Cross Dominance: my personal experience.
Cross dominance is a fancy phrase used to describe a situation when your dominant eye and your dominant hand are on opposite sides of the body. Some trainers are adamant that your primary firearm hand must be on the same side as your dominant eye and you have 2 choices:
- Retrain your eyes. Often done by covering your dominant eye when training to force your non-dominant eye to become dominant.
- Shoot with your opposite hand.
Personally, I think this is a pretty rigid stance on the topic. Especially since we are all so different.
I’m right handed so naturally, my right hand is stronger and more dexterous than my left. However, I have damage to the cornea of my right eye which affects vision in that eye making me left eye dominant. This also means I do not have the ability to retrain my eyes.
I spent a long time shooting right handed but eventually wanted to simply expand on my abilities so started shooting left handed. One never knows when they may get an injured hand or arm and may need to defend themselves with their “off” hand so it seemed like a good idea to become proficient with both hands.
As one would expect the initial sensation was quite foreign, that telltale lack of coordination and awkwardness was a bit comical at first. One of the fir4st things I noticed, however, was how much smoother and naturally, the firearm lined up with my left eye. While shooting right handed, due to my bulk, I had to force the gun across my body and for me personally, there was a slight angle to the wrist causing me to apply extra tension to bring the sights into alignment.
None of these things made it wrong or impossible to shoot right handed they were simply things that needed to be accounted for and with time behind sights became automatic, but not comfortable.
It took a couple months, training 2-3 times a week for 90 minutes or so drawing, manipulating the firearm and short shooting sessions of 50 rounds or so for me to become basically as adept with my left hand as my right hand.
The obvious benefit of all this is that now I am basically as proficient left handed as right handed making me a more well-rounded fighter in the use of a firearm. The not so obvious benefits began to appear as I began to incorporate left handed carry into my other training.
Retention is an often overlooked (well, one of many things actually but I digress) and a very important aspect of carrying a firearm. One of the best tools for retention is the use of a knife however here in Minnesota we have some pretty messed up knife laws. There is no state preemption and it seems every city, country, municipality has their own statutes. Many of these statutes prohibit the carry of a fixed blade knife so that means a little extra dexterity and practice is required to effectively deploy a folding knife. This is exacerbated even further if you're naturally right handed and trying to deploy a knife left handed, especially when under stress or live energy from an opponent.
Next, using your non-dominant hand for your firearm means that your dominant hand is free to defend or attack which I have found to be much more effective than using my “off hand”.
So to sum this all up, don’t be afraid to start shooting with your off hand, you may find, especially if your involved in training that seeks to make you a complete fighter, that it's well worth the effort. Also, if your shooting with your dominant hand and dominant eyes on opposite sides of your body and its working for you, then by all means, you be you!
Stay safe – LH.