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Single Hand Pistol Operation

Shooting With the Single Hand

In an earlier newsletter on violence we noted that an essential skill set in Close Quarters Handgun operations was the ability to shoot the handgun with one hand unsupported and to be as comfortable as or even more so than with a two hand supported platform.

There were a few who dissented: Two hand supported should always be the default shooting method, it’s more stable-more accurate and provides for faster recovery between shots. (The bold is mine)

This is true when you’re alone, squared up to your threat, hands are free, at the gun club waiting for the command to fire. Violence flows the path of least resistance; there are no rules.


Single hand pistol operation allows for fluid direction changes 
Two hand supported shooting requires that the shooter square up to the threat, but when a lethal threat appears it will be very close and from a really tough angle, the need to create distance, turn and square up to the target and assume a good Modified Isolocese shooting position , usually results in the backward shuffle and fall. There you are, on your butt trying to shoot between your legs. Single hand weapon operation allows for fluid three hundred sixty degree direction changes with a weapon engaged on-contact with a threat as you move.
The one or both hands are occupied
In concealed carry scenario exercises using simulated munitions, the non-shooting hand must clear the covering clothing out of the way before the firearm can be accessed. As distance (reaction time) compresses, garment clearing becomes tenuous. After reviewing video of students engaging each other in CCW scenarios, we find that the hang ups occur when the good guy successfully clears a covering shirt with an off-hand just enough to access the weapon with the other, but then they let go of the shirt prematurely causing the “hang-up” between shirt and gun. In debriefing, the answers are consistent; students feel the need to go right to a two hand supported stance and square up to the threat. The former results on a clothing hang-up, the latter results in falling into the supine.
Accept that you may need to begin delivering rounds right out of the holster while holding a shirt or other garment clear; you may be on a mobile device talking to a 911 operator or guiding loved ones to safety.
Having a gun out of the holster doesn’t necessarily mean shooting.  Most street violence happens at night and often in unfamiliar territory.  You may find yourself checking for an open a door or feeling your way through a dark parking area, a darkened home or building. Navigating the unfamiliar with one hand, while having your weapon at a contact ready with the other, is a real possibility.
You may need to go hands-on 
One of the worst scenarios is finding yourself on the ground in a physical struggle with an assailant. This is a situation characterized by the knife attack. If so, single hand weapon operation may be the only option; pushing off or blocking with one hand while operating a weapon with the other. There is one scenario that I think is worse than going to the ground in a grappling with weapons fight, that would be on the ground with your assailant standing over you. The Advanced Close Quarters Handgun program offers a solution to this problem. It requires going to single hand weapon operation, but if you’re in reasonably good shape it’s an incredibly fast recovery that allows for uninterrupted use of the weapon and direction change during the recovery process.
Most who consider themselves adept with the gun are dismissive at the thought of going hands on or physical exertion in the defensive handgun. This is a closed mind.

Single hand vs. two hand supported

It shouldn’t be single hand handgun operation vs. two hand supported operation. They’re both tools in your tool box of handgun skills. Two hand supported tends to work out best in the target shooting world and within the realm of pro-active or foreseen law enforcement events. But within the general public where violence is most often a pre-calculated up-close set-up where the time and place was was chosen by your assailant, single hand weapon skills are essential.
The old school adage “NEVER DO THIS!” or “ALWAYS DO THAT!” is the dying mantra of those who can’t explain why they do what they do. The application of the firearm as a martial tool is changing. Always and never is the language of the neophyte; sometimes and it depends is the language of the sages.  Versatility gives one the ability to discern.

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High Desert Training Group
Ken Williams, Instructor
(928) 241-4397
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