The Ultimate Firearms Destination for the Gun Lifestyle

You Don’t Have a Weak Side

Jocked-up or Dressed down, There’s More to Ambidextrous Gunfighting Than Just Switching Hands

Photos by Blake Rea and Ed Weems

The concepts shown here are for illustrative purposes only. Seek professional training from a reputable instructor before attempting any techniques discussed or shown in this story.

You’re a right-handed shooter, heading fast toward a target building. Shifting left, you’re the first man coming up on an alleyway, and you need to protect your teammates behind you. What you do next can determine the outcome of the mission.

Do you transition your weapon to your support side? Will your sling even let you? Is your communications switch attached to your left shoulder? Can you effectively reload off your kit, support side only? Or do you eat sh*t, take the alleyway with your strong side and expose 50 percent of your body?

The answer that you should be able to give is to transition the weapon to your support side, because your sling is properly adjusted and your kit and all its attachments allow the manipulation of both carbine and pistol from either side. You post up, lock down the alleyway with your weapon from your support side in order to limit exposure of your soft, juicy parts, ­­— with full confidence in your ability to operate your white light and laser. Your team successfully moves across, relying on you to cover them with accurate and effective fire.

I still hear the word “weak side” on the range, in reference to the non-dominant half of our bodies. Let’s dispense with that. We don’t have a weak side; we have a support side, period! While we don’t have to be fully ambidextrous shooters, anyone serious about weapon skills should be pretty damn close to it. For the jobs out there that rely on combat marksmanship skills, your ability to understand how the support side of your body reacts to the fundamentals, your training regimen, and your equipment are essential tools for survivability and lethality.

shooting out of a carloadout

Fundamentals of Marksmanship: Stance & Grip
Definition of weak: not strong, liable to break or collapse under pressure, fragile.
In contrast, the definition of support is to bear or hold up a load, mass, or structure, or serve as a foundation for it. This explanation of support applies to the fundamentals of stance and grip when it comes to weapon handling. It’s the foundation of our stance, and it bears our grip with both carbine and pistol — so stop using the word “weak.” Fragile, collapse under pressure? Who the f*ck wants that from their support leg, hand, or arm when trying to shoot? Probably the same dudes who’ve skipped leg day one too many times. The support side of your body is the epicenter for your stance and grip.

Stance is a means to an end and the basis of our platform for shooting. Shooting on the X and knowing the ins and outs of a proper stance must happen before you can shoot and move, or use barricades and vehicles. While both bodies and weapons systems vary, the principles apply to both carbine and pistol.

Many shooters have carbine stances that are very aggressive compared to their pistol stances, but so long as you remember that your support leg should bear 60- to 70-percent of your weight, you’ll be in good shape. You have to tell yourself you’re creating a slight imbalance forward to counterbalance recoil. During my classes, walk the line of shooters and push on the magazine well of students’ carbine or cycle their slides while they’re in full presentation. The most common mistakes are toes lifting and people rocking on their heels. Yes, I’m big guy and push vigorously, but that’s what recoil will do, too.

Most of the problem can be cured by shifting a little more weight onto the support leg. Don’t make the mistake that we in the SF community made 16 years ago and hone your stance for a controlled pair — it has to support a 10-round string, should the target not react the way it’s supposed to.

In the case of a pistol, the second most common mistake I see besides lack of a proper stance is lack of power in the support handgrip. Some people say 60 percent of your overall grip strength on the handgun should come from your support hand, but I believe roughly 70 percent is better. But what does that feel like? If you had long fingernails on your support hand, they would cut through your glove, if you were gripping hard enough.

Your support arm controls the carbine in the same manner, pulling it into the shoulder with the thumb pointed at the target in order to control light and laser. The motto is: drive the gun, don’t let it drive you.

weapons manipulation

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