One of my instructors once told a group of our friends, "All you gotta do to win a gunfight with Shooty is hit him in the right shoulder."
Ouch. I was less than competent with a pistol in my left hand back then. Well, I fixed that personal failing. And so should you. Here are some ways to do that.
You’ll look incompetent. I promise.
When it comes to developing support-hand competency, the most important and most difficult hurdle to get over is your fear of looking inept in front of other people. It’s important to get over because you will look like an incompetent shooter to other people while you practice and build your support-hand skill. There’s no getting around it, you must go through it. Suck it up, buttercup.
This is what successful, formidable people do: we don’t let our looking incompetent get in the way of personal development.
Once you’ve resolved yourself to looking like an incompetent shooter, you are released from the chains that are keeping you down and you can get to work building the important skills involved with support-hand shooting.
Welcome to less fun!
Yeah. The second-most important hurdle to get over is the fact that your training will, at first, be less fun than you’d like. We humans like to do what we’re good at. It’s fun to blaze through some course of fire that we ace nearly every time, but that’s not training. That’s masturbation. It feels good and we'll get a nice result, but when we're done we've produced nothing.
Training involves us doing what we suck at, because we no longer want to suck at it. It’s not fun at first, but it IS valuable; unlike doing rep after rep of that other stuff we’re great at.
I have observed that I miss more than anyone else at the ranges where I train, and I’m totally okay with that. I miss more than others because a) I’m always working on the stuff that I suck at, and b) I push the boundaries of my abilities on a regular basis. That’s how you get better. And better and better. All the time.
Support-Hand Development Strategies
In my training I have found two effective strategies for ensuring the ongoing development of my support-hand skills.
- Add reps of a support-hand-only version into every drill
- Make support-hand-only days a recurring feature of training
Adding support-hand reps into every drill is an easy way to ensure that you’re getting that support-hand work every time you practice. It really spices up the training and forces you to get those support-hand reps in without having to just dedicate all your time that day to support-hand training.
Here's an example:
Support-hand-only days are a supercharging way to develop your skills. Pick one out of every 3 or 4 sessions as a support-hand-only day and resolve not to touch your pistol with your primary hand at all, except to lock the slide back when you need to set your pistol on the bench. Yes, that means reloads are done left-hand only; draws from your holster are done left-hand only.
If you don’t yet know how to draw or reload support-hand only, get some instruction right away. These are invaluable skills!
If your range is not cool with the manipulations this requires – or – your carry position is not conducive to a support-hand draw from the holster, at least do all shooting manipulations only with your support-hand.
Resolve to ignore your ego. Use these two strategies in your training and looking inept in front of other people won’t be a problem for you for very long. But if you never start, you’ll always be incompetent without your primary hand crutch.
All any criminal will have to do to win a gunfight with you is to accidentally shoot you in the primary shoulder. Your incompetence could get you and your loved ones killed. Don’t let that happen.