View Full Version : Training a left hander how to shoot

Trojan Bayonet
02-19-2012, 10:13 AM
I'm training a left hander how to shoot, but I need a few pointers how to do it. Specifically, I need a few hints on how to train a lefty on right-handed designs such as the Remington 870, AR-15, and AK-47. It felt a little awkward improvising solutions on the spot, but I want to know any solutions you guys may have.

02-19-2012, 10:40 AM
For the AR15: What questions specifically? Dropping mags? Engaging the safety? Pulling back the charging handle? Other than those, everything else should be the same.
Im a lefty and push the mag release with my R thumb while pulling out the mag/letting it drop. Insert the mag with R hand and then hit the Magpul extended release lever. If you have just the Std release train them to come up underneath the gun to release the bolt. Im sure their is a You Tube video out there about this.

Fot the safety, have them use their L thumb to engage safety to Fire position and to put it back on safe, either use their thumb or trigger finger, depending on if they can reach it or not.

02-19-2012, 10:42 AM
Prescribe Ritalin. Oh, wait, that was a different handicap....(just kidding)

02-19-2012, 11:07 AM
I am left handed and shoot an AR and an 870. I don't own or use an AK, so I won't comment on that firearm.

With the AR,
1. Operate the safety by moving the left thumb to the left side, or get an ambigdexterous safety.
2. Operate the bolt release, with the left hand or use the right hand by reaching through the carrying handle slot.
3. Operate the magazine release with the right hand.
4. Operate the forward assist with either hand that is available.

With the 870,
1. Operating the bolt disconnect, loading, cycling the action can be done right or left handed.
2. operating the safety, just remember that pushing in from the right takes it off safe. If that is too cumbersome, only place a round in the chamber when you are ready to fire it.

The most efficient operations will be determined by trial and error during practice sessions with an unloaded firearm. I would also suggest getting some dummy rounds for practice.

02-19-2012, 11:30 AM
I'm left-handed, and have AR's and used to have an 870. I've never noticed any awkwardness in operating the 870, so I don't really know what you'd want to know about that.

As for the AR, I operate the selector with my left thumb. I maintain my grip with 4 fingers on the PG, but lift my thumb up to hit the selector. Mag release is right thumb, usually with fingers around the front of the mag well. New mag shoves in, and I sort of put my hand on the top rail in front of my RDS, push the bolt catch.

02-19-2012, 11:54 AM
I own and shoot all three firearms, and train right- and left-handed shooters. I have some alternatives, none are meant to be the "only way" to accomplish the desired result.


The safety can be manipulated by most left handed users with the base knuckle of the left forefinger both on and off without removing the firing hand from the grip. An ambi safety is preferable, but not necessary.

The bolt release can be manipulated by slapping the left side of the receiver with the palm of the left hand while the right hand supports the rifle.

The magazine release can be depressed by the thumb of the right hand as it moves back from its support position enroute to grasping a fresh magazine. Bonus (of sorts): If the rifle has a BB, a G-pik on the right thumb works well as the left hander can see the BB, get the tool in as easily as possible, and the G-pik on the right thumb doesn't get in the way of withdrawing a fresh magazine.

The charging handle can be manipulated by the left hand while the right supports the rifle. Pinch the charging handle latch between the thumb and forefinger instead of attempting to "fork" the handle between the first and second fingers. This keeps the shooter from striking themselves if their hand slips off the handle and allows them to keep the weapon up while charging or clearing a jam.

The forward assist is a non-issue. Tap-rack-bang to clear a round that won't chamber. I teach that whether the shooter is right- or left-handed.


Slide release is depressed by reaching under the front of trigger guard.

Safety is manipulated by reaching under the rear of the trigger guard. Left handed trigger groups are available; left hand safety conversion alone is not recommended (talk to "aippi" on this forum about that).

Combat loading is easier for us lefties as we can see the ejection port and the round as it is inserted.


The right thumb disengages the safety on the way to its support position. Right thumb also engages the safety.

The bolt is manipulated with the right hand while the left, in a firing grasp, supports the weapon using leverage (pressing the weapon back against the shoulder, not trying to hold it up by arm strength alone). Rolling the weapon to the right keeps the shooter from striking themselves in the face if their hand slips off the bolt handle.

If the weapon is a RAW or featureless, a fresh magazine held in the right hand, top up, is used to sweep the magazine release and empty magazine, sweeping the empty out of the well. If the weapon is BB equipped, the G-pik again becomes an option as well as an Ultimate BB Tool installed on the magazine.

02-19-2012, 12:05 PM
Oh, one more thing I just thought of: I really recommend the BCM Gunfighter for lefties with AR's. You can operate it one handed quite easily. What I usually do is hold the rifle by the PG with my left hand, flip it on its side to the right, and grab the left side of the CH with my right hand, just pull it straight back.

Trojan Bayonet
02-19-2012, 1:51 PM
Thanks everyone. Your suggestions are extremely useful.

02-19-2012, 7:38 PM
Im a lefty and I bought a direct saftey button replacement for my 870 that works in the right handed trigger group from Midway it was $22 dollars shipped. It works great

02-19-2012, 7:51 PM
Im a lefty and I bought a direct saftey button replacement for my 870 that works in the right handed trigger group from Midway it was $22 dollars shipped. It works great

Thanks. I did not know these existed. I am ordering one now.

02-19-2012, 9:14 PM
No problem glad to help