Switching Sides


March 7, 2006, 04:24 PM
After years of being frustrated by not being able to shoot a shotgun, I have decided to start shooting right-hand. I am a left with a dominant right eye.

I do already shoot a bow right handed and I can shoot my rifles right-handed if I take my time and have a steady rest. I haven't tried the shotgun too much, but have tried pistol/revolver right-handed with bad results so far.

Can anyone give me some pointers on the best way to switch.

Another problem might be caused by my left shoulder. I had open-heart surgery when I was 10 and I gave in to my left side due to the pain and soreness after the surgery. I asked a doctor years later and he said that might very well be the problem with my shoulder. If you really notice me when I am facing you, you will see that my left shoulder is lower than my right. I don't think the muscle that is in the shoulder/neck area is fully developed. I am not sure that this is a result from me giving in to that side after surgery or maybe a birth defect. I was born with congenital heart condition and some problems with my back.

Anyway, I would appreciate any help that you could give me. Thanks!


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March 7, 2006, 04:38 PM
Wow, well first best of luck with your decision.
Not sure how to help except I might suggest a light 20ga., and even one of those recoil pads you wear on your shoulder.

March 7, 2006, 07:19 PM
I, too have shoulder problems. Right handed, and my right shoulder falls out from time to time. I have lost alot there also. But when I shoot alot, I use lighter reloads (7/8 oz. 12 ga.) and have mercury recoil reducers in my skeet guns.
You could try that. And/or switch to smaller gauges in heavier guns.
For the cross-dominance in the eyes, on your shooting glasses put a piece of scotch tape (the 'invisible' kind) on the lens of the right eye. This is a tried and true method of keeping your shooting eye (left) dominant over the other eye.
I've seen this predicament to be not un-common in left handed shooters.
Blame it on the school systems.

Dave McCracken
March 7, 2006, 09:17 PM
A couple things.....

I've worked with a number of mixed dominance shooters, including some with other physical issues.

I recommend light loads(Even more than usual) and going slow. With shoulder probs, take it like it's physical therapy.

Dry mounts at home(See the 101s in the archives) will build up the muscles a bit at a time.

If you can afford a 28 gauge, get it.

Finally, how close are you to MD?

March 8, 2006, 11:49 AM
I am right handed, left eye dominant. For years I tried to shoot right handed and could not hit anything. I finally switched to shooting left-handed. After several years it now feels very natural to mount the shotgun left handed. I am still far from a great shot but I hit enough clays and pheasants to make life interesting. If I understand you correctly, your right shoulder is your good one. If that is correct, I recommend switching to shooting right handed. Practice until it feels natural. Good excuse to go shoot! Have fun

March 8, 2006, 01:43 PM
Others here will be watching and reading with personal interest...

March 8, 2006, 05:25 PM
It's not if you can afford the 28 ga.

It's if you can afford the shells.

Got to reload them if you shoot in quantity. But it can be a 'motivator' and possible exercise if you use a single stage press.

March 8, 2006, 06:42 PM
I don't really have a problem with pain or anything like that when shooting left-handed. I just can't hit anything with a shotgun. That is the main reason for switching sides. But, with the shoulder being lower, how I shoulder the gun could be part of the problem. What do you all think?


Dave McCracken
March 8, 2006, 09:25 PM
My gut reaction is you need a decent instructor. Check at your local ranges and see who is teaching and call them.

Again, how close are you to MD? If you can make it to PGC, I'll see what I can do....

March 8, 2006, 10:03 PM
Again, how close are you to MD?

I am in South Alabama.


Dave McCracken
March 9, 2006, 09:39 AM

Take heart from this.

Mike Bittman is one of the better Sporting Clays shooters. He started in his 50s. He switched sides after a a year or so due to cross dominance. He is on the US FITASC team, is in Master Class and rules the Veterans division.

It can be done....

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