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Best guns, holsters and techniques for left-handers?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Oleg Volk, Oct 6, 2004.

  1. Oleg Volk

    Oleg Volk Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 19, 2002
    Nashville, TN
    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.
  2. sendec

    sendec member

    Dec 2, 2003
    The Ruger Speed/Security Six cylinder latch is somewhat left-friendly.
  3. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

    Jan 1, 2003
    SouthEast PA
    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.
  4. rock jock

    rock jock Senior Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    In the moment
    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.
  5. zen

    zen New Member

    Oct 6, 2004
    Memphis, TN
    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
  6. Boats

    Boats member

    Dec 29, 2002
    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.
  7. Navy joe

    Navy joe Senior Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    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.
  8. Ian

    Ian Senior Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    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.
  9. Grampa

    Grampa New Member

    Jan 2, 2003
    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...
  10. Andrew Rothman

    Andrew Rothman Senior Member

    Aug 21, 2003
    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.
  11. ZeroX

    ZeroX Active Member

    May 30, 2004
    Bloomington, IN
    First thing that comes to mind is a CZ-85 with a .22lr Kadet conversion kit.
  12. Grampa

    Grampa New Member

    Jan 2, 2003
    I ended up with a left-hand Comp-Tac Gurkha for my P95, and think it's great. Check 'em out.
  13. OEF_VET

    OEF_VET Senior Member

    Mar 30, 2003
    Murfreesboro, TN

    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.

  14. Nightcrawler

    Nightcrawler Mentor

    Dec 24, 2002
    Utah, inside the Terraformed Zone
    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
  15. Col. Mustard

    Col. Mustard New Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    I'll second this, but...

    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...
  16. twoblink

    twoblink Senior Member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Houston, Texas
    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....
  17. CAS700850

    CAS700850 Participating Member

    Jul 20, 2004
    Central Ohio
    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.
  18. NMshooter

    NMshooter Senior Member

    Jun 13, 2004
    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.:)
  19. Ex-MA Hole

    Ex-MA Hole Active Member

    Apr 12, 2004
    Concord, New Hampsha'
    Walther P22 works well for Letfties (I am one, too)
  20. BerettaNut92

    BerettaNut92 Mentor

    Dec 23, 2002
    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.

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