The Importance of One Handed Shooting

Recently, I was reflecting on a training exercise that one of my instructors and I  participated in.   Our local Sheriff’s office hosts a “Citizen’s Academy”, and my partner and I were role playing as bad guys during a simunitions exercise.  During that exercise we reproduced a number of scenarios in which local deputies had been called to.  During some of the scenarios we took artistic license with and modified on the fly.  In most of the scenarios I was shot pretty promptly upon producing a gun, but in almost all of the scenarios in which I produced a gun to threaten my fellow bad guy with, or a simulated deputy,  I shot one handed.

One handed shooting has been part of my training for years, but probably not as prominently as it should be.  I try to shoot a combination of exercises and drills weekly to keep up proficiency and 1 handed shooting, as well as weak hand shooting, is usually a small portion of those shots.  However, though it is a small % of the time I spend shooting, it’s not a less important exercise.  Further, the 1 handed shooting I do more closely resembles Bulls Eye shooting, and less like shooting from retention, or from a seated position, or having just opened a door position.   Which lead me to ask myself, “Does that mean this training has little value since it did not closely resemble my “simulation exercises”?  I believe the training had a great deal of value.   Side note: Most of my shooting at this training was done from the ground.  Either laying on my side, sitting up, or supporting myself with one hand while shooting with the other.    In some cases I was trying to obscure the gun and my intentions by laying or by using my free hand.

The value comes by means of feeling comfortable and confident I can hit a face sized target at 20 yards with a gun I have little training with.   Shooting single handed is not a foreign feeling, it’s something I’ve grown accustomed to and over time feel natural doing.  I got to this point by slowly building my reps and over time, muscle memory for single handed gun manipulation.   That weekly exercise of obtaining a master grip, presenting the firearm, obtaining sights, and pressing the trigger paid dividends when I need to lean on the ability.   That ability did not show up over night, but was a gradual improvement based on repetitive training/practice.

One of the reasons we like to provide multiple guns in our classes is that we believe the firearm is secondary to the skill, and that all shooters should learn to manipulate a wide range of firearms, after all, it’s not so much the gun as the person wielding that gun.  A person that can shoot one handed with a Sig P229 is likely to be able to pick up a Glock 19, or 1911 and remain accurate.   We know the mechanics, or basics of shooting don’t change when we change guns.  There are nuances for sure, but the larger strokes don’t change.   Sight Picture, trigger press, follow through changes little from one mfg to another.

Single handed and off hand shooting and manipulation should be part of your weekly training if it’s not already.   Many shooters, when being introduced to these tasks, often surprise themselves with how accurate they are.  We often observe that when placed in these conditions, the shooters often take much more time, more thoroughly engage in the essentials before breaking the shot.  Now to get them to operate the gun with 2 hands, but with the for mentioned concentration level of one handed shooting.