When One Is All You Got

Strong Hand Only…

How often do you practice contingencies for real world encounters? The majority invest the largest part of their training/practice at two hand shooting, one hand shooting or strong hand only gets minimal attention at best.

Being honest about your skills

There are core skills a shooter needs to be well rounded, resilient enough to handle as many different situations and conditions as they can face. The hard part is developing proficiency and then maintaining the skill. At some point you prioritize what is important to you. I find during core skills assessments, strong hand only seems to have the lowest scores. It does not surprise me since most focus on what they do well. Typically, they stay clear of what they suck at to avoid tarnishing their ego. Not necessarily the best approach for life saving skills.

10% at best

In our classes I often take an informal poll of students. If they were given 100 rounds of ammunition, how much would be allocated to strong hand only. The average is about 10% or 10 rounds. I know this number seems low, but to be honest I feel they are accurate. It is easy to find excuses not to practice skills we perform poorly, but these areas need the most attention. Taking the time to correctly learn the skill, then consistently practice is the best way to ensure a deficiency is improved. Plus, there is a sense of satisfaction accomplishing a goal and seeing the improvements over time.

Please stop the insanity

Why do people teach to tighten their weak arm and bring it close to their chest? If you do this, please find a flat surface to bang your head against. all kidding aside, stop to think about this. Remember you are a by product of your training. If you train to bring your weak hand to your chest when injured then do not expect anything different in the real world. Why wouldn’t you train yourself to regain a two handed grip, to fight to get your weak hand back on the gun? Occasionally, I hear a few comments how in a gunfight they would behave differently. I scratch my head at that one. You are saying despite your training, you are going to do something different under stress. If this were the case, what else might you do differently.

Stick to the basics

We try to keep it simple. You need to recognize strong hand only gets little attention so rather than come up with a specialized technique (which all suck by the way) keep things as familiar as possible. If your weak hand cannot move to the gun then let it lie at your side. For peak performance, what I do encourage is to drop the strong side elbow and thumb. Dropping the elbow will help bring the recoil back into the center line. Also, avoid excessive bending of the elbow, you want it straighten more than when shooting with two hands. Rather than extend your arm forward, retract it rearward to engage the larger muscles in the upper back region.

Close your grip

When you have two hands on the gun your strong side thumb should rest on your weak hand thumb to create an “in line” grip. When your weak hand thumb is absent you still want to drop your strong hand thumb. By doing so you create a more powerful grip. You can get away with poor technique more easily with two hand technique, but one hand shooting is far less forgiving. Everything else remains the same, don’t make things any harder than they already are and definitely don’t deviate from what you know. An example is if you look for your sights in a certain position and orientation then keep it the same when shooting one handed.

Shooting strong hand only is far more important than most people acknowledge. It is well worth your time, haul around a small human and you figure that out real quick.


I’m a former Navy SEAL and preeminent Weapons and Tactics instructor, learn more about what I do at tridentconcepts.com.

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