Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sheepdog 101: Work on the weak side...

The good Lord blessed most of us with two good hands, but we tend to use one for about ninety-percent of our daily routine.  While I've seen a lot of good write-ups and discussion about practicing and shooting with the weak side hand, I've not seen a lot about developing daily routines and use of the weak side hand.

For example, think about self-defense with a firearm for concealed carry... you're walking through the parking lot chattin' on the cell phone when Mr. Mugger decides to use you as an ATM for his cash needs... he pulls a knife or gun and you do a quick, perfect strong side draw from concealment... just like you've practiced... except that now your cell phone is skating across the parking lot because you tossed or dropped it from your strong side hand as you did that quick, perfect strong side draw from concealment.

Yes, we should probably refrain from using our cell phones and reducing our awareness while finding our way through a parking lot, but we still do it anyway.  Is the gun more important than the cell phone at the moment of truth... sure it is, but the cell phone would still be good to have afterwards.  Maybe substitute something else for the strong side cell phone in this scenario... your keys... your bag of groceries... your child's hand.

We are in the habit of using our strong side hand and arm.  It's natural, it's easy, it's more coordinated.  Our tendency is to reach, grab, grasp, push, carry, hold, touch, pull and do almost every daily task with our strong side.  If you think you've got the weak side mastered, that's cool... now use your weak side to use your computer mouse or track pad for the next hour and see how you do.  

I'd like for you to consider consciously, purposely, and strategically using your weak side hand throughout your daily routine... every day.  You may need it to free up your strong side or occasionally even replace your strong side hand due to an injury.

Strengthen your weak side.  I regularly exercise my grip for strength and purposely do more "reps" with my weak side hand.  Using my weak side hand has become routine to leave my strong side hand open and available for more important tasks... like shaking hands and drawing my gun from concealment.  My daughter even knows to walk on my weak side.  She's been holding my weak side hand almost all of her sixteen years and she knows why.

A lot of folks in the shooting sports practice, practice, and practice to build muscle memory and good skills through repetition and consistency with their firearms and equipment... so why wouldn't the same apply to every day tasks, especially to us... us creatures of habit. 

So in addition to practicing with your weak side at the range... your off-the-range homework assignment from today's class of Sheepdog 101: Work on the weak side...


  1. I have just started doing these kinds of things. I used to always carry my phone in my purse, but now I put it in my weak side pocket. I used to carry my purse on my left side, but now it's on my right. That has taken forever to get used to. Not comfortable, but for T& it's better that I be a little uncomfortable.

  2. Great advice Dann and my New Years resolution is to stop ignoring good advice. This weekend, I promise.