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BEGINNERS: Practicing One-Handed Shooting Is Important And Here’s Why


By Robert Farago via The Truth About Guns

It’s a handgun. Not a “hands gun.” As anyone who’s tried to get a two-handed grip on a small revolver will tell you, a pistol is designed to be used with one hand. Yes, there are any number of handguns that can be shot comfortably and more accurately with two hands. Well, more accurately more easily by more people, certainly. Provided you have two hands available with which to shoot your pistol. And therein lies the tale . . .

Other than concealment, the handgun’s greatest advantage over a long gun is the fact that you can operate it with one hand. During a defensive gun use (DGU), your “spare” hand gives your tremendous flexibility.

While holding your pistol in one hand you can turn on or off a light, open or close a door, dial 911, strike your attacker, deflect a blow, push people out of the way (for a clear shot or to protect them from an attack) and/or grab and move a friendly (e.g., a small child). Holding a pistol with one hand also makes it easier for you to run while shooting (as above), which is almost always a sensible strategy.


Due to the effects of tunnel vision during a DGU, attackers (and you, BTW) tend to focus on the weapon being aimed at them. This accounts for numerous examples of armed defenders being shot in their gun hand or shoulder. In that case, you want to be able to switch hands and shoot from your off or “weak” or “off” hand. One-handed.

By the same token, attackers often ambush defenders and knock them to the ground. Violently. It’s easier to shoot a pistol with one hand from an “unconventional” shooting position (i.e. flat on your ass or from your back). In fact, it may be impossible to shoot otherwise.

All of which means you should practice shooting your pistol with one hand. A lot. BOTH hands, one at a time (obvs.). I sometimes spend an entire range session shooting one-handed, right and left. I’ve discovered two things. First, turning the gun slightly (not full gangsta) improves accuracy. And second, if you can master shooting accurately with your off-hand, you can win a lot of bets at the range.

One bet you may lose in a DGU: that you will be able to shoot an attacker holding your handgun with both hands. A two-handed grip is preferable, but not inevitable. Be prepared.

Categories: Beginners Guide, General
About Brandon Curtis | View all posts by Brandon Curtis

Brandon is the founder of Concealed Nation and is an avid firearm enthusiast, with a particular interest in responsible concealed carry. His EDC is a Glock 27 that holds Hornady…

Brandon is the founder of Concealed Nation and is an avid firearm enthusiast, with a particular interest in responsible concealed carry. His EDC is a Glock 27 that holds Hornady 165 gr FTX Critical Defense rounds, and rides comfortably in an Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.0 holster.

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  • top secret

    Excellent points made in this article!
    If and when you are forced to defend yourself or others, one thing is guaranteed……It will NEVER be under the conditions you have at the range.

    • Wild_Bird

      Merry Christmas top secret!

      • top secret

        Merry Christmas to you and yours, WB!
        May the blessings of the season last throughout the new year!

  • Shane

    Slightly off topic but what is that handgun pictured? I don’t recognize it. It seems like the grip is very long or that person has very short hands.

    • Tina

      CZ SP01 one of their many wonderful guns of which I am a big fan

  • Ed

    I encouraged my (army) son to learn to shoot with both individual hands…long gun and hand gun.

    I train that way.

  • Stan Robertson

    I gotta say it. The author talks like if your dominant hand is injured, you can use your off hand to respond. Has he ever been shot in his dominant hand?. You would not believe the pain, and shock value. Returning fire with your off hand for most of you, would not be the first thing you thought about.

    • Ray

      Life’s a bitch.

      You either do or don’t do.

      I prefer to live.

      Adapt, overcome…

  • ProfShadow

    I train with both hands, one at a time, just so I have options. For example, I may be able to shoot around cover on either the left or right side without exposing as much of me if I have to use the “wrong side” based on cover.
    It also means I won’t fumble around with my firearm no matter which hand it is in at any moment. No awkward moments that could result in an ND.

  • Some Rabbit

    Some claim that one handed ‘point shooting’ is a waste of time. I disagree. It’s a matter of practice. You’ll never get to assume a two handed hold when the target is less than 15 feet away. You have to draw ASAP and fire from the hip. If you hang a sheet of copy paper 15 feet away and practice drawing and firing from the hip double action, it will take less than a box of ammo to develop the skill to hit dead center 90% of the time. Try it and see.

  • Brian Johnston

    Your nervous system will be able to “shut down” the pain signal to your brain. You won’t be able to utilize the injured limb but you won’t feel the pain, it’s a proven reaction that you’re body does to give you the focus to survive. Hopefully by that point you have trained yourself to deal with fight flight or freeze.

  • syzito

    Always practice one handed shooting because in a combat situation with your opponent less than 9 ft from you two handed will be all but impossible. Remember 85% of “all” shooting with both police and civilians occur at less than 9 ft,usually its touching distance.