Author Topic: Not a drill, just a useful thing: Learn to switch sides  (Read 2949 times)

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CR Williams

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Not a drill, just a useful thing: Learn to switch sides
« on: November 12, 2011, 05:51:18 AM »
It's a very simple concept, really: Do as many repetitions in dry practice and fire as many rounds in live-fire training and practice with the other hand as you do with your 'main' shooting hand. In the beginning, you don't have to learn any on-the-fly transitions such as are shown here: http://www.onesourcetactical.com/closerangegunfightingdvd.aspx. Just slowly put the pistol in the other hand or shift the rifle to the other shoulder. At some point, it will benefit you to get an opposite-side holster and mag carriers, etc., so that all movements can be practiced on both sides. But for now, just swap the side slowly and run the reps.

The best reason for becoming as ambidextrous as possible is not the one most often given: It increases your tactical options. The ability to quickly, naturally, automatically switch sides when working from behind cover or approaching a corner that's not on your favorite side is GOLD. The reduction in exposure to incoming gunfire from this situation alone could be the difference between winning and losing, life and death.

When you try this initially, see if you can use the opposite eye for sighting. This will be easier for some than for others. If you just can't manage that, it is perfectly acceptable to tilt the weapon so that you can line the (angled) sights up with the dominant eye. (This will be easier to do with handguns than with long-guns and with some long-guns but not others and with some sights but not others. I acknowledge this. Take a look at it, though, so that at least you know ahead of the time of emergency.)

It will also be somewhat awkward at first. Go slower and easier with the other hand for a while, and go easier on yourself if you aren't doing as well on one side as on the other. You may not ever be truly equal on each, but you can be better than you are now (if you haven't done much work this way before).

A fast way to get started on the road to even-handedness is to take a CRG or intermediate rifle class with me or another SI instructor. (What? I'm not supposed to put in a plug?) You need some more training anyway, right? Doesn't everybody?

Start integrating the other hand into training, either way. I think you will surprise yourself about how it will help all of your shooting, not just the part you do with the opposite side.
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pmharder

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Re: Not a drill, just a useful thing: Learn to switch sides
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2011, 07:54:38 AM »
<snip>
It will also be somewhat awkward at first.

What an understatement! I tried weak hand unsupported last time I went out, not real sure where half those bullets are, but they never bothered the target!  :-[ Pointed out a severe weakness in my regular practice.
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Shawn Hoyle

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Re: Not a drill, just a useful thing: Learn to switch sides
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2011, 08:21:16 AM »
I will be working on this. I value your tips and drills, C.R. Glad you are here.
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rdpG19

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Re: Not a drill, just a useful thing: Learn to switch sides
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2011, 03:19:46 AM »
C.R. you always come up with great tips, I've never tried my weak hand shooting, do practice using my strong hand only, not to bad with it. I've also been shooting two shots to the torso one shot to the head, as fast as possable, I can do it within 3-4 seconds with accurate hits. Learned this method watching the police practice at the range I use.
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CR Williams

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Re: Not a drill, just a useful thing: Learn to switch sides
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2011, 06:20:42 AM »
rdp, if you want an eye-opener work the other side a time and then run some airsoft or just a rubber-gun test with someone who's still locked to one hand. Check the view around a corner or cover to either side and you should see the advantage to it.

Everybody touts the emergency aspect of running the other side. I'm saying you can help avoid the emergency by being able to do it at will instead of by necessity. It will also reduce panic if you end up doing it by necessity after all.

And you might be surprised at how quickly it becomes normal for you. I no longer decide what side to go with, I just switch as I need to. I no longer think of strong side/weak side, dominant/non-dominant. It's just one hand or the other. When I run two guns, neither one is the backup--I just draw the one that seems best at the time and when it runs dry, I draw the other one. Nothing much conscious about it any more.

Try and and see if you don't stop thinking about it pretty quick.
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kjolly

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Re: Not a drill, just a useful thing: Learn to switch sides
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2011, 06:43:01 AM »
I favor right hand when shooting because of a right dominant eye, am left handed and can shoot with either hand. When shooting left handed at 7 yds have to aim 4 inches to the left of the bullseye to hit. Otherwise all shots go about four inches to the right.
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rdpG19

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Re: Not a drill, just a useful thing: Learn to switch sides
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2011, 12:21:00 PM »
rdp, if you want an eye-opener work the other side a time and then run some airsoft or just a rubber-gun test with someone who's still locked to one hand. Check the view around a corner or cover to either side and you should see the advantage to it.

Everybody touts the emergency aspect of running the other side. I'm saying you can help avoid the emergency by being able to do it at will instead of by necessity. It will also reduce panic if you end up doing it by necessity after all.

And you might be surprised at how quickly it becomes normal for you. I no longer decide what side to go with, I just switch as I need to. I no longer think of strong side/weak side, dominant/non-dominant. It's just one hand or the other. When I run two guns, neither one is the backup--I just draw the one that seems best at the time and when it runs dry, I draw the other one. Nothing much conscious about it any more.

Try and and see if you don't stop thinking about it pretty quick.


I will keep this in mind the next time I go to the range, (this week or next) thanks for the excellent advise.

I watched a guy shooting at the range once, he would use both hands on one clip then reload, then right hand, reload and switch to the left hand, great shot which ever method he used. He told me he learned to do that years ago.
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Re: Not a drill, just a useful thing: Learn to switch sides
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2012, 10:28:07 PM »
I know I'm necro-posting here, but this might flesh out some of what CR Williams was talking about when he mentioned "tactical options".

Ever heard a "bump in the night" at home?  Ever had to go check on the kids at 0-Dark-Thirty?  Ever walked up to a doorway or corner of a wall and though "gee, I wonder if the junk around the corner is goiong to poke holes in me?"  Ever had a job that had you clearing structures or moving through urban terrain armed and VERY wide eyed and alert? 

Walk up to a doorway in your house.  Try to peek around the corner to your right without your spouse, S.O., kids, the cat, whatever, spotting you before you see them.  Left side, no problem.  Move as far to the right as possible, move foreward slowly, scanning each inch of the area around the corner as it is slowly revealed.  Since your pistol is in your right hand, it and your dominant eye (for most of us) is leading the way. 

Try to go to your right, and your body is leading the way, with no cover from your muzzle and your head at an odd angle because you figure if you do need to shoot you want your right eye behind the sights of the gun in your right hand.

Put the pistol in your left hand, tuck your elbow into your ribcage, bringing the pistol to eye level, in front of your left eye.  Now it can lead the way, with much less eye dominance issue, as you make the corner to your right.

DO NOT TAKE THIS AS A COMPLETE COURSE IN STRUCTURE CLEARING OR DEFINITIVE "NOW I CAN GO AROUND CORNERS WITHOUT PRACTICE BECAUSE I READ IT ON THE INTERNET".  This is just an example of the tactical advantage alluded to.
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Re: Not a drill, just a useful thing: Learn to switch sides
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2012, 03:48:13 AM »
It will also be somewhat awkward at first. Go slower and easier with the other hand for a while, and go easier on yourself if you aren't doing as well on one side as on the other. You may not ever be truly equal on each, but you can be better than you are now (if you haven't done much work this way before).

I have taken an except from CR's post and highlighted in RED a part that I want to emphasize.  When I first tried shooting with the weak hand, I didn't position my supporting hand properly and when the slide on the 9mm semi auto came back it removed a little skin on my supportiing hand.  It was just a nick, no stitches required but, it was a wake up call.  Now I go slower and am more deliberate on how I place my hands.  I also noticed that I was not holding the piece as tightly as I should and had a fail to feed. I knew it was my fault and did not blame the piece.[/size]
 
Thanks CR for your great contributions.