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  #1  
Old 10-10-2017, 12:31 PM
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Default Need Tips On Learning to Shoot Southpaw

I got some bad news from the optometrist yesterday. He said it's incredibly uncommon that macular degeneration occurs in one eye only, but technically that's where I'm at. Chances of losing sight completely in my right eye are low (5-10% within 5 years). But it's still not awesome to find out, especially being under 30.

Unfortunately, I'm right handed and right eye dominant, so I'm thinking it might be a good idea to start training to shoot lefty while I can still enjoy some level of accuracy with my dominant eye/hand, to offset my crappy left-handed shooting.

Does anyone have general training advice on going about learning to shoot with my weak side? Seems straight forward enough, but if anyone has tips or tricks that may help me create a good set of training exercises, that would be great! I'm not looking to switch my eye dominance yet, since I don't know how fast my vision will worsen, I just want to try becoming more of an ambidextrous shooter for now until the doc can tell me more.
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Old 10-10-2017, 2:02 PM
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With pistol, you don't change your shooting hand based on eye-dominance. You shoot with your dominant hand and line up sights with your dominant eye. In your case, if you indeed lose enough of your eyesight in the right eye (hoping you don't, though), you will have to change eye dominance, but you can keep shooting right handed.

The problem is with rifles and shotguns where you would have to start shooting left handed. Whether it makes sense to start now is a tough call.

Back to pistols, when you have to shoot "weak hand only" in competition, it's always "aim with the right eye while holding pistol in the left hand."
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Old 10-11-2017, 7:48 AM
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Originally Posted by IVC View Post
With pistol, you don't change your shooting hand based on eye-dominance. You shoot with your dominant hand and line up sights with your dominant eye... Back to pistols, when you have to shoot "weak hand only" in competition, it's always "aim with the right eye while holding pistol in the left hand."
I learn something new every day!

With that in mind, it seems like maybe it's best to practice shooting lefty, using right eye for pistols. I assume my body will switch dominance to the left automatically if my sight loss gets bad enough, so that'll tell me when it's time to start using the left eye for pistols.

For rifles, I may just try and casually get comfortable shooting lefty. Maybe with sporting clays to get my arms used to the switch.

Thanks for the input!
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Old 10-11-2017, 9:45 AM
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Go see a Retina Specialist (Ophthalmologist). You'll need a Fluorescein angiography to really determine what is happening and a prognosis. I've worked with some very good Optometrists but for this you should go to the best trained specialist you can find.

I hope all goes well!

Last edited by 3453; 10-11-2017 at 9:46 AM.. Reason: I can't spell trained but got Ophthalomogist right
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Old 10-11-2017, 9:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3453 View Post
Go see a Retina Specialist (Ophthalmologist).

You'll need a Fluorescein angiography to really determine what is happening and a prognosis.

I've worked with some very good Optometrists but for this you should go to the best trained specialist you can find.


I hope all goes well!
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Old 10-11-2017, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3453 View Post
Go see a Retina Specialist (Ophthalmologist). You'll need a Fluorescein angiography to really determine what is happening and a prognosis. I've worked with some very good Optometrists but for this you should go to the best trained specialist you can find.

I hope all goes well!
Thank you for the advice! If you're in the OC area and can recommend any Ophthalmologists, it would be much appreciated.

My optometrist "... rotated through various ophthalmologic training clinics, including Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, where he received specialized retina, cornea, post-operative, and glaucoma training. " for what it's worth and is highly regarded as an Optometrist in the area, but I don't know if he can provide the test you've mentioned.

I'm glad you saw this post!
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Old 10-11-2017, 11:06 AM
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If shooting semi-auto, be very careful if you try shooting two handed grip.
It is very easy to slide-bite your thumb. Ask me how I know.
I'm pretty sure this is why IDPA specifies "weak hand only"
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Old 10-11-2017, 12:16 PM
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If shooting semi-auto, be very careful if you try shooting two handed grip.
It is very easy to slide-bite your thumb. Ask me how I know.
I'm pretty sure this is why IDPA specifies "weak hand only"
That's interesting. Is it simply because as a right handed shooter, I would tend to not hold the pistol in the same manner when switching to a left-handed hold? Or is there something about the ergonomics of the gun I'm not considering?
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Old 10-11-2017, 3:29 PM
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Originally Posted by TheReluctantCraftstronaut View Post
That's interesting. Is it simply because as a right handed shooter, I would tend to not hold the pistol in the same manner when switching to a left-handed hold? Or is there something about the ergonomics of the gun I'm not considering?
Bold = yes, it's not the handgun, just very easy to get the grip wrong and ZING! break out the Band Aids!
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Old 10-11-2017, 3:43 PM
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Originally Posted by VictorFranko View Post
If shooting semi-auto, be very careful if you try shooting two handed grip.
It is very easy to slide-bite your thumb. Ask me how I know.
I'm pretty sure this is why IDPA specifies "weak hand only"
If one is mirroring their grip except for switching hand positions, how is that possible?
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Old 10-11-2017, 6:33 PM
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If one is mirroring their grip except for switching hand positions, how is that possible?
If I understand correctly, if you do mirror the grip it's fine. But being right handed, it will be awkward/unnatural to shoot mirrored and therefore easier to make the mistake of not truly mirroring the grip and getting bit by the slide.

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Old 10-11-2017, 6:38 PM
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I did everything left-handed for a loooong time, until I got a detached retina in my left eye. A great surgeon fixed it pretty well, but it will never be the same.

I was amazed at how easy it was to cross over to shooting rifles right-handed. I didn't use any special exercises, just the same organized, planned practice routine I started with. It really made buying rifles easier, now that I've joined the "right" side!

As noted above, the handguns stayed in the previously strong hand, I just have to occasionally remind myself to aim with the previously weak eye. Not nearly as much of a problem as I thought it was going to be.

Take heart! If you still have one good eye you are not out of the race!
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Old 10-12-2017, 7:47 AM
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Anything can be learned if you progress slowly and methodically. I am a lefty and at my brother's advice I learned to golf right handed. I never got any good, but it didn't have anything to do with doing it right handed. I just hated the sport and didn't practice.
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Old 10-12-2017, 7:53 AM
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Hope everything works out well for you.
UCLA Stein Eye Institute is considered among the best in the nation for opthalmology
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Old 10-12-2017, 7:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheReluctantCraftstronaut View Post
With that in mind, it seems like maybe it's best to practice shooting lefty, using right eye for pistols.
...
For rifles, I may just try and casually get comfortable shooting lefty. Maybe with sporting clays to get my arms used to the switch.
The problem is that if you start shooting long guns "lefty," you'll go *against* your current eye dominance. It would be "weak hand, non-dominant eye," a combination that I have never seen recommended by anyone.

Similarly, if you start shooting handguns lefty, you're making an unnecessary transition regardless of how your eye dominance develops. The only reason to go lefty with handguns would be to make it consistent with long guns, but I haven't heard of this being ever recommended either.

If I were personally in your position, I would probably *try* a few different combinations just to see how they feel, but would otherwise postpone the decision until the vision in the dominant eye changes to the point that the eye dominance is beginning to shift. Only at that time would I start transitioning.

The best advice will be from someone who went through the same process. For the rest of us it's just a guessing game and thinking about what we would do.
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Old 10-13-2017, 7:29 AM
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The problem is that if you start shooting long guns "lefty," you'll go *against* your current eye dominance. It would be "weak hand, non-dominant eye," a combination that I have never seen recommended by anyone.

Similarly, if you start shooting handguns lefty, you're making an unnecessary transition regardless of how your eye dominance develops. The only reason to go lefty with handguns would be to make it consistent with long guns, but I haven't heard of this being ever recommended either.

If I were personally in your position, I would probably *try* a few different combinations just to see how they feel, but would otherwise postpone the decision until the vision in the dominant eye changes to the point that the eye dominance is beginning to shift. Only at that time would I start transitioning.

The best advice will be from someone who went through the same process. For the rest of us it's just a guessing game and thinking about what we would do.
At the end of the day, I think this is my approach. I thought it would be useful to slowly learn good trigger control and grip on pistols (since I mostly shoot pistols) to make a transition to long gun easier but it seems premature now that I've had a week to mull things over. I'll just keep shootin and let my body tell me when to make the switch, if ever! There's a still a good chance that the damage won't progress, so here's to hoping for a lifetime of excuses as to why my wife (much less interested in guns) becomes a better shot than I am!
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