Clint EastwoodOne handed shooting is a very important skill to possess in the world of shooting. It is both practical and tactical.  One handed shooting refers to the ability of an individual to successfully operate a weapon with one hand. This operation could and should include drawing, firing, loading, magazine changes and clearing malfunction. The possession of certain skills may just save the day.

When developing one hand shooting skills, both hands should have shooting proficiencies. Those proficiencies will vary from hand to hand so train with both.  For most of us our primary hand is our right hand and our support hand is our left. The primary hand refers to the hand you feel most comfortable shooting with.  Most shooters find that the primary hand has more dexterity while the support hand feels awkward at first. Dedication to good training will yield positive shooting results with either hand, just hang in there and keep shooting.

When learning to manipulate the weapons system with one hand, the shooter should start slow and simple until proficiency is increased.  Safety is the most important thing in training! Never overlook safety! A safety tip in one hand shooting is to place the support hand on your chest. This will remove the chances of it getting involved in training. When the gun is in operation, remember to make sure the non-gun hand is not in the line of fire. Shooting something that is not the target is not on the training schedule.

Why should I shoot one handed?  The ability to fire one handed is important not only if a person sustains injury, but you may be holding something and not have time to drop the item before a shot must be taken. You may need to use one hand to fend off an attack or move items or people, while using the gun hand to operate the weapon.  It is important to practice these skills because you will discover quickly that your balance and basic shooting platform will be difficult to maintain.

When footing and balance are being compromised and our shooting platform is getting out of whack. Two good ways to increase stability is to use the step in method or the consistent method.

The step in method is just that, nothing more than stepping towards the threat with the same side of your body as the hand the gun is in.  Now thrust the gun out extending the shooting arm until it is locked out.  Your body should then be in a bladed position to the target.  It is ok if the weapon is canted or tilted.

The consistent method is just to bring you back into a basic shooting platform.  That platform is the one you normally shoot with when performing two handed shooting, but now it is without the extra hand.  It is important to remember to lock your arm straight out and not stand erect.  If you do not have a good shooting foundation it could cause weapon malfunctions. Weapon malfunctions are difficult to fight through with just one hand.  You will need to practice weapons malfunction drills to get them down smooth.

What if the gun malfunctions or runs out of ammunition?  Get to work fixing it!  Determine what is wrong and start the process.  Fix it!  The added challenge of not having  the other hand becomes painfully obvious immediately.  If you need somewhere to put the gun, try placing it between your knees or under an arm while you get a fresh magazine or work through problems.  To charge the weapon or function the slide try hanging the front sight on the heel of you shoe or your belt.  You can use any object and just push down racking the slide.

Dealing with a double feed can be a monster and even more so without the other hand.  A double feed is when two bullets try to get into the chamber at the same time or one tries to get in and the other isn’t out yet.  Work thru the malfunction, slide to the rear and apply the slide stop.  Get that magazine out of there and start working on the bullet that may be stuck inside by tilting the gun back and shaking the bullet out.  Reload the weapon and chamber the round.  Get back on target and get busy.

Stove pipes are a little easier.  If one pops up just clear that malfunction by brushing it off on your pants.  A stove pipe simply means that the spent shell casing does not leave the chamber in time and the slide catches it before it can escape.  Everything can be caused by a dirty gun but, the malfunction is most likely caused by “limp wristing” the gun.  To “limp wrist” means you have a weak grip and poor shooting foundation which results in the loss of kinetic energy from the slide.  This loss of energy causes a failure in the cycling of the slide.  All that said, the slide does not go back far enough and the bullet gets hung up.

Misfires, hang fires and squib loads are handled by getting that slide to the rear and clear the malfunction.  When dealing with a misfire, remember to wait for the passing of 30 sec. before moving the side to the rear.  This is a safety precaution that limits the opportunity for the shell to turn into a hang fire and explode as the breach is being opened.  Remember that a hang fire is a marked delay in the explosion and once the primer is struck the piece of ammunition does not fire instantly, rather it delays before ignition.  Squib loads are when the bullet does not reach the desired velocity.  Lack of velocity is due to lack of explosion pressure.  Lack of pressure results in contaminated kinetic energy to the slide; the slide doesn’t work correctly, resulting in malfunctions.  Don’t forget to check and make sure the squib load is not stuck in the barrel.  You definitely don’t want to send another bullet out with one stuck in the barrel.

After learning and practicing one hand primary and support hand shooting, now try drawing your weapon from where ever with your support hand. The support side draw may be difficult at first.  If you cannot reach your weapon you might want to relocate it.  Your life may depend on it!

Be Safe