With about 80 percent of the population being right-handed, lefties are often left out when it comes to products designed for them.
A left-handed guy once told me he got into an argument with a gun safety instructor over how to rack the slide on his pistol. The two about had a throw-down in the middle of the classroom trying to determine who was right.
The instructor, like most people, was right-handed. He'd simply never considered the challenges the average setup presents a left-handed person.
The Over-the-Top Method
The safety instructor insisted on the "over-the-top" method. That means curving your four fingers over the top of the slide with your palm flat against the side.
This method is popular because it uses the larger muscles in your hand, making it easier, especially for new shooters. It gives a newbie a bit more control since both hands can apply strength. It also allows them to pull the pistol in closer to their own body and get used to being aware of where the barrel is pointing.
But for a left-handed person, the slingshot method is preferred.
The Slingshot Method
The slingshot method has you pinch the rear of the slide and push the gun forward. The downside to this method is it takes some technique to use it properly. Though, I've seen many people just incorrectly attempt to muscle through it.
The trick is the muscles in your thumb and forefinger aren't particularly powerful. So just trying to bear down and jerk it back makes poor use of your other hand as a resource. It also gives you very little control.
What you want to do is just grip and hold the slide with your thumb and forefinger and push forward with your other hand. You may still need to build up a little grip strength, but this means the power is coming from your dominant hand which is in a much better position to apply force.
This method also keeps you pointing downrange toward the target.
The Left-Handed Difference
So why is it a problem?
Well, when a lefty uses the over-the-top method, their hand tends to cover the ejection port. So either some additional hand contortions are needed or they're going to jam the pistol pretty frequently.
But what about ambidextrous guns?
Well according to my lefty source, you really have to watch to see if they are 100-percent ambidextrous. Some just have a safety or a slide release that can be set up on the left side. However, the shell usually still kicks out to the right.
For this reason, many lefties prefer a revolver, since this eliminates the issue. In fact, there are many that claim a left-handed person can reload a single-action revolver faster than a right-handed person.
In addition, many lefties generally have more experience at using their right hand. So, any reload action that involves you switching the pistol to your non-dominant hand seems to favor lefties who've had more practice.
It seems many left-handed shooters seem to have a knack for finding ways to make things work for them. For example, I noticed they tend to flip the safety with their middle finger instead.
As a dedicated right-hander, I'll admit, trying to switch sides made me feel very awkward!
Finding an affordable left-handed holster can present its own issues. Though, thankfully the internet is making finding specialty items a bit easier.
Are you left-handed? What kind of issues do you face and how do you get around them?
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