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Tips for a Lefty? Just bought my first handgun

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by geerlingguy, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. geerlingguy

    geerlingguy Member

    I'm a southpaw (though I can shoot with either hand, I'm left-eye dominant and like the feel of shooting with my left hand better), and I just bought my first handgun (Ruger SR9c, SS slide).

    Thanks to advice I found here and elsewhere, I grabbed some Hoppes #9, a cleaning kit with bore brush, patches, etc., and cleaned it, then lightly oiled the surfaces that needed oiling, and I plan on taking the gun to the range with a friend tomorrow and putting through ~200 rounds.

    I've already tried this model (SR9c) at the range once, and I've used a friend's Glock 17 gen 4, Ruger LC9, and a few revolvers, but my being a lefty always seems to be an issue, in one way or another. For example:

    • What's the best way to handle the slide when holding the gun left-handed?

    Right now, I have to switch to a right-handed hold to lock and unlock the slide (especially since the slide is quite tight/snug, probably due to the newness of the gun).

    • Where's a good place to get a holster for a lefty?

    I don't have my CCW permit yet, but I plan on taking a class soon (my wife wants to go too—but it took a while to convince her to let me get a gun!), and I'd like a good IWB or OWB holster. Didn't know if there were specific shops that do a better job for left-handers.

    • Any other tips for a first-time gun owner?

    I'm just excited to get to go to the range and try out the gun! I have a small gun bag, bought an extra 17 rd. magazine (17+17+10 = fewer reload breaks at the range), and I obviously have eye/ear protection. Bought some Federal ammo at Wal-Mart for $9.50/box of 50 (way cheaper than most gun stores in the area... $14-16/box), and some of those high-visibility sticky targets for more fun than plain paper.

    (Aside: Why do most people seem to hand-load all the ammo into their magazines rather than use the loading assist tool? I find I'm way faster, and my thumb feels way better, if I use the tool while reloading).
  2. allaroundhunter

    allaroundhunter Well-Known Member

    1) To lock and unlock the slide, use your trigger finger.

    2) There are lots of places to get good holsters, midwayusa.com is a good place to start. (Here is a compatibility chart)

    3) Take an NRA basic pistol class!

    (4. Some people feel emasculated using a loader)
  3. 2wheels

    2wheels Well-Known Member

    Even as a righty who is basically useless with his left hand, when shooting left handed I'm able to use my trigger finger to push up on the slide lock lever to lock back the slide. I can release it with my trigger finger too, though I prefer to use the overhand method to release the slide (I grab the rear of the slide with my support hand, pull back and release).

    Might take some practice, but it's definitely doable.
  4. Hangingrock

    Hangingrock Well-Known Member

    You could have done yourself a favor and purchased a semiautomatic pistol which is ambidextrous.

    An example of that would be an S&W MP series pistol with slide-stop/release on both sides of the frame and a reversible magazine release. The S&W also has the optional ambidextrous external safety levers.

    That said there are different ways for a lefthander to manipulate the control functions. The best recourse would be to seek competent instruction.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012
  5. rm3482

    rm3482 Member

    ^^ I second that. I have chosen to use a gun that fits my hand and shoots well and then teach myself how to use the right handed gun properly. I personally am against converting to a left handed gun only for the reason if I had grab someone else's gun to use I would want to be able to use it as flawlessly as I have learned to use my own through practice. I'm just weird like that though. I purchased my holster through crossbreed holster and have been very pleased.
  6. Fiv3r

    Fiv3r Well-Known Member

    The SR9 was my first handgun:) Good choice. I ended up getting rid of mine (not a C model) simply because i was getting some barrel peening that I did not think was as cosmetic as Ruger said it was. I think they got all of that fixed as it was 2 or 3 years ago that I had mine.

    However, I too am a southpaw and shoot a Glock mostly. Honestly, I just use two hands to manipulate my gun if it's just plain ol' fun target practice. I don't mind. When I do any defensive drills, I train using the slingshot method. Basically, I can shoot with my left. Tap and rack with my right hand. Drop the mag with my left hand, insert a new one with my right and use my right to let the slide fly to chamber the fresh round.

    For me, working the slide release is a low stress job that only comes into play when I want to inspect the gun or clean it.

    Far, far more crucial to have an ambi-safety if you are using a firearm that generally requires use of a manual safety like a 1911. This is also another reason why a Glock works for me.

    As for holsters, well the internet is filled with southpaw options:) I generally make my own out of leather since I dabble in the hobby, but pretty much every manufacturer out there makes something to accommodate "Sinisters".:evil: Today, I'm sporting a nice Blackhawk paddle holster for my G21. Comfy, easy on and off my belt, and way secure as it has a button that will release the pistol only of you draw it correctly.
  7. Ryanxia

    Ryanxia Well-Known Member

    One thing to consider on future purchases is just because a gun is ambidextrous doesn't make it the ideal option. I have a Springfield Armory XD and the mag release is ambi, although my thumb doesn't quite reach to where I can drop the mag without adjusting my grip, so I use my middle finger of my left hand to drop the mag. I recently picked up a Glock 19 (after swearing to never own a glock) and the mag release is so smooth that I prefer doing it this way (and am used to it) than having an ambidextrous one.
  8. bigfatdave

    bigfatdave Well-Known Member

    overhand, stop messing around with the lever unless you want the slide locked open

    I'd start with CrossBreed, KHolster, Tucker Gunleather, Comp-Tac, etc etc
    look for a design that puts the clips OFF of the gun and will securely attach to the belt
    also get a real gunbelt (BeltMan makes the best belt I have ever owned, there are others but I'll just pimp BeltMan today ... read and follow the sizing instructions carefully)

    Shoot more
    Get a .22 that somewhat mimics your carry gun if possible
    Shoot more
    Don't worry about getting the perfect gun" on the first try, there is no end to the compromise combinations in handguns and no gun is perfect for every application
    Shoot more
    Get a long gun or twelve, start there with a .22
    Shoot more

    Fix that, there is no reason to delay. Don't think that your required class is real training, that comes after ... mandatory requirements are about paperwork, good CC classes are rare, just get it done as cheaply as you can

    Go to the class, take the Mrs, let her pick her own gun after shooting as many models as possible ... and don't post a thread about what gun you should get her, there's a sticky with everything you could possibly want to know about why buying someone else a gun is a terrible idea.

    dunno - sometimes it is "just one more damn thing to take to the range" and sometimes I forget it.
    It is easier, particularly for doublestack magazines. If you want something really easy, look into the "maglula" or "uplula" for centerfire pistol mags, and the "ultimate cliploader" for .22 pistol mags (some of them, at least) ... I will not buy another .22lr pistol that doesn't work with the "ultimate cliploader", even though it is obviously a magazine loader, not a cliploader.
  9. Fiv3r

    Fiv3r Well-Known Member

    Oh and I should add the SR9 is the only gun I have ever owned that pretty much required me to use the loading tool lest I nearly break my thumb trying to get the 16th and 17th round in there.

    Those SR mags are pretty dang type. My P89 only has a 15 round mag, so I don't know if it's the mag themselves or just the fact that you're trying to squeeze 2 more rounds in there.
  10. geerlingguy

    geerlingguy Member

    Thanks for all the advice, especially wrt using the trigger finger for the slide lock. It's definitely not a huge deal, and in a defensive situation, I hope I won't need to lock the slide.

    However, there were a couple double-feeds at the range today that did require me to lock the slide and pop out the magazine, so if that happens in a more tense situation, I still want to be able to operate the lock more quickly than fumbling around switching hands!

    Thanks also for the holster suggestions—so many to choose from! I've had a PDA or phone 'holstered' on my hip since high school, so I don't think it'll be too hard to use the SR9c with the 10rd mag if I get the right holster. I just wish there were more selections I could try before I buy—all the online ones that seem great aren't available in any stores around here.

    The SR9c performed well at the range today, with one stovepipe, 2 FTF (one was a double feed, other seemed to just not have a firing pin hit... weird?), and a REALLY hot barrel after sending about 225 bullets downrange. The slide is already a lot easier to operate after firing a couple hundred times—the first few times I opened it, it felt like I was pushing against a rock... and the metal grip serrations almost cut my fingers! Now it's a little easier, and the trigger's feeling a little more loose too (in a good way).

    Gonna clean the gun really well tonight, and look into some STL-area CCW instructors!
  11. BCRider

    BCRider Well-Known Member

    Were they actually double feeds or did it fail to properly extract and eject an empty casing but tried to load a fresh round? Empties should eject out with some amount of energy in an arc that pushes them out a good two feet or more. Brass from my CZ hits the ground about 7 to 8 feet over to the right. But that's a little much. But a good minimum is that it should arc out a good two feet and land 3 to 4 feet to the side. If it doesn't then something is draggy in the slide or the recoil spring is too stiff compared to the power of the ammo you're using.
  12. geerlingguy

    geerlingguy Member

    I forgot to look; it may have been FTE, because I don't remember seeing more than one full cartridge fall out when I popped the mag and dumped what was in the chamber. I'll have to keep my eye on it in the future, though!

    I'm not disappointed with the gun at all, though. I think it still needs a little more break-in—some of the parts feel stiff compared to the range rental SR9c I used last week, and most people say it takes 300-500 rounds before the SR9c feels right.
  13. BluesDancer

    BluesDancer Well-Known Member

    I manipulate the slide two ways as a lefty. First way is slingshotting it to chamber a round. Second is to partially draw the slide back for an administrative check to see if the gun is loaded. I don't really manipulate the slide any more than that.

    Sure. If you have a button mag release on the left side of the gun (made for right hand shooting), use your trigger finger to press it. You may have to modify your grip ever so slightly in order to accomplish this, but I actually feel a mag release on the left side is an advantage for lefties (more than righties) if you know how to work it.

    Also, obviously most guns are for righties. While it may be odd for southpaws, make rightie-friendly designs WORK FOR YOU if possible. See above example reg. mag release.
  14. harmon rabb

    harmon rabb Well-Known Member

    best advice i can give, and i'm a lefty: LEARN TO SHOOT WITH YOUR RIGHT HAND. we live in a righty's world. adapt to it. 99% of guns are designed for righty's -- so learn to shoot right handed. simple as that.

    when i first started shooting, shooting lefty would've felt more natural. but i knew the reality of the gun world, and just shot righty all the time. now, shooting righty feels natural, and my shooting ain't bad at all these days.
  15. geerlingguy

    geerlingguy Member

    The tough part about shooting as a righty, not so much with handguns, but more with shotguns and rifles (long guns), is that I'm left eye dominant.

    I'm still considering shooting my handgun righty, as my groups are pretty much the same left and right handed (I'm ambidextrous in a strange way... write only left handed, play sports *mostly* right handed, etc.). But either way I go, I have plenty of improving to do! I have 8-10" groups at 7 yds...
  16. rm3482

    rm3482 Member

    I would still shoot left handed if that is what's comfortable for you. I would just learn to safely manipulate your right handed gun with your left hand. Then every gun will be manipulated safely with your left. Just my two cents.
  17. GLOOB

    GLOOB Well-Known Member

    Being left handed is a blessing in disguise. Too many handguns have "ergonomically" placed race-gun controls that can cause jams and unintentional magazine dumps.
  18. Autolycus

    Autolycus Well-Known Member

    I would suggest a training course for you and your wife. And practice will make things come more naturally to you.
  19. Hangingrock

    Hangingrock Well-Known Member

    The more recent designs in semiautomatic pistols are more accommodating to ambidextrous usage. There are more rifles and shotguns that are now available that are designed for left hand usage.
  20. geerlingguy

    geerlingguy Member

    One of the main reasons I chose the SR9c, besides how much I liked the size and feel of the gun, was that all its controls (except for the slide release/lock) are ambidextrous.

    Besides locking the slide, I feel quite proficient with the controls on the gun, though they're all a bit 'sticky' right now (I need to put a few hundred rounds more downrange before they'll be looser, supposedly).

    But for handgun shooting, I'm definitely still considering shooting right handed, or at least practicing both ways. I've found that it pays to be adaptable. For handguns, since I use the isosceles stance, the only difference when switching hands, as far as I can tell, is trigger feel/control... it's a slight bit different depending on which hand I'm using.

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