Switching Sides (Drawing With Your Support Hand)

I was talking with Mark Miller…editor over at the Loadout Room…a few weeks ago and he challenged me to get a left handed holster and learn to do everything left handed.

So, I picked up a BladeTech Total Eclipse holster and went through 21 Day Alpha Shooter left handed.  The Total Eclipse is adjustable so you can wear it on the right or left side, inside or outside your waistband.

Why would I do this?  And why should you care?

There are a few reasons.

First, I wanted to put extreme time limits on myself and see what kind of performance I could get from only doing a few minutes of the right dry fire training, a few times a week.  My goal was to ONLY do the training 5 minutes per day or less.  Since I was out of town about half of the time and sick for a few days, limiting myself was easy to do.  The results were pretty incredible, as you’ll soon see.

Second, I’m right handed, right eye dominant.  Everyone else in my family is cross-eye dominant and almost half of the shooters I work with are cross-eye dominant.  There’s a world of difference between picking up a pistol and shooting with cross-eye dominance and drawing from a holster with time/accuracy constraints.  If someone wants to switch which hand they shoot with, what’s a realistic estimate for how long it will take?

Third, a lot of people I know have had to learn to shoot with their non-dominant hand as a result of having a cast on their dominant hand/arm.  It’s a good skill to have.

Fourth, training with your non-dominant hand CAN have crossover to your performance with your dominant hand.  This is specifically the case if you’re trying to overwrite a bad habit or if you’re stuck at a performance plateau.  It won’t help timing.  There are several things with shooting that aren’t 100% opposite unless you have an ambidextrous pistol. Even so, the novelty of the training is good for your brain, gets more of your brain involved in the process, and learning to make your support hand function as your shooting hand may be something you should consider.

When SHOULDN’T you train your support hand?

In general, you want to get solid, precise technique dialed in on one side of the body before switching to the other.  When I say “dialed in” what I mean is that you can execute the technique precisely at high speed (for you) without having to think about the individual steps.  So, if you’re just starting out or if you have never taken the time to develop precise conditioned responses, hold off on this.

Here’s what I did…

I shot the IDPA 5×5 classifier as my baseline (both left and right handed) and started doing 5 or fewer minutes of the 21 Day Alpha Shooter training every day.  Two weeks in, I shot an IDPA match left handed that had 2 pistol stages.  Other than that, I did no live fire practice.  After the 21 days, I reshot the 5×5 classifier.

The IDPA 5×5 classifier is a 25 round course of fire shot at 30 feet (10 yards) on an IDPA target.

String 1:  Draw and shoot 5 to the body, using both hands.

String 2:  Draw and shoot 5 to the body, using only the shooting hand.

String 3:  Draw and shoot 5 to the body, using both hands, reload, shoot 5 more to the body.

String 4:  Draw and shoot 4 to the body, using both hands, and shoot 1 to the head.

A hit in the -1 zone adds 1 second to the time.  A hit in the -3 zone adds 3 seconds to the time.  A miss adds 5 seconds to the time.  A shot that is SUPPOSED to hit the head that hits the body instead, counts as a miss.  I shot it with Freedom Munitions 124gr SuperMatch ammo and a Glock 26 subcompact.

Here are the results of using 21 Day Alpha Shooter for 5 or fewer minutes per day for 21 days.  That’s less than 2 hours:

Average first shot time improved by 45%

Average time between shots improved by 52%  (speed more than doubled)

Final score improved by 21%

Ranking in all of IDPA (left handed) went from 4,404 to 2,354.  (Right handed I’m between 5th and 6th in Backup Gun and around 200 overall, shooting my backup gun.)

Here’s a video showing before (on the left) and after (on the right).  This was REALLY hard to edit and I apologize in advance for the things that it doesn’t show.  The problem with doing a “before” demonstration is that I only had one shot at it and I didn’t realize that the angle was bad and that I should have a 2nd camera downrange until it was too late.  I couldn’t do a 2nd “before” video and have it truly be a “before” video.

 

 

 

Here’s the chart:

What are the takeaways?

  1.  If you’re cross-eye dominant and it’s a problem for you, it’s quicker/easier to switch the hand that you shoot with than the eye that you shoot with.
  2.  If you’re having a hard time breaking a habit or breaking through a plateau, or just need a challenge that will give you big, quick improvement, you may want to consider practicing exclusively with your opposite hand for a few weeks.
  3. With the right dry fire training, you can make huge leaps in performance in very little time.  To get started with the 21 Day Alpha Shooter training that I used, click >HERE<

And what about my right hand performance?  As you can see, even though I didn’t practice with my right hand for the 3 weeks, the performance was virtually unchanged.  It’s not a scientific test, but it should be encouraging to anyone who injures their shooting hand/arm.

And what did that right handed run look like?  Here it is:

When I look at the video, I see a few opportunities for improvement…even so, that run would be the 6th fastest score recorded for the IDPA 5×5 classifier with a backup gun and 219th overall.  Not bad when you consider the fact that I do 99% of my practice with dry fire and normally limit myself to about an hour of practice per week…but I’m still going to push to do better without adding additional practice time per week.

A lot of shooters make the mistake of thinking that spending more time doing the same training will get them better results.  That makes training harder to schedule and more expensive.  And it usually doesn’t even get the results they want.

But if you practice smarter, rather than harder, you can get the results that you’re looking for in less time and less cost than what you probably thought was possible.

That’s why I incorporated more than a dozen accelerated learning techniques into 21 Day Alpha Shooter–so you could have a simple, quick, affordable way to become the shooter you want to be…the shooter you know you’ll need to be if lives are on the line.

So, I want to encourage you to make the jump today and, if you haven’t gone through 21 Day Alpha Shooter yet, get signed up >HERE<.  If you’ve already got the training and you’re looking for a challenge, try getting a support side holster and going through the training using your support hand.

Questions?  Comments?  Fire away by commenting below:

 

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1 Comment

  • David C.

    Reply Reply July 13, 2018

    This is awesome. I am ambi/multi-dexterous with firearms. I must shoot a long gun right handed but have to shoot my pistols left-handed. Cross eyed dominance/confusion! Kick a football with my left foot but can only punt a football with my right foot. Reckless idiot on the dance floor too. Maybe this example can help me find some equilibrium and stability with all my firearms. I’m not a bad shot with a handgun or long gun but need to improve with my pistol proficiency. Thanks for sharing this Ox. Your dry fire training has helped me to continue to improve my skills.

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