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Concealed Carry Question

I get these emails a lot and this one has me stumped so I’ll turn it over to the crowd. My advice was, basically, practice shooting left handed and get someone who knows what they’re doing to show you how. But here goes:

I just found out that I am going to need some fairly heavy duty surgery on my right shoulder. Sucks but has to be taken care of. I can pick the time for the surgery just have to put up with the pain until then. I am probably going to plan for the end of the year. Recovery is going to be a bitch. 6 weeks in a sling and 4 months before returning to normal daily activities. Being a right handed guy I carry a Glock 19 either appendix at 12:30 to 1:00 or SOB 4’ish.

What do you think is the best idea for me going into this. I have never really felt vulnerable as I am a larger guy and I train in BJJ and compete regularly. No guarantees and that is why I carry. But looking forward to travel and being incapacitated with my shoulder I will feel different. I don’t know what I should do as far as which pistol to carry or how. I was thinking of an ambi mag release for my Glock and a couple of left handed holsters but have no idea if that is logical. I plan on getting in plenty of left handed practice over the next 60 days and pray that I won’t have to use it.

What say you?

33 Responses to “Concealed Carry Question”

  1. The Freeholder Says:

    I’d say you’ve already given him the best possible advice. Anyone can learn to shoot weak-handed, and as obvious from the question, it can come in handy.

  2. Stranger Says:

    Practicing left handed and making whatever mods are necessary to the pistol to function that way are pretty much the way to go. Some become reasonably expert, and some just moderately proficient – but at most self defense ranges the ability to shoot the bullseye out is less important that being able to shoot.

    Besides a lefty holster I would suggest a new pair of shoes with rubber soles and heels. Those who pack pretty much wear their shoes out side stepping out of the way of trouble, and a man with a bad wing really does not want his shoes to slip while he is sidestepping.


  3. John Says:

    This is what I’d do in the situation. YMMV

    Get a left handed holster that you are comfortable with and make the adjustments in your wardrobe necessary. Remember that you will be doing everything one handed and think through how you will handle draws, reloads, reholstering and racking the slide if necessary. Consider changing the rear sight to one with a square front profile as you can hook it onto a belt to rack the slide if necessary.

    Good luck!

  4. Glenn Geiss Says:

    Being left handed the only control on a pistol that is a concern is the safety. Releasing the magazine is actually quite simple, just use your middle finger to press the release. For safeties, either it’s ambidextrous or nothing. With a glock that’s not a problem.

  5. Miguel Says:

    Start practicing a lot weak handed. Start by just holding the UNLOADED gun with the weak hand while at home and take it everywhere. Let the hand get used to the feeling of the gun. Next: Dry fire it a lot. Next: range time.
    Use index finger for mag release.

    And the Clint Smith DVD Advanced Handgun techniques has the

  6. Jerry Says:

    What they said. Learning to shoot lefty is a skill I need to develop. Practice your ass off.

  7. HiddenHills Says:

    IMTUO, It ain’t the shooting that will be the real problem.

    The biggest problem is muscle memory on just getting the gat up and ready. Stressful situation and one will be reaching for where the gun *normally* is, wasting reaction time.

    Start carrying weak side and get used to accessing the gun.

    Probability says that you won’t have to fire, and even if then, it’s gonna be close range, or just scare the sh!t out of them while you bail out.

    Me, I carry backup on weak side anyway, and practice ambi (and my aim still sucks for both sides).

    Most of the time, it ain’t the flash that intimidates, but rather the gaping bore.

  8. Snowdog Says:

    i practice left handed-because i might not have my right hand free if the excrement hits the rotary air circulation device.

  9. Steve T. Says:

    Your plan to simply practice left handed is the only thing you can do really if you’re losing use of your strong side hand. Remember to step out strongly with your left foot and get behind your pistol, lean forward as far as you can while maintaining balance. Most people find that turning the gun inboard about 25-30 degrees helps stabilize the piece. Do this for the same reason a fighter does before he delivers a punch, it tightens the muscles in the forearm for added strength. Practice well and good luck.

  10. Heather Says:

    Like most people say, practice off-handed single-hand stuff. Including draw and whatnot.

    I’m not totally ambi on handgun yet but I am totally ambi on long guns, and it’s quite a blessing. It only feels weird for a little bit, too. And actually, I find that shooting off-hand single-hand is easier than shooting off-hand two-handed, though the gun manipulation is harder. Give careful thought to concealment garments – something you can sweep back with gunhand is better than something that needs to be pulled up and over.

  11. vinnie Says:

    CZ 82 is ambi and run about $250. They come with an ambi holster if it is the military one. Not good for concealment though. Upside 12 +1 Downside
    9mm Makarov. Remember that a right handed small of back holster is actually left handed as it moves around your body.

  12. Richard Says:

    I destroyed my right shoulder about 3 years ago. 4 fractures, 2 dislocations, 2 surgeries (second one being a replacement) and 4 months with the right arm strapped across my chest. For the 4 months, I used alternative carry like fanny pack or man purse or pocket carry on the off side and shot left handed. When I got movement back on the right side I switched back. For a while I had to use the support hand to bring the “strong” hand into line but I was really surprised how fast it came back. Within two weeks of getting clearance to move my arm, I could shoot right handed. Strength sucked for a while. Still does using a long gun, especially a pump shotgun but no real problem with a pistol. I am in my 60’s so if you are younger you should do better.

  13. comatus Says:

    And make yourself feel better about it:
    look up Takacs Karoly.

  14. Jerry Dreisewerd Says:

    The thoughts on going lefty for awhile are good ones. In truth, you should have been practicing all along. I can handle my 1911 quite nicely left handed. You might even want to think about one handed reloads & how to cycle the action one handed.

    On a personal note, I have one recommendation; do the physical therapy. It enables you to regain range of motion after the surgery. In my case, I really didn’t feel I had completely recovered until the one year point. Prior to that, my arm was usable with the occasional twinges but my arm just wouldn’t sustain prolonged physical activity without pain. It takes awhile but it does get better.


  15. Mr Evilwrench Says:

    I’m slightly right handed but very much left eye dominant, so I fire left-handed by default, though I’m fine either way. I carry a 1911 type, and the only issue I have is the mag release gets bumped once in a while, but that’s a holster mod I need to do. I actually find “right handed” firearms to be at least readily if not more easily usable left handed.

  16. Adam Says:

    Carry a revolver. I can shoot mine much better weak sided than I can any of my semi-autos. You also don’t have to worry about brass hitting you in the face.

    I suppose someone here will talk about ease of reloading, capacity, etc etc but honestly 5 rounds of .38 +p or .357 in a J frame is an awful lot of lead.

  17. Bubblehead Les Says:

    Mr. Evilwrench brought up a Good Point. Besides the Carry Position, the Shooter will now have to work-in the Cross-Dominate Eye problem. But on the Up Side, IMHO, once he recovers, he can now be used to the “New York Carry School.” That’s having 2 Handguns, one on the Left and one on the Right for all the younger readers out there.

  18. Jay G. Says:

    I’ll second what Adam said. I’m currently testing a Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 38, and one of the things that struck me was how well it was set up for a left-handed person – the new cylinder release (on top of the revolver rather than on one side) is fine for either hand, and the Insight laser is easier to activate left-handed rather than right.

    Just a thought – it sure beats harsh language…

  19. Jeff from DC Says:

    If you can put it on before your sling, try a high end shoulder holster. It’ll help avoid the constant touching of what is that on my left side. It’ll conceal nicely if you are in a sling, too. I’m a lefty and carry my 19 in a Mitch Rosen shoulder holster, and in 4 years of daily carry it has yet to discharge accidentally into me, my arm, the person behind me, the person to the side of me, or at all.

    The Glock is a good ambi-weapon. No external safety and the mag release can be switched out with your middle finger. Unless you are using the surgery as an excuse to buy a new pistol…then you totally need a new gun.

  20. Kristophr Says:

    Put a Derringer in you left pocket, and get close if you have to use it.

    Lose the Derringer once you can use your real pistol again.

  21. Mad Saint Jack Says:

    I have the extended slide release on both my Glocks (17L & 26). I like it because I can drop the slide with the trigger finger of my left hand.

    I would be most concerned if you had to reload one handed, but with a 9mm Glock you have the option of using a 17, 17+2 or 33rd mag.

    If it where me I’d have a left handed shoulder holster made where I could carry a 33rd mag hanging straight down from the gun. (already on my wish list for my 26).
    With one hand and a G19 I would have the holster made for a weapon light too (might as well go all in).

  22. Huck Says:

    Not meaning to sound sarcastic, but dos’nt everyone practice shooting with each hand? My dad taught me and my brothers and sister to shoot that way. He told us; “What if you break or sprain you right arm? That’s a poor time to realize that you cant hit the broadside of a barn shooting lefty.” I can shoot pretty good lefty with a pistol but I never got real good with long guns that way. I CAN hit the broadside of a barn shooting left handed with long guns, but anything smaller… 🙂

  23. Pakkinpoppa Says:

    Practice SouthPaw. Or NorthPaw. Even if not as good with the “weak hand” practice with it. Say your first action is taking a swipe on your “good” paw with a blade? Then what?

    To be fair, I shoot my snubnoses better left handed than right, and autos better right handed, but I can still hit paper with them going in reverse.

  24. Pakkinpoppa Says:

    Practice doing it all with one hand…loading, unloading, reloading…for me, it’s the whole “miniature human” I’m likely to have along for the ride, and he’s not going to be a happy camper should there be loud bangs and whatnot going on. And I don’t see a fight happening when he’s not with me, it’ll be when I’m trying to put him in the vehicle after the grocery, or something like that.

  25. Lyle Says:

    “I was thinking of an ambi mag release for my Glock and a couple of left handed holsters but have no idea if that is logical. I plan on getting in plenty of left handed practice over the next 60 days and pray that I wont have to use it.”

    Looks like he pretty well answered his own question.

    I’d be wondering about racking the slide with the bum shoulder. Doing it one-handed ain’t easy and it’s slow. Maybe a DA revolver would be easier to operate with minimal use of the right hand. Dunno– 16 or more shots in an auto pistol without a reload is pretty good.

  26. Texas Jack 1940 Says:

    I am right handed and left eyed. There are a few long guns I can fire (see the sights) right handed, but most I shoot lefty. I pocket carry my pistol on the left, and of course draw left. At the range, I always practice left only, right only, left supported by right, and right supported by left.
    Others mentioned a left draw shoulder holster. If your weather permits a jacket, that would be a good idea. I think you will need that left pocket for other stuff (keys, pocket knife, etc) too much to carry your pistol there. Here’s a thought; could you tuck it inside your sling? Good luck!

  27. Robert17 Says:

    I was taught from day one to shoot with both hands; I’m a natural southpaw due to a stronger left eye. Only practice, practice, practice. But ambidexterity is built into all of us, I believe. It’s just a matter of harnessing it. It translated well as through my life I’ve broken both wrists and several fingers and was always able to adapt to all the daily routines of hand preference fairly easily. You’ll be fine.

  28. Old NFO Says:

    Concur with all, Get the ambi release, dry fire, practice drawing, try to get a lefty holster.

  29. Will Says:

    If you can conceal a shoulder rig (horizontal/angled, not vertical), I would suggest consulting your surgeon on whether the strap and weight would be ok for your after-surgery condition. Also find out if the bulk under the arm would be ok. You may have to show up with the rig/gun for an accurate response, unfortunately.

    If you decide to go for it, the correct draw would be to sweep the muzzle parallel to your side and down toward the ground, with the mag pointing ahead until the muzzle is pointing at the ground ahead of your feet. That would be when you rotate your wrist to bring the sights to face upwards. This way, you don’t have to raise your bad arm for muzzle “clearance”.

    No reason to change the mag release, just use your index (trigger) finger. It generally works better for a lefty, as you don’t have to shift the gun in your grasp to hit it. Almost like the standard mag button location was designed by a left-hander 😎

    Besides the Smith that Jay G. mentions, Charter makes mirror image revolvers for lefties, if you decide to look at wheelguns in place of your G19.

  30. Turd Furguson Says:

    You don’t need an ambi mag release. Lefty shoots shoot all the time without an ambi anything. You either use your trigger finger or middle finger of your firing hand to release the magazine. If you need to rack the slide, invert the gun, then hook the rear sight in your belt. Also for your train up to carrying/shooting left handed, buy a Next Level Training SRT laser training pistol. This will solidify in muscle memory how to hold the gun and press the trigger without disturbing the sight alignment.

  31. Sebastian Says:

    I hear if you shoot with your non-dominant hand, it’s like someone else is shooting.

  32. NighNTexas Says:

    I had the right shoulder rebuilt. The sling that came from the surgery center had the large wrap around cushion that the sling velcroed to to hold the arm out from the body about 4 inches. I took a Crown Royal bag and sliced open the cushion and glued the shortened bag into the top of cushion pulling the gap caused by the cut closed with a couple of elastic bands sewn into the opening. You’ll have to carve out a little extra foam to get the pocket to form. I carried a Colt Government .380 and 2 spare clips. I could lay the pistol on the cushion edge to press the mag release and after getting new clip started in the well I just rotated the grip up and slapped in the mag. I would start shooting alot with my left hand, order a cushioned sling ahead of time so you can do the thread work with two hands.

  33. CCW Proponent Says:

    It’s a good idea to practice with your weak hand, anyway. In a dangerous situation where your dominant hand is incapacitated, it’s good to have the other hand available. It could save your life.