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Left Hand Shooting


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#1 gdunk

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 07:04 PM

Being Left handed I have always wondered. What did soldiers do if they were left handed when all the weapons were fitted to be used right handed? This Problem stood me apart from the others in our unit so I've decided to try to be the medic. Anyone have any answers or comments on the left handed enigma?

Edited by gdunk, 22 June 2011 - 07:05 PM.


#2 hawkdriver

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 07:13 PM

Yes, left handedness wasn't overly tolerated and the guys were taught to overcome their malady by learning to shoot right handed.

#3 gdunk

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 07:25 PM

I learned to shoot bow right handed but it is still a pain and akward. Got to admit the question makes one think.

#4 oldfireguy

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 07:38 PM

It's been more than a few years but I think they put brass deflectors on M-16's for the left handed guys but other than that they shot the same rifles as everyone else.

Now your question makes me wonder if they have left handed models in today's military. By Hawks answer I'm thinking not.

#5 Dave

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 08:38 PM

I got one of my best scores on an M9 Beretta that was adjusted for a lefty on the ship. I don't know if that was a one-off, but we did have a couple lefty-modified guns. (Incidentally, the M9 Beretta I own is modified for a lefty...probably the reason I scored as well as I did...I was used to it!)

#6 blitzkrieg gsd

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 08:44 PM

In the US service you start with a right handed.

#7 Jack's Son

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 08:55 PM

When I was younger, there were NOT nearly as many items made for lefties as there are today. I learned to was right hand fishing gear, rifles, etc.
Today I still live in the right handed world with these sorts of things, as I just cannot relearn to use left handed items. (My garage is filled with "well intentioned" left handed gifts. :blink: )

#8 hbtcoveralls

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 12:00 AM

The BAR is the most "Lefty freindly" US weapon I've fired. The cocking handle is on the left and the Mag release is in the center of the trigger guard and is accessable from both sides. The brass however does eject from the left side.
Tom Bowers

#9 ThompsonSavage

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 02:44 AM

Nowadays, there are some weapons with ambidextrous features like the ACR and full ambidextrous weapons like the FN2000. Correct me if I'm wrong...

#10 Devious6

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 03:10 AM

My dad was right handed so I learned to shoot right handed - and bat right handed, and golf right handed. But, I am still most comfortable shooting a pistol left handed. I went through my career with right handed 1911s and M9s having to compensate for the safety, slide release and mag release on the wrong side. :lol:

#11 hawkdriver

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 03:48 AM

The M9 can have the mag release turned to either side fairly easily. I have my personal Berettas mag release set up for left handed because I can't reach the mag release with my stumpy thumbs, so I use my middle finger to eject the magazine. While you can change the mag release, the M9 will only eject to the right, that can't be changed.

Fred, you can find left eject AR receivers, but the military doesn't use them. Some of the newer rifles being tested do have the ability to eject either side.

#12 kfields

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 04:31 AM

As I went through basic training and advanced infantry training in 1975, the drill sergeants could care less whether you were left or right handed. As long as you shot well and qualified. As a leftie, we would put one of those brass strips found in the 10 round stripper clips, squeeze it in half and insert it into the hinged area of the door where the shells would eject. This kept the hot brass out of our face.

I think the general consensus was not to attempt to force someone into an unnatural shooting pose and then expect them to shoot well.
Kim

#13 hawkdriver

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 05:37 AM

As I went through basic training and advanced infantry training in 1975, the drill sergeants could care less whether you were left or right handed. As long as you shot well and qualified. As a leftie, we would put one of those brass strips found in the 10 round stripper clips, squeeze it in half and insert it into the hinged area of the door where the shells would eject. This kept the hot brass out of our face.

I think the general consensus was not to attempt to force someone into an unnatural shooting pose and then expect them to shoot well.
Kim


That is how it is now, but in my talking with a lot of older vets from the wood rifle ages, they were all forced to learn to shoot right handed, even up through the M-14. It is nearly impossible to properly function a right hand made rifle, especially a bolt action rifle in an efficient rapid manner if you are shooting left handed. You have to literally unseat the rifle to get to the bolt and in rapid fire, that affects accuracy. Cycling a charging slide in a left handed position isn't quite as cumbersome, but is still an inefficient proposition. Also, having 1/10th of your force facing the wrong way on a firing line or a foxhole just wasn't going to work.
Many of the machine gun covers had their latches on the right side, prime example, the M-60. Trying to unlatch the cover from the wrong side is tough.
Today, with the fairly ambidextrous M-16, it's not so bad, but even now, the safety switch is backwards. You used to be able to identify the left handed shooters by the red blisters on their throats and upper chest. The built in brass deflector has helped with that, but now it flicks the brass in the face of the guy standing next to you. I've taken several hot casings down the front of my armor from the guy next to me.

#14 Sgt Brown

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 06:45 AM

Talking about getting hit with brass makes me think of a buddy who re-enacted 1700's and competed live fire with Civil War firearms. He was a lefty - a bearded lefty. Want to guess how often that percussion cap or flintlock set his face on fire? :P

Tom

#15 Old Marine

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 07:32 AM

I don't remember it making any difference. You just shot with either hand that was comfortable. As long as you handled the weapon safely and shot well it didn't make any difference. We never used those left handed shell defectors on the M16, occasionally they would kick the spent shells back in to the chamber and jam the rifle. I qualified with the .45, M-14 and M-16 left handed.

Dennis

#16 cutiger83

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 08:57 AM

It is tough being left-handed in a right-handed world. :pinch: Only a lefty can understand the frustration.

I did not realize there were so many fellow "lefties" on here! :thumbsup:

....Kat

#17 Linedoggie

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 09:10 AM

Lefty all my life. Fired most every US infantry small arm at one time or another from the M1 & M3A1 to the M4 & M107 and never had a problem to include hot brass. i have learned to shoot right handed but that was mainly for MOUT and am comfortable with either, but prefer the left. I also never used the M16 Brass deflector that snapped on to the carry handle.

#18 Chris1917

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 09:21 AM

My Dad is left handed. When he went into the Navy in WWII, he trained with an M1917. The Marine instructor saw all the trouble he was having on the range and told him to shoot however he wanted to. He ended up qualifing well left-handed but his right shoulder was so beat up and bruised from the recoil due to the bad attempts to shoot righty that he could hardly lift his right arm the next day!

He went on to be an LCVP Coxswain in the Pacific and never had to shoot a rifle again. He also said it was a good thing he never had to qualify with the M1911 he ended up carrying because he couldn't hit a barn door with it!

I am right handed but learned how to shoot lefty. None of the weapons I have used in reenacting - Rev War, 1812, Civil War, WWI, WWII - are very friendly to lefties, especially flintlocks. Since accuracy doesn't matter, I accustomed myself to "shooting" right handed while reenacting. I can shoot a handgun with either hand but am a little better as a righty.

#19 AustinO

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 11:09 AM

Lefty hand/eye here, taught myself to shoot right. Better pistol shot right handed to boot.

#20 45ACP

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 01:54 PM

Hi hbtcoveralls
My BAR ejects from the right side as I think they all do. Check out Douglas jr's BAR:
http://www.usmilitar...d...7989&hl=bar


The BAR is the most "Lefty freindly" US weapon I've fired. The cocking handle is on the left and the Mag release is in the center of the trigger guard and is accessable from both sides. The brass however does eject from the left side.
Tom Bowers



#21 Chris_B

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 03:52 PM

I've taken a left handed friend shooting my M1 rifle. He asked me how he could shoot it lefty. I said, 'by shooting it righty'. So he did. He was tolerably accurate- on the paper at 50 yards with every shot of his first clip and then in the black 6 times out of 8. He had no problem shooting it righty whatsoever. I can't imagine there was too much trouble getting 99% everyone to shoot them righty when they were issued weapons. Knowing how to shoot it lefty might come in handy though...

#22 hbtcoveralls

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 04:03 PM

Hi hbtcoveralls
My BAR ejects from the right side as I think they all do. Check out Douglas jr's BAR:
http://www.usmilitar...d...7989&hl=bar

you're correct, My bad I meant to say right, but really it chucks that brass so far I can't see being hit. Still the operating handle is on the left and the mag release is ambidexterous. As a righty I actually have trouble shooting the bar.
Tom Bowers



#23 Steve B.

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 05:08 PM

IIRC the snap on plastic brass deflectors didn't become available until the mid or late 1970s. They worked on the range, but weren't very practical in the field.

I recall reading a recommendation in some military publication that lefties use a Colt manufactured M-16 since they had a higher cyclic rate and were more likely to eject the brass forward, rather that straight sideways or slightly backward into the firer's face.

Starting (I think) with the M16A2 and continuing with the M4, there is a built-in brass deflector. It is the sort of triangular shaped lump of metal just behind the ejection port. They seem to work pretty well.

#24 45ACP

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 10:22 AM

The bar seems a little clumsy at first for the righthanded at first but if you get a stoppage you do not to leave the shooting position to clear it. just use your left hand and cycle the action. remember full auto BAR's fire from and open bolt.

#25 hbtcoveralls

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 01:52 PM

The bar seems a little clumsy at first for the righthanded at first but if you get a stoppage you do not to leave the shooting position to clear it. just use your left hand and cycle the action. remember full auto BAR's fire from and open bolt.



True and when I was firing the Full Auto BAR I was firing it offhand and kneeling since without a bipod (and since the ground at knob creek was gravel) I didn't want to try prone. Still an interesting weapon. Very little felt recoil and surprisingly accurate.
Tom Bowers


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