Issue 45

One-Handed Shooting

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One of the most important, yet most commonly over-looked shooting skills is shooting with one hand.  Many people will give it a brief try while at the shooting range.  They'll generally stop their practice shortly thereafter once they see how their accuracy is MUCH less than when using two hands.

THAT'S the idea of practice!  When you start something new, you can't expect perfection.  It takes time on the shooting range to bring those skills up to where you want to be.

The following tips will help you to make your one-handed practice (strong- and weak-side) much more productive.

Anyone who has taken our First Steps Pistol Orientation is familiar with the Isosceles Shooting Stance.  Essentially, you are making an isosceles triangle - the three sides being your two extended arms and your chest.  You want your grip to be in the center of your body (the tip of the triangle).

The primary reason for this is that this stance equally distributes the force from the recoil back into your shoulders.  The recoil can be further minimized by slightly leaning forward - this adds your entire upper body weight as a counter to the force of the recoil.

Using this stance and the proper grip will significantly improve your accuracy.  Muzzle movement from the recoil is significantly reduced.

The same principals apply to one-handed shooting.  You want to orient your body in such a way as to let it absorb as much of the recoil as possible.  This philosophy applies whether you are facing the target head-on, or if you are shooting from the side (as you would do when shooting around a barrier).

When shooting one-handed head-on, begin with a standard isosceles stance, then simply bring the other hand either up to your chest, into your pocket or behind your back.  The brunt of the recoil will be transferred into your shooting shoulder.  Be sure you're leaning into the shot!

The idea with the non-shooting hand is, you don't want it to be waving around making it more difficult to keep your muzzle steady.

You then want to SLIGHTLY over-grip with the lower three fingers on the gun.  Slightly!  You don't want to "muscle up" with a death-grip as this will cause excessive muzzle movement as well.

The final step is to gently squeeze the trigger.  Almost all shooters starting out with one-handed shooting will jerk the trigger much too forcefully.  This will take your shot way off target.  Squeeze it.  Baby it.  Be surprised when the shot goes off.

If shooting from the side, you want your shooting arm to be straight as a rod - no elbow bend.  Again, the idea is to transfer the bulk of the recoil into your large shoulder muscles and upper body, and not into your weaker elbow joint.  You will notice a marked improvement in your ability to quickly reacquire your target when you've got reduced muzzle movement.

Look at these two pictures from one of our Practical Defensive Pistol classes.  The student is shooting around a barrier, one-handed, from each side.  Notice that in the first picture, the student has a bend in the elbow, whereas in the second, this was corrected and the elbow is very rigid.

Elbow BentElbow Straight

One-handed shooting is a skill anyone who has a gun for self-defense needs to master.  Your non-shooting hand or arm may be injured, or you may be using the arm to keep a family member out of the line of fire.

If you are placed into a situation where you must defend yourself or your family, the only thing that is certain is that the bad-guys will not be standing still, allowing you to get a perfect aim and sight-picture.  You need to practice stances, grips and skills other than those needed for shooting a static paper target.

First Steps Pistol Orientation link
Practical Defensive Pistol link

Next issue:  Rifle skills from The Appleseed Project

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