Written by Greg Ellifritz
Being able to switch hands while shooting a pistol is a critical skill to acquire. Not only is it useful to switch hands to maximize use of cover, it is critically important to be able to switch hands if your shooting arm becomes injured in the gunfight. It’s a skill that most recreational shooters don’t practice enough.
This drill, designed by Todd Louis Green at pistol-training.com, will give you some great practice. You’ll need a par timer, two 8.5″ x 11″ sheets of paper, and two 3″x5″ note cards to use as targets.
Before you start, make sure you can safely perform the hand transfer with an UNLOADED gun. Assume a right hand only shooting stance, then pass the gun to your left hand for a left hand only shooting stance. Continually move the gun back and forth until the transfer is smooth. I switch sighting eyes as well, but that isn’t absolutely necessary.
Once your gun is loaded, heed Todd’s warning:
safety notice: as with any drill involving transfer from one hand to the other, please remember to be careful. If you should drop the gun during the drill, let it fall to the ground and do not try to catch it in midair. If you try to catch it, the odds are very good that you’ll snatch the trigger and discharge the gun accidentally
There are two versions of this drill. Start with the slow version using the 3×5 cards as targets. Set your par timer to 10 seconds.
Place two 3×5 cards at least one foot apart at a range of three yards. Starting position is normal ready position for strong hand only (SHO) shooting. On the buzzer, engage the right card slowly until you get one hit. Then carefully transition the pistol to the weak hand only (WHO) and engage the left card until you get one hit. Keep transitioning back and forth from SHO to WHO until the PAR time runs out.
Practice until you are getting at least two hits on each card in the PAR time. Then, increase the distance to 5 yards and start again. Keeping adding distance until you can no longer get the necessary hits in the allowed PAR time.
My shooting companions and I tried this one at the recommended three yard distance. It was easy. We were getting 3-4 hits on each target within the time frame. We changed the parameters to start from a concealed draw and do the drill. That made it more difficult, but we all got the required number of hits.
We moved back to five yards and repeated the drill several times. We then moved back to seven yards and gave it a try. We could do it when starting from the ready position, but when drawing from concealment, we ran out of time.
After a few more attempts, we moved on to the FAST version of the drill:
Similar to the above except you will use two larger targets, such as 8″ plates or 8.5×11 sheets of paper. On the buzzer, engage the right target with two hits shooting SHO. Once you get your two hits, carefully transition to the WHO and engage the left target until you get two hits. Transition back and forth as many times as you can until the PAR time runs out.
Practice until you are getting at least four hits per card at 3yd within the 10 second PAR, then increase the distance to 5yd. Keeping adding distance until you can no longer get the required number of hits within the PAR time.
Firing two rounds at a time also gave us practice at one-handed recoil control as well. We started this one at 10 feet for a few runs, then moved back to 15 feet, then 20 feet.
At 25 feet we started throwing rounds and not making the time. We ended the drill by loading full magazines and shooting the whole magazine with GUARANTEED HITS for time. The person who got all 17 hits (we were using Glock 9mm pistols) in the fastest time was the winner. It was a good way to close out the drill with a little focus and accuracy while being fun at the same time.
I’d recommend this drill highly. It works well at indoor ranges that have restrictions on drawing, movement, and rapid fire. Give it a try and report back if you liked it!