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Author Topic: Skinny Sideways  (Read 1108 times)


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Skinny Sideways
« on: September 01, 2007, 06:04:05 AM »

Skinny Sideways and Canting

A couple of quick observations on shooting a pistol with one hand, intermixed with some shared words of shooting expert Lt. Dave Spaulding (Ret.). The points here are how to position your body when shooting with one hand and how to position your pistol. So:

            Point 1) Body position issues
            Point 2) One-handed, pistol, hand and arm position issues
There are many reasons for having to shoot with one hand, least of which there seems to be an inert, reflexive response for many to do so when startled, even after much two-hand training. People shoot with two hands to:
   - keep the weapon on target - better support
   - reduce recoil
   - handgun retention
and they typically stand:
- flat and frontal to you
- bladed
- completely sideways

Point 1) Some suggest you can shoot one-handed with a two-handed grip style body position. Strike a bladed pose as if you were using a two-handed grip anyway and then just use one hand. This does still leave your body in more of a frontal position and a larger target that turning your body a "skinny" sideways.

I have conducted hundreds and hundreds of sims training sessions through the years and observed this one-hand phenomena occur many times. Here's a classic situation I've seen many times. A veteran police officer and shooter stands before a teenager with no training. They draw. The teen instinctively turns his body sideways to avoid the pain of the sims. He gets real slinky too, as if he is actually dodging the barrel as he sees it on him. The officer drops into his two-handed, range, stance. More often than not the two-handed officer, bladed and more frontal takes quite a few more rounds than the sideways, slinky teen. You might say the uneducated folks have "won" a lot of these CQC training battles versus the range veteran. I have drawn many radical conclusions from watching these sims match-ups.

"Sideways" was a classic shooter's position when I started shooting in the 1960s. In the typical police qualification course, some 25 rounds or so were shot from the 50 yard line in this one-hand, sideways position. The thought today of having to shoot that far without binoculars gives me the willie nelsons. But, I qualified expert many times in those days, even with a snub-nose .38! YES! It can be done. Also, the duelers of yesterday always stood sideways to limit their body exposure to the opponent. We were told back then, that standing sideways made us less of a target. Nowadays, they say real slick, impressive terms like, smaller "shooter profile." Yet, no one today seems to be an advocate of "skinny sideways."

Point 2: To cant or not to cant. Recanting the cant!
There seems to be two schools of thought on the angle of the pistol in your one-handed grip. Many experts suggest that you cant the pistol at a near .45 degree angle. They say that this angle is the natural angle of the hand and really assists in the simplicity of execution. More than one expert I know has run tests on the angled grip and they say at greater distances your accuracy drops off. I myself have never tested this, but I have no reason to doubt it.
Then others, like Dave Spalding offer a more rigid opposite:
"Try this the next time you shoot at the range. Get into a solid shooting position with your shoulders above your toes. Extend your arms in your favorite shooting platform-Weaver, isosceles, who cares?-and then lock your support arm back against your upper torso. Make sure you lock the support arm back because this will help lock the extended arm, too. Note: It really doesn't feel all that different to shoot with one hand than with two. If you need a bit more recoil control, put a little more upper-body lean into the gun. If the gun seems to waver and move in front of the target, don't try to cant it inward. Rotate the shooting-arm elbow down toward the ground and straighten the shooting-hand thumb. You'll find this locks the arm all the way from the shoulder through the wrist. If you need to bring the gun back to the torso for a close retention shot, all you'll need to do is bend the elbow and draw the gun back. This is simple to execute, so don't over-complicate the process. With this method, you can fire the gun anywhere from just above the holster pouch to a full extension away from the body." ...says Dave in Law Officer Magazine

Just some points to ponder. How to stand. How to hold that pistol when shooting with one hand. Meanwhile, my prayer is "may all your enemy be ignorant and untrained (but I hope they don't turn skinny sideways on you, especially while you are recanting the cant!)