Strong Hand Only as a Tool

How much work do you put into improving what you suck at, versus what you like to do? Do you really work on your weaknesses?

The path less traveled

In my experience, the folks who work at improving their weak areas are the minority. I think it’s reasonable to see most spending their training time working on what they like or what they are already good at, avoiding those dark corners that need improvement. As we see it, there are fourteen Core Pistol Skills necessary to create a versatile and disciplined gunfighter. One of them is shooting and running the gun Strong Hand Only (SHO). For the most part it gets scant attention. There are few qualifications that support SHO so if folks are not required to shoot it they are not really motivated to practice. For those who do practice I often ask how much training time do they allocate to SHO, a very generous estimate would be about 20% of their training. So, for every 100 rounds they fire that means 20 are fired SHO. Seems high I know, but let’s run with it for now.

KIS…keep it the same

If you want to get good at SHO then you need to invest the training time and resources. I know that was a huge knowledge bomb, but despite all the advise I might give you if you don’t make an effort to improve then it’s wasted. From there the best advise I can give you is not to change anything. I have had the fortune to work with our wounded warriors and some are forced to shoot SHO. A comment I got years ago was,  “why are you having me do things differently?” It’s a good question and it makes a lot of sense whether you have solid skills or not. More importantly it worked. The benefit of this training philosophy doesn’t just apply to those with only one extremity, we all benefit.

The details

What does it mean to not change anything? It’s simple, mount the pistol as you normally would with a two hand grip. Once you’ve achieved a good mount drop your weak hand. That’s it! All the crap about doing things with your weak hand is just that, it’s crap. If you could move that extremity then you better damn well move it back to the gun. On top of that you will want to drop your strong side thumb as if you’re trying to close the grip, try to touch your middle finger that is wrapped around the pistol. A proper grip should have you applying downward pressure with your thumb to begin with. When the weak hand is missing the thumb sometimes gets forgotten. Next you want to exaggerate pointing your elbow down. Imagine pointing your elbow towards your strong side foot. This will keep your shoulder in a better, stronger position. Doing that and locking down your thumb will will aid in recoil management once incorporated together.

Effective recoil management

Another obvious point of SHO is you will be less effective with recoil management. It’s not as bad as some think and the secret to recoil management is your crush grip. You’ve really got to bear down with your pinky. The mistake folks make is trying to make a fist. While it seems like the right thing to do, the correct thing is to crush it with your pinky and cascade upwards. I know it sounds the same as making a fist, but it is very different. In fact, a lot realize how poorly they were gripping with two hands when shooting SHO.

Diagnostic tools

Now, how does shooting SHO work as a diagnostic tool. For the shooters who have a windage error, we will confirm it is either a grip or trigger finger issue. If the shooter has no windage issue SHO then it is going to be grip related. In other words, they are not crush gripping with their strong hand. If the shooter still has a windage issue, then it is a trigger finger placement issue. The most likely culprit is rubbing your trigger finger against the frame followed by placing your trigger finger on the edge of the trigger as opposed to the face.

Working Strong Hand Only should be a regular part of your training program. The versatility it gives you is huge, along with aiding in fixing errors with your normal grip.

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