, 11:20 PM
First thing that comes to mind is a CZ-85 with a .22lr Kadet conversion kit.

October 6, 2004, 11:39 PM
I'm a lefty. My Ruger P95 has ambi mag releases and decockers.

But finding a LH holster for that gun is a bee-atch.

I ended up with a left-hand Comp-Tac ( Gurkha for my P95, and think it's great. Check 'em out.

October 6, 2004, 11:51 PM

The Colt SAA's and (much less expensive) Heritage Rough Riders are very left-handed friendly. The loading gates are on the right sides of those guns, meaning you'd just about HAVE to hold them in your left hand to reload them, which is done using the right hand.

If you want, I'll let you borrow my Heritage Rough Rider to teach them the basics. I have both the .22lr and .22mag cylinders. Just drop me a line when you'd need them and we can arrange for you to get them.


October 7, 2004, 01:18 AM
Revo reloads are best accomplished right handed.

Bullcrap. :neener:

I submit that the left handed revolver reload is superior to the right handed one. Here's how I do it. It requires you to carry your speedloaders on your left side.

-Left trigger finger actuates cylinder release.
-Right thumb pushes the cylinder out.
-Right hand holds the cylinder in place, grasping through the frame.
-As the muzzle is turned upward, the right index finger punches the ejector.
-The left hand reaches down to the belt and grabs a speedloader.
-The muzzle is turned downward, gun still grasped through the frame.
-The left hand inserts the speedloader into the cylinder. The right hand grasping the cyilnder prevents it from rotating when twisting the loader to release the cartridges.
-The left hand resumes the firing grip.
-The right hand is withdrawn from the frame, and, reaching under it, closes the cylinder.

That's how I do it. With practice, it becomes fast as heck, too.

For the life of me, I can't figure out how you righties use HKS speedloaders; without holding it, I found that twisting the loader just rotated the cylinder, and I couldn't get enough leverage to get the loader to release the rounds.

Remember, right-handers. We lefties are as left-handed as you are right-handed. I say this because usually in one of these discussions someone always suggests "shoot right handed". Now, being able to shoot from either side is fine, but suggesting someone shoot soley weak handed because, well, because "I shoot right handed and everyone else should too" is just silly.

If your gun doesn't work left handed, MAKE it work. If it can't be made to work, replace it. The machine should work for you.

I, personally, find double action revolvers extemely lefty-friendly. I have stubby thumbs anyway; I have a hard time reaching the cylinder release with my right thumb when holding right handed (I have the same problem with magazine releases on some pistols).

And remember, righties. Laugh it up now. Someday, my people, the Left Handed, will rule this world, and you mundanes will be made to fight for our amusement. :evil: :D

Col. Mustard
October 7, 2004, 02:10 AM
I submit that the left handed revolver reload is superior to the right handed one. Here's how I do it. It requires you to carry your speedloaders on your left side.

-Left trigger finger actuates cylinder release.

I've found it easier to bring the left thumb over to hit the cylinder release. I'm letting go of the gun with my left hand, anyway, and the thumb motion is a little stronger...

October 7, 2004, 02:39 AM
I am Beretta centric

left handed AND Beretta Centric? God played 2 cruel jokes on you??


Just kiddin', I'm left handed as well...

What I did find, is that I can press the slide lock with my forefinger rather quickly..

As for a revolver, you can open up the action quicker as a leftie as well. While not letting go of your left hand grip, you scoot your right hand on over, and you can press the lockup with your right thumb, give it a left flick, and out comes the cylinder..

Now the right handed bolt action rifle with a left hand, that's a fine art. To date, 4 bloody lips and counting....

October 7, 2004, 09:34 AM
My father was left handed, and he never had any trouble relaoding a Smith revolver. He wasn't setting any speed records, but I never would have wanted to be at the other end of the gunfight. He would just switch hands, reload, and swicth back.

Dad didn't like autos, because he found them to be "right handed", right up until he got an H&K P-7 in his hands. Yes, it was expensive, but it was the perfect gun for him (except he hated the caliber).

For shotguns, he had a Smith and Wesson pump, which had the safety on top, like a Mossberg.

For rifles, he had a love for lever actions, which work with either hand.

October 7, 2004, 02:34 PM
All you one handed guys... Oleg, if she is willing, train her to shoot with either hand, including long guns. It takes more practice, but is worth it in the long run.:)

Ex-MA Hole
October 7, 2004, 03:02 PM
Walther P22 works well for Letfties (I am one, too)

October 7, 2004, 03:15 PM
I think someone I trained with recommended transferring paws when reloading a wheelie? (IIRC?!?!)

How about a USP 9mm? The mag release is ambi and one can slingshot the slide to release it. The Beretta mag release is also real easy to reverse.

For holsters, Bladetech makes them either-handed. I may get a lefthanded Beretta holster for Hong Kong carry.

October 7, 2004, 03:21 PM
Hong Kong Carry?

For holsters, Bladetech makes them either-handed. I may get a lefthanded Beretta holster for Hong Kong carry.

Andrew Wyatt
October 7, 2004, 03:49 PM
I think someone I trained with recommended transferring paws when reloading a wheelie? (IIRC?!?!)

that was probably me.

When i reload my wheelguns, I use the weak side hand to hold the gun, and get my speedloader out with my strong side hand.

October 7, 2004, 05:30 PM
Second the recommendation for Comp Tac holsters. Their entire line is available in LH models. I like Sidearmor's offerings, but not everything they have is LH available.

I have had a fairly easy time with Glocks and being left handed. Using a 1911 wasn't a big stretch either. I use my middle finger for the mag release. I've seen some lefties reach up under and use their right index finger for the mag release, but I'm playing all "high speed/low drag" and so I discounted that, it was too awkward for my chubby fingers.

NAVY JOE: I know how you are taking the safety off on that 870, and I understand why people shudder. BAD BAD MAN!

Navy joe
October 7, 2004, 06:09 PM
Re. 870 safety. Hey, only when the gun is on target. :D If I'm playing gun games I sometimes also start from a funky low ready where I am holding the gun with the left side up and my left hand rotated on the wrist of the stock so that my left trigger finger is right next to the safety. At go, flip it off as I rotate the gun upright and bring the muzzle on target. In real use I see not much need for the safety unless hunting, HD is accomplished by keeping the gun cruiser ready with the trigger fired so that no slidebar release, no safety is needed to bring it to action.

Holsters, Wild Bill's leather has told me anything they have can be made correct handed, they just don't stock them since so much of the world is wrong.

On just telling the student to shoot right handed, let them learn that when they know the basics of the firearms game. How would you righties feel if you were told to start weak hand your first time ever shooting. I'm getting pretty ambi, but it goes like this. I am an IDPA expert doing what I can do to not get those 2 seconds on the classifier to go master until I am actually good. (I don't shoot the classifier anymore right now) Right handed I shoot marksman times. It's easy to do the right things with your weak hand at the range when there is time to think about it. Try it in a match. Handedness is very ingrained in 99.9% of folks. First time I shot a whole match wrong sided I caught myself looking at the gun to find the mag release. If I didn't do that I was transferring the gun to my left hand to load without thinking about it. Oh but the "weak" hand stage was great fun. :D Point is a new shooter has enough to think and get nervous about, let them use a hand they know how to.

October 7, 2004, 07:16 PM
Nightcrawler, congrats, you win the prize. That is the correct way. I'm not a lefty, but all the LH PPC shooters did it that way in competition, and they were just as fast as us RHer's. Not superior, just equal.

October 7, 2004, 07:56 PM
NAVY JOE: Duder, where in VA are you shooting? Are you doing the shotgun matches down in Norfolk at NCRR? Where all are you shooting IDPA? I usually shoot up in N. VA, but occasionally I hit Rivanna and/or Cavalier. I'll be at the Commonwealth Cup...

Navy joe
October 7, 2004, 08:36 PM
Dude, like nowhere man, life sucks :D . Been so busy with life and work that ever since I came back from shooting the Florida open in Feb. I have shot 1 IPSC and 2 IDPA matches. Going from 3-8 matches amonth to this state of affairs sucks. Shoot IDPA at NCRR, can't justify driving too far for IDPA. The shotgun matches at NCRR are the best way I've found to spend a Sat. morning, I need to get out there and help run them now that Bob is gone most of the time. Hey, Bob's gone! That means I can be top pumpgun for once!

Anybody near Tidewater, VA needs to come to a Norfolk County tactical shotgun match. A 40+ round shotgun STAGE has to be seen to be believed.

October 8, 2004, 11:16 PM
If you're looking at revolvers, look at Colt. The cylinder release is pulled back with the trigger finger, instead of pushed like a Smith. Seems to work good for me. Then mostly reload like Nightcrawler said and you're back in buisness. Lots of good suggestions here. You'll be busy figuring out what to do! Have fun!

Harold Mayo
October 8, 2004, 11:59 PM
P7M8 for a lady. Totally ambidextrous.

Holster? Not sure. I would use Milt Sparks for IWB almost to the exclusion of the possibility of any other maker but YMMV. OWB, Rafter S. Belt, Rafter S.

October 9, 2004, 01:15 AM
Nightcrawler, congrats, you win the prize. That is the correct way. I'm not a lefty, but all the LH PPC shooters did it that way in competition, and they were just as fast as us RHer's. Not superior, just equal.

Cool. Vindication. :cool:

Honestly, though, I just did what seemed most natural. It's now second nature.

Still trying to figure out how right-handers use HKS speedloaders without somehow grasping the cylinder to stop it from rotating...

October 10, 2004, 06:37 AM
Any 22 revolver will work right or left handed. H&K lefties are the easiest to find used. Try Albert Tridenti at as he had a used one for under $500. I have bought a number of items from him with no problems.

October 10, 2004, 07:08 AM
Revolvers: Replica Schofield (or other top break)?

October 10, 2004, 09:14 AM
One of our local IDPA masters hits the slide release with his right index finger.

Right hand comes up with mag in it and slams the mag in, then he reaches up and presses the slide release. He rotates his off hand back to firing position while pressing the gun back out.


October 10, 2004, 09:44 PM
CADFAEL: He does this underneath the gun? I usually just use my left index finger, but I may try that out...

October 11, 2004, 10:50 AM

There is no particular reason a right-handed, but left-eye dominant shooter must shoot a handgun left handed.

On longs guns, yes! Shoot off the left shoulder.

On handguns, one can line up the left eye easily. I've been doing it for 45 years. Doug Koenig showed me a nifty technique which I wish I had known years ago. Before bringing the gun up to eye level, turn the head about 10 to 15 degrees to the right. Now, just bring the gun up. No need to tilt the head, duck the head, or do anything else to line the left eye up with the sights.

If a person is really right handed but left-eye dominant, shooting handguns right handed just isn't a problem.

Oleg Volk
October 11, 2004, 12:29 PM
P7M8 for a lady. Totally ambidextrous.

That came to mind: mild recoil, ambi. The problem is that she has tiny hands, and might find the grip a bit big. I'll have to borrow one to have her try it.

October 13, 2004, 03:57 PM
Someday, my people, the Left Handed, will rule this world, and you mundanes will be made to fight for our amusement.

Nightcrawler, I always wondered why I liked you so much.

R/fiVe (a fellow Lefty)

October 13, 2004, 07:06 PM
Every day, lefties adjust to a right handed world in ways that the right handed never notice. Ever try to open the blade(s) on a Swiss Army knife while holding it in your left hand? Can't be done. Try pulling a pen out of your shirt pocket with your left hand. Awkward but possible.

Us lefties are more ambidextrous because we have to be, so your friend will be ready to adjust.

I've had good luck with most auto pistols with ambi safeties. With .22s, I don't worry about it because I'm not in a hurry to release the safety at the firing line. Springfield XDs and Rugers are good; P35s and 1911s need ambi safeties IME. I can't add much to what's been said about revolvers; I do like shooting them.

October 14, 2004, 12:37 PM
With shoulder weapons in particular, when shooting off the non-dominant (eye) side it helps to close the dominant eye. Cross dominance can be overcome with sufficent practice. Often, shooting with the other side forces you to deal with bad habits you might not notice shooting with the dominant side.

October 14, 2004, 01:02 PM
In November, I have to train a left-handed friend. In trying to operate my own revolvers left-handed, I was amazed at how hard it was to reload them. She can shoot handguns right-handed, but her left eye and left arm are dominant, so leftie approach seems best.

Please advise on choosing the training equipment (she will get to choose the actual personal weapons, I can't do that for another person) and also on the weapon manipulation methods. Detailed descriptions would be most appreciated.

The first order of business is .22 trainers, but advice on full-caliber guns is also needed for later.

I'm left handed. My carry gun is a Sig P226 .40. I carry it chambered and decocked in a left handed Comp-tac Ghurka. Comptac will make any holster in LH I believe, as will any of the other top quality holster makers. (I think). My procedure is to draw, fire till empty, hit the mag release with my trigger finger, insert new magazine, and give the slide a yank with my right hand to chamber the next round. This has a couple advantages even over right handers: 1) finger is automatically off the trigger during a reload. 2) This procedure is virtually identical on any make of autoloading handgun. I also keep a loaded PT-92 (Beretta 92 clone) around, and the slide catch is at a different place on the frame. Under stress, I imagine it would be a possibility that I could reach for the wrong spot depending on which gun I was using. With my left handed approach, this is not a problem, and yanking the slide will chamber a round on virtually any autoloader. As has been stated, revolvers are very bad for lefties. I don't even own one.

For a rifle, the AR-15 is my favorite platform and is very lefty friendly. Fire till empty, then I grab the magazine with my right hand, hit the mag release with my right thumb, and pull the magazine out all in one motion. (Note that this eliminates the possible problem of the mag not dropping free for a right hander). Then I insert new mag with my right hand, and hit the bolt catch to chamber a new round with my trigger finger. Again, this ensures no finger on the trigger during a reload, and is very quick. Ambi-selectors are available for the AR, but I don't use them. I don't want to become accustomed to using a non-standard control setup, because when I pick up any gun that is not mine, the setup wouldn't be the same. I simply don't use the "safe" position on an AR, for better or worse.

The AK platform is also just as good if not better for a lefty than it is a right hander. The mag release is "ambi" from the start, and having the charging handle on the right side of the receiver makes it simple to rack the action without moving your firing hand. I prefer this to having it on the other side of the receiver. Again, I don't use the "safe" position so safety manipulation is not really a concern. If you plan to teach the safety manipulation I imagine it would be quite awkward for a lefty on either.

December 17, 2004, 07:05 PM
I am a Class 01 FFL dealer, and as I specialize in guns for southpaws, I know there are left-handed bolt action rifles. Remington, Browning, Winchester, Savage Arms, Ruger and Weatherby make left hand bolt actions. Remington makes a Model 870 and 11-87 in a left-hand action. Browning and Ithica pump shotguns are ambi as they load and eject through the bottom of the action. If you like single shots, those usually have a tang safty that is ambi.

As has been stated, the Garand-style action for the M-1 M-14/M1A, Mini-14 Mini-30 have an amibi safety. However, you are better off, at least for myself with my Garand, to load it right handed so that the op-rod doesn't get angled while running in the reciever grove. I have had a spontaneous op-rod dismount while shooting in competition because of that. So now I load right hand and close the action then put it ot my left shoulder to fire.

As a note, the DPMS AR-15 pattern rifles has one lefty upper that has exact mirror of all controls and ejects on the left side. It uses the same lower as any other AR-15 pattern lower.

Regarding handguns, it all depends on what your dexterity and hand strength allows. What works for me may not work for another because of how it feels and works for me. Single action revolvers are good for lefties as has been said, but I like semi-autos for mag changes. Other than that, I adapt to the situation.

I do practice with both sides of my body to shoot so that I can swap when hunting if needed.


Oleg Volk
December 17, 2004, 07:21 PM
In the end, the person in question did best with a Glock 17...

December 18, 2004, 12:03 AM
I figured a G19 or 26 - "small hands", etc...


Law Enforcement
December 26, 2006, 01:08 PM
Since I am left-handed and own a Colt Series 80 with a single-sided safety for right-handers, your post is music to my ears. I had a professional install an Ed Brown ambi safety that kept working loose. I got tired of this and converted back to the more durable single sided safety.

I plan to get my CCW permit through the NRA which is near where I live. Last time I qualified the NRA instructor said I need an ambi. I told him I do not want one. Grampa, since your bio says you are a NRA instructor what should I tell the NRA instructor when I go to qualify next time?

The last time I qualified the NRA instructor told me that whereas I successfully qualified with my Ruger Speed Six, .38 spl with 2.75" barrel, the Colt should be my weapon of choice with an ambi safety. Not to brag, but the instructor said I was so good with the Colt Govt. model that I should continue to work with this weapon to the exclusion of any other! I just hate amibidextrous safeties!!!

Love to hear your thoughts Grampa.:)


December 26, 2006, 02:05 PM
How about Hecker and Koch?
I plan on picking one up sometime in the future. Very lefty friendly.
Although I do love my DW RZ10. It is like that nice suit you wear that only looks good and doesn't quite fit right.
The HK should remedy that no problemo. Their reputation is sterling.

December 26, 2006, 02:21 PM
I'm right handed and I do pretty much all my shooting left-handed. I'm left-eye dominant.

I learned how to speed-reload a S&W wheelgun. I'm not sure how to explain it nearly as uncomplicated as it really is without a visual. The best visual I know of is the scene on an episode of Shooting Gallery which is where I picked it up.

December 26, 2006, 05:30 PM
Welcome to THR, Law Enforcement! Good to meet you.

Whoa, I'd never consider myself an expert on recommending what you, or anyone else MUST do. I make observations about what works for me, and try to explain why. For instance:

* If the controls of any handgun are predominantly on the left side, do you have to break your grip to operate them? Consistent grip position is very important to accurate, controlled shooting. Operating the decockers on my Sig P229 and P239 requires me to break my grip completely, but, if I'm in a state of shooting where I am decocking, does that matter? It sure is nice to have that flat, smooth right side on the P239 against my side when I'm wearing it IWB, and in fact, the P239 is my most common IWB carry handgun.

* Does the model of firearm I'm shooting normally have ambidextrous controls? If not, should my own specific firearm be different? I'd like to have a left-hand AR, but then I'd train with a rifle that is different than most. Would that be detrimental in an emergency situation where I had to use a "normal" AR (or any other firearm)? Same thing with just having an ambi safety on the AR. It works a lot easier using the left thumb on the right side of the rifle, but I can use the standard safety well, and most ARs don't have them. I have more than one (heh) AR, and not all of them have an ambi safety. Gets confusing once in awhile... But, if you only intend to shoot your own firearm, build or buy what works best for you and train with it.

Now, there are exceptions to that thought process. Most Browning High Powers you run into today have ambi safeties. I have a less recent BHP (early 70's) that only has the right hand safety. I have considered converting that one over to an ambi, but then again, ALL BHP have a right hand safety (even the ambi's) -- I may as well learn how to use it. (Unfortunately, I tend not to carry that handgun, because of the safety. It is such a nice gun, though!) 1911's are getting that way. Anything but the entry level models usually have an ambi safety. So, consider, as you have mentioned, the next point.

* Is it really worth the cost and reliability issues? Converting all my ARs over might cost the same amount as a mess of ammo or a new railed forearm. Hmm... Sure, they can be installed professionally and work very well, but does it introduce something else that might either make the firearm less reliable or subject to breakage? (Probably not, but it does happen.)

I've learned to say, "Thank you, I'll certainly take that into consideration." Then, consider and evaluate the advice, and do what works for you.

Law Enforcement
December 26, 2006, 06:16 PM
Thanks for investing time in your thoughtful reply Grampa. Also, thanks for welcoming me to this forum.

Funny you should mention that you mostly carry a Sig P239 IWB, and also have a P229. Would love to hear what calibers they are.

I am at a crossroads. I can commit 100% to carry and mastery of my 1911 platform without ambi safety, or I can carry my Sig P228 which I purchased new several years ago and has hardly been fired. I could also carry my blued Sig P232, but it's a .380 acp. If I get into a serious firefight against multiple armed attackers I hope I'm carrying the 9mm. I shoot all of these weapons quite well. I could be very comfortable going the double action auto route. I find my Sigs to be very left hand friendly for me. Since the P228 has been discontinued for civilians, my next purchase will be a new Sig P229. I love the size and sight radius for my 50+ year old eyes. Also, I would probably be faster with the Sig, since I would have no safety to release and I had to master a double action revolver in my law enforcement and Air Force days. Of course, a double action trigger pull is longer and not the same as on a 1911. Now, you've got me thinking that perhaps I should qualify at the NRA range with my Sig P228 and carry it IWB most of the time, and my Sig P232 with proper ammo during ultra concealment situations. If I go the Sig P228 or P229 route I hope we don't go back to 10 round or less mags with the new politicians in office.

Also, even though I shoot a handgun left handed, I shoot a rifle and shotgun right handed. I swing a baseball bat right handed and kick a football with my right foot. I write left handed.

Thanks again, Sir. I have always wanted to go to Alaska!

the naked prophet
December 26, 2006, 06:23 PM
Can't help with the techniques, but if she can't find a left handed holster she likes, I make custom leather holsters. My wife is left-handed (and has very womanly hips) so I get some practice with that kind of holster. I'm not a professional or anything (I'm a grad student, this is my hobby) but I think I make professional quality holsters, and since I'm doing it all-custom, I can make it however she wants it. Probably be easier to just buy one off-the-shelf, but a lot of lefties can't find one they like without going custom.

December 26, 2006, 07:00 PM
The P239 is 9MM, and the P229 is .40 S&W. I bought both used at separate times, so pretty much took what I found. I think I paid $415 for the P239, and $450 for the P229. Both were very lightly used and had extra mags, so I felt fortunate to get them. I like the extra round in the 9MM P239 vs. the .40 P239, and better recoil control. I rarely carry the P229, which is too bad. I think it's the semi-auto I can shoot most accurately of all I own. It just fits right.

By the way, This is an over two year old thread for Oleg. I think the issue has been long since solved for him! :D

lee n. field
December 26, 2006, 11:17 PM
Deleted. I need to pay attention and not reply to 2 year old threads.

Navy joe
December 27, 2006, 12:23 AM
Only an inferior right hander would make such an error! :neener:

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