How long would it take a lefty to learn to shoot right handed?


Spec ops Grunt
March 11, 2006, 12:17 AM
Anyone know. I know it used to be done in the millitary, but thats it.

It just feels weird to me. Like my form is way off.

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Live Free Or Die
March 11, 2006, 01:05 AM
There are as many answers to your question as there are lefties. :)

At the very least you'd need to develop strength and muscle memory on the other side of your body, for things like holding your body and the gun steady, and trigger control. Depending on your eye dominance, getting used to acquiring the target with your other eye might be a very difficult problem to overcome. I'm not sure about rifles, but with pistols I'm able to shoot nearly as well right handed as left handed -- and I'm very left-side dominant. It feels awkward shooting with my right hand, but it works well.

Freelance Tax Collector
March 11, 2006, 01:15 AM
I would think it would take as long as it would for a righty to learn to shoot lefty.

March 11, 2006, 01:30 AM
I doubt Hillary could ever learn to shoot well.


Actually, while I am right handed, I'm left eye dominant. For pistols, this is not a problem, but I shoot rifles right handed. I've been told I'd be better off learning to shoot left handed, but it feels so crappy it's never gonna happen.

March 11, 2006, 02:45 AM
concentrate on one thing and one thing only: cheek weld/sight picture. keep shooting , over and over, concentrating just on this. Suddenly , one day, 2 months ,6 months from now , you will suddenly realize that you are comfortalbe, and you are working on some other shooting techniques. i shoot lefty myself , and do it very well , thank you much.

March 11, 2006, 02:51 AM
I'm almost ambi, but have always shot right handed (much more right eye dominant then hand) and my biggest problem learning to shoot rifle ambi was just learning to cycle the bolt on a right handed rifle with the "wrong" hand. I can shoot with both eyes open righty, but lefty I *MUST* close the right eye. It all depends on your particular style. If you're shooting a bolt action rifle, buying a gun designed for lefties definatly helps.

March 11, 2006, 08:00 AM
I suspect that it will depend upon how long you've been shooting left handed. I'm ambidextrous, and was real confused about ths whole "left-right" thing when I was growing up, as I tended to do some things with one hand and some with the other. Whne I first started shooting, my natural predisposition was to shoot left handed. But because there were and are few left handed guns available I quickly switched and have shot right handed ever since. In short, it didn't take me very long, but I hadn't developed the "habit" of shooting lefty for very long, either.

March 11, 2006, 08:11 AM
my biggest problem shooting my long guns right handed is getting a decent mount. on the left side, it's completely natural. on the right, it just feels wrong, which is reinforced when cycling a lever causes it to drop off my shoulder.

more broadly (so as to include handguns), i guess it's just a matter of finding a natural, intuitive and repeatable grip. i've never had much trouble with controls (though i do stick to rather ambi firearms).

March 11, 2006, 08:25 AM
I'm left-handed, and I tried and tried, and never got the hang of shooting a right-handed rifle from a left-handed position; I can't imagine shooting right-handed.

March 11, 2006, 08:26 AM
How big is a house? How much does a car cost?

March 11, 2006, 09:04 AM
My question is, why?

I mean, I practice off-handed shooting. But being left-handed and left-eye dominant, I see no reason to handicap myself by shooting from the weak side.

The military used to do that in the name of senseless conformity. Such things, happily, aren't done anymore. (Heck, looking at the troops in Iraq, configuring their personal gear however best suits them, I have to look back and smile at the hooplah I went through trying to get my sergeant to let me put my first aid pouch on the right shoulder of my LBE instead of the left, because I'm left-handed...:rolleyes: )

But, as has been said, learning to shoot weak-sided is an individual proposition. Some will adapt quickly, others might never get the hang of it.

March 11, 2006, 09:14 AM
There are as many answers to your question as there are lefties.

The above sums it up pretty well. The one factor that may be the toughest to overcome, is when you fist pick the gun up to shoot. Your first reaction is always going to be to the left. How long that takes to re-learn refers once again back to the above post, which I agree.
I have been trying to work out shooting lefty, and that has been the toughest part for me.

1 old 0311
March 11, 2006, 09:17 AM
I practice both hands. The weak hand just a little. I guess it depends on how much you practice. You will see a improvement each time you shoot.


March 11, 2006, 09:33 AM
I am right handed but left eye dominant. So stance and trigger control isn't the issue for me. Such things might actually improve from me shooting right handed. The problem for me is that I seem to be physically incapable of closing only my left eye. So I could shoot a pistol or a rifle with a red dot scope right handed, but it doesn't matter how long or loudly you scream in my ear, if you want me to look through a small apature sight or a magnified optic, you're probably SOL. I've spent hours looking in a mirror trying to close only my left eye so I could accomplish such feats. I contort my face some pretty weird ways, but never get the desired effect.

March 11, 2006, 09:46 AM
Many rifles have a provision to vent off gas if something goes wrong. Like the three holes in the bolt of a Weatherby. If this happens when you are shooting a right handed rifle left handed it will vent into your face. :uhoh:
If you are left eye dominant it will be very difficult to learn to shoot a long gun right handed, and vice versa.

March 11, 2006, 10:06 AM
I am lefty... I shoot lefty, except when my shoulder gets tired of shooting my AK(many rounds) I can shoot the AK pretty good right handed, it doesn't feel natural. I still don't like shooting scoped guns right handed though. I guess it just takes a lot of practice

March 11, 2006, 10:19 AM
I am right handed, left eyed! I shoot handguns right handed, long guns left handed. No problems, with M14 type, AR15 type, Mossberg shotguns, or other shotguns that are safety switchable. Lever guns, or Ruger #1's are good, too.
If I bought a bolt gun, it would be a Savage LH.

March 11, 2006, 10:47 AM
I'm left handed and learned to shoot right handed while in the Army, not because anyone said I had to but after getting hit in the face with spent brass a couple times (boy does that leave a mark), I decided to shoot my M16 and later an M60 the way they were designed. It's not that big of a deal for me except as others have said with a bolt action.

March 11, 2006, 10:48 AM

+1 to Nightcrawler. Why? Or; how many masochist's does it take to feel another one's pain?

:p 900F

March 11, 2006, 11:04 AM
IMO, sorting out your eye dominance is going to be the tough bit.

Having at least minimal skill with your weak side is a good idea.

That being said, treat shooting from each side as a completely separate thing. The biomechanical shooting machine that is you and your gun will work a little differently, therefore it will FEEL different, and the results will be adequate, but not exactly the same.

If you approach the excercise expecting the same biological feedback cues from each side, you'll wind up barking up the wrong tree.

By way of explanation, as we learn our shooting skills, we amass a checklist of physical sensation cues that tell us when we're doing things right. Arm position here, pressure in cheek there, shoulder here, visual picture thus, etc. When something's not checked off on the list, we automatically compensate until they are. Your "other" side shooting checklist will be DIFFERENT.

March 11, 2006, 12:26 PM
I'm a lefty that learned to shoot righty as a kid. So it will take you some time less than 30 years to learn to shoot the other way. Could be a long time or a short time. :)

I can shoot lefty with a pistol okay, but I have never tried it with a rifle.

Spec ops Grunt
March 11, 2006, 03:52 PM
I honestly have no idea why I want to know.

Probably so I won't be so uncomftrable with bolt guns.

March 11, 2006, 04:32 PM
My solution? Buy a left-handed bolt gun. Granted, there aren't that many out there. Nevertheless, don't conform to the machine, make the machine comform to you! A lefty using a wrong-handed bolt action rifle is like wearing shoes that aren't the right size.

Now, if you're into shooting milsurps, take heart. I found with my former Mosin-Nagant M1944 that, with the straight bolt handle, I could easily cycle it from the left shoulder.

March 11, 2006, 09:13 PM
My question is, why?

Your question really doesn't help him answer his question, so I'll answer your, then answer his.

I'm left-handed and right-eye dominant. I with pistol, I practice with my right hand just because it is required in some IDPA stages, with and without a support hand.

What is more important is scoped rifle shooting. I get eye-fatigue because I have to close my dominant eye when I shoot as a lefty or I won't be able to see through the scope (be it conventional or scout -- reflex sights are less of a problem but still a problem).

I practice on both sides and have been doing so at a low level for about six years, prone, seated, off-hand. I don't think it's working. :)


March 12, 2006, 07:42 AM
Spec Ops;

Another +1 to nightcrawler! I may have to start a fan club, geez!! I've quit buying right handed guns, period. No better way to force the companies to do what I want than witholding funds. Of course I do pass on messages as to why I'm not spending money on the latest offerings. Slowly but surely, I'm getting my LHB collection built up.

The only truly backward company these days seems to be Beretta. Hmmm, I think I'll start a thread on that.


Tony Williams
March 12, 2006, 09:28 AM
In the British Army all soldiers are right-handed ;) That's because the SA80 can't be shot any other way.

Like some others here, I am naturally right-handed (for everything except archery, for some obscure reason) but have a left master eye, so learned to shoot iron-sighted target rifles left-handed. Which left me feeling not very comfortable shooting a rifle with either hand...

Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website ( and discussion forum (

March 12, 2006, 10:29 AM
I am right handed. I grew up my whole life hunting and shooting long guns right handed. I was always a terrible shot and I would have a hard time getting a good sight picture. This was untill one day I learned of this whole EYE DOMINANCE thing. I am left eye dominant. After I learned this it took no time at all to learn to shoot lefty. I practiced before I went out into the field getting the gun up to my shoulder. It felt weird for a while but by the time for my first hunt with my new left handed longguns it came naturally.

March 12, 2006, 05:24 PM
I'm lefthanded. Through the iron sights of my CAR, I can see the whole ring when I look through my left eye. When I try to shoot from the right side, the ring becomes an elongated circle leaning to the left and obscures the front sight post. I'm a one-eye-closed shooter (no razzing, now...), so even trying to shoot RH is not an option. I can't close my left eye nor keep it closed for beans and eyepatches just don't feel right for me.

There are so many choices available nowadays, just go buy a LH rifle. Remington makes more of them than Winchester and Savage is a really good place to start.

If you're really serious, secure a 10/22 and start your education there.

March 13, 2006, 11:47 AM
I switched from right handed to left handed due to eye issues. I dryfired 3-4 times a week for 3 weeks before I shot my first match. My aggregate for that match was equal to my best score shot right handed (mid 480's if it means anything to you--a stong Master category score). My offhand average for left handed is maybe 2-3 points lower.

If you make a commitment to switch over and make an effort to actually practice it doesn't take long at all. Showing up to the range unpracticed and firing 15 rounds before giving up isn't what I mean by commitment.


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