One of the hardest thing any South Paw shooter has to learn when starting out, is learning how to manipulate their firearms with their non-dominant hand. Unfortunately, for lefties, this is a suck more situation.
Everything that is taught in class is done from a right handed person’s perspective. And the cheap ass saying that the instructors will typical regurgitate is “do what I do, but opposite”. What the hell does that do for me if I don’t even understand what you are doing at the moment?
So the question is, should you be buying a “specialty” gun that is made for left handed shooters?
Back in the Days
When I had started out, which was not too long ago, the market was starting to open a little more penetration for ambidextrous platforms. This work great for the rifles, but for pistols, not so much. I rarely ever found a left handed (non-ambi) gun straight from the factory made for South Paws. Sure some of them did offer the capability to modify them for your left handed usage, but that either required knowledge of “how to” do this yourself. Or pay even more money to either hire a gunsmith or ship it back to manufacturer to re-configure your gun, including the cost of the replacement part.
Ambidextrous guns were always my first choice. And while I would love to own a 1911, the fact that it’s a pain in the ass to manipulate the safety with my left thumb is a deal breaker for me. Of course, the irony is that I carried a HK45 for years that was very similar to the 1911. However, the winning feature was that the HK has ambi-magazine release.
I rather take a little longer to put my gun on safe, but when it comes to feeding it, I want speed.
My competition rifle happens to use a Stag Arms upper receiver for left handed users. That means the case is ejected to the left side. The suck part is that it’s not built like the traditional right handed rifle. Meaning that the typical configuration is different. This could be because of how they have their CNC machine setup or whatever.
For example, the dust cover on my rifle flips up, not down. This could be good and bad. The bad part is that the dust cover rod tends to walk out of it’s own slot. Because of the way it’s built, I cannot use a retaining pin-clip to lock the rod in place. This was confirmed when I spoked to the gunsmith at Stag. So that means, I have to keep an eye on it or my dust cover won’t open or will fly off.
Another suck part is that if you are using something like an EO-Tech that is a wide base, that flipped up dust cover is going to be a pain in the ass. One instance, I was not able to use a quick-detach (QD) scope mount since the lever was built on the left side which interfered with the dust cover. So obviously, there is a huge disadvantage to using this “lefty” configuration.
The good part, well, I guess is that the brass ejects to my left. I really haven’t found a good reason why the dust cover flips up other than that of the lower receiver. If the dust cover flips down, it would cover the bolt catch release. In essence, it’s a compromise from Stag Arms, assuming that you are using a lefty upper on a righty lower.
While it’s a nice compromise, I personally am not a fan of my left handed upper. Because the more I have to pay attention to the little stuff like the dust cover potentially jamming up when it opens, the more I have to baby the rifle. And I honestly don’t want to do that, especially in a 3 Gun match or a training class where I transition a lot or ditch my rifle into a barrel.
Additional, another suck part is that my bolt carrier has to be configured for a left handed ejection. Try finding a manufacturer that specializes in left handed BCG! If you do, it’s expensive and most likely, it’s not going to be MILSPEC but rather just cheap commercial grade. I can tell you that there are few manufacturers that I will not buy left handed firearms from because they cheap out on producing quality parts.
So is it worth it? From my experience, no.
On a Side Note
There are left-handed bolt action rifles, like from Ruger, but I’m a little “iffy” about it. I haven’t had much time on it to know if I like manipulating the bolt from the left side of the rifle or going (reaching) over the rifle and manipulating it on a standard setup (when in the prone). So maybe this here would be a case to make for having a specialty left handed rifle cause it just seems more natural to work the bolt from my left side.
I haven’t been in any PRS matches or had to hunt with a bolt action to know whether my personal setup and preference will work in the real world. So it’s debatable for me at this point until I can proof this out some more.
Also Mossberg offers left handed shotguns. And if you’ve been reading my articles, you’d know how much I love my Mossberg boomstick. While I think that the left handed set up is really appealing, I am actually ok with manipulating the shotgun as is. Actually, I find it much easier because I’ve been doing it for so long, even if I switched to a left handed shotgun, it would be slower initially, for me to run it effectively.
The maintenance cost is expensive when it comes to replacing parts. You save more money using a right handed rifle and learning how to manipulate it “as is”. Plus the availability of aftermarket parts for right handed setups are much more prevalent. Also, if you decide to sell your rifle, good luck in finding another left handed shooter, because you really are limited on finding buyers.
Sadly, I live in a right handed world. So in a SHTF scenario, if I had to pick up a battlefield weapon, then it would be in my interest to learn how to work it as it is. So always go with common denominators.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with owning specialty guns designed for left handed users. But, if your mindset is to be a well rounded shooter, to be an effective concealed carrying member of society, then it really doesn’t matter if you have a left or right handed gun. You should already know how to run the gun with either hands safely and effectively.