Why You Need to Practice One-Handed Shooting

Why You Need to Practice One-Handed Shooting
Why You Need to Practice One-Handed Shooting

I’ll admit that one-handed shooting isn’t the most exciting thing to practice. After all, it’s a lot tougher to shoot with one hand and most of us aren’t as accurate this way. However, if you plan on carrying a gun or having one in your home for self-defense purposes it’s important you know how to shoot one handed.

But why? Well, the common theory is that one of your hands may get shot or injured during a gunfight. But from the studies I’ve read this is rarely the case and in fact, it’s usually several other reasons that limit you to only one hand. For instance, perhaps you have to hold off an attacker with one hand while drawing your gun and shooting with the other. Maybe a criminal has gotten way too close to you with a knife and you’re fighting off the knife with one hand and using your gun with the other. 

Another reason…

You might be shooting with one hand is because the other hand is holding something. When the human body comes under intense pressure our hands literally lock onto what we’re holding. When I was in the police academy many years ago they showed us a training video of an officer serving a search warrant. The officer was carrying the warrant in his right hand and when a gunfight broke out he did not let go of the warrant and was running around with it in his hand. (This is why I always try and avoid carrying anything in my right hand when I’m out and about.)

So, if you’re carrying a cup of coffee in your left hand and all the sudden your life is in danger you might not let go of that coffee and might force yourself to shoot one-handed. Also, the object in your other hand may be a lot more important. Perhaps there’s been a shooting and you have to drag somebody away from danger or perhaps you’re carrying your child in one of your arms.

Also, don’t forget that we’re all human and have accidents.

When I was a freshman in high school I fell off my bike and broke both of my arms because I went flying over the handlebars. I’m sure that you’ve broken your fingers or injured your hands once or twice in your life and you never know when this is going to occur. If you happen to break your arm tomorrow I hope you don’t carry your gun until you’ve practiced drawing and shooting with your other hand.

When it comes to the actual method of how to shoot one handed there are many schools of thought. But when I do training I prefer two methods and tell people to use the one they’re most comfortable with. In the first shooting position, you take the non-shooting hand and cross it over your chest with your hand in a fist. (It’s as if you’re pounding yourself in the chest like Tarzan.)

The second way to shoot one handed is by clinching your fist together and bringing it toward your body instead of crossing it over your chest. In other words, pretend you’re weight lifting and are doing curls with a barbell to get huge biceps. Well, you would make a fist and curl your arm close to your body.

In both of these positions, I like to put my right foot back (because I’m right handed) to give myself a stronger stance and more stability. Of course, you do what works for you and what feels best but either way, next time you’re at the range shoot a few rounds using just one hand.

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Jason Hanson is a former CIA Officer and author of The Covert Guide to Concealed Carry. He is also the creator of the Ultimate Concealed Carry Experience, which allows you to take your concealed carry training without leaving home. For full details about this training, please visit Concealed Carry Academy. You can also follow him on Google+ and Twitter.
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good 2 know

Kyle Kincaid

This is 100% true!!!! I was a competition shooter for a few yrs, I trained 1 handed as well as 1 hand-weak hand.. well back in ’08 I was in a bad car accident and was actually run over by a pick-up truck. It paralyzed my right(strong) arm. ant use it ever again. Luckily due to my training, my accuracy is almost as good now as it was before the accident.

The Other Brother Daryl

Good article and everyone should take the opportunity to incorporate weak-hand shooting (one-handed and supported) as part of their shooting practice. I am left-eye dominant but shoot right handed. Moving to my weak side presents no problems and have competed in the past using my weak-side only just to see if I could be competitive. Shooting weak-side, unsupported was an eye-opening experience, to say the least.


I have to agree with Mr. Hanson, and train regularly with one-handed drills.  When I was a deputy sheriff, my lieutenant and friend was also our department armorer and chief firearms instructor.  he put us through one-handed shooting, as well as reloading one-handed.  At first it seems awkward, but he assured us it was better to know it and not need it than to need it and have no idea.  Good article.


I agree. One other reason that one should practice one hand shooting, is that when we are confronted with an HI stress situation, our brain goes into a survival mode.I believe (correct me if I am wrong) the Simplistic Nerve System overrides our training and tell us ” hay forget what you know for now and get the heck out of the way” so with this BAD BREATH close range you automatically use one hand in shooting, then for that slit second you then refer back to you’re training.
Been there and have done that.


I’m glad you mentioned accidents, broken/damaged limbs, etc. When I blew out my shoulder, I never thought to train one-handed. When I broke my wrist, I never thought to train with my non-dominant hand (until a competition shooter mentioned it).
It might also be a good idea to train from grounded positions, in case you get knocked off your feet. I fell on the same patch of ice (this one will kill someone sooner or later) and it occurred to me that if I fell off my crutches during a crisis…then what would I do?
Jason, can you write up something on grounded shooting techniques?


What’s the purpose of crossing over the arm and fist?