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The Value of One Hand Shooting

The Value of One Hand Shooting

The Value of One Hand Shooting


Marlan J. Ingram

On a dark rainy night back in the early 1990s, I was involved in an off-duty street incident with an armed robber, and I was wounded in the left arm (and right leg) in the process.  This caused less of a physical issue than you would imagine, because prior to that incident, I had spent a LOT of time operating my revolver with one hand, either hand.  The work that I had done before hand was extremely valuable, as I was able to carry on.

That training with one hand continued after that incident.  While I ultimately spent 22 years as a competitive shooter (mostly in police competitions), I also spent 17 years competing in Cowboy Action Shooting, where I exclusively shot with one hand, either hand, to include drawing/shooting my left hand revolver with my left hand.  While cowboy action shooting was ‘fun’, all of that work has paid a dividend, because I recently had rotator cuff surgery on my right shoulder.  This necessitated me getting in some extra practice, to include drawing and shooting with my left hand once again.  It actually felt quite natural.

In our Self Defense Pistol Skills Level 2 class, we ask the question: “Under what circumstances might you find yourself having to shoot with one hand?”  The answers that we get are in case of injury, or in case the other hand is somehow involved in the fight, pushing a loved one out of the way, etc.  All of these answers are correct, but I’ve found that a great many people simply don’t put in the work to get their one hand skills up to snuff.

With that in mind, let me use some of my own experiences and training to jar your thought processes in this regard.  As a private citizen, you go about your business of going to work, going to the grocery store, church, the mall, etc.  At the same time, there are those who’s daily activities revolve around praying on innocent people, so while you are going out to shop for groceries, they are going out to shop for victims, and they are looking at you, and others, to find someone suitable…….

The reality is that if you go to the grocery store to shop, you have NO control over whether or not a bad actor shows up at the same place looking for victims.  However, there are some things that you CAN control.  Are you armed? That generally is up to you, and being armed at such a time offers you obvious advantages over not being armed.  Are you trained?  Once again, that generally is up to you, and being trained is better than not being trained.  To this point, to what level are you trained?  If you’ve taken a Basic Pistol Safety Class or Concealed Carry Class, that’s good, but those classes don’t teach you HOW to defend yourself.  The purpose of those classes is to make sure that you are safe, and that you are legal.  To learn how to actively use the firearm as a self defense tool, higher level ‘Self Defense Pistol Skills’ classes are in order.  Do you practice what you’ve been trained on?  Firearms skills are perishable….how often do you come to the range to train? Do you do one hand practice with your defensive firearm? 

The lesson to be learned here is that owning and carrying a good defensive firearm and having high level firearms training, to include being proficient with one handed shooting is good.  In fact, it’s better to have that gear and skill in place and not need it, than it is to need that gear and skill and not have it.


A target shot with my EDC (Every Day Carry) Glock 19X

Stuart E Gillespie - 09 May 2023 @ 03:06
Thank you for sharing your story

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