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  • Writer's pictureBrad Parker

It's Always Been A Right-Handed World

Updated: May 9, 2023

We have to work hard to overcome this for our self-defense training.

We continually preach being able to wield any weapon with any hand and to fight from any stance. You'll hear us call it bilateral shooting when discussing defensive firearms.

However, to the detriment of the 10% of people who are left-handed, the world is and has been a right handed world.

Today there exists many examples of the right-handed bias including how we shake hands, which side of the horse we get on, and historical examples like the medieval castle staircase below.

clockwise castle stairway
It's not an accident that most stairways in medieval castles are clockwise. And this has a lot to do with self-defense.

Next time you were touring a medieval castle or looking at photos and videos, take notice of which way the staircases turn. Most of the strategic staircases were built in a clockwise direction. This wasn't a coincidence, though; it was done for defense. This is because most people would be holding their swords in their right hand, which would make it difficult for them to wield them effectively if they are attacking up the staircase. If I am right-handed, I have to attack with a back-handed swing.

I'm fighting at a disadvantage to those defending the staircase who would benefit from a full swing of their sword. And because the staircase is circular, I can't simply use a longer range spear to attack.

Advantage to the right-handed knights defending the castle.

Unless I work to become as proficient with my left hand as I am with my right. When I become that proficient, I can attack up the staircase with full swings of my sword from left to right vs. having to use the shorter, less powerful backhand swing with my right.

The bias extends to modern times and our current day firearms. Controls for the firearms are designed for right-handed shooters. That includes safeties, magazine releases, bolts, and charging handles.

Yes, there are some manufacturers that make left-handed versions but those are fairly rare.

What we have seen lately is some designs that include ambidextrous safeties and some manufacturers let you change the side of the magazine release so lefties can use their left thumb to drop the magazine.

The lefties I've worked with have worked hard to master the normally right-handed platforms and can manipulate their firearms as well as right handed shooters. Still they are shooting left-handed.

When you are ready to move up from learning to shoot to working on gunfighting, you will need to start practicing with your "support" hand instead of shooting everything with your "dominant" hand.

The challenge is for us to master our defensive tools and be able to use them with either hand. That is a challenge for both left-handed and right handed shooters. Yet it's a challenge we need to work on to master our abilities to respond effectively in different situations.

Life is a cruel teacher because the test comes first, then the lesson.

Let's cheat to get ahead of the test and train bi-laterally -- meaning training with both/either hands.

I know, I know. We don't currently have the time to get proficient with our dominant hand, much less our support hand.

We have to make time -- the social, cultural, economic, and political fracturing we are experiencing demands it.

Tempus fugit.


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