Two Hands Are Better Than One, Unless….
Firing a handgun with one hand is somewhat akin to the old adage of, “Stand on your two hind feet and shoot like a man.” In the past the court jesters of Hollywood and especially the B movie and better cowboy and gangster versions showed us lots of pretty remarkable—even if they weren’t real—handgun skills. These marksmanship displays included 1-hand shooting, short-barreled guns with unending ammunition fired uphill in blowing snowstorms on moving targets in the pitch dark as just a few examples.
of a handgun one handed appear naïve or even stupid, in reality the possibility of using and firing a handgun with one hand in a fight exists. In fact the potential exists so much the wise and prudent would address this issue in training while using either hand right, left, strong, opposite—you pick the name and the hand.
From 1963, here are old cops shooting the old way—by some standards.
The Past Blast
I have talked to several people of seniority over the years and they recount days past before WWII where all handgun firing was just that, hand gun… not hands gun. In fact, most these fellows are pretty adamant the single-hand firing served them pretty well and they had no complaints about personally shooting one handed well into the mid 1970s. A common thread I remember while talking with these “old” people is they most often recall the time when the most change occurred (or so they declare) was after WWII. After the war, in their opinion, more people tried shooting two handed more often and faster and the second point was most shooters did not hit what they were shooting at.
It should be and is noted here that I talked most often to cops and so the guns would have been revolvers and many of the issues of marksmanship might have evolved around the use of the single- or double-action modes of manipulation for the trigger.
Having been there—the 1970s—I recall the knockdown drag outs about the use of double- or single-action modes for marksmanship like in the PPC course or in long-range shooting applications or for surgical work like hostages. It was quite a rodeo—even then.
This is a bit of shooting history illustrating a style and fashion not seen today.
The point may be today we see articles addressing the issue of concealed carry by big people or the physically challenged and so forth. So maybe we could address the issue people who carry handguns for self-defense who might be injured in the introduction of the conflict and be required to deploy their weapons system outside of the format of how it is normally fired or how they may have trained?
Probably training to shoot the handgun one handed with either hand in case of injury is wise. Do not forget it may not be about injury it may be simply because your hands are occupied with a grandchild. So there is no misunderstanding if you are in a gunfight with your grandkids present it better be after you have given up your wallet, the Escalade and quite a bit of groveling has been done… just prior to the draw, which will not be faster than a gun already pointed at you.
Moving Around Town
Your practice should include one handed—with both hands included—firing in, from and around your vehicle from both the passenger and driver side while you sit in both places. Talking about it and doing in are not the same thing. You do not want to learn how to do this type of manipulation and shooting during a gunfight. One subtle point: If you shoot the gun inside the car it will be loud.
Also, consider some practice replicating things or places you might be in your normal day. Sitting at a restaurant table is a poor place from which to start or compete in a gunfight. Ask all the Italian mob guys shot at their dinner tables.
A strong issue with me can be confirmed by anyone who has been with me in training. I press the points of physical withdrawal from threats and ground fighting as far as it can be done with both learning and safety addressed correctly.
The handgun and close companion the Benchmade auto folder. Like guns,
Clint favors having two knives instead of one.
Handy 1-handed tools for defense often come with edges or pointy ends. Both are cool. Couple of points: I am not a knife guy, and there are plenty of good ones around. Again, I am not one. My views here are mine, based on the fact most often I accidentally cut myself with a knife and everyone who knows me knows that fact. That said I am getting better with knives and like the fact I can often carry a knife where other types of weapons, specifically guns can’t go. I carry at least one and find two knives are like guns. Two are better.
One-hand shooting skills could come in handy. Train with both right and left or strong and weak—it doesn’t matter what you call it as long as you can do it.
From The Bench
I use Benchmade knives. The folks there helped me sort through the very cool maze of steel from Benchmade to get the knives I carry, use and like. Cutting to the chase, I have both the Mel Pardue designed Model 5000 Auto Presidio and the 5000SBK and in staying with the 1-hand vein of this column the reason I choose these knives is the auto operation allows me to deploy and use the knife with either hand and one handed.
The knives are rock solid and the positive lock is comforting to me as not being a knife guy I want the blade locked if I intend to stick the thing in something. The reason I carry two is simple. If I ever have to use the pointy sharp thing I plan to plant it in something important of theirs and then leave quickly. Like I said I’m not knife guy, duly noted, but I don’t plan on standing around trying to get the knife back if it is wedged into something pretty solid. Not knife tactical I am sure, but it works for me being a gun guy at heart.
I would train up to use one or both of the hands issued to you, even if they aren’t even used at the same time. The skilled one hand use of either handgun or knife may come in handy someday. It could happen. Remember—both gun and knife laws need to be considered where you live.
“Best Of” Ranging Shots from February 2009 issue
By Clint Smith
300 Beavercreek Rd.
Oregon City, OR 97045