Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Training – Support Hand Dexterity Drills


How’s that for a fancy title?? Brings to mind the wizardry of speed drills, speed reloads, tactical reloads – mags flyin’, dump pouches bein’ filled – the smell of burnt gun powder in the air . . . . . . MMMmmmmmm, not so much.

I’m working on an “overdue” home project – the reinsulating of the ceiling in our 2-stall garage. It sits below our bedrooms and, after 30 years, we yanked out all the old stuff, and installed new stuff . . . . except . . . . for the portion under our bedroom. With temps periodically slipping into the single digits at night, I was “encouraged” by my lovely and loving wife to get off my butt and keep her feet warm!!!

So, the other evening, as I am working my way through 4ft sections of 9” batting, stuffing it between the floor joists and stapling the edges of the paper barriers together – I am “artfully balanced” on a short stepladder, half bent backwards, with a hand powered staple gun driving ½ inch staples through the paper overlaps into said floor joists. This was made more challenging because I was attempting to do all the work with my “dominant” hand, rather than using both “dominant” and “support” hands, depending on which could get into position easier. It occurred to me the lengths we will go to, to use our “dominant” hand when it may well be physically easier to us our “support” hand.

There’s been lot’s of hub-bub about moving from words like “strong hand” and “weak hand” to “dominant hand” and “support hand” over the past few years. A bit of a “to –maaaaa – toe” / “ta – may – toe” issue to me, yet there is a grain of truth in it.

I am a strongly right hand dominant person, and as can be evidenced by my efforts recounted above, I will quickly contort my body just so I can use my right hand. Honestly, that’s a silly choice – and one I would suggest your work at.

Getting back to gun fighting (what, you didn’t know that’s what we’re talking about??), consistent and dependable weapons manipulation, magazine reloads, speed-loader reloads are all dependent of your ability to use your “support” hand. This is a skill that can be practiced on a daily basis, not just on the range swapping mags in and out.

Some examples:

Open your locks with your support hand. Find your keys, put the key into the lock and open the door – all with your support hand.

Standing at the range (cooking that is) getting supper ready? Switch hands and do all the mixing, stirring, flipping with your support hand.

Making a cell/phone call? Reach for your phone, open, dial, answer, send a text – all with your support hand.

Doing maintenance around the home? Switch hands and use your support side – even if it takes much longer.

Cleaning your weapons? Again, switch hands and use your support hand to do the work.

Loading magazines? Switch hands.

Use a computer? Use your support hand as your “mouse” hand.

What’s the point of this?? In a gunfight, your survival depends on your body doing what you ask it to. Nothing is more devastating than hearing a “click” and muffing the reload. Or feeling a shooting pain in your dominant shoulder and realizing you are worthless with your support side hand. Any “Support Hand Dexterity Drills” you can do – be they unlocking a door or sending a text or off hand shooting – will help teach your body a skill set that may one day save your life.

Training doesn’t just happen at the range . . . .

It can happen anywhere you use your hands . . . .


  1. Good stuff here Sir. I was able to redeem myself during a steel plate match just because you had to shoot a portion of it weak hand only.

  2. Yep, never know when that might come in handy! I coulda had a better steel season . . . . heavy sigh. Next year!!!

  3. Good points, and it IS WORK to do non-dominant hand stuff... What makes it even worse is if you have distal neuropathy in your weak hand.