Saturday, November 21, 2009

Guns: Using Your Off Hand

The modern doctrine of handgun shooting stresses using two hands on a pistol or revolver. This two-hand grip (no matter which stance you adopt) helps you to control recoil and improves accuracy. There are situations, though, where you might have to carry something else in your off hand in order to defend yourself successfully.

First and foremost is when you are using a handheld flashlight in the off hand. Since few people carry their CCW weapon with a flashlight mounted, you will be reduced to holding two items at the same time, the gun and the light. There are techniques that hold the hands together and techniques that have them apart; whichever you use, be sure to practice regularly. Most techniques assume you at least have your flashlight out beforehand - trying to draw two things at once off your belt leaves you with with no arm to ward off a strike.

The off hand, though, does not have to be limited to pure defense. Drawing upon the ancient notion of the companion weapon, there are a number of ways to use an off hand item to counterattack. A folding knife or telescoping baton functions in much the same way as the dagger or buckler of old. Even if you only have a simpler object like an umbrella or book, you can buy yourself enough time and/or distance to draw and fire. Just look at Caleb's case - a cup of Starbucks' finest provides enough of a distraction to regain the initiative in a fight.

The most interesting technique I've seen involves carrying an extra magazine between the pinkie and ring finger of the off hand, while still using it in a two-hand firing grip (think Rogers/SureFire technique but with a 1911 mag in there instead of a flashlight, the idea being that it makes for faster reloads). I'm not sure I'd ever employ it; the mental image of my spare mag dangling off my left hand instead of safely stowed in a belt carrier irks me. Plus, if someone ever did attack you point blank, it'd be hard to get the extra mag in your off hand in time for it to make a difference. Still, I guess this strategy might make sense if you were closing to engage a spree shooter of some sort and wanted a quick reload handy.


At 9:02 AM, Blogger James R. Rummel said...

Good post!


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